Entry by Edmund Ruffin, November 30, 1859

    Source citation
    William Kauffman Scarborough, ed., The Diary of Edmund Ruffin (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1972), 1: 366-67.
    Date Certainty
    Transcription adapted from The Diary of Edmund Ruffin (1972), edited by William Kauffman Scarborough
    Adapted by Don Sailer, Dickinson College
    Transcription date
    Transcriber's Comments
    Andrew Hunter represented Virginia in John Brown’s trial.
    The following transcript has been adapted from The Diary of Edmund Ruffin (1972).

    Nov. 30. Several more arrests today of suspicious characters -& one prisoner, arrested in Harrisonburg & sent here, is fully believed to be one of the outlaws. Others who are strangers, & can furnish no vouchers of good character, are ordered off, & put across the Potomac. The town is every day more crowded with military & visitors. Today were commenced more strict orders to exclude all unknown new-comers, & increased guards, & the whole body of troops kept ready for action, day & night. There seems to be almost a suspension of business in the town. The weather has been very fine -& it seems as if every man & boy was in the main street, which is crowded with people, military & others, all day -& the females looking on, especially during parade hours, from the houses & side-walks. Every day the interest & excitement are increased. I feel my youthful military fervor, which has been asleep for nearly 45 years, awakened & growing. Tried to make some arrangements for my serving in one of the companies on the 2nd Dec. when Brown is to be executed, if he does not escape, or be rescued earlier. And there are persons, & some who are neither weak nor timid, who believe there is still danger of attempted rescue. This is because of the plans known to have been laid, & of the number (computed at 2000) of the desperadoes connected with Brown, & sworn to obey him, & to defend or avenge each other. Besides, there is all the influence of extended northern sympathy, & of the enormous amount of money that is doubtless offered for Brown’s rescue. This robber & murderer, & villain of unmitigated turpitude, even before this last conspiracy & attempt, is now the idol of the abolitionists, & perhaps of a majority of all the northern people. –The number of troops in Charlestown has been exaggerated. I heard this afternoon that there were not more than 1300 in this town. Some 4 or 5 of the companies are well drilled. But all the others have been newly raised, & have had but little opportunity to acquire good training. But every company is composed of the best materials - & who would fight as well as any troops not much older in training & service. – Dined at Mr. Andrew Hunter’s, with Porte Crayon. Afternoon spent, as usual, in viewing the parade, & in street talk, & at night returned to Mr. North’s.

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