The Library of Virginia

William Mosby to Governor James Monroe, September 1800.

Dear Sir

Septr 1800

On Saturday the 30th of August last about 10 or 11 O'Clock I received information from Mr. Mosby Sheppard in Richmond, that the negroes, that night intended to rise kill & destroy the white people and that their place of rendezvous was on the brook near Mr. Thomas H. Prosser's and that Mr. Prosser Mr. Johnston & myself were the first that were to fall a sacrafice & that they were then to move on to Richmond. I a[sked] him how he came by his information; He answered, that he had received it from a negro immediately from the Country, who had come down that morning for the express purpose & that he was agitated in such a manner when telling him that he was induced to believe it was true. I confess that I was very much alarmed, and communicated the news to Captn William Austin who promised to go on to the brook that night with his troop of horse in order to meet Mr. Dabney Williamson & myself with what men we could raise, but there came on the most powerful rain perhaps that ever fell in the same space of time which prevented our Junction; However Captn Gregory & myself together with some others who had met at Priddie's Tavern for the purpose, patroled as far as Mr. Prossers & from there down to the brook but made no discovery. We then returned to the tavern again where I staid perhaps 'till 8 or 9 O'Clock next morning. I then went home & being very much fatigued I laid myself down. I had been on the bed but a very little while, before a negro woman of my own came to me- the first words she spoke were "You must not tell." She then asked me if I had heard that the negroes were going to rise. I told her, I had. I then asked her where they were to meet. She said "somewhere below Mr Prossers," and as they did not meet last night they would meet to night." I asked her how many she understood were to meet there, she said "three or four hundred," some from town & some from the Country and that there were to be a number of them mounted on horseback [     ] were to go at a distance & kill and destroy all as they went, & [     ] I understood, to kill them in their beds, & that the main body were to move on to Richmond. This, Sir, is the information I received at the beginning of the alarm, delivered, as near as can be recollected, in the words I received it.

I have the honor to be

Your M. Obt. Hble Servt.

William Mosby

James Monroe Esqr


Governor's Office, Letters Received, James Monroe, Record Group 3, Library of Virginia.