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Secession Era Editorials Project

Furman University Department of History

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The Insurrection at Harper's Ferry.

Frankfort, Kentucky, Commonwealth [Opposition]

(21 October 1859)

The details by Telegraph of the insurrection at Harper's Ferry take up so much space as to prevent their publication in our paper. It appears, however, that the insurgents were lead on by the notorious Abolitionist Brown, who was so conspicuous in the Kansas difficulties; his two sons; and a school teacher named Cook. The developments indicate a conspiracy on the part of a few Abolitionists to revolutionize the entire South by inciting an insurrection among the slaves, which conspiracy, however, we cannot but believe existed chiefly upon paper, and in the minds of a few zealots, whose acts prove them to have been stark mad. In fact, derangement alone can account for their preposterous attempt to effect a revolution in the slave States with only 50 men, with the illusory hope, it is true, that the unarmed and undisciplined slaves would rise and successfully strike for their liberation. The slaves were evidently unprepared for such a step, and those who were implicated at all appear to have been coerced into the ranks. The mob has been promptly quelled and routed and peace restored. For the prisoners, a Lunatic Asylum would be a more proper punishment than the gallows. Below we give a list of the killed and wounded:

Killed, 5 citizens and 15 insurgents; wounded 3 insurgents; prisoners, 5 insurgents.

The names of all his party at the ferry on Sunday night, except three white men, who he admits he sent away on an errand, are as follows, with their proper titles under the Provisional Government, viz: General John Brown, Commander in Chief, wounded but will recover; Capt. Oliver Brown, dead; Capt. Watson Brown, dead; Capt. John Koge, of Ohio, raised in Virginia, dead; Capt. Aaron C. Stephens, of Connecticut, wounded badly; he has three balls in his body and cannot recover; Lieut. Edwin Coppie, of Iowa, unhurt; Lieut. Edwin Coppie, of Iowa, unhurt; Lieut. Albert Haslett of Pennsylvania, dead; Lieut. Wm. Loman, of Maine, dead; Capt. John Cook, of Connecticut, escaped. Privates -- Stewart Taylor, of Canada, dead; Wm. Thompson, of New York, dead; Dolph Thompson, of New York, dead. The above, with three whites previously sent off, make in all seventeen whites. Negroes -- Dangerfield, recently of Ohio, and raised in Virginia, Emperor, of New York, raised in South Carolina, not wounded, a prisoner; the latter was elected a member of Congress of the Provisional Government some time since; Lewis Leary, of Ohio, raised in Virginia, dead; Copeland, of Ohio, raised in Virginia, not wounded, a prisoner at Charleston. Gen. Brown has nine wounds, but none of them are fatal. A bushel of letters were discovered from all parts of the country; one from Geritt Smith informs Brown of money being deposited in a bank in New York to the credit of J. Smith & Son, and appears to be one of many informing him from time to time as the money was raised.

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