Page:Haiti- Her History and Her Detractors.djvu/161

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
145
War of Independence

were arrested and deported. However, his tyranny and the woeful plight of the island made the colonists so uneasy that they began to flee from Saint-Domingue. "It was," says Gastonnet des Fosses,[1] "a general signal of dispersing; the colony looked like a ship about to founder."

Under the heavy blows of the natives the ship was foundering in reality. In the South, Férou, assisted by Colonel Bazile, was sweeping away the French posts in his victorious march against Jérémie. The French General Fressinet, who was in command, was unable to defend the town, which he evacuated on the 4th of August, 1803, Férou at once taking possession of it. The bi-colored flag bearing its proud motto, "Liberty or death," floated over the arrogant city of the overbearing colonists of Grand 'Anse. Cayes, the only important town of the Southern province still in the power of the French, was being besieged by Geffrard.

Dessalines, who seemed to be ubiquitous, so great was his activity, had gone from Cul-de-Sac to Petite Rivière where he instructed Gabart to storm Saint-Marc. The arrival of the natives before the town coincided with the presence in the harbor of an English frigate. The garrison, already starved out, was in the last stage of exhaustion. In consequence, the French General d'Hénin, who was in command, did not deem it wise to wait for an attack. He hastened to sign a capitulation with the captain of the English frigate and, on the 4th of September, 1803, he evacuated the town, which Gabart immediately occupied. Dessalines, who was at that time at Port-de-Paix, left in haste for Saint-Marc.

On the 9th of September, Toussaint-Brave took possession of Fort-Liberté, which the French had also abandoned.

On September 17 Cangé and Magloire Ambroise, who were besieging Jacmel, occupied the town in pursuance of an armistice concluded with the French General Pageot, who retired with his army to Santo Domingo.

  1. Gastonnet des Fosses, La perte d'une colonie, p. 340.