Updated Sunday 15 May, 2011 12:18 PM

   Headlines  |  Alternate Histories  |  International Edition

Home Page


Alternate Histories

International Edition

List of Updates

Want to join?

Join Writer Development Section

Writer Development Member Section

Join Club ChangerS


Chris Comments

Book Reviews


Letters To The Editor


Links Page

Terms and Conditions



Alternate Histories

International Edition

Alison Brooks



Other Stuff


If Baseball Integrated Early


Today in Alternate History

This Day in Alternate History Blog








Harper's Ferry, Redux by Steve Payne

Author says: what if the hero of the Harper's Ferry Raid was Robert E. Lee? Please note that the opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of the author(s).

In 1859, a company of US Marines intercepted a hijacked Baltimore & Ohio express train in West Virginia.

Onboard was a stolen cache of weapons which had been seized from the United States Arsenal at Harpers Ferry by a band of murderous abolitionists. Their leader, "Captain" John Brown (pictured, left) advocated and practiced armed insurrection as a means to end slavery, having led the infamous Pottawatomie Massacre at "Bleeding Kansas".

During the fierce fire fight that ensued, Brown and his two sons Owen and Oliver were all killed.

Modern historians would malign the anti-hero of Harper's Ferry as a demented dreamer, a special category of crazed terrorists reserved for the likes of Timothy McVeigh and Osama Bin Laden. Because an African-American baggage handler on the train named Hayward Shepherd had confronted the raiders but was rescued by the timely intervention of Brevet Colonel Robert E. Lee of the 2nd U.S. Cavalry (pictured, right).

The brave rescue of a freed slave made Lee a national hero. The award of a Badge of Military Merit doubtless influenced his later decision to accept the command of Union forces during the brief War of the States in 1861-2.

In his memoirs, President Abraham Lincoln acknowledged that Lee's style of audacious military leadership had saved the lives of a great many peace-loving Americans. Because at Bull Run, Lee forced an early, decisive battlefield victory over the Confederate Army in northern Virginia by appointing a like-minded subordinate who seized the armoury at Harper's Ferry.

Author says: thanks to Scott Palter and Eric Lipps for their contributions to the development of this alternate history. Please note that this fictional account of Lee's decision to fight Virginia must be considered unlikely.

Steve Payne

Editor of Today in Alternate History, a Daily Updating Blog of Important Events In History That Never Occurred Today. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility. Possibilities such as America becoming a Marxist superpower, aliens influencing human history in the 18th century and Teddy Roosevelt winning his 3rd term as president abound in this interesting fictional blog.


Site Meter


Hit Counter