Kennedy Farm

Kennedy Farm (HMDNQ)

Location: Sharpsburg, MD 21782 Washington County
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 22.854', W 77° 42.808'

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Staging and Planning John Brown's Harpers Ferry Raid

This is the Kennedy farmhouse, which abolitionist John Brown (using the pseudonym Isaac Smith) leased in July 1859 from Dr. Robert Kennedy's heirs, ostensibly to do some prospecting. Brown's fifteen-year-old daughter, Annie Brown, identified the Kennedy Farm as "Headquarters: War Department." It served as a barracks, arsenal, supply depot, mess hall, debate club, and home to Brown and his fellow conspirators to plan their attack on the U.S. Arsenal at Harpers Ferry, five miles away. Brown's daughter-in-law Martha Brown, sons Owen, Watson, and Oliver Brown, and eighteen other men, five of whom were African American, jammed the house and nearby cabin. Crates marked "mining tools" actually held about 400 rifles and pistols, ammunition, black powder, 1,000 pikes, tools, tents, clothing, and other items a small army needed.

Annie and Martha Brown intercepted curious neighbors while the men hid in the attic. Brown encouraged his young followers, average age 25, to debate his plans for the attack. Once, brown offered to resign as commander over objections to his scheme, but he received a vote of confidence in the farm kitchen. Brown and his "army" marched from here to Harpers Ferry on October 16, hoping to help end slavery.

After the raid failed, U.S. Army Lt. Col. Robert E. Lee sent Lt. J.E.B. Stuart and U.S. marines to the farm, where the full scope of Brown's plan was revealed. Maps, letters, spare weapons, and equipment found here further incriminated Brown's supporters.

"Men, get on your arms; we will proceed to the Ferry." - John Brown, October 6, 1859.

"If John Brown did not end the war that ended slaver, he did at least begin the war that ended slavery. If we look over the dates, places, and men, for which this honor is claimed, we shall find that not Carolina, but Virginia - not Fort Sumter, but Harpers Ferry and the arsenal - not Colonel Anderson, but John Brown, began the war that ended American slavery and made this a free Republic." - Frederick Douglass
Series This marker is part of the Maryland Civil War Trails series
Year Placed2009
Placed ByMaryland Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, October 12th, 2014 at 7:12am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 266283 N 4362559
Decimal Degrees39.38090000, -77.71346667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 22.854', W 77° 42.808'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 22' 51.24" N, 77° 42' 48.48" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)301
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 2435-2447 Chestnut Grove Rd, Sharpsburg MD 21782, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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