CDV OF JOHN BROWN HARPER’S FERRY RAID HOSTAGE LEWIS WILLIAM WASHINGTON – GREAT GRANDNEPHEW OF PRSEIDENT GEORGE WASHINGTON

$575.00 SOLD
Originally $715.00

Quantity Available: None

Item Code: 846-410

CDV is a waist-up view of Washington in a dark civilian suit. He is posed almost straight on into the camera but with his eyes looking to his left.

Contrast and clarity are good. Mount and paper are also good with only minor surface dirt.

Reverse has a photographer’s imprint for CHARLES D. FREDRICKS & CO… NEW YORK. There is a period pencil ID that reads “COL. WASHINGTON” and an incorrect modern pencil ID of “COL. AUGUSTUS WASHINGTON, GEN. LEE’S STAFF” along with some other collector information in pencil.

Lewis William Washington was born on November 30, 1812 in Georgetown, D.C. He was a great-grandson of Augustine Washington, half-brother of George Washington. Lewis inherited the Beall-Air estate near Harper's Ferry, Virginia through his mother. He made his home at Beall-Air from 1840 until his death in 1871.

Though Lewis was an American planter and great-grandnephew of President George Washington, he is mostly remembered today for his involuntary participation in John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry, Virginia, in 1859. He was taken as hostage and some of his slaves were briefly freed. As he outranked the other hostages, he was their unofficial spokesperson, and he testified in Brown's subsequent trial, and before the Senate committee investigating the raid.

Washington’s part in the Brown Raid came about in this manner. John Cook, who served as John Brown's advance party at Harpers Ferry, befriended Washington and noted that he had several relics of General Washington’s including a sword allegedly given by Frederick the Great and a pair of pistols given by Lafayette. Cook also noted that Beall-Air had several slaves working on the grounds. John Brown was fascinated with the Washington relics. During his October 16, 1859 raid on Harpers Ferry, he sent a detachment from his force led by Cook who seized the sword and pistols along with Lewis Washington at Beall-Air, taking along three of Washington's slaves. The hostages were taken to Harpers Ferry by way of the Allstadt House and Ordinary, where more hostages were taken. Ultimately, Washington and the others were held at Brown's “fort” in the brick fire engine house of the Harpers Ferry Federal Arsenal. All survived their captivity, and Washington identified Brown to the Marine rescue party. During the assault on John Brown's Fort, a saber thrust by Marine Lieutenant Green at Brown’s abdomen was allegedly deflected by the belt buckle securing the Washington sword to Brown’s waist.

During John Brown's trial for treason against the Commonwealth of Virginia, Lewis Washington testified as a witness for the prosecution. During cross-examination, Washington testified that Brown treated his hostages well and gave orders not to harm civilians.

When the Civil War began, Washington sided with the Confederacy. On July 17, 1865, he was pardoned by President Andrew Johnson. Many pieces from Lewis Washington's collection of family items, including the sword given him by Frederick the Great and the Lafayette pistols, were donated to the New York State Library by his widow in 1872.

Lewis W. Washington died on October 1, 1871 aged 58. He is buried in Zion Episcopal Churchyard, Charles Town, West Virginia. [ad] [ph:L]

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