The Southampton Insurrection.
Washington: The Neale Company, 1900. First edition. With thirty-eight photo plates, including frontispiece. Minor marginal toning. Foxing to bottom edge. A very good, bright, and tight copy. Publisher’s blue cloth stamped in gold. Octavo. 201 pp. Item #17383
The perspective of a white southerner on the slave revolt led by Nat Turner (1800 – 1831) in August 1831. As was the case with many white southerners in the Jim Crow era, William Sidney Drewry (1870 – 1948) saw the revolt as unjustified violence against slaveowners, because he believed that conditions under slavery were fair and idyllic. Drewry casts Turner as both a crazed religious zealot and a conniving villain, who betrayed the kindness of the plantation owners. The present work tracks the movement of the insurrection the group traveled through Southampton County. The map illustrates their passage. In The Land Shall be Deluged in Blood: A New History of the Nat Turner Revolt (2015), Patrick Breen describes the present work as “the first academic history of the revolt,” (p. 97). Breen states that Drewry’s account recorded and collected, for the first time, much of the existing oral history of the revolt. Though Breen notes that Drewry’s writing should always be approached with skepticism, given Drewry’s proslavery convictions, the present work is, at least, a thorough synthesis of contemporary newspaper reporting and an ample collection of information on the topic of the revolt and the response of the residents of Southampton County.
William Sidney Drewry (1870 – 1948) was a Richmond businessman. Breen, Patrick. The Land Shall be Deluged in Blood: A New History of the Nat Turner Revolt (Oxford UP, 2015).