The late insurrection in Southampton has greatly excited the public mind, and led to a thousand idle, exaggerated, and mischievous reports. It is the first instance in our history of an open rebellion of the slaves, and attended with such atrocious circumstances of cruelty and destruction, as could not fail to leave a deep impression, not only upon the minds of the community where this fearful tragedy was wrought but throughout every portion of our country, in which this population is to be found.
Public curiosity has been on the stretch to understand the origin and progress of this dreadful conspiracy, and the motives which influences its diabolical actors. The insurgent slaves had all been destroyed, or apprehended, tried, and executed (with the exception of the leader), without revealing any thing at all satisfactory, as to the motives which governed them, or the means by which they expected to accomplish their object.
Everything connected with this sad affair was wrapped in mystery, until Nat Turner, the leader of this ferocious band, whose name has resounded throughout our widely extended empire, was captured. This "great bandit" was taken by a single individual, in a cave near the residence of his late owner, on Sunday, the 13th of October, without attempting to make the slightest resistance, and on the following day safely lodged in the jail of the county.
His captor was Benjamin Phipps, armed with a shot gun well charged. Nat's only weapon was a small light sword which he immediately surrendered, and begged that his life might be spared. Since his confinement, by permission of the jailor, I have had ready access to him, and finding that he was willing to make a full and free confession of the origin, progress, and consummation of the insurrectionary movements of the slaves of which he was the contriver and head.