"The Confessions of Nat Turner"
|Resource Bank Contents|
click image for close-up
Click here for the text of this historical document.
After his capture and arrest on October 30, 1831, Nat Turner was imprisoned in the Southampton County Jail, where he was interviewed by Thomas R. Gray, a Southern physician. Out of that interview came his "Confession."
Convinced that "the great day of judgement was at hand," and that he "should commence the great work," Turner took the eclipse of the sun to mean that "I should arise and prepare myself, and slay my enemies with their own weapons."
Gray described Turner as being extremely intelligent but a fanatic. He went on to say: "The calm, deliberate composure with which he spoke of his late deeds and intentions, the expression of his fiend-like face when excited by enthusiasm; still bearing the stains of the blood of helpless innocence about him; clothed with rags and covered with chains, yet daring to raise his manacled hands to heaven; with a spirit soaring above the attributes of man, I looked on him and my blood curdled in my veins."
Image Credit: The Library Company of Philadelphia
Nat Turner's Rebellion
Nat Turner preaches religion
Discovery of Nat Turner
The Richmond Enquirer on Nat Turner's Rebellion
Part 3: Narrative | Resource Bank Contents | Teacher's Guide
Africans in America: Home | Resource Bank Index | Search | Shop
WGBH | PBS Online | ©