Battle of Ravine-à-Couleuvres

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Battle of Ravine-à-Couleuvres
Part of the Haitian Revolution
Depiction of the Battle of Ravine-à-Couleuvres
Depiction of the Battle of Ravine-à-Couleuvres
Date23 February 1802
near Lacroix, Haiti
Result French victory
France France Flag of Haiti (1806–1811).svg Haiti
Commanders and leaders
Donatien de Rochambeau Toussaint Louverture
3,000 infantry
  • 2,500 infantry
  • 400 cavalry
Casualties and losses
200 dead (Thomas Madiou)

The Battle of Ravine-à-Couleuvres (Haitian Creole: Batay Ravin Koulèv), also known as the Battle of Snake Gully, was a major battle of the Haitian Revolution on 23 February 1802.

A French division under General Donatien de Rochambeau was advancing down a ravine (the Ravine-à-Couleuvres), towards Lacroix, Artibonite, where they attacked the army of Toussaint Louverture. Louverture's forces consisted of 1,500 elite grenadiers, 1,000 grenadiers in different Demi-brigades, 400 dragoons. Louverture's forces resisted the attack strongly, but had to retreat across the Petite-Rivière after suffering 800 deaths.[2]

In a statement made at the Fort de Joux, Louverture claimed that his forces consisted of 300 grenadiers and 60 cavalry, although other sources indicate that his forces contained over 3,000 regular infantry troops. However, it is almost certain that a large number of his forces - up to 2,000 men - were agricultural workers who joined the rebel forces. Louverture wrote that the French forces contained over 4,000 infantry soldiers, but according to the novelist and historian Madison Smartt Bell, Rochambeau probably landed at Fort-Liberté with 1,800 men, but not all of these would have marched on Gonaïves.[1]

Prior to the battle on 22 February 1802, the French occupied the heights of Morne Barade and were attacked by rebel troops; the battle raged throughout the night and the French forces successfully resisted the attack. The following morning, the Haitian forces advanced out of the Ravine-à-Couleuvres as the French were travelling down it towards Lacroix, while Louverture rallied his cavalry.[2] According to Bell, the losses of Louverture's army were minor.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Madison Smartt Bell (2007). Toussaint Louverture. Actes Sud. pp. 288–289. ISBN 9780375423376.
  2. ^ a b Victor Schœlcher (1889). Vie de Toussaint Louverture. Éditions Karthala. pp. 331–332. ISBN 9782865370436.

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