although the workshops, the armory proper and the rifle works up the Shenandoah
On January 2, 1861, Supt. A. M. Barbour
had informed the United States
ordnance bureau that he apprehended an assault on the armory, and that he had organized the armorers into volunteer companies for its protection.
The next day, Maj. H. J. Hunt
, of the Second artillery, was assigned to command at Harper's Ferry
and Lieut. R. Jones
was ordered to report to him for duty with 60 picked men of the mounted rifles from Carlisle barracks.
was instructed by Adjutant-General Cooper
to dis. pose his force to protect the armory, but to make no display of it that would cause irritation.
He arrived and took command on the 5th.
On the 2d of April, Lieutenant Jones
His force on the 18th of April was but 45 men. Just before that date he sent a message to Secretary of War Cameron
, asking for a large reinforcement if it was the intention to save the contents of the armory.
To this he had no reply and was left to act on his own judgment.
On Thursday morning, April 18th, Col. A. M. Barbour
, who had resigned the superintendency of the armory a short time before and was now a member of the Virginia convention from Jefferson county
, arrived at Harper's Ferry
and thoughtlessly stated in public that the convention had passed an ordinance of secession; that the governor had called out the volunteers to repulse any effort to reinforce the command at Harper's Ferry
, and that Virginia
intended to take possession of the armory and arsenal.
This caused much excitement, as the citizens were under the impression that an unlawful seizure of the United States
property was to be made, which they determined to oppose.
In the meantime, Colonel Allen
called out the local regiment, the Second Virginia, to assemble at Charlestown
Apprised of these things, Superintendent Kingsbury
's successor) and Lieutenant Jones
, knowing they could not resist an attack by any considerable force, made arrangements to destroy the property.
Dismissing the operatives with the assurance that they should resume work on the 19th, they closed the gates of the armory and posted sentinels; removed the foot bridges across the canal, and placed kegs and sacks of powder in the arsenal buildings, using bedticks for this purpose; scattered powder over the floors of the shops, and