Nat Turner Biography
Nat Turner was a black preacher who led an 1831 uprising in Southampton County, Virginia in which at least 55 whites were killed by a group of about 50 slaves. Turner was a deeply religious man who claimed to have visions and directives from God. On the night of 21 August 1831 he led four other slaves (Henry, Hark, Nelson and Sam) on a murderous spree near the town of Jerusalem, killing men, women and children in their beds. By the next day his mob had grown to at least 40 or 50, but the local militia confronted and captured most of them. Turner escaped, but was eventually captured in October and tried. He was hanged and skinned 11 November 1831. Before he was executed, he described his actions to Thomas R. Gray, and "The Confessions of Nat Turner" was later widely published in newspapers. Turner's failed rebellion led to hundreds of blacks being murdered by white vigilante mobs, and spurred a new set of strict codes that limited the activities of slaves.