The Arkansas Post Story
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Chapter 6:

The Chickasaw numbered between three-thousand to four-thousand and occupied a sizeable territory centered around the headwaters of the Tombigbee, Yazoo, and Tallahatchie Rivers in present-day northern Mississippi. Noted for their warlike disposition, the Chickasaw fought constantly with neighboring tribes including the Quapaw. James Adair—Scottish merchant, linguist, and author—spent nearly a generation among these Indians, cementing them firmly to the British. It was with little effort then that the British focused the warlike tendencies of the Chickasaw against the French. [1]

The French urged the Quapaw to strike against their eastern enemy, and agreed to pay them for any Chickasaw scalps brought to the post. In June 1732, a Quapaw band attacked the Chickasaw, killed two and took one captive, whom they intended to burn to death. Quapaw chiefs visited the governor in New Orleans and, as a measure of their good faith, presented him with seven Chickasaw scalps. The governor exhorted his guests. As a consequence, the number of scalps taken by the Quapaw the following year, increased to twenty-five or more.

Quapaw reprisals against the Chickasaw alone were unsuccessful. In 1736, the French government organized an expedition against these Indians. First Ensign Jean St. Therese de Langloiserie, commandant of Arkansas Post for the past two years, persuaded a number of Quapaw to participate in the campaign. The warriors from the Arkansas villages joined the expedition too late, however, to be of much assistance. The French failed in this attempt to crush the Chickasaw. Moreover, the former commandant of Arkansas Post, First Ensign De Coulange, lost his life in the attempt.

The French organized a second expedition against the Chickasaw. In 1738, several French officers visited Arkansas Post to enlist Quapaw warriors in a mission against their joint enemy. Following a two-week council, the majority of Quapaw warriors agreed to join the expedition. A total of 21 Quapaw Indians left immediately for the rendezvous point at Chickasaw Bluffs to hunt for the growing army. On December 22, 70 more Quapaw Indians led by a new post commandant, Jean Francois Tisserant de Montechervaux, joined the force. Among the French army were a number of Huron warriors. Suspicious of these eastern Indians who "speak with the crafty tongues of serpents," the Quapaw withdrew their support and returned to their villages. [2] Thus, for a second time, the Quapaw escaped defeat at the hands of the Chickasaw.

In 1740, the French government organized yet a third campaign. Determined to eradicate the Chickasaw, an unprecedented force of 3,600 French and Indians was gathered. Learning of the pending attack by this superior number, the Chickasaw shrewdly petitioned for peace. Eager to end the expensive campaign, the French government entered a truce with the Chickasaw and disbanded its army.

French efforts to deal with the Chickasaw were ultimately unsuccessful. These Indians remained unshaken in their loyalty to the British and, in a short time, resumed aggressions against the French. Armed with British weapons, roving bands of Chickasaw persecuted French trappers and their Indian allies. The decade of the 1740s witnessed increased strife throughout Louisiana. Chickasaw bands operated in the vicinity of Arkansas Post, placing the garrison and habitant village in peril.

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Last Updated: 13-Feb-2006