Nat Turner Slave Rebellion
Nearly three decades before the United States went to war over slavery, a group of African Americans raised their own army to fight against their oppressors. In 1831 Nat Turner mobilized his fellow slaves in Southampton County. On the night of August 21, Turner and his men marched to his master’s house, killing him and his family. Through the night, the rebels moved swiftly from house to house, gaining followers as they went. By daybreak at least 55 whites were dead. State and federal troops gathered to confront Nat Turner and his gang but they quickly scattered to avoid capture. Turner hid in nearby swamps until he was discovered and surrendered peacefully in late October. On November 11, he was hung and skinned, but the spark he’d ignited wasn’t extinguished by his death. Fear of another rebellion haunted slave owners across Virginia and the South. In the aftermath, hundreds of slaves were brutally murdered, falsely accused of having ties to Turner.