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At the time of the 1859 raid on Harper’s Ferry—led by abolitionist John Brown—Alexander R. Boteler was serving as a member of Congress, representing Virginia. In his recollections published in 1883, Boteler claims to have been close enough to the action to have heard bullets whizzing overhead, along with some of the exchanges between Brown and the soldiers who surrounded him, among whom was Colonel Robert E. Lee. Following the battle, the author briefly speaks with a wounded Brown, who expresses regret at the fact that his attack did not inspire a larger uprising.