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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Harpers Ferry in Jefferson County, West Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

A Perfect Heap of Ruins

 
 
A Perfect Heap of Ruins Marker image. Click for full size.
By Henry T. McLin, July 1, 2009
1. A Perfect Heap of Ruins Marker
Inscription. Standing here on the night of April 18, 1861, you would have seen billowing smoke as fire raged in the armory workshops upstream. Virginia had just seceded from the United States and Virginia militiamen were advancing on the armory. Vastly outnumbered and unable to defend the armory, U.S. soldiers "set fire to the Carpenter shop & grinding mill, Stocking shop, & the 2 arsenals" leaving the buildings in a "perfect heap of ruins," wrote a local resident. Arriving after the Federals retreated and the fire had consumed most of the 15,000 rifles stored in the arsenal, the Virginia Militia later stripped the armory of its valuable machinery. An Armory worker lamented the destruction of the armory "Our armory is burnt and we have no money and no nothing else."

The armory never operated again.

Civil War-era artifacts excavated here reveal heavy use of the armory site by U.S. soldiers throughout the war. They left behind many items like (clockwise above): eagle breast plate, bullets, uniform insignia, U.S. buckle, bugle mouthpiece.
 
Erected by Harpers Ferry National Historic Site - National Park Service - Department of the Interior.
 
Location. 39° 19.429′ N, 77° 43.779′ W. Marker is in Harpers Ferry, West
A Perfect Heap of Ruins Marker in foreground. image. Click for full size.
By Henry T. McLin, July 1, 2009
2. A Perfect Heap of Ruins Marker in foreground.
Virginia, in Jefferson County. Marker can be reached from Potomac Street, on the right when traveling west. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Harpers Ferry WV 25425, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Daring Escapes (a few steps from this marker); My Favorite Boat (a few steps from this marker); Home of Joseph Perkins (within shouting distance of this marker); Six Acres That Changed the World (within shouting distance of this marker); Short-lived Sanctuary (within shouting distance of this marker); John Brown's Last Stand (within shouting distance of this marker); Armory Grounds (within shouting distance of this marker); Racing West (within shouting distance of this marker). Click for a list of all markers in Harpers Ferry.
 
Categories. Industry & CommerceMilitaryWar, US Civil
 
<i> The Burning of the United States Arsenal at Harper's Ferry, 10 P.M. April 18, 1861 </i> image. Click for full size.
By David Hunter Strother, May 11, 1861
3. The Burning of the United States Arsenal at Harper's Ferry, 10 P.M. April 18, 1861
Image of the burning of the arsenal, as it appeared in Harper's Weekly, v. 5, no. 228 (1861 May 11), p. 293. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Henry T. McLin of Hanover, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 1,020 times since then and 26 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Henry T. McLin of Hanover, Pennsylvania.   3. submitted on . • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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