Richmond Enquirer,

October 4, 1831

 

NAT TURNER

 

        We have the two following accounts of the bandit.  The one from the Norfolk Herald can scarcely be true – or we should have had a confirmation of it from Jerusalem since last Friday week. – For the other we are indebted to one of the most respectable gentlemen in Botetourt County.  The Governor has received no account of the arrest from either quarter:

 

        Reported capture of Nat, the Insurgent: --We last evening conversed with a young gentleman from Smithfield who gave us the following particulars: --A respectable farmer from the neighborhood of Jerusalem come to Smithfield on Tuesday, and reported that NAT, the instigator and leader of the late insur- [p. 117] rection in Southampton, was apprehended on Friday last by a party of mounted men, who came upon him on the edge of a reed swamp on Nottoway River, about two miles below Jerusalem.  On seeing the horsemen approaching, he ran into the reeds, which being too close to admit the entrance of horses, some of the men dismounted and pursued him for nearly a mile, when in attempting to leap over a bog, his footing fell short of the opposite bank, he sunk up to the middle in what may literally be termed the “Slough of Despond;” for before he had time to extricate himself, his pursuers were at his back, and he was taken and borne triumphantly off to Jerusalem prison.  He was well armed, having a musket, two pistols, a sword and a dirk; but did not fire a shot or make the least resistance.  The person from whom the report is received, stated that he saw Nat when he was brought into Jerusalem.

 

 (Norfolk Herald of September 30.)

 

To The Editors of the Enquirer

Botetourt, Sept. 28, 1831

 

        As a general solicitude prevails to know what has become of Nat, the leader of the late insurrection in Southampton, I have to inform you that he was seen in this county on Thursday last, the 22d instant, and doubtless would have been taken if the Governor’s Proclamation had fortunately reached this part of the country a few days sooner than it did.  He was seen on the road leading from Fincastle to the Sweet Spring; just beyond Price’s Tavern doubtless making his way to the State of Ohio.  Two young men who had been out hunting, and were armed with rifles, met with him talking with some person in the road.  Having a pack on his back, they were induced to believe he was a runaway, and began to interrogate him, when they discovered he had a dirk in his bosom, which they demanded of him, but which he refused to give up.  Whilst parleying with him about it, he, all at once, threw off his coat and took to his heels through the woods, when they both fired and missed him.  They then proceeded to examine his pack, which had been thrown off with his coat, and found in it a hymn book in which his name was written.  Mr. James L. Woodville, of Fincastle, was passing the road shortly after, on his way form Allegany Court, and met with the two young men, who related to him what had passed and gave him a description of the negro’s person, corresponding with that of the Governor’s Proclamation, which arrived the next day in Fincastle.  Measures have been taken for his appre- [p. 118] hension, and I am greatly in hopes that you may hear of his being caught by the time you receive this. 

 

        My informant is a highly respectable neighbor, who received the account from Mr. Woodville’s own lips, and therefore implicit reliance may be placed on the statement.

 

 

Henry Irving Tragle, The Southampton Slave Revolt of 1831: A Compilation of Source Material (Amherst, MA: The University of Massachusetts Press, 1971), 116-118.