He was an abolitionist who believed that he was appointed by God to rid the nation of slavery. His house was a station for the Underground Railroad, and he took part in many violent raids of Kansas, Missouri, and Virginia. When a proslavery constitution was in effect in Kansas, Brown formulated a plan to start a slave rebellion and form a free state for blacks. The heart of the plan involved attacking the federal arsenal of Harpers Ferry, Virginia. He got many volunteers and was financially backed by some Northerners. On a fall night, he led his gang to Harpers Ferry, overpowered the watchmen, and took Lewis Washington as a hostage. He figured it would be soon when the slaves and sympathetic whites arrived at the armory to take weapons and fight, but the slaves never showed up. When Brown's men shot a railroad employee, the townspeople heard and told local militiamen and the U.S. Marines commanded by Robert E Lee. Buchanan then told more artillery to the place. Brown and four of his men were captured. He was charged with murder, conspiracy, and treason, but he refused the insanity plea because he wanted to become a martyr in death. His actions caused more uprising because many Democrats blamed the incidents on the teachings of the Republican Party, who were mainly northerners. The Civil War seemed inevitable.