American Beacon (Norfolk, Virginia),
November 2, 1831
reprinted in the Richmond Enquirer, November 8, 1831
Post Office, Jerusalem, Va., 31st Oct. 1831
Messrs. Shields and Ashburn, Editors of the Beacon, Norfolk, Va.
Gentlemen—Last night the 30th inst. about 9 o’clock, news reached our little village that Gen. Nat was taken alive: today at a quarter after one o’clock, he reached this place, (well guarded) and was delivered into the hands of James W. Parker and James Trezevant, gentlemen, Justices, and after 1½ or 2 hours close examination was committed to Prison.—During all the examination, he evinced great intelligence and much shrewdness of intellect, answering every question clearly and distinctly, and without confusion or prevarication. He acknowledges himself a coward and says he was actuated to do what he did, from the influence of fanaticism, he says the attempt originated entirely with himself, and was not known by and other Negroes, but those to whom he revealed it a few days before, and then only 5 or 6 in number!—he acknowledges now that the revelation was [p. 133] misinterpreted by him, and says it was revealed to him not to follow the inclination of his spirit—he is now convinced that he has done all wrong, and advises all other Negroes not follow his example. He was taken about 12 o’clock on Sunday, in a Cave that he had just finished and gotten into; and while in the very act of fixing the bushes and bows to cover him, a gentlemen by the name of Benjamin Phipps, walked up near the spot, and was only led to examine it by accidentally seeing the brush shake; after removing the covering he discovered Nat., and immediately pointed to kill him with his gun, but he exclaimed “don’t shoot and I will give up,” he then threw his sword from the Cave, that being his only weapon, and came out and went with Mr. Phipps, until they reached some other gentlemen, when after staying at the Keys all night they proceeded here today.
T. Trezevant, P.M.
Henry Irving Tragle, The Southampton Slave Revolt of 1831: A Compilation of Source Material (Amherst, MA: The University of Massachusetts Press, 1971), 132-133.