John Brown's first and only attack was on the American arsenal at Harpers Ferry in West Virginia. It took place on October 16th, 1859, and Brown attacked with 21 men. The attack was an incredible failure. Of the 21 men, including Brown, 10 were killed, six escaped and five were hanged. One man from St. Catharines fought alongside John Brown, Osborne Anderson, a black man who had been elected a congressman in Brown's future government. Anderson survived the raid and fled back to Canada.
On October 31st, 1859, John Brown was tried for treason, conspiracy with slaves to rebel and first-degree murder. On December 2nd, he was hanged. In his last speech to Court, delivered on November 2nd, he stated:
"Now, if it is deemed necessary that I should forfeit my life for the furtherance of the ends of justice, and mingle my blood further with the blood of my children, and with the blood of millions in this slave country whose rights are disregarded by wicked, cruel and unjust enactments, I submit: so let it be done!"
*Hill, Daniel G. The Freedom Seekers: Blacks
in Early Canada. Agincourt, Canada: The Book Society of Canada Ltd., 1981.