The opening ceremonies of Bois Caïman set the tone for the manner in which Haitians would earn their freedom: by any means necessary. However, after the execution of Dutty Boukman there was a void of leadership that had to be filled. Four dynamic and complicated individuals - Jeannot Bullet, Jean François Papillion, Georges Biassou, and Toussaint Bréda – took command of the Haitian rebels. These individuals warred uncompromisingly against overwhelming forces (and sometimes with each other), using guerilla-warfare tactics, aggressive strategies and focused terrorism. Nevertheless, as it will be demonstrated, the costs of war are high, and alliances created from conflict are highly subject to compromise.
Early in the conflict, Spain involved itself in the Haitian Rebellion by actively backing, recruiting, and arming the leaders of the rebellion - Bullet, Papillion, and Biassou - after Bois Caïman. Information on these men is not comprehensive, but what is known provides an intriguing glimpse into the nature of conflict from the Haitians perspective. For instance, Jean François Papillion was African-born but was brought to the Island of Hispanola sometime in the last quarter of the 18th century. Being African-born with the taste of freedom in his mouth, he did not remain in chains long. He escaped incarceration and marooned himself in the hills and forests of Haiti until the whispers of war brought him out of hiding. Georges Biassou, on the other hand, was not African born like Papillion, he was born of Haiti in 1741 and therefore he had a clear and full understanding of the horrors of enslavement. After he received blessings from the Loa at Bois Caïman, he was given command by the Spanish to fight against the French Army.
The life of Jeannot Bullet (also spelled Bullit) is not as well known as some of his other compatriots, however what is known about him is quite intriguing. It is not clear what his place of birth was nor his exact age. It is also unclear what drew him towards the Revolution, outside of the obvious desire for freedom. However, what is known about him is his brutality during the Haitian Revolution. Author Wenda Parkinson states that Bullet was a “(s)mall, thin man with a forbidding manner and a veiled crafty face. He was utterly remorseless... even towards his own kind. ... He would stop at nothing to gain his own ends, he was daring, seizing quickly on chances, quick-witted and capable of total hypocrisy. He feared no one and nothing; unfortunately he found inspiration in cruelty, a sadist without the refinements that so-called civilization brings.”
Toussaint Bréda is perhaps the most dynamic and well-known of this cadre. The exact date of his birth is not clear, however, it is said he was close to fifty years old at the beginning of the rebellion. As a child he was educated by his god-father, Pierre Baptiste; as well, being born of Haiti, exposed him to a myriad of cultures and languages resulting in him being fluent is Spanish, French, and Creole. Also, it is possible he was exposed so some formal education through the Jesuits, and likely had knowledge of African herbal healing methods. Again, this mixing of African and European religious/spiritual practices was extremely common (both in Haiti and throughout the Caribbean) and it made Bréda an extremely dynamic individual.
After Bois Caïman, Jean François took the reigns of leadership as commander and chief of the army of Haitian rebels, leading the other generals - Bullet and Biassou - into battle. Bréda did not join the fight initially as the others did. He became involved a number of weeks after Bois Caïman and began not as a commander but as a field medic, helping Biassou’s troops. Under Biassou he quickly rose through the ranks and became a field commander responsible for procuring supplies and strategic planning. However, as the conflict progressed so did his ideas of what “freedom” meant. That is to say, before Bois Caïman he was mainly concerned with better working conditions but after being intricately involved in the rebellion and influenced by the French Revolution, worker’s rights was simply not enough. For Bréda, Haiti would have complete freedom or nothing.
To liberate themselves Haitians worked closely with the Spanish against the French using brutal guerilla tactics (Bullet was particularly ferocious, launching fierce and brutal raids against the French where none survived). As well, the French army was growing weary under the weight of decades of conflict on both sides of the Atlantic. Therefore, the French empire had to find a way to balance their losses in order to survive. So, rather than capitulate fully to the African, Spanish and British forces, they promised freedom to the enslaved, which lead to an alliance between the French government and Toussaint ĽOuverture (the change from Bréda was indicative of the alliance). Due to this shift in allegiance, problems arose amongst the Haitian leadership: ĽOuverture, upon the promise of emancipation, allied with the French, while Bissou and Papillion continued to remain in the service of the Spanish crown. Soon, Bissou and Papillion’s relationship began to erode which eventually lead to their defeat at the hands of the French forces under the leadership of ĽOuverture.
What makes the Haitian Revolution such an interesting subject, both historically and religiously, is because of its relative importance and impact, especially given the relative size of the country. Haiti is not a complete island, not even the majority of one, but this rebellion deeply involved the empires of Spain and France as well as the growing territories of the US; all of whom were dynamically impacted by the course and outcome of the Haitian Revolution. This conflict also shaped the history of the Western Hemisphere, directly impacting the development of New Orleans, the Louisana Purchase and American Southern culture. Further, it shaped our ideas of the Haitian people, their culture and belief systems. For many, Haiti remains a mystery that strikes fear in the hearts people who refuse to look beyond themselves. However, for Haitians and those who look to the Rebellion for inspiration, the lives of Bissou, Papillion, Bullet and ĽOuverture can provide a clearer understanding of the nature of leadership in the midst of conflict and remind us to be clear on our direction and purpose.
 David Geggus "The Bois Caïman Ceremony." The Journal of Caribbean History 25, no. 1 (1991): 41.
 Charles Forsdick, and Christian Høgsbjerg. "Making an Opening to Liberty: 1791–93." In Toussaint Louverture: A Black Jacobin in the Age of Revolutions, 32-53.
 Ada Ferrer. "The Archive and the Atlantic’s Haitian Revolution." Haitian History: New Perspectives (2012): 139.
 Joseph Saint-Rémy. Mémoires du général Toussaint L'Ouverture, écrits par lui même. (1850): 22.
 He also he fought both in Haiti and in Florida under the service of the Spanish Crown.
Website: Assassin’s Creed Wiki, http://assassinscreed.wikia.com/wiki/Georges_Biassou. Though this historical figure did make an appearance in the popular Assassin Creed video with Toussaint Bréda.
 Wenda Parkinson. This Gilded African. (London: Quartet Books, 1978), 40. A more in-depth understanding of his upbringing would definitely shed light on what drove him and the inspiration behind his brutality, nevertheless, perhaps the point is clear: brutality begets brutality.
 Ibid., 40. A more in-depth understanding of his upbringing would definitely shed light on what drove him and the inspiration behind his brutality, nevertheless, perhaps the point is clear: brutality begets brutality.
 Madison Smartt Bell. Toussaint L'Ouverture: A Biography, New York: Pantheon, 2007 (Vintage Books, 2008), 60.
 Ibid., 60.
 Ibid., 56. To be clear, Toussaint discourage the practice of Voodoo. However, there is evidence of practice of Voodoo in his life particularly with regard to medicine. According to most accounts Bréda was a practicing and devout Catholic, however, elements of African traditional practices are consistent throughout his life, despite narrative to the contrary.
 C. L. R. James. The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution, Vintage Books, 1963. (Penguin Books, 2001), 90. See also: Toussaint Louverture: The story of the only successful slave revolt in history: A Play in Three Acts, 1934. (Duke University Press, 2013).
 The problem with Bullet’s tactics was that he was also known for killing other Africans who opposed his rule, his brutality was not just limited to whites. Because of his indiscriminant brutality Biassou and Papillion took it upon themselves to end Bullet. By November of 1791 Bullet was captured by his two former compatriots and execute for his war crimes.
 Madison Smartt Bell. Toussaint L'Ouverture: A Biography, New York: Pantheon, 2007 (Vintage Books, 2008).