U.S. Musket Factory - Harper's Ferry - West Virginia



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The citizen of Harper's Ferry finds itself to the confluence between the rivers Shenandoah and Potomac.  Thanks to the abundant hydraulic energy available it become an important industry center among which the military arsenal that rose in 1799 and which produced, until to the explosion of the civil war in 1861 more than 600.000 weapons, among long and short.

This Arsenal was also the base of the studies of James H. Burton about the
cave base balls today commonly known like Miniť.

The Arsenal in 1803

The Arsenal in 1824

(The Large Arsenal dominates this 1803 print of Harpers Ferry. The Potomac ferry is pictured crossing the river. A gundalow descends the Shenandoah River (right). In 1783, Thomas Jefferson declared that "This scene is worth a voyage across the Atlantic." Year: 1803. Image Credit: Historic Photo Collection, Harpers Ferry NHP.)  


The Arsenal was destroyed on April 18th 1861 during the foughts between Confederates and Unionists and it was no more reconstructed.
Only the building of the guard remained intact and it is today known like "John Brown Fort".

The ruins of the Arsenal in 1862

(Ruins of the Rolling Mill at the west end of the U.S. Musket Factory, Harpers Ferry, Virginia, October 1862. Photographed by Silas A. Holmes (Duplicate copy from Library of Congress #LC-B8171-0655 DLC). Year: 1862. Image Credit: Historic Photo Collection, Harpers Ferry NHP.)
Already on October 16th 1859 there happened one of the episodes that preannounced the Civil War: John Brown and 20 of his fellows attempted to attack the fort and steal the weapons. The abolitionists captured 36 hostages, they freed a dozen of slaves and they barricaded in the arsenal that was freed only the following day from 90 marines headed by Robert E.Lee.