Notes & Documents Charles Deslondes




OF JANUARY 9, 1811[1]


The slave uprising which occurred on the German Coast in January . . .In the light of information recently discovered in the original acts of St. Charles Parish.  Among the documents pertaining to the uprising is the judge’s summation of the trial proceedings.  The editor’s translation of that document follows:

Today, the 13th of January in the year of Our Lord, 1811, and the 35th year of American Independence, at the request of Mr. Alexandre Labranche, justice of the peace, I Pierre Bauchet St. Martin, judge of St. Charles Parish County of the Germans, recognizing the present danger which threatens the parish as well as the Territory, removed myself to the plantation of Mr. Jean-Noel Destrehan, arriving at four o’clock in the afternoon, where I found the owner, as well as Mr. Alexandre Labranche, justice of the peace, and Major Mason [sic] Milton, commanding a detachment of troops of the line, who informed me that there were on Mr. Destrehan’s place a certain number of rebel slaves, almost all of whom took an active part in the insurrection and placed in prison awaiting trial under the law and with the shortest possible delay, particularly in view of the seriousness of the present situation in which it is necessary to suppress a revolt which could take on a ferocious character if the chiefs and principal accomplices are not promptly destroyed.

 In order to satisfy the common wish of the citizens of the County, and to contribute as much as we can to the public welfare, I, the Judge, have constituted a tribunal composed of five property owners and myself, conforming to the first section of the act stating which punishments shall be imposed for CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS committed by slaves.  The said Tribunal must proceed at one to examine, interrogate, and pass sentence upon the rebels detained on Mr. Destrehan’s plantation.

The members composing the Tribunal are Messrs. Jean-Noel Destrehan [p.18], Alexandre Labranche, Cabaret [Pierre-Mari Cabaret de Trepy], Adelard Fortier and Edmond Fortier, all of whom have taken the oath prescribed in section four of the same act.

The Tribunal called before it today, the 13th, the Negroes:    Cupidon, belonging to the Labranche brothers; Dagobert, belonging to Mr. Delhomme; and Harry, a mulatto, belonging to Messrs. Kenner and Henderson, who were successively interrogated.

The Tribunal assembled on the 14th and called before it the Negroes:  Jean and Thomas, belonging to Mr. Arnauld; Hypolite, Brown; Eugene and Charles, belonging to the Labranche brothers; Quamana and Robaine, beloning to Mr. James Brown; Etienne, belonging to Mr. Strax [sic]; Louis and Joseph , belonging to Mr. Etienne Treepagnier; the mulatto Guiau, belonging to Messrs. Kenner and Henderson; Acara, belonging to Mr. Delhomme; Nede, belonging to Mr. Strax [sic]; and Amar, belonging to Widow Charbonnet; all of whom confessed and declared that they took a major part in the insurrection which burst upon the scene on the 9th of this month.  These rebels testified against one another, charging one another with capital crimes such as rebellion, assassination, arson, pillaging, etc., etc., etc.  Upon which the Tribunal, acting in accordance with the authority conferred upon it by the law, and acting upon a desire to satisfy the wishes of the citizenry, does CONDEMN TO DEATH, without qualification, the 18 individuals named above.  This judgment is sustained today, the 15th of January, and shall be executed as soon as possible by a detachment of militia [p.19] which shall take the condemned to the plantation of their owners and there the condemned shall be shot to death.  The tribunal decrees that sentence of death shall be carried out without any preceding torture.  It further decrees that the heads of the executed shall be cut off and placed atop a pole on the spot where all can see the punishment meted out for such crimes, also as a terrible example to all who would disturb the public tranquility in the future.

During the session of January 14th, the Tribunal called before it the Negroes named Mingo, Simon, Perry and Iphraim, belonging to James Brown; * Jacques, belonging to Mr. Delhomme; Bausson, belonging to Messrs. Kenner and Henderson; Gros Lindor and Petit Lindor, belonging to Mrs. Destrehan.  These nine slaves, duly interrogated, were returned to prison until the tribunal can obtain instructions concerning them, for the charges against them seem vague and of little certainty.

The Tribunal also called before it, during the same session, the Negroes Robert, Etienne and Sarra, belonging to Mr. Delhomme, who were interrogated at length, and judged innocent, and released.

 Done at the County of the Germans, St. Charles Parish, Mr. Destrehan’s plantation, January 15, 1811, at 10 o’clock in the morning

The Tribunal [p.20} in its session of January 15 heard precise denunciations against Simon, belonging to Messrs. Botlair and Macoquion; Gros Lindor and Petit Lindor, belonging to Mr. Destrehan.  The Tribunal declared these slaves convicted of the same crimes as the other 18 condemned this morning, and therefore the Tribunal condemns them to death.  Their sentences shall be executed as soon as possible and their heads shall be placed on the ends of poles, as those of their infamous accomplices, who have already been executed.           

         Done on Mr. Destrehan’s plantation, January 15, 1811

  • This is an error.  These slaves belonged to Botlair and Macoquion

[Signed]    Cabaret Destrehan Edmond Fortier Auditor Fortier A. Labranche P. B. St. Martin

[1] Louisiana.  St. Charles Parish, Original Acts, Book 41, 1811, #2, pp.17-20.  Translation done by Glenn R. Conrad.