Name People of the Civil War



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People of the Civil War


Nat Turner

Nat Turner, born into slavery on October 2, 1800, on a Southampton County plantation, became a preacher who claimed he had been chosen by God to lead slaves from bondage. On August 21, 1831, he led a violent insurrection. He hid for six weeks but was eventually caught and later hanged. The incident ended the emancipation movement in that region and led to even harsher laws against slaves.



"I saw white spirits and black spirits engaged in battle, and the sun was darkened—the thunder rolled in the heavens, and blood flowed in streams."

– Nat Turner

Slave Rebellion Leader

Believing in signs and hearing divine voices, Turner had a vision in 1825 of a bloody conflict between black and white spirits. Three years later, he had what he believed to be another message from God. In his later confession, Turner explained "the Spirit instantly appeared to me and said the Serpent was loosened, and Christ had laid down the yoke he had borne for the sins of men, and that I should take it on and fight against the Serpent.” Turner would receive another sign to tell him when to fight, but this latest message meant "I should arise and prepare myself and slay my enemies with their own weapons."

Turner took a solar eclipse that occurred in February 1831 as a signal that the time to rise up had come. He recruited several other slaves to join him in his cause. On August 21, 1831, Turner and his supporters began their revolt against white slave owners with the killing the Travis family. Turner gathered more supporters—growing to a group of up to 40 or 50 slaves—as he and his men continued their murder spree through the county. They were able to secure arms and horses from those they killed. Most sources say that about 55 white men, women and children died during Turner's rebellion.

Initially Turner had planned to reach the county seat of Jerusalem and take over the armory there, but he and his men were foiled in this plan. They faced off against a group of armed white men at a plantation near Jerusalem, and the conflict soon dissolved into chaos.




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