Wednesday, December 2, 2009

'John Brown’s body lies moldering in the grave'

John Brown -- terrorist to some, hero to others -- was hanged 150 years ago today not far from the federal armory at Harpers Ferry, Va., that he and 21 others raided on Oct. 16, 1859. The siege lasted into the next day, but Marines under the command of Robert E. Lee -- then a colonel in the federal army -- stormed the building, killed several of the men and took Brown and others prisoner.

Brown was tried and found guilty within three weeks and hanged on Dec. 2. A 21-year-old John Wilkes Booth was among the crowd that assembled to watch. Before his death, Brown wrote:
I, John Brown, am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood.
He was unfortunately correct.

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