Confession of Bacchus

Confession of Bacchus


ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



Then Denmark said, “Friends we have a friend who is to go into the Country to raise

the country negroes to come down, all who can must put in money to raise a sum

to pay his master wages while he is gone.”  That they all put in,



Denmark Vesey Plans a Revolt

The Confession of Bacchus Hammet


Bacchus stated that Perault, (Stroekers man) on or about the 2nd May, whilst hauling cotton to the wharf, persuaded him to go to a Society; that he enquired of Perault what society it was, and was told never to mind but pressed earnestly to go.  That Perault would call for him that night, which he did.  That they went together to Denmark Vesey’s house near Bennets Mills, that they were recd by Denmark when they went into his yard at his house door, and the gate locked upon them. 

That Denmark after ascertaining it was Perault & another man (as Perault said to D) he went with them into the house.  In a large room I seen ten or a dozen men, a table in the midst of the room and a large Book open on it, probably the Bible, Denmark asked me who I belonged to and my name, Perault immediately answered “Bacchus belonging to Mr. Hammet,” Denmark asked me which Hammet, I said Mr. Benjamin Hammet, the gentleman who put old Lorenzo Dow in jail; and is an officer in Capt. Martindale’s company.  

Perault and Denmark then took me in a side room; and Perault says to me, “Bacchus I have some particular thing to say to you; I asked what it was he said “that they were going to have war and fight the white people” and that I must join them.  I said “Perault I am sorry you brought me into this business and you better let it alone,” and I considered some time; at last Perault says “Bacchus you need not fret, you may as well join us.”  

Denmark then said “any person who don’t join us must be treated as an enemy and put to death”; and I said if that is the case, well I will join you.  We all three then went into the large room, and there I seen Rolla Bennet, Monday Gell, Charles Drayton & Smart Anderson and another who I believe is Denmark Veseys son.  

They had the large Book open and something like in it, which believe come from some free Country off, may be St. Domingo: and Denmarks son says to Monday, shewing him something in the letter, “look here Monday see how they are making fun of we,” meaning the people off in the free country.  

Then Denmark said, “Friends we have a friend who is to go into the Country to raise the country negroes to come down, all who can must put in money to raise a sum to pay his master wages while he is gone.”  That they all put in, and I and Perault put in seven pence.  

Denmark then said they must all swear, that they all held up their right hand and swore, and said after Denmark: “We will not tell  we will not tell on any body, We will not tell if taken by the whites, nor will we tell if we are to be put to death.”  that under the sanctity of this Oath he never told his master.  This was the first meeting—Denmark told me and the rest that night the next week, we were to meet again at his House, I believe it was Thursday: at the next meeting, I was asked by Denmark if I could get any arms, I told him may be an old sword; and he said no matter any arms I can get to bring them to him.  

Perault told me to try and get arms and powder.  I said my master has pistols, but I am afraid to take them, and Perault said never mind We will satisfy your master on that subject.  That I did at the middle of the day steal out of the Back store of my master when the clerks were busy and the store open one Keg of powder and old horsemans sword.—that when busy in the house, I did steal my masters pistol out of the closet of the rooms.  

That (Ned Bennet) one of the Bennetts men came and waited in the street that night until I came to assist me in carrying the powder to Denmark’s.  we carried it in a bag and I gave the sword and pistol & powder to him.  He afterwards told me he gave the sword to Perault, and Perault gave in to Caesar Smith. The powder was carried to Monday Gell house by Perault, where Gullah Jack came and got it.  

Denmark told me, that on Sunday 16th, June we must not go home, that every one must stay out, and go up the road to a farm on meeting street road, as soon as we hear the noise, and there meet the country negroes under him, and another.  that I must not join the people where my master lived but join another Gang, and he would send a Gang to take my Master, and to take Capt. Martindale5—every one who could was to come out.  

That morning I went to Monday Gells (the 9th June) and there I met Charles Drayton who was going with Monday to the farm; but Monday seeing me said “Charles here is a friend he will go with you.  I have a hog to kill, and can’t go.  he will go.”  I went up to a farm on Meeting Street road with a House having a balcony at the top is on it—Here Charles Drayton called for the old Daddy and some two Women came to the gate and went back and called him.  He came and Charles, and myself, went into the stable with him, and Charles told him, that he must be in readiness as the Country Negroes would be down next Sunday, and he must receive them.  

We then came away—On the next Sunday the 16th June, Gullah Jack came to Monday Gell, where I was and Charles Drayton, and said you can’t go up to the farm, I have been up the road and just come down, and the negroes can’t go up as the Patrol is out quite strong—That I was to help to get the arms of the Neck Company—That Monday Gell told me when the Negroes was taken up (for holding meeting in Anson Street) in 1820, that the African Church was the people, and that they met for this very purpose but that business put them back, and now they had began again to try it—After Denmark was taken, Perault came and told me, and said Denmark said nobody must tell any thing—That Perault said never mind keep yourself in readiness, and when you hear the noise in the street you must come out and help us to get the Arms of the Neck Company (6th July) that Gullah Jack was to head this party and then to fight the white people with them.  

The General plan was to fight the white people and them that were not killed to be driven out of the City—(That when in prison Perault told me not to tell as I was put in the same room with him—He told me when I asked where the powder was that it was buried by Gullah Jack.)  That Perault told me, “we have a Blacksmith who is making Baynets or something to stick with, we have already 2 or 300 Baynets and 3 or 400 (hundred) men—Monday said “We are 2000 (thousand) strong.”  

When I asked Denmark about how they would be able to do this thing without arms—he said, every one must look out for the different stores that had arms such as guns &c, and take notice to them.—He told me also that all the Ministers were to killed except a few who were to be saved and showed the different passages in the Bible from which Denmark preached (& the rest) and they were to be asked Why they did not preach up this thing (meaning the passages9 on liberty &c) to them before and that they were to be made to tell—

Notwithstanding the evidence of guilt against this fellow & from his own confession, yet he went to the Gallows, laughing and bidding his acquaintances in the streets “good bye.”  On being hung, owing to some mismanagement in the fall of the trap, he was not thrown off, but as the board canted he slipped: yet he was so hardened, that he threw himself forward, and as he swung back he lifted his feet, so that his knees might not touch the Board!—In prison he was considered very hardened.  He told a clergyman the evening before his execution, that “He never had any goodness in him, and that Hell was his portion.”  He was well-used, and had many privileges allowed him—So Hardened was he in fact, that he was seen to laugh a moment or two before the cap was drawn over his eyes. 

The following is furnished by a friend of the owner who obtained it from the Revd Mr. Backman.

That Revd Gentleman was in the habit of visiting the prisoners; on a visit, of this kind he happened to step into the room where Bacchus was and found him very dejected, apparently in a deep study.  He enquired how it was with him, meaning his future state & hopes, Bacchus replied “bad enough,” and said “he would go to Hell”; indeed that is bad enough said the clergyman; Bacchus replied “he was thinking if he ever did a good action,” and found he never had.  He told the clergyman, “that he was the Devil amongst the women,” that he believed he would go to Hell, “that his master thought he was a good servant and he had been a very bad boy.”  

He also stated how he was carried to Veseys by Perault, How Vesey sat him along side of him, and when he found he—[torn] to join him He asked him seven queries such as—“Did His master use him Well—Yes he believed so, Did He eat the same as His master, Yes sometimes not always as well as his master—Did his master not sleep on a soft bed, Yes.  Did he Bacchus sleep on a soft a Bed as his master—No—Who made his master—God—Who made you—God—And then ar’nt you as good as your master if God made him & you, ar’nt you as free, Yes, Then why don’t you join and fight your master.  Does your master use you well, Yes I believe so, Does he whip you when you do wrong, Yes sometimes, Then why don’t you as you are as free as your master, turn about and fight for yourself.  

Upon this delusive reasoning he joined, and then stated how his name was put down and the mode of swearing &c &c &c already described.  After joining (with such delusions) he said would have went as far as any of them in the Business. . . .

Source: Robert S. Starobin, editor. Denmark Vesey: The Slave Conspiracy of 1822. Englwood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1970

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Nathaniel Turner

Christian Martyrdom in Southampton 

A Theology of Black Liberation

By Rudolph Lewis

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Nathaniel Turner TimeLine  / 1831 Confessions     /  Sonnets in Memory of Nathaniel Turner (Rudolph Lewis)

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Nathaniel Turner: Christian Martyrdom in Southampton: A Theology of Black Liberation (Rudolph Lewis)

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Nat Turner in History’s Multiple Mirrors  (Felecia R. Lee, NYTimes)  /  Hatcher Plans to Exhibit Turner Skull


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Insurrection Of The Blacks Niles’ Register  Sept. 3 1831  Sept. 10, 1831  Sept 17, 1831

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery /

George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 — The Founding of Haiti 

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update 3 May 2009



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