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The trial of radical slavery abolitionist John Brown and co-conspirators at Charlestown, Virginia (now West Virginia) Pre Civil War Virginia. The effects of John Brown's Invasion of the South to spark a slave rebellion by seizing the arsenal at Harper's Ferry, Virginia (present day West Virginia ), just before the start of the Civil War. Cover of Harper's Weekly November 12, 1859 Illustrations by Porte Crayon (David Hunter Strother)