‘GREAT EXCITEMENT. Runaway Slaves’: The slave uprising that Maryland seems to want to forget In the annals of slave rebellions, Nat Turner’s name looms large. The insurrection he led in Southampton County, Va., in 1831, involved the murders of 55 white men, women and children and sent shock waves throughout the slaveholding southern states. Legislatures enacted more stringent codes restricting the rights of slaves and free blacks, and sectionalism replaced nationalism as the sharply divided country inched inexorably toward civil war. Turner was hanged but outlived his villainous persona to inspire a 1967 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by William Styron and more recently a 2016 film, “The Birth of a Nation.” Denmark Vesey, in Charleston, S.C., and a Richmond-area slave named Gabriel, are lesser known but still prominent figures in the history of slave rebellions. Maryland seldom is mentioned in these discussions. Yet, on Easter in 1817, some 200 slaves revolted in St. Mary’s County. The outburst resulted in whites being injured by sticks, brickbats “and other missiles” and the sacking of two houses before peace was restored, according to the late historian Herbert Aptheker. In July 1845, another uprising occurred in Maryland that is little remembered and rarely mentioned. Starting in Charles County, runaway slaves gained in strength as they passed through St. Mary’s and Prince George’s into Montgomery County, at one time numbering perhaps 75 men armed with pistols, scythe blades, bludgeons, swords, butcher knives and clubs. Their destination was the free state of Pennsylvania.