Saturday, September 8, 2007

September Program Meeting: The Battle of Ackia: 1736

On Tuesday, September 18, the Itawamba Historical Society will hold its regular monthly meeting. The program will be The Battle of Ackia, presented by Buddy Palmer of Tupelo. Mr. Palmer is known throughout northeast Mississippi as an excellent Mississippi Chickasaw researcher and historian. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. in the Gordon McFerrin Assembly Hall of the George Poteet History Center located at the corner of Church Street and Museum Drive in Mantachie.

The Battle of Ackia was fought in present-day Tupelo in neighboring Lee County. The Chickasaw village Ackie was attacked by the Southern force of the French during the French-Chickasaw Wars of 1736. The French forces, include grenadiers, regulars, Swiss and various companies of militia, assembled at Mobile during March of 1736.

By the first of April they proceeded by boat up the Tombigbee River for 270 miles. By April 23 they reached its forward depot at Fort Tombecbe (present-day Sumter County, Alabama) which had been prepared in anticipation of the campaign. At Fort Tombecbe they mustered 544 European and 45 African men before meeting a 600-man Choctaw contingent up-river.

Departing Fort Tombecbe on May 4, 1736 by boat and on foot the combined forces reached the present-day vicinity of Amory in neighboring Monroe County on May 22. They quickly fortified a base camp to protect the supplies and boats, which were essential for their return. The forces departed on May 24 for the nearest Chickasaw village, located about twenty miles towards the northwest.

On May 26 the forces approached three fortified hilltop villages named Apeony, Tchoukafalaya and Ackia that were collectively known as Long Town. After some final planning the army advanced for the attack. They avoided Apeony, where a trader’s cabin flew a British flag but stormed Ackia. The French immediately received a shower of balls from the Chickasaw fortifications and their shields proved totally ineffective.

They became pinned down on the side of the hill with mounting casualties but several outlying cabins were taken. After several hours of combat the French fell back without having made the slightest breach in the fortress at the point of attack. During the night hours the Chickasaw improved their position by razing surrounding cabins and vegetation. As the French were shot of ammunition and provisions, and worried they could not carry the wounded, they retreated the way they had come.

The Battle of Ackia location today is an important Mississippi historical site in neighboring Lee County.

Illustration: Excerpt from 'Plan a L'Estime ou Scituation de Trois Villages Chicachas', by Ignace-Fran├žois Broutin (28 June 1736) from the Centre des archives d'outre-mer of the French National Archives

For further reading:

The Chickasaw Campaign of 1736 from Answers.com

The Chickasaw Campagin of 1736 from Wikipedia


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