...was in many ways the most interesting and attractive of the personalities gathered around John Brown. Born in Lisbon, New London county, Connecticut, March 15, 1831, he ran away from home at the age of sixteen, in 1847, and enlisted in a Massachusetts volunteer regiment, in which he served in Mexico during the Mexican War. Later, he enlisted in Company F of the First United States Dragoons, and was tried for mutiny, engaging in a drunken riot, and assaulting Major George A. H. Blake of his regiment at Taos, New Mexico, in May 1855. Stevens was sentenced to death, but this was commuted by President Pierce to imprisonment for three years at hard labor at Fort Leavenworth, from which post he escaped and joined the Free State forces. In these he became colonel of the Second Kansas Militia, under the name of Whipple. He met John Brown August 7, 1856, at the Nebraska line, when Lane's Army of the North marched into Kansas and became one of Brown's bravest and most devoted followers.
The never-married Stevens came of old Puritan stock, his great-grandfather having been a captain in the Revolutionary army. He was a man of superb bravery and of wonderful physique; he was well over six feet, was blessed with a great sense of humor, and was sustained at the end by his belief in spiritualism.
Following the raid of Harper's Ferry, Stevens admitted, in a deathbed confession, killing David Cruise during the 1858 raid of Missouri.
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