#41 Osborne P. Anderson: An African American at Harpers Ferry
Introduction: Harpers Ferry
1) Battle launched by John Brown against Slavery. His plan was to capture the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, arm slaves, and set off a spreading slave rebellion. 2) Recaptured by federal troop, but proved to be a political success. Brown used his treason charges to put slavery on trial a) “I, John Brown, am now quite certain that the sins of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood.” 3) Lincoln president à south secedes (1st major step toward civil war) Reading
4) Osborne Perry Anderson: the only African American survivor, escaped to the north where he published A Voice from Harper’s Ferry and fought in the Union Army. i) The Idea & Its Exponents – John Brown Another Moses (1) Compares John Brown to Moses and gives him credit for Kansas being a free state (2) States that to John Brown slavery was the corrupt tree, and the duty of every Christian man was to strike down slavery, and to commit its fragments to the flames. ii)More Correspondence – My Journey to the Ferry & a Glance at the family/Life at Kennedy Farm (1) They spent a lot of time at the Kennedy Farm being trained by Captain Stevens, prepared their guns, and talked about reform. (2) Talks about when he meets all the other men at the farm, how all their heartbeats beat in harmony for the suffering slave and they were all united (3) Brown always treats his men with better supplies than himself (guns instead of sword (as he had), and food) iii) The Capture of Harpers Ferry
(1) Pretty much talks about them seizing the Arsenal
(2) Capture the engine house; rifle factory, armory, and the bridge used to enter/exit the town without a snap of a gun or any violence. (3) They persuaded all colored men they contacted to join them in their battle. (4) They took many prisoners
iv) Main Lessons from this reading
(1) Harpers ferry disproved the current idea that slaveholders will lay down their lives for their properties. (a) Cowards kept out of the way until danger passed.
(b) “Men, children, and women could be seen leaving their homes in every direction; some seeking refuge among residents, and in quarters further away, others climbing up the hill sides, and hurrying off in various directions, evidently impelled by a sudden fear, which was plainly visible in their countenances/movements. (c) Col. Washington (slave owner) talked about the danger of Brown, but sent the laboring white classes to fight with the marines. “Hardly the skin of a slaveholder could be scratched in an open fight…” (2) Brown said he was disappointed in the behavior of the slaves (a) He did not expect 1:10 men to fight.
(b) Truth: “First, that the conduct of the slaves is a strong guarantee of the weakness of the institution, should a favorable opportunity occur; and, secondly, that the colored people, as a body, were well represented by numbers, both in the fight, and in the number who suffered martyrdom afterward. (c) Contrary to Browns belief, Anderson believed that many slaves supported the uprising. (3) Why they were unsuccessful
(a) During the reading, Captain Brown takes many prisoners from the town. A lot of them ask to see their families because they think it will be their last time seeing them. Anderson says “the tardiness of our brave leader was eventually the cause of our defeat.” It was not part of the plan to hold on to the ferry, and during this time news of the captured ferry spread to the army. (b) Anderson believes that hundreds of slaves would have been ready to fight if Brown had not delayed. (4) Accomplishments: captured Harpers Ferry and the south for 24 hours (a) Dug the mine and laid the train which will eventually dissolve the union between freedom and slavery
#43 William H. Seward: Westward Expansion & American Slavery Introduction
1. Antislavery ideal leading up to civil war: “Westward spread of the American...