"The Bandit-Taken!" from the Richmond Enquirer
Nat Turner was apprehended at the end of October, two months after the insurrection. His capture was widely reported in newspapers throughout the country, and these accounts often dehumanized him and labeled him a false prophet. Printed three days before his execution, these letters printed in the Richmond Enquirer do both. In the preface to the synoptic accounts of Turner’s capture, the editor sets the tone for the way in which a reader should understand Turner’s character. “No man can read these accounts, without setting Nat Turner down as a wild fanatic of a gross imposter—but without possessing a single quality of a hero or general—without spirit, without courage, and without sagacity.”
“The Bandit—Taken!” Richmond Enquirer. From the collection of the American Antiquarian Society.