|Portrait of John Brown, a militant abolitionist who attempted to use
force to free the slaves in the South. On the night of October 16, 1859,
Brown and a small band of followers seized the Federal arsenal at Harpers
Ferry. The weapons were to be used by his "army of emancipation." They took 60 hostages and held out against the local militia, but were
then attacked by U.S. Marines under the command of Col. Robert E. Lee (who
would later command the Confederate Armies). Two of Brown's sons and ten others were killed in the fighting. Brown
was wounded and taken prisoner. He was tried by the Commonwealth of Virginia
and convicted of treason, murder and inciting slaves to rebellion.