Dec. 2, 1859: John Brown

On Dec 2, 1859,  in Charles Town, Virginia, John Brown is executed on charges of treason, murder, and insurrection.

John Brown, born in Connecticut in 1800, was an abolitionist  who believed that armed insurrection was the only way to overthrow the institution of slavery in the U:S.

In 1859. with a group of racially mixed followers, he  set out to Harpers Ferry, intending to seize the Federal arsenal of weapons and retreat to the Appalachian Mountains of Maryland and Virginia, where they would establish an abolitionist republic of liberated slaves and abolitionist whites.

Brown’s well-trained unit was initially successful, but then his plans deteriorated , and several raiders were killed  or captured . On October 18, U.S. John Brown himself  was  taken and  sentenced to death by hanging.

On the day of his execution, 16 months before the outbreak of the Civil War, he prophetically wrote, “The crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood.”

John Brown’s Body (originally known as John Brown’s Song) is a  marching song, popular in the Union  during the American Civil War. The tune arose out of the folk hymn tradition of the American  camp meeting movement of the late 18th and early 19th century.

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