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

In This Test Kitchen, The Secret To A Great Cookbook Is Try, Try Again

Yotam Ottolenghi and his partner have a thriving food empire that includes wildly successful cookbooks. We go inside their London test kitchen as recipes are put through their paces.
NPR

Bugs: Not What's For Dinner — Until They're Tastier, Maybe

A U.K. researcher says the environmental argument for eating bugs isn't working on its own. She says chefs and policymakers must "make insect dishes appeal as food, not just a way to save the planet."
NPR

Fact Check: 3 Questions Answered About Bill Clinton's LLC

Does Bill Clinton have a secret corporation that he is using to hide money? Is it intended to pay a lower tax rate? Or is it something else entirely?
NPR

Questions Remain About How To Use Data From License Plate Scanners

The scanners are standard equipment for police, but what's not settled is what happens to all the data collected. That data can link people to certain addresses and flag unusual activity.

Leave a Comment

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