On this day in 1859, abolitionist John Brown led a group of 22 men, including five black men and three of his sons, on a raid against a federal armory in Harpers Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia), in an attempt to start an armed slave revolt and destroy the institution of slavery. Word of the raid spread, and by morning Brown and his men were surrounded. Two days later, they were overrun. Ten of his men, including two of his sons, were killed. Brown was captured and tried by the state of Virginia for treason and murder. Found guilty, he was executed on December 2.
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