Page:Haiti- Her History and Her Detractors.djvu/131

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115
The Fight at La Ravine-à-Couleuvres.

burned to the ground by General Vernet upon his being forced to evacuate the town.[1]

The day before at La Ravine-à-Couleuvres Toussaint had encountered Rochambeau's army, which was trying to cut off his communications with the town. The fight was a fierce one. Picking up a gun the black General fought side by side with his soldiers. His example stimulated the courage of his guard and Rochambeau was repelled.

After this success Toussaint started for Saint Marc; but the news was brought to him that this town had just been set on fire and evacuated by Dessalines. The latter, who had arrived too late to prevent Port-au-Prince from falling into the possession of the French, was doing his utmost to check their advance.

On his side Maurepas was making a gallant stand at Port-de-Paix. Compelled to yield to the superior forces of the enemy he set fire to the town and retreated to the Fort des Trois-Pavillons. Encamped in this post he opposed a stubborn resistance to the troops of General Humbert, whose various attacks were repelled. But at last Maurepas was compelled to surrender; and Leclerc maintained him in his capacity of Commandant of the arrondissement of Port-de-Paix.

Toussaint, whose courage had been in no way diminished by the reverses with which he had met nor by the defection of some of his officers,[2] established his headquarters on the Couriotte plantation. He ordered Des- salines to assume the command of the fort of La Crête-à-Pierrot,[3] which he had previously provided with all means of defense. In the mean time, Miagny with La-

  1. The chiefs of the native army were instructed to set fire to all places that they were unable to defend. The tactics adopted consisted of depriving the French of any shelter and of leaving them as much as possible exposed to the scorching heat of the Antilles.
  2. General Laplume, Commandant of the arrondissement of Cayes, had hastened to acknowledge the authority of Leclerc, and the whole Southern province had followed his example.
  3. The fort of La Crête-à-Pierrot is located on the right bank of the Artibonite River and at the southwest of La Petite Rivière.