Writer's Guide to Government Information

Resources to inject real life detail into your fiction

United States Marines at Harper’s Ferry and in the Civil War.

Nalty, Bernard C. 1966. The United States Marines at Harper’s Ferry and in the Civil War. Washington: Historical Branch, G-3 Division, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps.

(Print – http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/653645)

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • How might differing military jurisdictions be portrayed in a story?
  • What orders were Marines given in the immediate aftermath of southern secession?
  • How might one make a nighttime approach by sea unworkable in a pre-GPS era?


A 36 page document describing the suppression of John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry by then US Army Colonel Robert E. Lee, plus a discussion of US Marines activity during the Civil War. The Harper’s Ferry section has some interesting notes on problematic communications, transportation, and relations with State militias. The book also assumes figures behind slave rebellions to be savages, a lack of the usual efforts at objectivity normally found in official military accounts.

The book concludes with five pages of endnotes that might be of further use to researchers.


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