Gabriel Prosser

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Slave Revolts

Gabriel Prosser

The first major slave revolt in the south was led by a twenty-four year old slave named Gabriel Prosser. All of the major slave revolts in the south were led by people like Prosser, who were deeply Christian and were fired by religious indignation against slavery. Prosser was the first. In 1800, he began to lay plans to take the city of Richmond, Virginia, by force. He planned to invade Richmond, attack the armory, and arm his rebel slaves. By August of 1800, he had thousands of slaves enlisted and had stored up an armory of weapons, including guns. He was betrayed by two followers and, on the day of his revolt, with over a thousand followers ready to attack Richmond, the bridges into Richmond had been destroyed in a flood. The state militia attacked him the next day and he and his followers were hanged.

Although Prosser's revolt ended in defeat, it terrified slave owners throughout the south. Prosser had come very close to taking Richmond. If he had not been betrayed and if the bridges had not washed out, it is almost certain that he would have successfully taken the city of Richmond with his slave followers. Prosser's revolt was the closest America came to a revolution on the same scale as that in Haiti.

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