"charles town west virginia" Charles Town by doug48

Charles Town Travel Guide: 12 reviews and 34 photos

charles town

charles town was founded by charles washington in 1786. charles washington was the youngest brother of president george washington. charles town was the site of three battles during the civil war. in may 1862 the confederates occupied charles town. later the union returned to charles town and established a garrison in the town. on october 18 th 1863 confederate general john imboden attacked the 9 th maryland infantry garrisoned in charles town. imboden defeated colonel benjamin simpson and captured several hundred union troops. in august 1864 the forces of union general phillip sheridan returned to charles town and defeated the confederates commanded by general jubal early. sadly, a number of historic homes and buildings in downtown charles town were destroyed during the civil war. the most significant historic event in the history of charles town was the trial and execution of john brown in 1859. of interest to the tourist is charles town's downtown historic district which is listed on the national register of historic places. for those interested in american history and architecture charles town is a very worth while place to visit in eastern west virginia.

one of the most famous trials in united states history was the trial of john brown at the jefferson county courthouse in charles town. the trial of john brown began on october 25 th 1859 and ended on november 2nd 1859. earlier john brown and his twenty one man "provisional army of the united states" attempted to capture the federal arsenal at harpers ferry and distribute it's 100,000 rifles to rebellious slaves. brown believed that an armed slave revolt would end slavery. on october 16 th 1859 brown ordered john cook jr. to kidnap lewis washington, the great-grandnephew of president george washington. cook and his men captured washington and held him hostage at the alltstadt house near harpers ferry. on october 17 th brown and his followers tried to capture the arsenal but were spotted by armory workers. a number of townspeople of harpers ferry were killed by brown's men including the mayor. brown, his men with nine hostages occupied the railroad's fire engine house that came to be known as "john brown's fort". marines under the command of colonel robert e. lee were ordered to take the "fort". after a seige of the "fort" john brown was captured. in all fourteen people were killed by brown's men. brown was charged with treason against the commonwealth of virginia for trying to incite a slave revolt and multiple counts of murder. brown received inadquate counsel to defend him. his defence lawyers were appointed by the court and they expressed strong misgivings about the case, also the insurrection and the following hysteria in the community led to brown's trial being rushed with very little time to prepare a defense. the defense had a difficult task, in that brown and his men had planned and carried out an insurrection, signed provisional government charters, and fired upon local, state, and federal forces. during the trial lewis washington was the prosecution's central witness and numerous documents about the planning of the insurrection were found. john brown was convicted on all charges on november 2 nd 1859 after the jury deliberated for 45 minutes. brown was hanged on december 2 nd in a vacant field several blocks south of the courthouse. john brown's last words were "i john brown am now quite certain that the crime of this land will never be purged away, but with blood. i had as i now think, vainly flattered myself that without bloodshed, it might done". after his execution john brown became a martyr of the abolitionist movement and the inspiration for the union marching song "john brown's body" during the civil war.

sixty three years after the trial of john brown the jefferson county courthouse was the site of another famous treason trial. in 1922 bill blizzard and 800 coalminers were charged with treason and murder as the result of the battle of blair mountian. in this historic trial blizzard was aquitted.

  • Last visit to Charles Town: Nov 2011
  • Intro Updated Nov 30, 2011
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