Embattled Borderland: Harpers Ferry and the Crisis of Civil War
Strategically situated at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers, Harpers Ferry today stands as a picturesque national park at the interlocked borders of Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. As is the case with countless American battlegrounds, the site’s natural beauty and antebellum ambiance belies the aggression and instability the afflicted the town and its residents during the nation’s deadliest conflict. The industrial hamlet changed hands no fewer than eight times in four years—triggering a continual crisis of identity and allegiance among its dwindling population. In the years following John Brown's famous abolitionist raid, townsfolk faced a whole new battle—one for survival itself.
Jared Frederick has a lifelong passion for American History. Prior to his current position as an Assistant Teaching Professor of History at Penn State Altoona, Frederick served as a seasonal park ranger at Gettysburg National Military Park and Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. He is the author of several books including Dispatches of D-Day: A People's History of the Normandy Invasion, Hang Tough: The WWII Letters and Artifacts of Major Dick Winters, and Fierce Valor: The True Stories of Ronald Speirs and His Band of Brothers. He has appeared on C-SPAN, PBS, numerous National Park Service productions, and various online documentaries. In 2019, he acted as a guest host on Turner Classic Movies for the channel’s 25th anniversary. He is also the host of the popular YouTube channel Reel History.
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"Embattled Borderland: Harpers Ferry and the Crisis of Civil War" is part of the 2023 Battlefield Overlook Speaker Series.