RCC Honors History Project

Reporting on Nat Turner: The Raleigh Register, Sept. 15

Posted by creyes24 on November 16, 2009

Post-office, Jerusalem VA, Sept 15 1831

Gentleman — Yours, dated Raleigh, 26th August, came duly to hand. I would have answered your polite enquiries much sooner, but waited for correct information.

The Insurrection commenced on Sunday night the 21st Au at Joseph Travis’s. Two of his negroes (Nat, calling himself General Jackson, and known in the neighborhood as a Methodist Preacher, and one other named Hark, saying himself Captain Moorey) were the leaders. They raised a ladder to the upper window at Travis’s and massacred all the white family, consisting of 5 in number. Several more had collected by that time, and joined the marauders. They waited at the house for supper, broke open and destroyed everything they could see, drank freely, and were detained in consequence of that two or three hours. The next house was Nathaniel Francis; there, they murdered 1 man, and recruited their forces. The next house was William Reese’s; there, the dispatched two, 1 woman and 1 man, at the next, Mrs. Turner’s, 1 man and 2 women; at Henry Bryant’s 1 man, 2 women & 1 child; at Catharine Whitehead’s. 1 man, 5 women, 1 child; at Augustus F. Doyle’s. himself alone; at Nathaniel Francis’, 1 man, 1 woman, and 3 children; at Thomas Barrow’s, 2 men; at Levi Waller’s, 2 women and 9 children; at William William’s, 1 man, 1 woman and 3 children; at Caswell Worrel’s, 1 woman1 child; at Rebk’h Vaughan’s. 2 women and 1 child — making in all, 55. They reached Mrs. Vaughan’s about 3 o’clock, P.M. Monday evening. This house was the last which they committed any murder; from there, they came to James Parker’s, about 3 miles from Jerusalem. At that place, they met with the first resistance by the neighbors, and were severely cut to pieces by five or six whites. They there began to retreat, and some of them to desert their party. The leaders finding they could not succeed, as expected, began to despair and lose confidence in each other. They however raised what force they could that evening and camped near Dr. Lance Brunt’s, in order to give him an attack before day, Tuesday morning — The Doctor heard of it in time to rally 3 or 4 neighbors and prepare his own negroes to give them a hearty reception. The doctor was not disappointed, for a little before day they came, received seven fires from the doctor’s company; upon which they immediately retreated, leaving two dead on the field and one prisoner. From that time they dispersed, and took to the woods, and were killed as they were met, without the ceremony of a trial. They increased from the commencement, as well as can be ascertained, to about 40. When they left Parker’s their party began to desert very fast, and was so weakened on Tuesday morning, as to give over with little resistance. The scouting parties through the county have killed 22, without law or justice, as they were determined to show them no mercy. We have sentenced 14 to be hanged, and no doubt many more will be condemned, as our Court is sitting daily. Nat, the leader, has not as yet been over taken, but he cannot elude justice much longer. We are now all quiet; the fright produced on the negroes of the different plantations is great indeed, from seeing such a number of troops, so daily to together in so limited a time. To much praise cannot be given to the Executive of Virginia, for the prompt measure taken to afford us relief. We extend our grateful acknowledgments to the Volunteer Companies from Richmond, Norfolk, Isle of Wight, Surry, Sussex and Nansemond, and all others who so gallantly came to our rescue. Nothing but energetic measures on the part of the whites, saved the inhabitants, of our little village. Return our acknowledgement in your own language, to the quotas of our sister State, North-Carolina, and assure them that we stand ready to reciprocate their chivalrous conduct both in feelings and duty,

Your obedient servant

T. Tresvant.

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One Response to “Reporting on Nat Turner: The Raleigh Register, Sept. 15”

  1. elsiegonzalez said

    I find this particular report on the happenings of Turners Rebellion to be much more detailed than the one I had previously read in The Richmond Enquirer titled “The Banditti”. Comparing both of them, this particular document sheds much more specific detail on how exactly things occurred, step by step.

    For example the article says:
    “They waited at the house for supper, broke open and destroyed everything they could see…the next house was Nathaniel Francis; there, they murdered 1 man, and recruited their forces…the next house was William Reese’s…”

    What this article also does is (that “The Banditti” doesn’t) is describe what happened to many of the accomplices of Turner:
    “The scouting parties through the county have killed 22, without law or justice, as they were determined to show them no mercy. We have sentenced 14 to be hanged…”

    It surprises me that these people weren’t even given the opportunity for any type of fair trial, some were automatically killed, and other sentenced to hanged without prior trial.

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