WAMU 88.5 : Morning Edition

Filed Under:

Historic Sledgehammer Installed At Marine Corps Museum

Play associated audio

A piece of American history handed down by one family for generations is now on display at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Virginia.

The item is a sledgehammer used by U.S. Marines during the raid on Harpers Ferry led by radical abolitionist John Brown in 1859.  Brown's raid targeted the U.S. arsenal at what was then Harpers Ferry, Va. in an attempt to get weapons, arm slaves, and initiate a revolt throughout the South. 

He and his supporters barricaded themselves in the arsenal's Engine House, taking hostages. At one point, Marines — under the command of then-Col. Robert E. Lee — used sledgehammers to try to break down the doors.

Brown was ultimately apprehended after Marines successfully broke down one of the doors using a ladder. 

In the aftermath of the raid, a bystander picked up one of the sledgehammers. It eventually ended up in the hands of the Rissler family of Charles Town, West Virginia. It had been in the family for nearly a century before it was donated to the museum, where it is now part of the "Defending the New Republic" gallery.

The National Museum of the Marine Corps is in Triangle, Va., near the Quantico Marine base. 

NPR

As Shakespeare Turns 450, 'Hamlet' Tour Makes The World A Stage

Shakespeare's Globe Theater aims to take the Bard's iconic play to every country in the world. They'll perform everywhere from prestigious theaters to Pacific island beaches.
NPR

Fast-Food CEOs Earn Supersize Salaries; Workers Earn Small Potatoes

A new report finds that the average compensation of fast-food CEOs has quadrupled since 2000. By comparison, worker wages have increased less than 1 percent.
NPR

Green GOP Group Caught Between 'Rock And A Hard Place'

On Earth Day 2014, it wasn't easy being an environmental organization in the Republican Party. The big donors who write checks aren't much interested in the environment.
NPR

The Price War Over The Cloud Has High Stakes For The Internet

Amazon, Google, Microsoft and others are competing to be the main landlords of the cloud. Their terms and prices could control who gets to build what on the Internet, and for how much.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.