One of the points I tried to make that without Harpers Ferry, there would have been few arms for Southern militia to seize, and Southern states would not have purchased all available arms in New England. Without Harpers Ferry, there would have been only a handful of trained and armed companies in the entire South. No really effective Confederate army could have been collected, trained and armed prior to Manassas.
The arms used to defend Southern soil in 1861 largely came from two sources. First, large-scale arms purchases by Southern agents during 1860. Embargoes were placed on arms that had not shipped prior to secession of the Deep South, but thousands of cases had already been unloaded in Southern ports. Second, thousands of arms shipped from Springfield and Waterford U.S. armories to armories in the Southern states during that same period. Even so, arms would not have been really useful without being placed in the hands of men who had organized and trained regularly during the previous year.
For example, 21,000 riles and rifled muskets in Mt. Vernon armory near Mobile plus nearly 8,ooo Sharps and other modern rifles and carbines purchased by the State of Alabama were sufficient to arm nearly all the units raised in Alabama during 1861.
We have John Brown to thank for all these developments. Southern agents could have purchased more arms had they not been in competition with agents from Italy intent on buying all the arms possible from different parties involved in that nation's civil war.
For what it's worth, John Brown was arrested and tried by the State of Virginia. For that reason many people in the North saw the trial and execution as being unfair.
Now, what about Abraham Lincoln's chances for the Presidency without the assistance of the famed abolitionist?