Secession Era Editorials Project

IMPORTANT NEWS. Insurrection in Virginia.

Yorkville, South Carolina, Enquirer [Democratic]

(20 October 1859)

BALTIMORE, October 17.

Rumors reached this city, this morning, of a serious insurrection at Harper's Ferry, Virginia. The trains of the Baltimore and Ohio Road have been stopped, the telegraph wires out, and the town, with all the public works, are in possession of the insurgents. At first it was thought that the report was an exaggeration of an affray among the Government employees at the armory. Later despatches from Monocacy, the nearest station to Harper's Ferry, confirm the first statements as to trains being stopped, and adds that several railroad employees have been killed. The negroes have been seized on the plantations upon the Maryland side of the river, and carried over and made to join the insurgents.

All statements concur that the town is in complete possession of the insurgents, together with the armory, the arsenal, the pay office and the bridge. The insurgents are composed of whites and blacks, supposed to be led on by Abolitionists. Some suppose that plunder of the arms and ammunition and Government money is their object.

One hundred United States marines from the Washington Barracks, with two 12 pounders, went up this afternoon, and will reach there about 8 o'clock. Their orders are to clear the bridge at all hazards. Three companies of artillery from Old Point are also on their way thither. Six or seven companies of volunteers from Baltimore and Frederick have been accepted by the President, and go up on extra trains.

The insurgents are said to number 600 to 800, under the leadership of a man named Anderson, recently arrived at the Ferry.

A report from a merchant at Harper's Ferry states that most of the citizens have been imprisoned and many killed. All the avenues to the town are barricaded and guarded.

The general belief here is that it is a move of the Abolitionists. Secretary Floyd, some weeks ago, received an anonymous letter, informing him that there would be a rising, and an attempt made to capture the armory, but it was too indefinite and improbable to be believed.

These reports may be greatly exaggerated, but there is, undoubtedly, a serious disturbance going on.

There is a suspicion here that the disturbance is caused by the failure of the contractors on the Government dam to pay employees, who number several hundred, and have pressed the negroes into their service.

Two companies from Richmond, Va., have been ordered into service, and will probably leave on a special train to-night.

Gov. Wise is en route for Washington.

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