18 A BICENTENNIAL HISTORY OF MISSISSIPPI addition to the troops coming up from the south, another force of 300 Frenchmen under the command of D’Artaguette, younger brother of the commandant at Mobile, made its way down from Illinois to Prudhomme bluffs (Memphis) with plans to meet up with Bienville’s army. Bienville’s patchwork army did not act as a unified group, and the consequences were disastrous. First of all, the force from the north never made it. They were intercepted and almost entirely wiped out. The Choctaw allies with Bienville under the command of their impetuous chief Red Shoe jumped the gun and made an attack on the first Chickasaw villages they came to, one of which was Ackia, the village after which the battle was to later be named. In one of the villages, a British flag was raised and a group of Englishmen was spotted. It became apparent that the French had marched into a trap. Casualties were heavy and Bienville was forced into a humiliating retreat. French prestige in the area was seriously impaired, and Bienville badly wanted to redeem himself with a second war against the Chickasaws. The British out of Carolina, smelling blood, had begun more aggressive encroachments into the fringe areas of Louisiana. To save face and stave off the new British threats, the French government reluctantly agreed to a second campaign, but only if Bienville could be certain of success. By 1740, Bienville had indeed assembled an awesome army of 1,200 Frenchmen and 2,500 Native Americans allies. They planned to land in Memphis and march across north Mississippi to the area around Tupelo, site of the Chickasaw’s capital, Big Town. But it was not to be. Fever struck and within months immediately preceding the planned attack, Bienville’s huge force was reduced to 200 “effectives.” But luck was not completely against the French. A small reconnaissance party of Frenchmen was sent out and the Chickasaws, thinking it was an advance squad of a much larger army, agreed to a peace. Bienville saw little hope that the peace would last unless the British were expelled from Louisiana, but by 1741 he had grown older and was tired and just wanted to go back to France. From that point on, Howell describes the last years of the French in Louisiana as anti-climactic. Indeed, the French colony of Louisiana had been effectively reduced to a strip along the coast from Mobile to New Orleans and some plantation lands upriver along the Mississippi. The outposts that would become Biloxi, Pascagoula, and Bay St. Louis saw small increases in the number of colonists and some natural increase among the pioneer families, but for the most part little of consequence happened. Although the French rebuilt Fort Rosalie after the Natchez Massacre, fear of future Native American hostilities ran off most civilians in the area and it remained virtually uninhabited. Fort Assumption, on the Chickasaw Bluffs where the present-day city of Memphis is located, had never been more than a garrison, and even that was abandoned after the disastrous Chickasaw war of 1740. The last blow came when war broke out between France and England in 1755, according to Howell the “final contest between the two rivals for domination of North America.” Known as the Seven Years’War in Europe (the French and Indian War in America), the fighting was concentrated in Canada and the western reaches of New York and Pennsylvania. The French, with only 60,000 CODE NOIR The Code Noir, also known as the Black Code, contained fifty-four articles that fixed the legal status of slaves and imposed obligations and prohibitions upon their masters. Listed in the Code Noir were regulations concerning holidays, marriages, forced religion, burials, food, clothing, punishments, and freeing of slaves. These conditions of the code remained in Louisiana until 1803 and were then listed in later American Black Codes. During the late antebellum period, Black Codes governed slaves in many southern states. The codes varied from state to state, but all gave power to slave owners. The codes ended with the abolition of slavery in 1865, but after Reconstruction ended in 1877 many of the provisions were reenacted in Jim Crow laws. Jim Crow laws ceased functioning with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. PHOTO COURTESY OF STEPHANE MAHOT