Historic Sledgehammer Installed At Marine Corps Museum | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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

5 Under-The-Radar Reads From Librarian Nancy Pearl

Pearl shares the books she loved this year that you might not have heard of. Her list includes a Hollywood satire, two thrillers, a young adult novel and a nonfiction book about World War I.
NPR

How Peppermint Tricks Us Into Feeling (Deliciously) Cold

We have the chemical menthol to thank for the wonderful mouth-feel of peppermint. Scientists now know that menthol fools the brain by activating receptors involved with sensing cold.
NPR

Advocacy Groups Tell Lawmakers To Back Off

Three groups from across ideological lines say a congressional investigation into ties between the EPA and the Natural Resources Defense Council seems intended to intimidate.
NPR

U.S. Authorities Investigate, Sony Reels From Computer Hack

The White House has stopped short of naming North Korea as the aggressor in the cyberattack against Sony Pictures. That hack resulted in the cancellation of the film The Interview.

Leave a Comment

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