Skip Navigation


Senate Select Committee Report on the Harper’s Ferry Invasion
Testimony of Archibald M. Kitzmiller

Pp. 49-52

January 10, 1860.

Archibald M. Kitzmiller sworn and examined.

By the Chairman:

Question. Will you state where you reside, and what your occupation is?
Answer. I reside in Harper's Ferry; I am the chief clerk to the superintendent of the armory.

Question. Will you state whether the superintendent, Colonel Barbour, was at the Ferry at the time of Brown's invasion; and if not, who was acting as superintendent at the time?
Answer. I was the acting superintendent from the 6th until the 21st of October, in the absence of the superintendent, who was on duty elsewhere.

Question. Will you state whether this list is not in your handwriting? [The list referred to is appended to this witness's testimony.]
Answer. It is not in my handwriting, but was made under my supervision; it is in the handwriting of our book-keeper; it is a correct list; I wrote the caption of it, and I saw that the articles in it were verified.

Question. Will you state whether you, by my direction as chairman of the committee, brought specimens of the arms referred to in that list, and what they are -- now present in the committee room?
Answer. I did not bring a specimen of all the arms and military equipments which are named in that list, but I have brought a Sharp's rifled carbine; a pike taken from the rendezvous at the Kennedy farm; one of Ames's pistols, made at Chicopee, Massachusetts, by the Massachusetts Arms Manufacturing Company; a box of double water-proof percussion caps; a box of anti-corrosive percussion caps, (London;) a small japanned powder flask; half a dozen ball cartridges for Sharp's carbines; one box of Sharp's patent pellets or primers; also a faggot. There were one hundred of them; most of them were in the wagon brought to the armory that Brown came over with.

Question. Will you state whether the articles mentioned in that list, the rifles and pistols and other things, except the pikes, were taken from the boxes in which they were brought?
Answer. They were taken from the boxes under my sight within the arsenal building and against my wish.

Question. Why against your wish?
Answer. I protested against it, but could not prevent it; I did not want the boxes taken into the arsenal at all.

Question. All I want to get at is whether these were in the boxes?
Answer. They were in the boxes, and I saw them opened.

Question. Where were these faggots or torches found?
Answer. There were many of them in the wagon within the armory yard.

Question. Which wagon?
Answer. The wagon belonging to John Brown and his confreres.

Question. Were they anywhere else except in the wagon?
Answer. I do not know that they were; this particular faggot was taken by Mr. Allstadt, and he gave it to me; the boys took them about; there was also a piece of punk.

By Mr. Davis:

Question. Did you see any of those faggots lighted?
Answer. No, sir.

Question. From your knowledge of such things, do you think they would blaze?
Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. Would it throw off sparks?
Answer. If it was hickory it would, but I think it is a mingling of hickory and pine -- hickory to retain the fire, and pine to ignite the hickory.

By the Chairman:

Question. Will you state whether that pike now present is a specimen of the weapon described in your list as "handled spears?"
Answer. It is; that is one of the same kind brought from the rendezvous at the Kennedy farm.

Question. In this list there are ten kegs of gunpowder; do you know the weight of those kegs?
Answer. They weighed about twenty-five pounds each.

By Mr. Davis:

Question. Does the witness suppose the handles to these spears to have been made in the neighborhood of Harper's Ferry?
Answer. No, sir; from the best information I can get, they were made to accommodate the spears.

By Mr. Fitch:

Question. What is the cost of a single one of those weapons?
Answer. I do not know the cost of them all; they sell a Sharp's carbine at about twenty-five dollars; Ames's pistol sells for fifteen dollars; they are thirty dollars a pair; I brought with me the lids of two boxes, one of which contained the Sharp's rifled carbines, and the other contained the percussion caps; the one containing the carbines is marked "T.B. Eldridge, Mr. Pleasant, Iowa;" part of the lid is taken off; the other lid is addressed --

20 1/4 M Caps.]
[From S. & L., B.
F.J. Merriam,
204 Barnum's Hotel, Baltimore.

The remainder of the lid of the box containing the rifles was sawed off.

Archibald M. Kitzmiller.

Copy of the list referred to in Mr. Kitzmiller's testimony.

List of arms, military stores, mining tools, and stationery now in store at the Harper's Ferry armory, there deposited by a party of Maryland troops, and citizens of Virginia and Maryland, taken by them from the rendezvous of John Brown and other outlaws of Maryland:

No. Articles.
102 Sharp's carbines.
102 Massachusetts Arms Company pistols.
58 Massachusetts Arms Company powder flasks.
4 large powder flasks.
10 kegs gunpowder.
23,000 percussion rifle caps.
1,500 percussion pistol caps.
1,300 ball cartridges for Sharp's rifle, some slightly damaged by water.
160 boxes Sharp's primers.
14 pounds lead balls.
1 old percussion pistol.
1 major general's sword.
55 old bayonets.
12 artillery swords.
483 handled spears.
175 broken handles for spears.
16 picks.
40 shovels.
1 tin powder can.
1 sack coat.
1 pair cloth pants.
1 pair linen pants.
  Canvass for tent.
1 portmonnaie.
625 envelopes.
1 pocket map, Kentucky.
1 pocket map, Delaware and Maryland.
3 gross steel pens.
5 inkstands.
21 lead-pencils.
34 penholders.
2 boxes wafers.
47 small blank books.
2 papers pins.
5 pocket combs.
1 ball hemp twine.
1 ball cotton twine.
50 leather water caps.
1 pound emery.
2 yards cotton flannel.
1 roll sticking plaster for wounds.
1/2 ream post paper.
2 bottles medicine.
1 large trunk.
1 one-horse wagon.
3 blankets.

A.M. Kitzmiller.


Chapter Ten: The Raid

His Soul Goes Marching On

West Virginia Archives and History