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During February and March, Dessalines traveled among the cities of Haiti to assure himself that his orders were carried out.Despite his orders, the massacres were often not carried out until he visited the cities in person.Before his departure from a city, Dessalines would proclaim an amnesty for all the whites who had survived in hiding during the massacre.When these people left their hiding place, however, they were killed as well.Whites trying to leave Haiti were prevented from doing so.The weapons used should be silent weapons such as knives and bayonets rather than gunfire, so that the killing could be done more quietly, and avoid warning intended victims by the sound of gunfire and thereby giving them the opportunity to escape.
On 18 April 1804, Dessalines arrived at Cap-Haïtien.He had decreed that all suspected of conspiring in the acts of the expelled army should be put to death. from Saint-Domingue, settling in New Orleans, Charleston, New York, Baltimore and other coastal cities. Have they not hung up men with heads downward, drowned them in sacks, crucified them on planks, buried them alive, crushed them in mortars? And, having flayed them with the lash, have they not cast them alive to be devoured by worms, or onto anthills, or lashed them to stakes in the swamp to be devoured by mosquitoes?Throughout the early-to-mid nineteenth century, these events were well known in the United States, where they were called "the horrors of Santo Domingo". Have they not thrown them into boiling cauldrons of cane syrup?After the defeat of France and the evacuation of the French army from the former French colony of Saint-Domingue, Dessalines came to power.In November 1803, three days after the French forces under Rochambeau surrendered, he caused the execution by drowning of 800 French soldiers who had been left behind due to illness when the French army evacuated the island.