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How would you have handled the situation at Harper's Ferry differently than then Colonel Lee did? He was ordered to retake the federal arsenal that had been occupied by John Brown and his followers.
His orders were to capture Brown. But I can only assume he was eager to get into action, since Brown was seriously wounded and several accomplishes killed. Worse still, five escaped altogether.
Brown had previously tried to negotiate (but the messenger shot down by citizens), so he was not impervious to that.
and this information comes from where?