Primary Resource

Letter from Mosby Sheppard to James Monroe (August 30, 1800)

In this letter to James Monroe, Mosby Sheppard warns the governor of a planned insurrection that came to be known as Gabriel's Conspiracy. Two enslaved men owned by the Mosby family, Pharoah and Tom, had betrayed the conspiracy to Sheppard earlier in the day.

Transcription from Original

— page 1 —


I have Just been informed that the Negroes were to rise (as they termed it) in the neighbourhood of Mr Tho: H. Prossers and to kill the neighbours Viz: Majr: Wm: Mosby Thoma H. Prosser and Mr Johnson from thence they were to proceed to Town where they would be joined by the Negroes of this place (Richmond) after which they were to take possession of the Arms and ammunition and then take possession of the Town.

— page 2 —

Here they stoped; appearing much agitated. I then asked them two questions viz: When was it to take place! Ans to Night! who is the principal Man! Ans Prossers Gabriel. I have given you the substance of what I have hear'd and there is not a doubt in my mind but what my information is true and I have given you this information in order that the intended masacre may be prevented if possible.

I am with due respect,

Mosby Sheppard


Aug: 30 1800

— page 3 —

N.B. I will here recite to you the manner in which I got this information. I was siting in the Compting room with the door shut and no one near except myself they nocked at the door and I let them in; they shut the door themselves and then began to tell what I have before recited.