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John Brown's Raid on Harpers Ferry

John Brown (May 9, 1800 – December 2, 1859), a militant abolitionist, led twenty-one men on a raid of Harpers Ferry, Virginia on October 16, 1859. Brown and his men cut telegraph lines, captured the federal armory/arsenal, as well as Hall’s Rifle Works (a supplier of weapons to the government. Sixty prominent residents of the town where taken hostage in hopes that their slaves would join the fight. However, no slaves responded to Brown’s call. The local militia corned Brown and his men in the armory, cutting off escape routes. News of the raid reached President James Buchanan who, in turn, sent Colonel Robert E. Lee and a unit of marines to end the insurrection and capture Brown and his men. Of the 22 men taking part in the raid: ten were killed during the raid; seven were captured, put on trial for treason and murder, and hung; and five escaped.

Banners of Steel is a play written by Barrie Stavis about the Raid on Harpers Ferry led by abolitionist John Brown on Harpers Ferry, Virginia October 16, 1859.

Harpers Ferry is a revision of the play Banners of Steel.