Harpers Ferry, 150 years later

It was freezing cold and drizzling rain here on Saturday, when I not only got up nice and early but dragged my Mom out of bed as well. What with the cold and the wet, I wasn’t going to be able to take a dog along, so Mom volunteered instead. We left the house at 7am and sped north on winding back roads, arriving at the Harpers Ferry visitor center around 9. I managed to get a few pictures, despite wearing (I kid you not) 4 shirts, 2 layers of pants, Carhartt boot socks, combat boots, my disreputable pink and green hat, and a rain coat. I mentioned it was cold, right? And wet. Cold and wet.

Harpers Ferry
The streets of Harpers Ferry do not look terribly different from how they did 150 years ago. Where the yellow line down the middle of the road stops is the boundary between the town and the National Historical Park.

Members of the Provisional Army
Living historians dressed as members of the Provisional Army, the local militia, and townspeople were giving presentations throughout the day at various locations. Unfortunately I was only able to spend a couple hours there. I mentioned the wet and the cold, right?

Join the local militia!
At the station labeled “Join the local militia!” one of the living historians teaches facing movements and the manual of arms.

St Peter's
St. Peter’s Roman Catholic church. During the Civil War, it took some fire when Union troops mistook the gleam of the moon on its windows for the lights from Confederate troops, and fired a volley into it.

The town itself is filled with odd little shops and things. This is one of the window displays at the John Brown Wax Museum.

Heyward Shepherd monument
The monument to Heyward Shepherd, placed by the United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Shepherd was a free African-American and the first person killed in John Brown’s raid. He was working as a baggage handler for the B&O Railroad. The UDC and SCV have appropriated his memory because of their perception that he was an African-American who opposed John Brown’s raid to free the slaves. In reality, Shepherd probably had no damn clue what Brown was there for, he just knew a bunch of people were pointing guns at him and trying to take over the railroad bridge.

John Brown's Fort
The engine house, where Brown and his men holed up and were eventually either killed or captured. I wish I’d put Mom in this picture to give a better idea of scale, it’s a tiny building to hold the enormity of what happened there.

Mom at Harpers Ferry
Mom making faces at me toward the end of the day. She claims she had fun despite the cold and the wet. Best. Mother. Ever.

Me and John Brown
Me and a souvenir. I have NO CLUE who the hell decided to make a cuddly beanie doll out of John Brown, but there was no way I could not bring one home with me.


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