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The Southampton Rebellion, was a key moment in history during the Civil War and Antebellum period. It occured in August 1831 and contributed to the fight against abolishing slavery. But the true story of what happened and who was behind it all starts here. Nat Turner born into slavery was the mastermind behind the rebellion. How did the Rebellion lead to the motivation of other slaves to rebel on their masters too? This question will reveal every detail of the rebbellion. It will include Turner’s journey after the rebellion and his impact on other slave areas. Turner’s journey and alliances with the other slaves was a prominant factor that motivated other slaves to rebel. Turner’s rebellion also set an example and warning for other slaves who had the urge to rebel just as Turner did.
Nat Turner was born on October 2 1800 into slavery. His entire life was lived in Southampton County Virginia. As a young boy Turner was highly intelligent an learned how to read at a young age. He was also deep in his religious practices and recieved many visions from God. Most of these visions were vital for his motivation and even survival. For example when Tuner was 21 years old he ran away from his owner and a vision from God told him to return to his master. The next year, following the death of his master, Samuel Turner, Nat was sold to Thomas Moore. Three years later, Nat Turner had another vision. He saw lights in the sky and prayed to find out what they meant. Then “… while laboring in the field, I discovered drops of blood on the corn, as though it were dew from heaven, and I communicated it to many, both white and black, in the neighborhood. The next year, following the death of his master, Samuel Turner, Nat was sold to Thomas Moore. Three years later, Nat Turner had another vision. He saw lights in the sky and prayed to find out what they meant. Then “… while laboring in the field, I discovered drops of blood on the corn, as though it were dew from heaven, and I communicated it to many, both white and black, in the neighborhood.
After all of the visions Turner had, he started his rebellion along with the other slaves in his slaves. Turner originally intended to start the rebellion on July 4th 1831 but had become sick and the date was pushed back to August 22nd. Turner started with a small army of trusted slaves and turned his army in to over 70 slaves. Some were riding on horses while others were on foot. After seening the last signal from God, in the form of a bluish green sun, Turner was finally convinced. The rebels advanced traveling from house to house killing every white person in sight, no matter what age or what gender. Turner and his rebels decided to use axes and knives rather than muskets because they were harder to collect and would be too much of a disturbance. The slaves went on and on piece by piece killing approximately 60 white men, women and children. Eventually a state army with 2 times the power came by and were reinforced by three groups of artillery. “Within a day of the suppression of the rebellion, the local militia and three companies of artillery were joined by detachments of men from the USS Natchez and USS Warren, which were anchored in Norfolk, and militias from counties in Virginia and North Carolina surrounding Southampton.” The reinforcements from the states were very effective infact they ended the battle. The news broke out and even Southampton citizens intervened and took part in the battle.“ Blacks were randomly killed all over Southhampton County; many were beheaded and their heads left along the roads to warn others. In the wake of the uprising planters tightened their grip on slaves and slavery.” “the rebels scattered, and Turner’s force became disorganized. After spending the night near some slave cabins, Turner and his men attempted to attack another house, but were repulsed. Several of the rebels were captured. The remaining force then met the state and federal troops in final skirmish, in which one slave was killed and many escaped, including Turner.”
After the Rebellion which lasted two days, Nat Turner was able to escape and hide until October 30. He was found by a farmer by the name of Benjamin Phipps hiding in a hole covered in fence rails. “While awaiting trial, Turner confessed his knowledge of the rebellion to attorney Thomas Ruffin Gray , who compiled what he claimed was Turner’s confession. On November 5, 1831, Turner was tried for “conspiring to rebel and making insurrection”, convicted, and sentenced to death. Turner was hanged on November 11 in Jeruesalem, Virginia. His body was flayed and beheaded as an example to frighten other would-be rebels. Turner received no formal burial; his headless remains were possibly buried in an unmarked grave.”
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