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

A Cuppa Matcha With Your Crickets? On The Menu In 2015

In the new year we'll be eating pot pesto, pork fat, and pancit along with the newborn progeny of Brussels sprouts and kale.
NPR

A Cuppa Matcha With Your Crickets? On The Menu In 2015

In the new year we'll be eating pot pesto, pork fat, and pancit along with the newborn progeny of Brussels sprouts and kale.
NPR

Tennessee's Medicaid Deal Dodges A Partisan Fight

An agreement between the Tennessee Hospital Association and Republican Gov. Bill Haslam expands Medicaid without tax dollars, an agreement that could be a blueprint for other states.
NPR

Facebook Finds That Not All Users Want To Review Their Year

The social media giant's "Year in Review" app has upset some who prefer to forget 2014's unpleasant memories.

Leave a Comment

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