November 15, 1831
The following particulars relative to the capture of the brigand Nat, are communicated to us in a letter from Elliot Whitehead, Esq., of Suffolk. They add some additional facts to those we gave you in our last:
“Nat says he remained in his first hiding place for five weeks and six days, that after being discovered there he retreated to some fodder stacks in a field of Mr. Nathaniel Francis’s, where he remained until Wednesday, the 28th October, when he was routed from thence by Mr. Francis, and narrowly escaped being shot by Mr. F. who put twelve buck-shot though his hat. He then made for the woods where he made a small cave or hole under the top of a large pine tree that had fallen, not more than a mile and a half from Mr. Travis’s, where the first murders were perpetrated. Here he was discovered by Mr. Benjamin Phipps, on the Sunday following, about 12 o’clock. Mr. Phipps was not one of the party in pursuit of him, but had taken his gun in the morning, and gone out alone, and came by the merest accident upon his place of concealment. Nat did not perceive him until he had gotten within a few steps of his cave, and on Mr. Phipps aiming his gun at him, he begged him not to fire as he would submit quietly, which he did after giving up a sword, the only arms he had, and Mr. Phipps bound him and conveyed nearly a mile alone, to a house where he got assistance to convey him to Jerusalem.
He seems quite communicative; says he was commanded by the Almighty to do what he did, and that he had full confidence in his final success. He states distinctly that his plan was not known out of the neighborhood and was confided to only six persons, and that if they had communicated it to any others it was more than he knew. Also insisted that he had intended to give himself up, and on one occasion had got within two miles of Jerusalem for that purpose, but his heart failed him and he returned. He also says that he made two or three attempts to get out of the neighborhood, but had failed, in that he could not travel in the day, and at night he found the patrol so [p. 140] vigilant that he could not pass them. He acknowledged that he murdered Mrs. Whiteland’s oldest daughter, Margaret, with his own hand.”
Henry Irving Tragle, The Southampton Slave Revolt of 1831: A Compilation of Source Material (Amherst, MA: The University of Massachusetts Press, 1971), 139-140.