U.S. & Haitian Sacrifice ~The Battle of Savannah
Remembering The Haitian Sacrifice
" Les Chasseurs-Volontaires"
Nearly 500 Haitians Gave Their Lives
for Freedom in America
Amid the fog that hung eerily over Savannah, Georgia on the morning of October 9, 2010 stood a contingent who gathered to commemorate a bloody day in American history. With canons firing in the distance, re-enactors marched solemnly towards what is now known as Savannah’s Battlefield Park to commemorate the 231st anniversary of the Battle of Savannah, where over 800 troops were killed in an effort to win freedom for America. Among those joining American soldiers in the bloody battle were troops from France, Ireland, Poland, Scotland, Germany and Haiti, in addition to Native Americans. These troops collaborated during the battle, but ultimately met defeat at the hands of the British.
The annual commemoration of the Battle of Savannah contrasts the melancholy memorial of wreath-laying and a 21-gun salute at the battlefield, with the celebratory acknowledgment of the Chasseurs-Volontaires just a few miles away in Franklin Square. In 2007, the Haitian American Historical Society (HAHS) erected a monument to commemorate the contributions of Haitian soldiers in the bloody siege of Savannah. “What the Haitians did for America should never be forgotten,” said Daniel Fils-Aime, chairman of the HAHS. “If not for them there would be a big difference here.”
In 2010, a large contingent of Haitian Americans along with 30 mayors from Haiti gathered at the Haitian Monument to pay tribute to the fallen soldiers. The monument, which recently saw the addition of two figures depicting Haitian soldiers, illustrates the courage, dedication and bravery of Les Chasseurs-Volontaires. One of the five figures, the drummer boy, is said to represent Henri Christophe, who marched in the Battle of Savannah, later became a general of Haitian armies and eventually King of Haiti for 14 years. “Several Haitians participated in the struggle for our freedom. They took a toll from the British army and many died,” said Pete Liakakis, Chairman, Chatham County Commissioners. “They helped us and died for our freedom. We have an obligation to honor their service.”