Battle of March 30, what it took to achieve

About 11 days after battle of March 19, 1844Dominican arms once again dressed in glory by defeating the Haitian armies that invaded from the north, under the command of Jean Louis Pierrot.

The fight, which took place in Santiago de los Caballeros, commemorates this Wednesday his 178th anniversary. Was the second great battle achieved to consolidate the National Independence, proclaimed on February 27, 1844.

About five attacks against the three military forts were necessary: ​​”God”, “Homeland” and “Freedom”, each identified with one of the words of the motto that cites the national coat of arms, before the end of the war.

Despite the fact that he was less and was less prepared, the glorious Dominican army (made up of macheteros and riflemen) managed to finish off the Haitian platoons without suffering losses of his men.

Five hours of intense fighting led the Haitians to call for a ceasefire so they could collect the bodies and wounded combatants. It was then that they were informed of the death a few days before of their president, Charles Hérard, in the battle of March 19.

The initial plan was that if both Haitian generals, both Hérard and Pierrot, won the confrontation against the Dominicans, they would unite along the way. to fight together and reconquer Santo Domingo.

However, Pierrot, who commanded the troops of the neighboring country to the north, saw in the death of his leader the opportunity to be the new head of state of that nation, since he was the natural candidate for the presidency of that country. For this reason, he asked General José María Imbert, on the contrary, to provide him with protection to withdraw his troops back to its corresponding side of the island.

In addition to Imbert, officers Francisco A. Salcedo, Ramón Santana, Pelletier, José Ma. López, Franco Bidó, Achille, among others, also led the actions. And a woman of proven courage, a native of La Vega, Juana de la Merced Trinidad, nicknamed Juana Saltitopa or La Coronela, stood out in a special way.

Money and rum were key

Dominican troops, much smaller in number and less well armed, used rum as a “weapon to boost the morale of the combatants.”

The book Diario de la Independencia, authored by Adriano Miguel Tejada, collects that a correspondence from Colonel Francisco Caba points out the rum between helpful requests for the war.

“And if you can A LOAD OF BLUNT, that is very good to encourage people in case of a fight”, said the letter addressed to the municipality of San José de las Matas, dated in Cañafístol, on March 28, 1844.

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But also, the correspondence, requested “substance” (referring to money) “for the troops that are complaining to me.” He also says that he asked for drums and guns, along with ammunition.

Similarly, weeks before the attack, the patrician Mella together with Pedro Mena raised significant sums of money among collaborators from the city of Santo Domingo and Santiago for the purchase of weapons and ammunition.

An Englishman’s Warning: Theodore Stanley

Theodore Stanley Heneken, an English merchant, was the one who warned the Dominicans of the Haitian invasion plans for Santiago.

Stanley was passing through Cap Haitien, reviews the book Diario de la Independencia, and for fear of losing his life he took a boat to Montecristi and then traveled to Santiago.

In what is now called the “heart city”, he met with General Matías Ramón Mella, who was a delegate of the Central Government Board and he detailed the Haitian plansin addition to recommending the most appropriate tactics to win according to what he observed of the Haitian preparations.

Among his recommendations was that the Haitians be lured away from their sources of supply along roads where they would tire and thus arrive exhausted at the confrontation zone. Likewise, he suggested that they start recruiting men to defend the city, during the period of time it took for the Haitians to reach Santiago.

General José María Imbert, corregidor of the community of Moca, was appointed Commander of the District of Santiago, to organize defense against Haitian troops and he was expected to take Stanley’s remarks into account.

The designation filled the desolate city of Santiago with hope, described by writer Adriano Miguel Tejada as one of the regions most affected by invasions.

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