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. 

WAMU 88.5

Anne Tyler: "A Spool Of Blue Thread" (Rebroadcast)

In her first live radio interview ever, Pulitzer Prize winning author Anne Tyler joins Diane to talk about her 20th novel, "A Spool of Blue Thread."


Fine Brine From Appalachia: The Fancy Mountain Salt That Chefs Prize

An artisanal salt producer is processing brine from ancient ocean deposits below West Virgina's mountains. The company, J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works, ships to top chefs who value the salt's minerality.

Downed Russian Warplane Highlights Regional Divide On Syria

Hugh Pope, director of communications and outreach at the International Crisis Group in Brussels, explains the growing divide between Turkey and Russia on their priorities inside Syria.

From Takeout To Breakups: Apps Can Deliver Anything, For A Price

Convenience is at an all-time premium — and a lot of smartphone apps promise to make many of the things we do every day easier. In a time-crunch or sheer laziness, how far will the apps take us?

Leave a Comment

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