Reply To: Who Authorized Military Force At Harpers Ferry?


For anyone interested in this topic:

I found an account of the raid at Harpers Ferry in Robert W. Coakley’s book “The Role of Federal Forces in Domestic Disorders, 1789-1878”.

According to this account, the proclamation by the President, which was required by Section 3 of the Militia Act of 1795 before military force could be initiated, was hastily written and never delivered to the “insurgents”.

“[John Brown’s Raid] … like Turner’s Rebellion and most of the other riots of the antebellum period, it was the militia acting under state and local control that brought the raiders to bay, even though in this case it did require a well-disciplined federal force to finish them off.”

You can find the book here (see the section titled “The Sequel – John Brown’s Raid” in Chapter 9 (pp. 188-193).