Society of Colonial Wars

in the State of Ohio

Ohio Society of Colonial Wars
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   ||    Natchez Wars   ||    Natchez and Native allies vs French and Native allies

- All four conflicts involved the two opposing factions within the Natchez nation. The Great Sun's faction was generally friendly toward the French. Violence usually began in or was triggered by events among the Natchez of White Apple, who were generally friendly to the British. In all but the last war, peace was regained largely due to the efforts of Tattooed Serpent, a war chief of the Grand Village of the Natchez, who died in 1725, allowing tensions to overflow into the 1729 revolt.

1716First Natchez war
 The first conflict between the French and the Natchez took place in 1716, when the Governor of Louisiana, passed through Natchez territory and neglected to renew the alliance with the Natchez by smoking the peace calumet. The Natchez reacted to this slight by killing four French traders. The leader of the French force sent to exact justice for the deaths deceived the Natchez leaders by inviting them to attend a parley, where he ambushed and captured them, and forced the Natchez to exchange their leaders for the culprits who had attacked the French. A number of random Natchez from the pro-British villages were executed. One of the conditions for peace was that the Natchez help build the French a new fort, what was to become Fort Rosalie
1722Second Natchez war
 In 1723 the French leader had been informed that some Natchez had harassed villagers, and he razed the Natchez village of White Apple and enslaved several villagers, only to discover that the alleged harassment had been faked by the colonists to frame the Natchez.
1724Third Natchez war
 A Natchez chief's son was murdered by a colonist and the Natchez responded by killing a Frenchman named Guenot. French soldiers were then sent from New Orleans to attack the Natchez at their fields and settlements, and the Natchez surrendered. Their plea for peace was met following the execution of one of their chiefs by the French.
1729Natchez Revolt
 Understandably, tensions were on the rise, and the new commandant of Fort Rosalie only exacerbated them. In 1728, he was put on trial for abuses of power, specifically his behavior toward the Natchez that was unpopular among the French. He was saved from punishment, however, by powerful friends and upon returning to the fort, he continued to administer it as he had before.
 Upon his return he told the Natchez that he wished to seize land for a plantation in the center of White Apple, where the Natchez had a temple of their people's graves. By this point, most of the colonists disapproved of his actions, but when the Natchez began to protest the seizure of their land for the plantation, he said he would burn down the temple that contained their ancestors' graves. In response to this threat, the Natchez seemed to promise to cede the land, but only if they were given two months to relocate their temple and graves.
 The Natchez then began to prepare for a strike on the French at Fort Rosalie, borrowing firearms from some French colonists with promises to go hunting and to share the game with the guns' owners. Some French men and women overheard the Natchez planning such an attack. The Natchez female chief Tattooed Arm even attempted to alert the French of an upcoming attack led by her rivals at White Apple, but when the French Commandant was told he disregarded it and placed the informants in irons on the night before the massacre, when he was drunk.
 On the morning of November 29, 1729, the Natchez came to the fort with corn, poultry, and deerskins, also carrying with them a calumet - well known as a peace symbol. The commandant, still somewhat intoxicated from drinking the night before, was certain that the Natchez had no violent intentions, and he challenged those who had warned of an attack to prove that the rumors were accurate. While he was accepting the goods, the Natchez started firing, giving the signal for a coordinated attack on Fort Rosalie and on the outlying farms and concessions in the area now covered by the city of Natchez. The Natchez had prepared by seizing the galley of the West India Company anchored on the river, so that no Frenchmen could board it and attempt to escape. They had also stationed warriors on the other side of the river to intercept those who might flee in that direction. The Natchez killed almost all of the 150 Frenchmen at Fort Rosalie, and only about 20 managed to escape. Most of the dead were unarmed, but women, children, and African slaves were mostly spared; many were locked inside a house on the bluff, guarded by several warriors, from where they could see the events A group of Yazoo people who were accompanying visiting the fort remained neutral during the conflict but were inspired by the Natchez revolt. When they returned to Fort St. Pierre, they destroyed the fort, killing the Jesuit priest and 17 French soldiers.
 When word reached New Orleans the governor ordered slaves and French troops to march downstream and massacre a small village of Chaouacha people who had played no part in the uprising in Natchez. His superiors in Paris reprimanded the leader for this act, which may have been intended to prevent any alliance between slaves and Native Americans against the French colonists.
 More serious retaliation against the Natchez began late in December and in January 1730, with expeditions led by Jean-Paul Le Sueur and Henri de Louboey. The two commanders besieged the Natchez in forts built near the site of the Grand Village of the Natchez, a mile or so east of Fort Rosalie, which had been rebuilt. They killed about 80 men and captured 18 women, and released some French women who had been captured during the massacre of Fort Rosalie. The French relied on allied support from Tunica and Choctaw warriors. The Choctaw attacked the Natchez without the French, killing 100 and capturing women and children. This ruined the element of surprise for the French as the Natchez scattered. The Natchez captured by the Choctaw and Tunica allies of the French were given over to the governor and sold into slavery, and some were publicly tortured to death in New Orleans.
 In late February 1730, with Louboey seeking to catch the Natchez by surprise, the Natchez negotiated a peace treaty and freed French captives, but the French planned an attack on the Natchez fort the following day. The Natchez then brought gifts to Louboey, but left their fort that night and escaped across the Mississippi River, taking African slaves with them. The next day, Louboey and his men burned down the abandoned Grand Village fort as the Natchez hid in the bayous along the Black River. A subsequent expedition led by Perier in 1731 to dislodge the Natchez captured many of them and their leaders, including Saint Cosme, who was the new Great Sun, and his mother - the Female Sun, Tattooed Arm. The 387 captives, most of whom had belonged to the pro-French faction of the Natchez, were sold into slavery in Saint-Domingue. Many other Natchez escaped again, now taking refuge with the Chickasaw. Over the next decade the few hundred remaining Natchez lived a life on the run, waging a low-intensity guerrilla campaign against the French.
 The French continued to press for the destruction of the Natchez who now lived among the Chickasaw, traditional allies of the British - this helped spark the Chickasaw Wars.

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