1. Brown had received 200 Beecher's Bibles -- breechloading .52 caliber
Sharps carbines -- and pikes from northern abolitionist societies in preparation
for the raid.
2. The armory was a large complex of buildings that contained 100,000 muskets
and rifles, which Brown planned to seize and use to arm local slaves. They would
then head south, drawing off more and more slaves from plantations, and fighting
only in self-defense. As Frederick Douglass and Brown's family testified, his
strategy was essentially to deplete Virginia of its slaves, causing the
institution to collapse in one county after another, until the movement spread
into the South, essentially wreaking havoc on the economic viability of the
3. Brown's men needed to capture the weapons and escape before word could be
sent to Washington, D.C. The raid was going well for Brown's men. They cut the
telegraph wire and seized a Baltimore & Ohio train passing through.
4. An African-American baggage handler on the train named Hayward Shepherd,
confronted the raiders and was subsequently shot and killed, ironically becoming
the first casualty of the raid. Then for unknown reasons, Brown let the train
5. The train reached Washington the next day and the conductor alerted the
6. One of the keys to success was the support of the local slave population.
The slaves never rebelled and instead the townspeople began to fight back
against the raiders.
7. Brown's men captured the armory that evening.
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