John Brown's Fort, Harpers Ferry

3.8
#4 of 10 in Historic Sites in Harpers Ferry
John Brown's Fort was originally constructed in 1848 for use as a guard and fire engine house by the federal Harpers Ferry Armory in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, then a part of Virginia.An 1848 military report described the building as "An engine and guard-house 35 1/2 x 24 feet, one story brick, covered with slate, and having copper gutters and down spouts…" The building achieved notoriety during John Brown's Raid on the Harpers Ferry Armory in 1859.John Brown's RaidJohn Brown planned to capture the armory and the associated arsenal and use them to supply an army of abolitionists and run-away slave guerrillas. Beginning their raid the night of October 16, Brown and his small army of 21 men (16 white and 5 black) captured the armory and arsenal and succeeded in taking 60 citizens of Harper's Ferry hostage. The local militia and armed townspeople killed several members of the insurrection and forced Brown to take up position in the fire engine house where Brown's men had placed several of the hostages and prepared a defensive fortification. On the night of October 17, U.S. marines and then Brevet Colonel Robert E. Lee and his aide J.E.B. Stuart arrived in Harper's Ferry to put down Brown's insurrection. The next morning, using a ladder as a battering ram, the marines battered down the door and stormed the fire engine house. One marine was mortally wounded in the attack as well as several of Brown's men. Some of Brown's men managed to escape, but most were captured, including Brown who was stabbed by the Marine commander, Lt. Green. The hostages were freed.
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John Brown's Fort Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.0
94 reviews
Google
4.4
TripAdvisor
  • It is a small building and it is hard to imagine the roll it played in history. It is a short walk from the bus stop.  more »
  • Was quite interesting, we were not sure at first we were at the right place since it looked like a fire house. It was indeed the fort and though not a long time needed to take it all in, we enjoyed th...  more »
Google
  • I love Civil war era history. Nice place. Not crowded.
  • Harper's Ferry is so lovely. We like to go and hike around and get ice cream. They used to have a sit down restaurant with a good menu but it is closed and another opened in it place. I don't remember the names but now the food is more like sandwiches, burgers and bar food. Nothing special. However, we like to pack picnic lunches and eat outside overlooking the water anyways.

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