Page:Haiti- Her History and Her Detractors.djvu/156

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Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors

dispersed Petit Noel's followers. Henceforth his authority was securely established in the North. In the West Lamour Dérance still remained in open defiance, but every means was employed in the hope of subduing him.

In the mean time, Pétion, Christophe, Clervaux, and Vernet were appointed by Dessalines major-generals, thus completing the organization of his army. The whole French portion of the island was now devastated by fire and sword.

In the North, Rochambeau, profiting by the reinforcements he had just received from France, despatched General Clauzel against Port-de-Paix, which Capois was forced to evacuate. But the fearless black General redeemed his defeat by storming the Petit-Fort, where he captured the ammunition of which he was in great need. Capois, surnamed Capois-la-Mort by reason of his indomitable courage, now conceived one of those plans the temerity of which alone illustrates the spirit of the soldiers of the war of independence. He decided to attack Tortuga Island. But how to reach this island without ships was the difficult problem. For this lack he made up by building a raft consisting merely of planks held together with lianes. On the night of February 18, 1803, 150 soldiers under the command of Vincent Louis were huddled together on this frail means of transport in tow of two row-boats. They fell unexpectedly on the garrison of Tortuga and for a while seemed to be the conquerors. But the French, who soon got over their surprise, rallied, and owing to their superior forces defeated Vincent Louis, who succeeded in making his escape with some of his companions. The unfortunate blacks who were taken prisoners were tortured to death in expiation of the audacious attempt.

This failure did not discourage the untiring energy of Capois. On April 12, 1803, he stormed Port-de-Paix, and soon after Vincent Louis on his raft was again on his way to Tortuga. He succeeded this time