Today’s Document from the National Archives

Document for October 18th:
Robert E. Lee’s demand for the surrender of John Brown and his party, October 18, 1859


Robert E. Lee’s demand for the surrender of John Brown and his party, October 18, 1859 (National Archives Identifier: 300373); Series: Letters Received, 1805 - 1889; Records of the Adjutant General’s Office, ca. 1775 - ca. 1928; Record Group 94; National Archives.

On October 16, 1859, abolitionist John Brown and his "army" of some 20 men seized the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia) in preparation for his war for slave liberation. By the morning of October 18, when Brown refused to accept the terms of this note, marines under the command of Bvt. Col. Robert E. Lee, stormed the building and captured Brown and the survivors of his party. The operation that Brown envisioned as the first blow in a war against slavery was over in 36 hours.

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United States of America v. Alphonse Capone

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National Archives Independence

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