March 31, 2021

More Signs at the Kennedy Farm

Yesterday's post took you to John Brown's hideout in Maryland, the Kennedy Farm. There are two Civil War Trails signs near the entrance to the property that are worth sharing. 
Log house and sign

"This is the Kennedy farmhouse, which abolitionist John Brown (using the pseudonym Isaac Smith) leased in July 1859 from Dr. Robert Kennedy's heirs, ostensibly to do some prospecting. Brown's fifteen-year-old daughter, Annie Brown, identified the Kennedy Farm as "Headquarters: War Department." It served as a barracks, arsenal, supply depot, mess hall, debate club, and home to Brown and his fellow conspirators to plan their attack on the U.S. Arsenal at Harpers Ferry, five miles away. Brown's daughter-in-law Martha Brown, sons Owen, Watson, and Oliver Brown, and eighteen other men, five of whom were African American, jammed the house and nearby cabin. Crates marked "mining tools" actually held about 400 rifles and pistols, ammunition, black powder, 1,000 pikes, tools, tents, clothing, and other items a small army needed."
Read the rest of the text on HMDB.

Interesting note: Behind the log house there is a a long white building beyond the trees. I noticed the sign IBPOEW on it. This stands for Improved Benevolent Protective Order of Elks of the World, an African American organization. From 1950 to 1966, they owned and maintained the Kennedy Farm as a shrine to John Brown. They had an auditorium where some big names in music performed, including Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, B. B. King, Eartha Kitt, Otis Redding, Etta James, the Coasters, and the Drifters. (Source: Wikipedia.)

Although John Brown's attack on Harpers Ferry failed, it accelerated the debate over slavery. The other table-top sign tells the story of Jubal Early's army passing this spot five years later, as the American Civil War raged.
"In June 1864, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee sent Gen. Jubal A. Early's corps from the Richmond battlefield to the Shenandoah Valley to counter Union Gen. David Hunter's army. After driving Hunter into West Virginia, Early invaded Maryland to attack Washington, D.C., draw Union troops from Richmond, and release Confederate prisoners held at Point Lookout. On July 9, Early ordered Gen. Bradley T. Johnson's cavalry brigade eastward to free the prisoners. The next day, Johnson sent Maj. Harry Gilmer's regiment to raid the Baltimore area. Union Gen. Lew Wallace delayed Early at the Battle of Monocacy on July 9. Federal reinforcements soon strengthened the capital's defenses. Early attacked there near Fort Stevens on July 11-12 and then withdrew to the Shenandoah Valley with the Federals in pursuit. He stopped them at Cool Spring on July 17-18. Despite failing to take Washington or free prisoners, Early succeeded in diverting Federal resources.

After abandoning his attempt to capture Harpers Ferry, Confederate Gen. Jubal A. Early and his army crossed the Potomac River a few miles north of here at Blackford's (Boteler's) Ford near Shepherdstown and spread out through the Maryland countryside. On July 6-8, 1864, the Confederates passed by this spot. Gen. John C. Breckenridge's troops were the first to arrive here. Breckinridge, a former vice president of the United States, had contended against Abraham Lincoln in 1860 for the presidency of the United States."



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