Insurrection Of The Blacks
the Niles Register
indebted to the kindness of our friend Lyford
for the following extract of a letter from the editors of
the Norfolk Herald containing the particulars of a most
murderous insurrection among the blacks of Southampton* county
Norfolk, 24th Aug. 1831
a horrible, a heart-rending tale to relate, and lest even its
worst features might be distorted by rumor and exaggeration, I
have thought it proper to give you all and the worst
information, that has as yet reached us through the best sources
of intelligence which the nature of the case will admit.
gentleman arrive here yesterday express from Suffolk, with
intelligence from the upper part of Southampton county, stating
a band of insurgent slaves (some of them believed to be runaways
from the neighboring swamps), had turned out on Sunday night
last and murdered several whole families, amounting to 40 or 50
individuals. Some of the families were named, and among them was
that of Mrs. Catherine Whitehead, who, with her son and five
daughters, fell a sacrifice to the savage ferocity of these
demons in human shape.
insurrection was represented as one of the most alarming
character, though it is believed to have originated only in a
design to plunder, and not with a view to a more important
object as Mrs. Whitehead, being a wealthy lady, was supposed
to have a large sum of money in the house. Unfortunately, a
large number of the effective male population was absent at camp
meeting in Gates county some miles off, a circumstance, which
gave a temporary security to the brigands in the perpetration of
their butcheries; and the panic which they struck at the moment
prevented the assembling of a force sufficient to check their
as this intelligence was received, our authorities met. And
decided on making an immediate application to col. House,
commanding at Fortress Monroe, who at 6 oclock this morning
embarked on board the steam boat Hampton, with three companies
and a piece of artillery for Suffolk.
These troops were re-inforced in the roads by detachments
the U.S. ships Warren and Natchez, the whole amounting to nearly
another express arrived from Suffolk; confirming the disastrous
news of the preceding one and adding still more to the number of
the slain. The
insurgents are believed to have from 100 to 150 mounted men, and
about the same number on foot.
They are armed with fowling pieces, clubs, &c. and
have had a rencontre with a small number of the militia, who
killed six and took eight of them prisoners.
They are said to be on their way to South Quay, probably
making their way for the Dismal Swamp, in which they will be
able to remain for a short time in security.
For my part, I have no fears of their doing much further
mischief. There is
very little disaffection in the slaves generally, and they
cannot muster a force sufficient to effect any object of
few, who have rushed headlong into the arena, will be shot down
like crows or captured and made examples of.
The militia are collecting in all the neighboring
counties, and the utmost vigilance prevails.
is bounded by the counties of Isle-of-Wight on the north, and
Northampton, in North Carolina,
on the south.
subjoin a list of the victims of their savage vengeance.
Mrs. Waters and family,
these, a private letter adds to the families of Mr. Barrow
and Mr. Henry Bryant
numbers not mentioned.
pistols, swords and ammunition have been forwarded to Suffolk
to-day, by com. Warrington, at the request of our civil
authorities and a number of our citizens have accoutred and
formed themselves as a troop of cavalry and set off to assist
their fellow-citizens in Southampton. I trust the next news you
hear will be that all is quiet again,
In haste, yours.
of another letter of the same man, dated at Norfolk 5 oclock,
is now 5 oclock Thompsons stage has just arrived-the
above statement is confirmed; and in addition states, that 300
negroes well mounted and armed, and headed by one or two white
men, is the amount of the insurgent force.
of the Richmond Whig
Tuesday, August 23, -10 A.M.
rumors having reached this city of an insurrection of the slaves
in Southampton, county with loss of life; in order to correct
exaggeration, and at the same time to induce all salutary
caution, we state the following particulars:
express from the hon. James Trezvant to the executive, states
that an insurrection had broken out, that several families had
been murdered, and that the Negroes were embodied, requiring a
considerable military force to reduce them.
The names and precise numbers of the families are not
mentioned. A letter
to the postmaster corroborates the intelligence.
Prompt and efficient measures are being taken by the
governor, to call out a sufficient force to put down the
insurrection, and place lower Virginia on its guard.
danger, of course, there is none. The deluded wretched have
rushed on, assured destruction.
Extract of a letter from a gentleman to his
friend in Baltimore, dated Richmond, August 23rd.
An express reached the governor this morning, informing him
that an insurrection had broken out in Southampton and that by the
last accounts, there were seventy whites massacred and the militia
express to Petersburg says that the blacks were continuing their
destruction; that three hundred militia were retreating in a body,
before six or eight hundred blacks. A shower of rain coming up as
the militia were making an attack, wet the powder so much that
they were compelled to retreat, being armed with only shot-guns.
The Negroes were armed with muskets.
Our volunteers are marching to the scene of the action. A
troop of cavalry left at 4 oclock, P. M. The artillery, with
four field pieces, start in the steamboat Norfolk, at six
oclock to land at Smithfield. Southampton county lies 80
miles south of us below Petersburg.
Insurrection of the Blacks
Insurrection of Blacks2
Insurrection of Black3
Insurrection of the
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update 3 May 2009