Secession Era Editorials Project

Outbreak at Harper's Ferry

Richmond, Virginia, Whig [Opposition]

(18 October 1859)

The telegraphic despatches in another column, concerning the outbreak at Harper's Ferry, are stirring enough for ordinary purposes. We believe the affair, however, to be greatly exaggerated, as such occurrences usually are. There is at least no cause for uneasiness elsewhere in the State, notwithstanding the reports concerning the complicity of the negroes in the business. -- Indeed, we rather incline to the belief that the entire report of the affair is pretty much of a humbug. That there is something of a riot there, on the part of a few of the operatives, we have no doubt; but the object of the rebels is to take possession of the public funds which were deposited there on Saturday.

Our goodly city was in a state of the liveliest excitement all yesterday evening. The military, particularly, were in great commotion. The Governor, we learn, has ordered the whole volunteer Regiment to the scene of disturbance. Company "F," under command of Col. Cary left at 8 o'clock last night -- the Fredricksburg mail train having been detained for their accommodation. The remainder of the Regiment, consising of six or seven companies, will leave at 6 o'clock this morning. The Governor accompanied Col. Cary's company last night -- and we slightly incline to the opinion that Harper's Ferry will be captured, and the rebels put down, especially as the military from the surrounding country and Old Point, Baltimore Washington, and Alexandria, have been ordered to the scene of action. We think these are almost enough to put an end to the "war" during the course of the week -- provided all hands stand firm, as they no doubt will, with some exceptions.

The "soldiers" took leave of their wives and little ones last night amid such weeping and wailing, not expecting ever to see them more! It was a heart-rending scene, to be sure. We endeavored to procure a lock of the hair of several of the "soldiers," as a memento of them, in case they should fight, bleed and die in the service of their country; but they were too much afflicted by the parting scene to pay any attention to our request. We expect to see half of the "soldiers" back at least. -- But good fortune to them all.

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