Harpers Ferry is located at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah River, separating Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. It is in Jefferson County (Eastern Region) which places it as part of the Washington metro area.
In 1796 the federal arsenal and armory built and manufactured many of the muskets and rifles used in the War or 1812 and the Civil War. These buildings were the targets of abolitionist John Brown's notorious raid.
During the Civil War, Harpers Ferry was regarded by the Union Command as a key to the safety of Washington D.C. In 1861 the small force of Virginians destroyed the arsenal before leaving. It was never rebuilt.