Sunday, October 16, 1859. John Brown with a company of 21 men, white and black, marched on Harper's Ferry
(Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, used with permission)
John Brown's plan was to seize the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, not only to carry off guns with
which to arm the slaves whom he planned to liberate, but also to sound a protest against the federal government's
tolerance of slavery. On Sunday evening, October 16, 1859, with a company of twenty-one men, five of whom were black,
Brown marched on Harpers Ferry. The arsenal was easily taken by surprise in the middle of the night.