... Featuring the books written by ... DALE LEE SUMNER

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Informative Books for RV Enthusiasts & "the Forgotten Marines" - a novel

Prelude to Civil War - Harper's Ferry, October 1859


Oddly enough, the role of the United States Marines during the capture of John Brown at Harper’s Ferry, October 1859, has been completely overlooked and essentially forgotten – even by the Marines themselves.  Most modern history books, within a quick line or two, exultantly refer only to Brevet Colonel Robert E. Lee, commanding Marines, and assisted by First Lieutenant J.E.B. Stuart, as capturing John Brown.  

Is this an accurate depiction of the bona fide story?  Not quite!  Colonel Lee did not directly command the Marines as implied.  The interservice rivalry of the day, as well as the Military Act of 1834, Section 2, would not have allowed an Army officer to command any personnel from the Marine branch of service, except at the written direction of the President.  Lee was assigned as the overall commander of Army forces, comprised of Militia units from Virginia and Maryland.  The Marines sent to Harper’s Ferry were ‘Regulars’ and commanded by their Officer-in-Charge, First Lieutenant Israel Greene, USM.  (Unfortunately, his name is often found in most historical writings without the final ‘e’.)  

Why were the Marines sent?  Who were they?  How were they organized? How did they prepare for the journey to Harper’s Ferry? (Harpers Ferry  is our modern spelling of the town’s name.  No one seems to know why the apostrophe in “Harper’s” disappeared after our Civil War.)  What actually took place after they arrived?  What kind of a wooden ladder could do what three heavy sledge-hammers could not?  How and why did the sword that struck down John Brown bend?  

As one looks into the Marines’ involvement in this bygone confrontation, more and more questions present themselves and demand explanation.  

Now,  one hundred and sixty years after the event, this novel offers an in-depth look at the actions of those heroic, but forgotten, Marines.  Although fictional dialogue has been incorporated to give ‘life’ to the story, historical accuracy has been preserved as correctly as possible.

Published - 28 February 2020.

Digital Book -- $2.99

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Printed Book -- $24.95

(470 pages with Matte Cover)

Author's Biographical Information