Originally from Gascon he was a soldier in his Youth  but In 1363, after the Treaty of Brétigny, Meschin and his men began to pillage the countryside. His was one of the many so called Tard-Venus bands, groups of mercenaries left without employment by the end of hostilities.
King John II commissioned Count James Bourbon and Jean de Tancarville to raise an army to put down the "Free Companies" under the informal leadership of Petit Meschin before they could overrun Burgundy. Bourbon and Tancarville gathered their army at Brignais.
The French King's forces were besieging the town of Brignais, which had been seized by the Companies in March as an operating base. Never dreaming that the companies would dare challenge them in the open the Royal forces took few steps to secure their camp and when the companies attacked that morning of 6 April 1362 they were taken completely by surprise. In the battle that followed the government army was routed and James Bourbon and his oldest son were mortally wounded.
- Consulter la biographie (rare) d'Aimé Cherest : L'Archiprêtre, épisodes de la guerre de cent ans au XIVe siècle, éd. Claudin, Paris 1879.
- Froissart's Chronicles Vol.6.
- Françoise Autrand, Charles V, Fayard 1994, p. 499
- Fowler, Kenneth (2001). Medieval Mercenaries: Vol. I The Great Companies. Oxford: Blackwell. pp. 46–52.
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