Tumult and Silence at Second Creek: An Inquiry into a Civil War Slave Conspiracy by Winthrop D. Jordan (Review)

Tumult and Silence at Second Creek: An Inquiry into a Civil War Slave Conspiracy by Winthrop D. Jordan (Louisiana State University Press, 1993)

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Tumult and Silence at Second Creek: An Inquiry into a Civil War Slave Conspiracy by Winthrop D. Jordan (Review)

by Charles Joyner
Southern Cultures, Vol. 1, No. 1: Fall 1994

Louisiana State University Press, 1993

More than twenty years ago, a young assistant archivist at the Louisiana State University Archives brought an unusual document to the attention of Winthrop Jordan, a visiting historian. A cover note said “these four sheets of paper” were “the literal, original testimony taken down” by Lemuel P. Connor regarding an “uprising of negroe Slaves near Natchez Miss just before Civil War.” The document, written in Connor’s own hand, consisted of reports of the testimony of twenty slaves, two of them examined twice, about a slave rebellion of unknown dimensions in Adams County, Mississippi, in mid-September 1862. Fascinated, both historian and archivist thought the subject might be developed into an article. The rebellion had been discovered and quashed by the slaveholders, and at least twenty-seven slaves had been executed. Yet, as Jordan began to look for corroborating evidence, he found that “this slave plot was kept so quiet at the time that it has since remained virtually unknown, or at least not written about by historians, or (so far as can be discovered) even spoken of by living descendants of the antagonists.”