Osborne Anderson was among the five followers of Brown who escaped capture when U.S. Marines attacked the Arsenal to stop the raid. He was the only African American to escape capture. In 1861 Anderson, now safely in the North, wrote A Voice From Harper’s Ferry with assistance from Mary Ann Shadd, in which he described his role in the raid and argued that many local slaves would have welcomed their liberation and some in fact had helped Brown and his men. Anderson’s account was the only one published by a member of Brown’s party and provided a rare first hand description of the events and the motivation of these abolitionists.
In 1864, five years after the Harpers Ferry Raid, Anderson enlisted in the Union Army, serving as a recruitment officer in Indiana and Arkansas. Osborne Anderson died on December 13, 1872 in Washington, D.C. at the age of forty-two.