The German Coast Uprising of 1811 was a revolt of black slaves rebelling against their white masters in Louisiana. A group of enslaved Africans met on January 6, 1811 and they began to plan the a revolt. The chief was a mulatto slave Charles Deslondes.
Deslondes was a field laborer on the Deslondes plantation where he was born. At the time of the revolt, he was about 31 years old. The night of January 8. it began to rain, but the rebels struck to their plans. 15 slaves marched to the Andry’s plantation. They overwhelmed Gilbert Andry and his son. They attempted to kill Gilbert but end up killing his son and sparring Gilbert. Armed with canes knives, horses, clubs, and a few guns, the rebels began the march down river towards New Orleans. They marched to a drum while some carried flags. The only eyewitness testimony claim “they were formed clan-like similar to their tribal of Africa.”
The rebels marched from plantation to Plantation along the East Bank of the Mississippi River, while groups of slaves would join the rebels from every plantation. The rebels went from 15 to about 300 within hours. Many of the plantation were empty due to word spread of the revolt. Whites fled to New Orleans before the revolt started only a few stayed.
They march to James Brown plantation, when a slave named Kook joined the revolt. He was one of the most active participants and key figures of the revolt. At the next plantation down, Kook attacked and killed François Trepagnier with an axe. Trepagnier was the second and last person killed in the rebellion. They burned five plantations houses, only three burned completely. The rebels made it to Meuillion plantation, the largest and wealthiest plantation on the German Coast. They tried to set it on fire, but a slave named Bazile fought the fire and saved the house.
The rebels had traveled between 14 and 22 miles, a march that probably took them seven to ten hours. Whites that did not flee to New Orleans, crossed the river and alerted the militia.
The Fifth Militia Regiment, under Major Charles Perret, began chasing the rebels at around 9 a.m. on January 9, with only 21 men. When he discovered that the rebels, camped on the farm of Jacques Fortier, numbered about 200, he returned to Judge St. Martin’s house to report what he saw. The militia gathered more men and planned to attack the rebels. Early the next day Major Perret, with only 60 men, reached the plantation of Jacques Fortier, but the rebels had left hours before. Within 25 miles of the plantation the Militia spotted the and attack the rebels.
Governor William C. C. Claiborne had dispatched an second company to put down the rebellion. The majority of rebels were either captured or escaped into the swamps, leaving a much smaller group of rebels to face the militia. Deslondes was one of the first to leave the battlefield. He was caught two days later; he was tried and executed on Andry’s plantation. Before the end, he and his compatriots freed about 25 miles of territory.
The rebels leaders, on horseback, made the fastest escape and fled into the swamps chased by the Militia. The captured prisoners (numbering three times their captors) were taken to the Destrehan plantation. The “Army,” under command of General Hampton did not arrive on the scene until January 11. ninety-five slaves were killed or tried and executed because of this revolt. Fifty-six of those slaves captured on the January 10 and involved in the revolt were returned to their masters. thirty more slaves were captured, but they had been forced to join the revolt by Charles Deslondes and his men and were also returned to their masters.
At least three slaves were killed by the rebels for not wanting to participate in the revolt. Following the required 40-day waiting period, seven slaves were freed after the revolt as a result of their actions to prevent it.