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Lewis Washington (Reynolds, 2005)

Scholarship

David S. Reynolds, John Brown, Abolitionist: The Man Who Killed Slavery, Sparked the Civil War, and Seeded Civil Rights, rev. ed. (New York: Vintage Books, 2005), 311.

[John Brown] sent a party into the countryside to liberate slaves and take captive their masters. Three whites ([Aaron] Stevens, [John] Cook, and [Charles] Tidd) and three blacks ([Lewis] Leary, [Shields] Green, and Osborne Anderson) were assigned to the job. Brown wanted this important mission, which he believed would initiate the liberation of Virginia’s slaves, to be undertaken by a racially mixed group.

The six liberators went five miles above the Ferry to the farm of Colonel Lewis Washington, the great-grandnephew of George Washington. At midnight they captured this scion of the Revolution and forced him to hand over to Anderson the Lafayette pistol and the sword of Frederick the Great.

They subjected Washington to further indignity when they declared they had come to free his slaves and take him to the Ferry as a hostage. Washington tried to appease Stevens by offering him whiskey. When the offer was refused, Washington broke down. He was taken to his own carriage, behind which was his four-horse farm wagon, now full of his slaves and their captors. Amid the sobs and cries of his family, the vehicles rumbled away.

How to Cite This Page: "Lewis Washington (Reynolds, 2005)," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College, http://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/node/19806.