John Brown was a radical abolitionist who had been involved in anti-slavery violence in Kansas. On October 16, 1859, he led a group of 17, including five black members, to raid the arsenal located in Harper's Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia). His goal was to start a slave uprising using the captured weapons. However, after capturing several buildings, Brown and his men were surrounded and eventually killed or captured by troops led by Colonel Robert E. Lee. Brown was tried and hanged for treason.