Donatien-Marie-Joseph Rochambeau

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Donatien-Marie-Joseph de Vimeur, vicomte de Rochambeau (also Vicomte de Rochambeau ) (April 7, 1750 Chateau Rochambeau, France - October 18, 1813 Leipzig, Germany) French General and landowner in Saint-Domingue. In 1802, he was appointed to lead an expeditionary force against Saint-Domingue after General Leclerc's death. Historians of the Haitian Revolution credit his brutal tactics for uniting black and mulatto soldiers against the French.

His father Jean Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau (July 1, 1725 – May 10, 1807), fought in the American Revolution with the younger Rochambeau as his aide-de-camp.

Rochambeau was a Governor-General of Saint-Domingue from 21 October 1792 to 2 January 1793 and from 2 November 1802 to 30 November 1803.

"Rochambeau, the commanding general, from the landing of Napoleon's expedition to the entire expulsion of the French, was a hard-hearted slaveholder, many of whose years had been spent in St. Domingo, and who, from the moment that he landed with his forces, treated the colored men as the worst of barbarians and wild beasts. He imported bloodhounds from Cuba to hunt them down in the mountains. When caught, he had them thrown into burning pits and boiling caldrons. When he took prisoners, he put them to the most excruciating tortures and the most horrible deaths. His ferocious and sanguinary spirit was too much for the kind heart of Toussaint, or the gentlemanly bearing of Christophe. His only match was Dessalines." (Brown p. 111)

The Battle of Vertières

After Rochambeau surrendered to the rebel general Dessalines in November of 1803 after losing the crucial Battle of Vertières, the former French colony declared its independence as Haiti, the second independent state in the Americas. On his way home, Rochambeau was captured by the English and returned to England as a prisoner on parole, where he remained interned for almost nine years.

Dessalines subsequently declared independence for Haiti and became the first ruler of the independent republic.

See also