View Full Version : Harpers Ferry

Kozmic Zian
02-19-2004, 19:37
Yea....Don't miss Harpers' Ferry and the Historical Park down on the Point, before you cross the foot bridge to the C&O Tow Path. Lot's o' History here, friends. The Civil War was fought back and forth accross this hallowed ground. Also, the ATC's Headquarters is just up the road 1/2 mile or so. You gotta' go there and register and pick up neat 'Trail Stuff'. John Brown, the famous Abolistionist, and his men raided a Union Armory here, and there was an historic battle. Read all about it. Take a tour with a National Parks Guide. Stay at the HF Hikers Hostel. A Great Trail Town. [email protected]

Jack Tarlin
02-19-2004, 21:55
Harper's Ferry is indeed a fascinating place to visit, tho I hope you have a better tour guide than Koz:

First, off John Brown was not only an ardent abolitionist; he was also a homicidal maniac, and probably insane. And the arsenal he raided in 1859 was the main FEDERAL one; it wasn't Confederate. The Confederates didn't have an arenal in 1859, as there wasn't a Confederacy til some time later. There was no major battle to put down Brown's raid; it was minor skirmish that ended with the surrender of Brown and his few surviving terrorists. (One of their captors, by the way, was Robert E. Lee, who was still in the Union army at the time). The major fighting in Harper's Ferry took place years later, in September of 1862. Brown was charged with treason, and after a short and eminently fair trial, was hanged in nearby Charles Town.

There's a great deal of American history on and near the Trail, including many sites connected to the War Between the States. I hope folks that are interested take the time and trouble to spend a bit of time at these places; it's well worth it.

Kozmic Zian
02-19-2004, 22:05
Not a tour Guide Jack, just a hiker passin' thru.

10-24-2004, 22:29
Right as you come to Jefferson Rock, on the heights above the town, there is a side trail 100' to an impressively old & scenic cemetery that overlooks the confluence of the Shenandoah & Potomac rivers, as well as the town.Also, if staying awhile, the hike up Maryland Heights is AWESOME, if not steep as hell.:cool:

10-25-2004, 00:19
, and his men raided a Union Armory here

Note to Jack: KZ never said it was a Confederate Armory. He never mentioned Confederates. Although there was not technically a Union anything at the time (it was all Federal) your post shows that you should maybe read someone's posts more carefully before you so quickly criticize; as you are often wont to do. :rolleyes:

Magic City
10-25-2004, 12:15
I don't believe that he was thought to be insane at the time. Ferocious, yes. Passionate, certainly. But the spin that he was an insane, homicidal maniac came later.

On the day of Brown's execution, bells were tolled and minute guns fired in many places in the North, and church services and public meetings were held for the purpose of glorifying his deeds and sanctifying the cause he represented, recognizing in him a martyr to the teachings of the abolitionists. Eventually his name became the slogan under which, as a battle hymn, the Northern troops invaded and overran the South.

The Solemates
10-25-2004, 12:27
Harpers Ferry is nice, but the people at the AYOH Hostel right across the border in Maryland are not too nice. We did not enjoy our stay. The owners were very rude. I would not recommend it to anyone. Next time through, I will tent it somewhere just outta town or skip spending the night there all together.

Jack Tarlin
10-25-2004, 13:53
Magic City:

In that this site is devoted to the Appalachian Trail, I don't wish to go into this at great length, but here are some facts:

1. Brown certainly WAS thought by many to be insane at the time, and not only by his detractors. Many people active in the radical abolitionist movement had doubts about his mental fitness, including many of his ardent supporters. After the Harper's Ferry raid, there were legal attempts (eventually abandoned) to save him from hanging on the grounds of insanity; evidence was brought forth that serious mental illness was common in his family, and that throughout his life, on many occasions, people had openly questioned his sanity. These efforts to save his life by documenting his madness were efforts led by his ADMIRERS----there were clearly plenty of folks at the time willing to publicly state that they thought the man was insane, and were willing take an oath to this effect in a court of law.

2. Several years before his treason at Harper's Ferry, in May of 1856, Brown had become notorious by leading an attack on a pro-slavery settlement at Pottawatomie Creek, in the Kansas Territory. Both before and after this act of terrorism, he justified his actions by saying he was on a divine mission at the time. Sorry, Magic, but when I read about someone pulling five guys outta bed in the middle of the night and hacking them to death with axes and swords in front of their wives and children, and then justifying this behavior because God had repeatedly told him it was OK.......well, sorry, I have to wonder if the guy is right in the head. And a lot of folks in the 1850's felt this way, too. For you to say that accusations of mental instability or outright insanity were nothing more than latter-day "spin" is contradicted by dozens of contemporary statements to the contrary.

The fact that he became a hero and martyr to the abolutionists and to the Union cause in the subsequent war of Northern Agression doesn't alter for a moment that then and now, a lot of folks who knew him personally thought he was nuts. One man's "hero" is another man's homicidal maniac, but to say that the insanity accusations are a modern invention intended to detract from his record or reputation is simply false.

10-25-2004, 15:07
Certainly important information on ole JB. The interested reader should look into ALL the terrorist acts in "Bleeding" Kansas, as well as the looting and fraudelent voting that occurred therein.

But, for the perplexed reader, the majority of folks in these UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, (including the winners:banana ) refer to that conflict as the Civil War:bse .

Jack Tarlin
10-25-2004, 15:16

Good point.

But this thread was discussing how folks viewed things (such as Brown's insanity) AT THE TIME, and at the time, I assure you, that not everyone back then referred to the events of 1861-65 as the Civil War. There wasn't much "civil" about it. For much of the country, the war was seen as the
"Second War of Independence," as well as being a war of aggression on the part of the northern states. (And I grant you that in the North, the conflict was generally called "the Rebellion.")

What the War is actually called is a matter of geographic and historical perspective. That John Brown was widely viewed by folks who knew him well as being crazy as a loon is a matter of historical record.

ted holdridge
10-25-2004, 15:32
It is certainly one of the highlights of the trail. Great zero day spot. If you are not down with the hostel, and I have heard others say the same, you can always stealth down on the Potomac. It's beautiful.

10-25-2004, 16:12
Certainly a nut, a murderer and traitor and definitely not a "civil" war(600,000+ dead, ruined southern economy, 140 years of lingering animosity;) ). Both sides had their own terms for the conflict, as you mentioned the unionists and abolitionists would not have called it the "War of Northern Agression". So when you wrote,

The fact that he became a hero and martyr to the abolutionists and to the Union cause in the subsequent war of Northern Agression doesn't alter for a moment that then and now, a lot of folks who knew him personally thought he was nuts. I felt sure you were injecting some personal geographic and historical perspective:-? . But I see that you intended to discuss this from the viewpoint of folks AT THE TIME (emphasis added by JT), so I apologize for reading too much into the war label.

Magic City
10-25-2004, 22:29
Your memory might be better than mine, Jack. I was pretty young at the time, so I don't remember John very well.

12-23-2004, 14:28
By just about anyone's account, the best place to eat in Harper's Ferry isn't in Harper's Ferry @ all. Keep going up the hill (sorry), past the ATC, till you come to Bolivar Heights, the town. About a mile from the RR bridge in downtown HF, you'll come to a high scool on your right and a charming country cafe, called country cafe.

About a 1/4 mile past that great place you'll come to the battlefield of Bolivar Heights, where the Union Army was surrounded & surrendered (shamefully). Part of the Harper's Ferry NHP, the hilltop (you HAVE been walking up for some time) affords excellent views of WVA, includig the confluence of rivers & the AT ridgeline to the south twds Snickers Gap. Few know of this part of the park, & is not to be missed.

12-23-2004, 14:35
i drug my feet to make sure i did not just walk thru harpers ferry,had my picture made at the atc office,i took some really cool pics of the town,really cool,lots of history here.:sun neo

12-25-2004, 10:00
From today's newspaper:

Jefferson Rock marred by vandals

Vandals marred a popular landmark that Thomas Jefferson called on of nature's "most stupendous scenes," defacing with paint a famous slab of shale known as Jefferson Rock. The rock, offering a sweeping view of where the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers meet in Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, was damaged Tuesday evening or early Wednesday. "It looks like the entire rock was dipped into paint," park Superintendent Donald W. Campbell said Thursday. No arrests have been made.

For those unfamiliar with the Rock, the AT goes right past it as it enters the historic village.