Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, a historic town in Jefferson County. It is at the junction of the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers, which cut through a gorge of the Blue Ridge Mountains here. The town is at the extreme eastern tip of West Virginia, about 49 miles (79 km) northwest of Washington, D.C.
Harpers Ferry was founded about 1747. A federal armory and arsenal were built here in 1796. Because of these facilities, John Brown in 1859 chose the town as a base of operations in his attempt to free the slaves of the South. Strategic Harpers Ferry changed hands repeatedly in the Civil War. On September 15, 1862, a Union garrison of 11,500 men surrendered to Confederates led by General “Stonewall” Jackson. Harpers Ferry National Historic Site commemorates John Brown's raid and the Civil War battle. The town was badly damaged in the war, and the federal installations were not rebuilt.