October 16 - 1859 - John Brown Begins His Raid at Harper's Ferry
John Brown became a national figure in the 1850s as the most miltant abolitionist in the country. He was most notable for having killed pro-slavery militants in the Kansas conflict with broadswords at a place called Pottawatomie Creek. By 1859, John Brown had decided to try and launch a massive slave rebellion by attacking the United States Armory at Harper's Ferry. His initial plan worked in so much as Brown and his men took possesion of the Armory quickly. Yet the seeds of his ultimate failure were set when he allowed a train to move on and raise an alarm. A militia led by then-United States Army Colonel Robert E. Lee surrounded Brown and his men, taking them easily two days after they took the Armory. John Brown would be hanged on December 2, 1859 by the State of Virginia. But his actions already triggered anxiety that would help lead to the Civil War.