Images: Uprisings and Maroons in the Americas

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Uprising in Louisiana

Maurice Thompson, The Story of Louisiana, (Boston: D. Lothrop Co., 1888)

The New York Public Library, Humanities and Social Sciences Library, Milstein Division

Uprising in Louisiana

Louisiana slaveholders' fear of black Saint Domingans materialized when slave driver Charles Deslondes, of Haitian origin, led the largest slave rebellion in United States history. On January 8, 1811, he and several hundred men took part in an uprising north of New Orleans. Defiant but poorly armed, they were headed for the city when federal marshals intercepted them. Governor Claiborne wrote to Secretary of State Robert Smith, "The Negroes in the County of German Coast . . . are in state of Insurrection; their numbers are variously stated from 180 to 500. This insurrection commenced at the plantation of Col. André about 36 miles above this city. . . . A detachment of U.S. Troops and two Companies marched against the Insurgents. The whole militia of the City are ordered under arms, and you may be assured of its safety." One week after their capture, Deslondes and twenty-one other insurgents were tried and executed. Their heads were hung on mile markers along Bayou Saint John to deter future revolts.