Richmond Howitzers in Charles Town
Members of the 1st Company of the Richmond Howitzers pose for a photograph in Charles Town, Virginia (later West Virginia), in 1859. Among those pictured in this hand-colored ambrotype is George Wythe Randolph, seated at right. The grandson of former U.S. president Thomas Jefferson and the son of Virginia governor Thomas Mann Randolph Jr., Randolph had largely shunned politics, but John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry in October 1859 radicalized him. Randolph organized the Richmond Howitzers, a light-artillery unit armed with short-range howitzers converted from naval use, and marched it to Charles Town, where the unit contributed to prison security during Brown's trial and, in December, his execution.