Page:Haiti- Her History and Her Detractors.djvu/162

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Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors

Dessalines decided then to assume a vigorous offensive against Port-au-Prince, at which place the French authorities were at odds; to which was added the further disadvantage of the starving condition of the inhabitants owing to the great scarcity of food. The Commander-in-Chief made his last preparations at Petite Rivière, and started forth on September 15 with Generals Pétion and Gabart as principal lieutenants. After successfully engaging in a series of skirmishes, Dessalines took possession of La Croix-des-Bouquets; and on the 23d of September he established his headquarters at Turgeau, at the very entrance of Port-au-Prince, which was being besieged by Pétion on one side and by Gabart on the other. Cangé was investing the fort of Bizoton, which the French garrison was compelled to evacuate on the 2d of October. The artillery, under Pétion's command, then commenced the bombardment of the city. The French General Lavalette was soon at the end of his resources and obliged to capitulate. On the 5th of October he sent one of his aides-de-camp to Dessalines's headquarters, where an agreement was speedily arrived at. According to the convention the French soldiers were allowed to leave the island; hence, on the 8th of October, 1803, they were embarked on the French men-of-war at that time in the harbor. On the following day Dessalines made his triumphal entrance into Port-au-Prince.

In the North the French had in their power only Cap-Français and Môle St. Nicolas; and but Cayes alone in the South. And this last-named town was almost lost to them. Closely surrounded by Geffrard and blockaded by the English, the town was incapable of great resistance. Therefore, General Brunet, who was in command, signed the capitulation with the English, and on the 17th of October, 1803, Geffrard took possession of Cayes. In the South, as in the West, there was no longer any vestige of the French domination.

In order to become the sole master of Saint-Domingue it now remained but for Dessalines to storm Cap-Français, in which place Rochambeau had established quite