The Battle of Ackia, 26 May 1736, ended the first major expedition of the Chickasaw War (1732–43). It was fought about seven miles northwest of Tupelo. Ackia (Oekya) was a fortified Chickasaw village in a seventy-five-square-mile area containing some eleven such villages collectively called Ackia.
When the Chickasaw defeated Maj. Pierre Dartaguiette Diron’s force on 25 March, his captured orders informed them of Gov. Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville’s approach with possibly fifteen hundred whites, blacks, and Indians (mostly Choctaw). Accordingly, between four hundred and five hundred Chickasaw hastened south and hid in the rolling plains around the adjacent villages of Oekya, Tchoukafala, and Apeony. The Ministry of Marine had ordered Bienville to attack any Natchez refugees found in Ackia. But on 26 May, ignorant of Dartaguiette’s defeat, tired of waiting, and fearing desertions, Bienville—pressured by Choctaw chiefs Red Shoe and Alibamon Mingo—decided to attack Oekya immediately. Ironically, Oekya’s chief, Imayatabé le Borgne, was the strongest French partisan of the Chickasaw. A Chickasaw delegation approached with a calumet to negotiate, presumably about surrendering the refugees. A group of Choctaw fired, killed two emissaries, and took their scalps to Bienville.
Oekya, with Tchoukafa and Apeony in a triangular formation on a hilltop, was well defended and double stockaded. One village flew an English flag, indicating the presence of English advisers. The assault began at two o’clock in the afternoon with 160 Regulars and 60 Swiss. It made significant progress but then was caught in a murderous crossfire from the concealed Chickasaw nearby. Lacking artillery (which had failed to arrive from France) and with casualties mounting, Bienville was forced to break off. The Choctaw, hitherto “waiting for the outcome” (according to Bienville), fired several volleys and then helped the wounded during the retreat, beginning on 27 May, to Fort Tombecbé. The engagement lasted about three hours. Bienville praised the Chickasaw marksmanship. He reported between sixty and seventy French and twenty-two Choctaw killed or wounded, but these figures probably were underestimates. Casualties among the officers were especially heavy, significantly hampering future operations.
- Patricia Galloway, Journal of Mississippi History (September 1982)
- Arrel M. Gibson, The Chickasaws (1971)
- John Brice Harris, From Old Mobile to Fort Assumption (1959)
- Mary Ann Wells, Native Land: Mississippi 1540–1798 (1994)
- Joe Wilkins, Proceedings of the Twelfth Meeting of the French Colonial Historical Society, Ste. Geneviève, May 1986, ed. Philip P. Boucher and Serge Courville (1989)
- Patricia Dillon Woods, French-Indian Relations on the Southern Frontier (1980)