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The Insurrection at Harper's Ferry

October 17th, 1859.
Click on the MEDIA ITEMS below for more information



Monocacy, 7.05 A. M., October 17, 1859.

W. P. Smith,       (Rec'd Balto. 7.55 A. M.)

Express train bound east, under my charge, was stopped this morning at Harper's Ferry by armed abolitionists. They have possession of the bridge and the arms and armory of the United States. Myself and Baggage Master have been fired at, and Hayward, the colored porter, is wounded very severely, being shot through the body, the ball entering the body below the left shoulder blade and coming out under the left side. The Doctor says he cannot survive. They are headed by a man who calls himself Anderson, and number about one hundred and fifty strong. They say they have come to free the slaves and intend to do it at all hazards.

The leader of those men requested me to say to you that this is the last train that shall pass the bridge either East or West. If it is attempted, it will be at the peril of the lives of those having them in charge. When daylight appeared we were finally permitted to pass, after being detained from half-past one o'clock to half-past six. It has been suggested you had better notify the Secretary of War at once. The telegraph wires are cut East and West of Harper's Ferry, and this is the first station that I could send a despatch from.


Baltimore, October 17th, 1859. 9 A.M.

A. J. Phelps,       Conductor of the Express East at Ellicott's Mills.

Your despatch is evidently exaggerated and written under excitement. Why should our trains be stopped by Abolitionists, and how do you know they are such and that they


Page #:

B. H. Richardson, Annapolis


Collection Location:
Western Maryland Room, WCFL

Original Size:
22 x 14 cms

Maryland. General Assembly. Senate, 1860.

Harpers Ferry (W. Va.), History; John Brown's Raid, 1859.

Harpers Ferry (WV), Washington County (Md.), 1859

Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

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