By Tony Horwitz
A New York Times remarkable publication for 2011
A Library magazine Top Ten top Books of 2011
A Boston Globe top Nonfiction booklet of 2011
Late at the evening of October sixteen, 1859, John Brown introduced a shock raid at the slaveholding South. top a biracial band of militant idealists, he seized the large armory at Harpers Ferry, freed and armed slaves, and vowed to free up each bondsman in America.
Brown's bold strike sparked a savage road struggle and a counterattack by way of U.S. Marines lower than Robert E. Lee. The bloodshed and court docket drama that additionally surprised a divided state and propelled it towards civil conflict. Tony Horwitz's Midnight Rising brings Brown and his rebellion vividly to lifestyles and charts America's descent into explosive clash. the result's a taut and crucial heritage of a guy and a time that also resonate in our own.
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Additional info for Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid That Sparked the Civil War
Now that the struggle was once over, he anticipated to come to Washington with the marines and ready a record that minimized the importance of Brown’s activities. “The end result proves that the plan used to be the test of a enthusiast or madman, that may purely result in failure,” Lee wrote, “and its transitority luck used to be due to the panic and confusion he succeeded in growing by way of magnifying his numbers. ” Lee’s tactical research was once acute. however the panic and confusion he pointed out went deeper than he learned. Locals’ nervousness resurfaced instantly after Brown’s catch, whilst Sharps rifles have been present in the cellar of a home via the Shenandoah. They’d been left there via insurgents, Albert Hazlett and Osborne Anderson, who had controlled to slide clear of their posts on the arsenal and break out in a stolen boat. From Maryland, studies additionally filtered in that John cook dinner and an unknown variety of insurgents have been nonetheless at huge within the hills close to Harpers Ferry. Townspeople have been so jittery that even the “shaking of a tree at the mountain contrary” sparked a rumor that guerrillas have been “throwing up entrenchments,” the recent York usher in mentioned. The panic crested at the evening of October 19, thirty-six hours after Brown’s catch, whilst a guy rode into Harpers Ferry crying, “To hands! To fingers! they're murdering the ladies and youngsters! ” The usher in informed of listening to gunfire and screams from a neighbor’s farmhouse in friendly Valley, Maryland, 5 miles east of Harpers Ferry, and he claimed to have visible slaves working off to the mountains. so as to the Ferry, he’d sounded the alarm in Sandy Hook, the Maryland neighborhood simply around the Potomac, inflicting households to flow around the river looking for safe haven. Colonel Lee, commonly, spoke back with calm dispatch. even though he doubted the document, he trigger with Jeb Stuart and twenty-five marines “for the scene of the alleged outrage. ” Upon attaining friendly Valley, he chanced on its citizens “safe and asleep. ” Lee additionally despatched troops to the Maryland institution and the Kennedy farm, the place locals believed Brown’s males may perhaps nonetheless be holed up. those rumors proved unfounded: either constructions have been vacant, with the exception of the puppy that have been given to the Browns, which anyone had left tied to the porch rail of the Kennedy farmhouse. the warriors still made a sequence of dazzling discoveries. Butting within the door of the log schoolhouse, they discovered 16 heavy containers of rifles, revolvers, bayonets, swords, and ammunition. on the Kennedy farm, they discovered tents, blankets, axes, knives, packing containers of garments, and virtually one thousand pikes, which Brown had deliberate to install the fingers of freed slaves. Carried in wagons again to Harpers Ferry, the mixed haul from the varsity and farm constituted an impressive arsenal. as well as 1000's of carbines and revolvers, the hoard incorporated 23,000 percussion rifle caps, a heavy swivel gun, fourteen kilos of lead shot, and sufficient garments, instruments, and different provides to outfit a wide mountain army—“all the necessaries for a campaign,” Lee wrote.