Harpers Ferry witnessed John Brown's attack on slavery in 1859, the largest surrender of Federal troops during the Civil War, and the education of former slaves at Storer College, one of the earliest integrated schools in the United States.
John Brown's Fort and the Arsenal ruins are part of the legacy of our nation's struggle with slavery. In 1862, during the Confederacy's first invasion of the North, on September 15, 1862, Maj. Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson surrounded and captured the 12,500-man Union garrison stationed here.
When the Federals returned to Harpers Ferry after the Battle of Antietam, they began transforming the surrounding heights into fortified encampments to protect both the town and the railroad. In 1864, Union Gen. Philip H. Sheridan used Harpers Ferry as his base of operations against Confederate troops in the Shenandoah Valley. Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois and other leading African-Americans created the Niagara Movement, a forerunner to the NAACP, which held its second conference at Storer College in 1906.
Harpers Ferry Park offers a wide variety of activities for individuals and families including many museums and exhibits, hiking trails, ranger-guided tours or self-guided tours.
Living history museums on Shenandoah Street bring the past alive. The Harpers Ferry Historical Association's Bookshop has a great supply of books, artwork, postcards and items for kids of all ages. The Appalachian Trail runs through Harpers Ferry from the lower town in west Virginia to the C&O Canal in Maryland.
The Harpers Ferry National Historic Park surrounds the original town of Harpers Ferry, providing visitors with tours, museums, hiking and biking trails, shopping, galleries, dining and restored 19th century streetscapes --- all within easy walking distance of the living village.