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Page:Quarterlyoforego10oreg 1.djvu/339

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315
John Brown's Raid, 1859.

streets, houses, arsenals and workshops, so that its contemplated seizure might be effected at any hour of the night without confusion or any usual movement calculated to attract attention or arouse suspicion. They knew, perfectly, the universal and unsuspecting security of the entire population. Up to the night of that attack there never was a man, within the Commonwealth of Virginia, who went to his bed with the slightest apprehension of danger from attack by citizens of the United States in any numbers, from any region, or for any purpose whatever. The sense of profound security was perfect and absolute. Having also no apprehension whatever of the slave population (and this assurance was fully justified by the event), nothing could be more favorable for the consummation of the diabolical designs of the conspirators. Having cut the telegraphic wires, they entered, under the cover of night, unmolested and unobserved, into the village, seized upon the solitary watchman placed at the arsenal as protection against fire only, and possessed themselves speedily of all the buildings containing arms or suitable for defense. The next movement was to seize the principal men of the place, with whom their long residence near there had made them acquainted, and confine them securely under their own control. These arrests were made singly, and, in every instance, by several perfectly armed men, who conveyed their prisoners to the place of confinement. This process was carried on throughout the night, and extended not only to the village, but to the country around.

When the morning came, and the state of things was partially discovered, the people of the village gathered to the scene of confusion about the arsenal. The conspirators now commenced to fire upon the citizens. Then, for the first time, did the atrocious designs of these men fully appear, and, strange as it may seem, it was only then discovered that the citizens of the place were almost wholly without arms and ammunition of any sort. Presently, however, some arms and ammunition not in possession of the plunderers were found, when the men of the village, and those who had assembled