We hear of Edwin Coppoc standing at his post at the armory gates, while balls rained around him like hailstones. Soon after he joined Brown at the engine house and the siege began. Watson and Oliver, eons of the leader, were mortally wounded, but the heroic Watson fought on to the last. John Brown, his son Watson, Jerry Anderson, Edwin Coppoc, Dauphin A. Thompson, Steward Taylor and Shields Green were now the only survivors left on the Virginia side. Escape was impossible, and they determined to die fighting, knowing that no mercy would be shown them as prisoners. Col. Robert E. Lee, who was now in command of their assailants, sent a message to Brown demanding his surrender.
"No!" said Brown, "we prefer to die here."
Firing began again on both sides, while Lee formed a column for assault.
When the shock of the final charge came, Brown, Anderson and Thompson went down beneath the savage thrusts of sabres and bayonets. Edwin Coppoc fired the last shot, and he and Green alone were left unhurt to surrender. The fight was ended. Ten of the little band were slain. Brown and Stevens were desperately wounded, and, with Coppoc, Green and Copeland, were prisoners.