On 16 October 1859, John Brown, abolitionist at the head of a "liberation army" composed of 21 men, raided Harpers Ferry with a view to seizing the arsenal to supply ammunition to the armed forces opposed to slavery. His attempt failed and he was hanged. Harpers Ferry National Historical Park and its Visitor Center chart the history of this attempt, which stirred up tensions between North and South, leading to the Civil War, sixteen months later.
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