Manière dont combattent les Nègres, entre les buissons.
Eau forte. Gravure de Tardieu.
Extrait de la traduction française Voyage à Surinam et dans l’intérieur de la Guyane… par le capitaine J. G. Stedman, parue à paris, chez F. Buisson, an VII -1798-1799. Pl. 31.
In 1809, a former slave who became “maroon” for more than fifty years, Simon Frossard, managed to create a small community of fugitives, increased by the arrival of farmers escaping from the re-establishment of slavery in French Guiana in 1802. Having learnt how to survive in the Amazon forest by imitating the Natives, sometimes robbing and plundering plantations, two hundreds of people followed a rude discipline to keep their existence a secret.
With experimented leaders, they managed to create villages around 50 kms from the littoral, such as Jolie Terre commandé par Simon ; Couleuvre, commandé par Charlemagne, Berthier et Léveillé-Terrasson ; Sainte-Elisabeth, commandé par Georges « créole des Bois » et Paulin, commandé par ce même Paulin…
But the milicia of Cayenne, supervising the repression of marooning and counting 80 armed men was searching for them. Sévère Hérault, enrolled in the milicia, described the campaign: destroyed villages, burnt houses, maroons chased and killed in the woods, until the capture of Simon Frossard, whose head was brought back to Cayenne and exposed on the public place.
Sévère Hérault was impressed by the maroon’s fighting technics, really effective in the abrupt landscape and in the forest:
“Knowing all about the forest and the rivers, Simon Frossard never lost his way and always assured himself to meet us in tight pathways, nearly impracticable: it is where we took high risks and we got much everytime one of them touched or killed as they shot at us. As soon as they were done, they ran away screaming from joy. We replied, but against whom? We saw no one. Twenty feet away, they were hiding behind the bushes and welcomed us as usual. That was their way to wage war. Despair for the one who fell into their hands, he would be slaughtered without any doubt.”