Ackia Chickasaw Fort
Ackia Chickasaw Fort (1700-1830) - A Chickasaw Indian village Fort established circa 1700 near present-day Tupalo, Lee County, Mississippi. Abandoned circa 1830.
Established circa 1700 as fortified Chickasaw Indian town. It was attacked unsuccessfully by the French and their Choctaw allies on 26 May 1736. The Chickasaws, headed by the English, repulsed an attack made by 600 Choctaws under the direction of the governor of Louisiana, Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville. Bienville's forces had earlier driven the Natchez Indians out of the Natchez area after they rebelled and massacred the garrison at Fort Rosalie. He pursued the fleeing Natchez into Louisiana and defeated them at Natchez Fort in 1731. The few remaining free Natchez were mostly absorbed into other tribes in the region.
Bienville had planned a two-prong attack on the Chickasaw at present-day Tupelo. Pierre d'Artaguette, French commander of the Illinois District of Louisiana, would come from the north and attack Ogoula Tchetoka on 31 Mar 1736 after coordinating with Bienville. Bienville would arrive at the same time but from the south and attack Ackia.
Pierre d'Artaguette arrived first and learned that Bienville would be some two months late and that he should act according to his own judgment. He decided to attack the isolated village of Ogoula Tchetoka on 25 Mar 1736. The attack was a disaster and d'Artaguette was pinned down, routed, pursued, and finally captured. His baggage train of valuable shot and powder was also captured and that would play a big role in the upcoming battle with Bienville. Twenty-one Frenchmen were capture and nineteen were thrown into a bonfire. The two remaining Frenchmen were held for ransom.
On May 26, Bienville's force approached three fortified hilltop villages, named Ackia, Tchoukafalaya, and Apeony, collectively known as Long Town. He was unaware of d'Artaguette fate and the fact that the Chickasaw had captured his ammunition train. Bienville attacked with a force that included about 600 European troops and about 600 Choctaw warriors. It appears that the total defending force of 100 Chickasaw and 24 Englishmen were all within the fortifications. The European troops massed shoulder to shoulder with the Choctaw on their flanks. The advancing body was so compacted that any shot in their general direction was sure to hit someone and it might hit 2 or 3 others.
The first attack on Ackia was repulsed with the French suffering some two hundred casualties (abt 120 killed and 100 wounded) all in about 20 minutes with very few Chickasaw losses. The French realized that another attack on the fort would probably have the same result so they withdrew back to Mobile.
The actual site of the Ackia Battleground was said to be in the nearby present-day Lee Acres community of Tupelo but a French map of the battle situation drawn just 30 days after the conflict appears to show the disposition of three Indian forts on the north side of Kings Creek and the attack paths clearly focus on attacking two of the three Chickasaw forts. The Apeony Fort was a British supply point or depot and Bienville's forces avoided it because it was flying a British flag. They apparently never got to the Tchoukafalaya, the third fort.
The Chickasaw Indian forts were constructed with sturdy logs set at an inward sloping angle. The fort defenders inside the fort were set in trenches firing at the attackers through ground-level slits or at loop-holes in the wall. The fort entrances were long narrow corridors that paralleled the outer wall until they came to a narrow entrance into the fort. Attackers were extremely vulnerable while trying to enter the fort in these narrow passages. It was almost impossible to rush these narrow entrances with large numbers of attackers.
1830 Indian Removal Act
The Indian Removal Act was signed into law by President Andrew Jackson on 28 May 1830. The law authorized the president to grant lands west of the Mississippi in exchange for Indian lands within existing state borders. An Indian Territory was established mostly in present-day Oklahoma. The Chickasaws were one of the last to remove from the territory. In 1837, they signed the Treaty of Doaksville with the Choctaw Nation and purchased the right for the settlement of the Chickasaw people in their own district within Choctaw Territory. Most Chickasaws were removed to Indian Territory (Oklahoma) between 1837-1851.
The Ackia fortified Indian townsite is now an attraction along the Natchez Trace Parkway near Tupelo in Lee County, Mississippi. The site contains interpretive signage. Located at Milepost 261.8 on the trace.
Currently (July 2021) the site is inaccessible because of serious construction at that stretch of the Natchez Parkway. A long detour is required to get around the construction but the fort site cannot be reached. This condition is expected to last for two to three months.
Visited: Area 28 Jul 2021 Area