America in the 1850s

John Brown and Harpers Ferry

What did Brown say to Washington?

Washington was led into the engine-house of the federal armory, where Brown was waiting for him. Brown began the conversation by remarking that it was cool that morning (it was about 3 A.M.) and that Washington might enjoy a place by the fire. Brown then declared that he had taken great care to make sure Washington was his prisoner. As Lewis Washington later described it to an investigative committee, Brown said:

I shall be very attentive to you, sir, for I may get the worst of it in my first encounter, and if so, your life is worth as much as mine. I shall be very particular to pay attention to you. My particular reason for taking you first was that, as the aid to the governor of Virginia, I knew you would endeavor to perform your duty, and perhaps you would have been a troublesome customer to me; and, apart from that, I wanted you particularly for the moral effect it would give our cause, having one of your name as a prisoner.


This is a web preview of the "The Handy Civil War Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App