“Good communication is the bridge between confusion and clarity. ” (Nat Turner. ) A lot of people think about Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad when they hear about slave rebellions but Nat Turner also played a big part in slave rebellions. Nat Turner grew up a slave and had a big religious impact on his life that lead to his rebellions against slavery. Nat Turner was born on October 2, 1800, on a plantation in Virginia. Nat spent a lot of time as a kid reading the Bible and others believed that he had a special talent.
They had often heard him describe events that happened before he was born and they thought he was a prophet. In 1821 he ran away from his overseer, but then returned because of a vision. In 1830 Turner moved to the home of Joseph Travis, his new master that he liked very much. In 1831 Turner had a vision and started making plans with his friends that he trusted. They were planning on the 4th of July until Turner got sick. Finally, they got together in August that year and created their plans. They went to Travis’s and killed the whole family when they were asleep.
They continued and killed every white person they saw. The next day Turner decided to head towards Jerusalem, but people had heard of their rebellion and there was a militia waiting for them in Jerusalem. Turner and his followers scattered and waited in a few cabins before they did anything. After a few days they came out of hiding and tried to attack another house but most got captured. Turner was able to escape and he went into hiding around the old Travis’s farm. He eventually got captured on October 30, 1831. They took him to court and he pleaded not guilty, but he was sentenced to death on November 11, 1831.
This rebellion was known as the largest rebellion to take place in the U. S. In North Carolina and Virginia slaves were being blamed for being part of the rebellion. People became afraid when they heard rumors about the slaves starting a rebellion themselves. The whites turned on the blacks that took no part in the rebellion and they were arrested, tried, or executed. The Governor of Virginia tried to put a stop to the whites killing the blacks and he even considered abolishing slavery, but it was voted to tighten the law restricting blacks freedom. North Carolina was close behind in tightening the laws too.
The North Carolina Star did an article on Turner’s rebellion. Col Trezvant sent in a letter to the North Carolina Star saying that a riot has broken out among the slaves. He also wrote about all of the whites families that had been killed. Later the newspaper got a letter from the Mayor of Petersburg asking if the Governor would send over arms. The newspaper stated that revenge would be put against any slave even if they didn’t play and role in the rebellion. It was said to be that the leader of the blacks had been killed in Jerusalem and many people believed this rumor.
There was another rumor going around saying that there were twenty black men on their way to a rendezvous but the whites killed them. Letters were later received that ruined these rumors. The letter stated that there was a fight between the whites and blacks, but the whites ended losing about forty men, women, and children and several blacks were killed and many were captured. There was also a letter that came in later saying that the leader of the blacks was not killed. The Raleigh Register reported that there was a black man by the name of Nat Turner preaching at Cross Keys.
They also got information later on that same night Turner was going to lead a rebellion. Nat Turner got fifty blacks with him and he also had a free black man named Will Artist. They killed 60 white men not sparing women and children. A lot of black men were killed or captured with the exception of two or three men that escaped. When they went through all of the dead bodies they found a white man that was disguised as a black slave. After they found the man they stated that there would be a punishment for any white man that help the slaves as this man did. About a week later the Raleigh register wrote another article on Nat Turner.
They got a story about how Turner and his followers were killing families and recruiting more black slaves while on their way to Jerusalem. When they were about three miles out of Jerusalem, they meet their first resistance of white men. They started losing their confidence as some of the blacks got killed and when they were being separated and they retreated and camped near Dr. Lang’s house. While they were at Dr. Lang’s they started preparing for another attack. The doctor caught wind of what they were doing and was able to get three or four neighbors together.
The next morning the doctor fired seven shots and killed two blacks and they took one as a prisoner. The rest of the blacks retreated and were majorly weakened. A scouting party went out and ended up killing 22 more blacks and sentenced fourteen more to be hanged. They didn’t end up catching Turner in this battle, but they were saying that he wouldn’t be able to avoid being captured much longer. The Atlantic wrote more about what happened on Nat Turner’s journey to Jerusalem. On their way to Jerusalem when attacking the white families they were compared to Native Americans because they were swift in their attacks.
They were quick at every house they went in and killed the family and grab weapons and ammunition and went to the next house. As they went from house to house their army of blacks grew about sixty and they were all heavily armed. Some whites stood against them and a fight broke out that lasted about 48 hours and they counted that 55 white men died and there wasn’t a single slave lost. They continued their journey to Jerusalem. On their way they passed Mr. Parker’s plantation and some of the slaves wanted to stop to get some of their friends to join the rebellion.
Nat Turner didn’t want to stop at the plantation, but he finally gave in and it turned out not to be the best idea. He and a few of the slaves stayed at the front gate while he sent a big group of slaves up to the house. The group was gone for a long time, so Turner went to go check on them and while he was gone a small group of white men attacked the slaves that were at the gate. When they killed everyone at the gate the main group of slaves came back out of the house. The groups stared at each other than the whites advanced slowly toward the group of slaves, and then they started retreating when the blacks started shooting their weapons.
While the white men were getting chased, by the slaves, they meet up with some people coming out of Jerusalem and they turned on the slaves, causing a lot of confusion. Nat and twenty men left on horse back still hoping to get to Jerusalem. In the middle of the night some slaves came and joined Turner and his group he was taking to Jerusalem. Someone raised the alarm in the middle of the night and the slaves scattered again and the few that were still in the group decided to go and find the other slaves. Turner waited two long days waiting for more slaves to come and that is when he realized that the rebellion had failed.
Nat Turner played a big role in freeing slaves. His actions might not have gone how he wanted them to but later it did help blacks later on in the future. Turner’s action helped the abolitionist movement in the North. Over the years Turner’s image changed and he became an important icon in the 1960s black power movement. William Styron eventually wrote a book about Turner in 1967 called Confession of Nat Turner. Others still dislike him because in his riots he killed everyone including, women and children. “It was unexpected.
That’s just how it was. I don’t believe they were faster than us. I don’t believe they had more heart or dedication. It just fell on their side. That’s the reality of it. ” (Nat Turner. ) Even with the ups and downs of Nat Turner’s life he still pushed to free slaves. Nat Turner was a great leader in his rebellion for freedom. He did what ever could and he even lost a lot of slaves in the fights, but he still went on to help free slaves. Nat Turner put his religious upbringing to good use to help others, not just himself.