What Civil War Generals were at Harpers Ferry During John Brown’s Raid

1/21/2014 • Ask Mr. History

In the movie Santa Fe Trail it depicted several pre–Civil War officers at the battle at Harpers Ferry (John Brown’s Raid). I know that Robert E. Lee and Jeb Stewart participated. However, I could find no evidence that Custer and Longstreet and Pickett were there. What Civil War officers actually took part at Harpers Ferry?


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Dear P.F.

Counter to whatever you “learned” from the 1940 film Santa Fe Trail, the only Civil War officers-to-be involved in crushing the Harpers Ferry aid were Lt. Col. Robert E. Lee, 1st Lt. J.E.B. Stuart and Marine 2nd Lt. Israel Greene, who rose to major and adjutant/inspector for the Confederate Marine Corps. In 1859 Major James Longstreet was in Texas, Captain George Pickett was in the Oregon Territory facing off against local British forces in the “Pig War” and George A. Custer was still attending classes and accumulating demerits in the USMA at West Point.



Jon Guttman
Research Director
World History Group
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