Harpers Ferry

Through the course of the Civil War from 1861 to 1865 the Town of Harpers Ferry was captured by the South some six times and recaptured by the North.

Initially it was strategically important because it was the site of a United States Federal Arsenal manufacturing rifled muskets and also also stored thousands of weapons. Later because of its location it played strategic roles in the 1862, 1863, and 1864 invasions of the North by the South. Because the town, arsenal, and railroad is surrounded by mountains on every side it was very difficult to defend but not to attack. Gen. Stonewall Jackson is quoted as saying of Harpers Ferry " I would rather capture it six times than defend it once."

The B & O Railroad bridge over the Potomac River was destroyed and rebuilt six times. The attached photos although in black and white give some idea of the struggles that took place there. Most of the residents of the town lived and suffered through it all.

At the time of the Civil War present day West Virginia was part of Virginia.