previous next


[284] been alive but for me. I might have killed him just as easy as I could kill a mosquito, when he came in ; but I supposed that he came in only to receive our surrender. There had been long and loud calls of surrender from us,--as loud as men could yell,--but in the confusion and excitement I suppose we were not heard. I do not believe the major, or any one else, wanted to butcher us after we had surrendered.

An officer present here stated that special orders had been given to the marines not to shoot any body; but when they were fired upon by Brown's men, and one of them had been killed, and another wounded, they were obliged to return the compliment.

Captain Brown insisted, with some warmth, that the marines fired first.

An Officer. Why did you not surrender before the attack?

Capt. B. I did not think it was my duty or interest to do so. We assured our prisoners that we did not wish to harm them, and that they should be set at liberty. I exercised my best judgment, not believing the people would wantonly sacrifice their own fellow-citizens. When we offered to let them go upon condition of being allowed to change our position about a quarter of a mile, the prisoners agreed by vote among themselves to pass across the bridge with us. We wanted them only as a sort of guarantee for our own safety — that we should not be fired into. We took them, in the first place, as hostages, and to keep them from doing any harm. We did kill some men when defending ourselves; but I saw no one fire except directly in self-defence. Our orders were strict not to harm any one not in arms against us.

Q. Well, Brown, suppose you had every nigger in the United States, what would you do with them?

Capt. B. (In a loud tone, and with emphasis.) Set them free, sir! Q. Your intention was to carry them off and free them? Capt. B. Not at all.

Bystander. To set them free would sacrifice the life of every man in this community.

Capt. B. I do not think so. Bystander. I know it. I think you are fanatical.

Capt. B. And I think you are fanatical. “Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad;” and you are mad.

Q. Was your only object to free the negroes? Capt. B. Absolutely our only object.

Bystander. But you went and took Col. Washington's silver and Match.

Capt B. O, yes; we intended freely to have appropriated the property

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
United States (United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
John Brown (3)
Lewis W. Washington (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: