Petersburg (Virginia) Intelligencer,
November 4, 1831
reprinted in the Richmond Enquirer, November 8, 1831
CAPTURE OF NAT TURNER
It is with much gratification we inform the public, that the sole contriver and leader of the late insurrection in Southampton—concerning whom such a hue and cry has been kept up for months, and so many false reports circulated—the murderer Nat Turner, has at last been taken and safely lodged in prison.
It appears that on Sunday morning last, Mr. Phipps having his gun and going over the lands of Mr. Francis (one of the first victims of the hellish crew) came to a place where a number of pines had been cut down, and perceiving a slight motion among them, cautiously approached, and when within a few yards, discovered the villain who had so long eluded pursuit, endenvouring to esconce himself in a kind of cave, the mouth of which was concealed with brush. Mr. P. raised his gun to fire; but Nat hailed him and offered to surrender. Mr. P. ordered him to give up his arms; Nat then threw away an old sword, which it seems was the only weapon he had. The prisoner, as his captor came up, submissively laid himself on the ground and was thus securely tied—not making the least resistance!
Mr. P. took Nat to his own residence, where he kept him until Monday morning—and having appraised his neighbors of his success, a considerable party accompanied him and his prisoner to Jerusalem, where after a brief examination the culprit was committed to jail.
Our informant (one of our own citizens who happened to be in the county at the time) awards much praise to the People of Southampton for their forbearance on this occasion. He says that not the least personal violence was offered to Nat—who seemed indeed one of the most miserable objects he ever beheld,—dejected, emaciated and ragged. The poor wretch, we learn, admits all that has been alleged against him—says that he has at no time been five miles from the scene of his atrocities; and that he has frequently wished to give himself up, but could never summon sufficient resolution!
Mr. Phipps, as the sole captor of Nat, is alone entitled to the several rewards (amounting in the aggregate, we understand, to about $1,100) offered by the Commonwealth, and different gentlemen, for his apprehension: and we are told, that in this instance fortune has favored a very deserving individual—to whom, in addition to the pleasure arising from the recollection of the deed, the money derived from it will not be unacceptable.
Henry Irving Tragle, The Southampton Slave Revolt of 1831: A Compilation of Source Material (Amherst, MA: The University of Massachusetts Press, 1971), 135-136.