I'm headed out to the hills and wilds of Maryland, Virginy and West "By God" Virginia this weekend with some friends to get a look at what I hope will be some decent color in the trees.
We're headed up to Harpers Ferry, site of John Brown's famous, but ultimately unsuccessful raid. Brown and his men, 20 including himself, attacked the federal arsenal (which was guarded by one guy) at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers hoping to liberate some of the 100,000 rifles and muskets there. The weapons were intended to arm slaves during the coming insurrection.
As I was reading a copy of the Express I found in the bathroom, I noticed the "Today in History" column. Turns out, today is the 149th anniversary of the failed raid. (As is our wont here in America, I'm guessing there's going to be some kind of party or ceremony in Harpers Ferry a year from today.)
Happy Anniversary Mr. Brown.
The raiders were eventually surrounded and routed by U.S. Marines led by U.S. Army Col. Robert E. Lee and Lieutenant J.E.B. Stuart. Turns out, also according to Wikipedia, John Wilkes Booth borrowed a uniform less than two months later to attend Brown's hanging in Charles Town (which was then in Virginia).
Isn't it interesting how the same names come up again and again? Lee was there at what was one of the very first explosions that would become the Civil War (aka The War of Northern Aggression or "the Recent Unpleasantness") as a Union colonel. A few years later, as general-in-chief of the the Confederate Army, he rode his faithful Traveller to a meeting with Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House to end the war. (Incidentally, this meeting took place in Wilbur McLean's parlor. The First Battle of Manassas (Bull Run) was fought in July 1861 on McLean's farm.)
Booth, who would interrupt the president's night out at the theatre, would later be shot to death by Union troops down-abouts Port Royal five and a half years after watching Brown swing.
Well, I could go on making conspiracy theorist-like connections all day long, but I'll stop now. All that said, I'm looking forward to seeing Harpers Ferry and the leaves this weekend.