August 27, 1831
Our artillery company, commanded by Capt. [Captain] J.W. Richardson, returned early yesterday morning. They were detained twice by the steam boat’s being aground—the first time before they set our keeping them from 9 to 2 o’clock, and in the second place, in Pagan Creek, in sight of Smithfield. They did not arrive at that village until 8 o’clock on Wednesday night. Here they waited for despatches from the Commanding Officer at Jerusalem (Gen. Eppes)—they landed the 1000 stand of arms with which they were charged by the Executive for the use of the militia of the country—and they were about to take up the line of march at 11 o’clock on Thursday for Jerusalem, about 40 miles distant—when an express arrived with a letter from Gen. [General] Eppes to the Lt. Colonel of the Isle of Wight—from which the following is an extract.
August 24, 1831
“I have to request you will direct the troops to return—perfectly satisfied they cannot be wanting, as the party are dispersed and from the best information no [p. 48] probability of their reassembling—certainly not for some time.
P.S. The insurgents are nearly dispersed. Fifteen have been killed and twelve in jail.”
Fortunately the steam boat Norfolk, which had been discharged, had not left the wharf when the express arrived. A re-engagement was immediately entered into, and the company re-embarked. At the mouth of Pagan Creek they hailed a steam boat with the Junior Volunteers, Capt. [Captain] Newton, from Norfolk, and the Portsmouth Grays, Captain Watts, on board, destined for Smithfield. Captain Richardson showed them Gen. [General] Eppes’ letter of discharge; and when he parted from them at the mouth of the creek they seemed at some loss to determine whether they would go on or go back. —He understood that the U.S. troops from Old Point had landed at Suffolk, on the Nansemond River, and were on their march to Jerusalem.
From Henry Irving Tragle, The Southampton Slave Revolt of 1831: A Compilation of Source Material (Amherst, MA: The University of Massachusetts Press, 1971), pp. 47-48.