Sioux uprising 1862 Nov 18, 2005 14:25:34 GMT -5
Post by mdenney on Nov 18, 2005 14:25:34 GMT -5
Chief Taoyateduta, known as Little CrowThe Sioux Uprising, also known as the Dakota Conflict or the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, was an armed conflict between the United States and several eastern bands of the Dakota people (often referred to as the Santee Sioux) that began on August 17, 1862 along the Minnesota River in southwest Minnesota. Skirmishes in the following weeks claimed hundreds of lives. The number of Native American dead is unknown, while estimates of settlers who died range between 300 and 800—one of the largest tolls on American civilians to ever occur. The conflict also resulted in the largest mass execution in U.S. history, when 38 Dakota men convicted of murder and rape were hanged in Mankato, Minnesota. This was the first major armed engagement between the U.S. and Dakota, though it would not be the last.
In 1851, the U.S. and Dakota negotiated the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux and Treaty of Mendota, ceding vast amounts of land in Minnesota Territory. In exchange for money and goods, the Dakota agreed to live on a twenty mile (32 km) wide reservation centered on a 150 mile (240 km) stretch of the upper Minnesota River. The deal immediately began to turn sour as the United States Senate deleted Article 3 of each treaty during the ratification process. Much of the promised compensation never arrived, lost or effectively stolen due to corruption in the Bureau of Indian Affairs and wrongful conduct by traders.
As Minnesota became a state in 1858, representatives of several Dakota bands led by Chief Taoyateduta (commonly known as Little Crow) traveled to Washington, D.C. to make further negotiations. Again, events did not transpire in the Indians' favor. The northern half of the reservation along the Minnesota River was lost, and rights to the quarry at Pipestone, Minnesota were also ceded. This was a major blow to the standing of Little Crow in the Dakota community.
In the meantime, the ceded land was quickly being divided up into townships and individual plots for settlement. The forest, prairie, and other wild lands used in the traditional Dakota yearly cycle of farming, hunting, fishing, and gathering wild rice was unalterably interrupted as timber was stripped to make way for new farms plowed by white settlers. In addition, wild game like bison, elk, whitetail deer, and bear had been hunted so intensively that populations were tiny compared to the populations before Euro-American settlement. The Dakota people of southern and western Minnesota relied on the sale of valuable furs to American traders to earn cash needed to buy necessities.
Payments guaranteed by the treaties were not made due to federal preoccupation with the American Civil War. Most in the river valley was not arable and hunting could no longer support the Dakota community. Losing land to new white settlers, non-payment, past broken treaties, plus food shortages and famine following crop failure led to great discontent among the Dakota people. Tension increased through the summer of 1862.
On August 4, representatives of the northern Sisseton and Wahpeton bands met at the Upper Sioux Agency in the northwestern part of the reservation. They successfully negotiated to obtain food. However, when the southern Mdewakanton and Wahpekute Dakota turned to the Lower Sioux Agency for supplies on August 15, they were rejected. Indian Agent (and Minnesota State Senator) Thomas Galbraith managed the area and would not distribute food without payment. At a meeting arranged between the Indians, the government, and local traders, the Dakota asked lead trader Andrew Myrick to support their cause. His response was blunt. "So far as I'm concerned, if they are hungry, let them eat grass or their own dung."
The dehumanizing comment first brought a hush over the group, but they soon began yelling at him. Soon after, with the Civil War keeping the U.S. occupied, some Dakota warriors saw an opportunity. The delayed money for the tribes arrived in St. Paul to the east on August 16, arriving at Fort Ridgely the next day. However, it came too late to prevent violence from erupting.
While a fight had broken out in Spirit Lake, Iowa in 1857, most histories trace the beginning of the conflict to the killing of five whites by four young Dakota men on August 17, 1862. The Dakota men had been hunting but ended up stealing food from the settlement of Acton in Meeker County. This event caused an uproar among the Santee Sioux living on the reservation, and some warriors convinced a reluctant Chief Little Crow to lead further attacks.
The next day on August 18, he led a group that attacked numerous white settlers at the Lower Sioux Agency. Trader Andrew Myrick was among the first that was killed. He was discovered trying to escape through a second-floor window. Days later, Myrick's body was found—with grass stuffed into his mouth. The stores were taken and several buildings at the site were torched, though this provided enough delay for many people to escape across the river at Redwood Ferry. An initial Minnesota militia force that was sent to suppress the uprising only resulted in a massacre of Minnesota troops in the Battle of Redwood Ferry. At least 44 deaths occurred that day.
Confident with their initial success, the Sioux would continue on their rampage attacking the white settlement of New Ulm on August 19. Dakota warriors decided not to attack the heavily-defended Fort Ridgely along the river, instead turning toward the town and killing many white settlers along the way. By the time New Ulm was attacked, residents had organized defenses in the town center and kept the Dakota at bay.
The military compound Fort Ridgely was later attacked on August 22 (See Battle of Fort Ridgely). White settlers sustained fairly heavy casualties in both cases. Farther north, the Sioux launched several attacks on Fort Abercrombie which were also repelled by the white defenders. There were also raids on farms and small settlements, plus attacks by settsers against the Indians. However, further counterattacks by Minnesota troops resulted in another massacre of white soldiers at Birch Coulee on September 2.
The Battle of Birch Coulee began when a large group of Dakota attacked a detachment of 150 U.S. soldiers at Birch Coulee, 16 miles from Fort Ridgely. The detachment had been sent out to find survivors, bury the dead, and report on the location of Dakota fighters. A three-hour firefight began with an early morning assault. Twenty soldiers were killed and 60 wounded. There are no accounts of Dakota casualties. A column of 240 soldiers from Fort Ridgely relieved the detachment at Birch Coulee that afternoon.
Due to the Civil War, repeated appeals for help were required before President Abraham Lincoln appointed General John Pope to assemble troops from the Third and Fourth Minnesota Regiments to quell the violence. Minnesota Governor Alexander Ramsey also instructed Colonel Henry Sibley (formerly the state's first governor) to aid in the effort. Although the expedition got off to a slow start, the Sioux were finally met and defeated at the Wood Lake on September 23, 1862.
The fighting lasted for six weeks. The final large-scale fighting took place in the Battle of Wood Lake. Most Dakota fighters surrendered at Camp Release on September 26. Records conclusively show that more than 150 soldiers and settlers died in the conflict, though many more may are believed to have died in small raids or after being captured. Estimates for U.S. losses range up to 800, though there is no accurate accounting of Dakota deaths.
Mass hanging in Mankato, MinnesotaInitially, 303 Sioux prisoners were convicted of murder and rape by local courts and sentenced to death six weeks later. However, President Lincoln commuted the death sentences of all but 38, largely due to the pleas from Bishop Henry Whipple for clemency. The 38, for whom the evidence seemed strongest, were executed by hanging in a single day on December 26, 1862 in Mankato.
A drawing of the mass hanging was long a familiar icon in Minnesota. The 38 men who were hanged are remembered each year at two separate pow-wows in the state. The Mankato pow-wow, held each year in September, commemorates the lives of the condemned men, but also seeks to reconcile the white and Indian communities. The Birch Coulee pow-wow, held on Labor Day weekend, honors the lives of those who were hanged in the largest mass execution in United States history.
As result of the war, the U.S. government abolished the reservation and attempted to expel the Dakota people from Minnesota. 1,300 to 1,700 Dakota people were rounded up and held in a concentration camp below Fort Snelling in the winter of 1862–1863. In the spring, the camp was moved southwest toward the current site of the Mall of America, prior to the mass removal of these people to Nebraska and South Dakota including the Crow Creek Indian Reservation on the Missouri River on May 4, 1863. More than 130 Dakota died in the camp and subsequent removal.
The Minnesota Sioux War of 1862 was the first violent engagment between the Sioux Indians and the United States. It would not be the last, however. The battle of Killdeer Mountain occurred in 1864, Red Cloud's War followed in 1866–1868, and the Battle of Little Big Horn in 1876 and Battle of Wounded Knee in 1890 also involved the two parties.
Taoyateduta was forced to flee from the fighting about a month after the conflict began. He briefly stayed in Canada, but soon returned to the area. He was killed on July 3, 1863 while gathering berries with his son. The pair had wandered onto the land of a white settler who shot at them.
Alexander Goodthunder and his wife SnanaBy the 1880s, a number of Dakota had come back to Minnesota River valley, notably the Goodthunder, Wabasha, Bluestone, and Lawrence families. They were joined by several families from the Wahpekute Dakota who had been living under the protection of Bishop Whipple and the trader Alexander Faribault. The small Lower Sioux Indian Reservation was reestablished at the site of the Lower Sioux Agency near Morton and in the 1930s, an even smaller Upper Sioux Reservation was established near Granite Falls.
Many Dakota did not join in the attacks, choosing to aid and protect settlers and to serve with the Minnesota soldiers who responded to the attacks. Monuments to their actions were erected in the 1890s on the river bluff opposite the Lower Sioux Agency.
Dakota War of 1862 (Dakota Conflict) (http://www.mnhs.org/library/tips/history_topics/94dakota.html) - Minnesota Historical Society bibliography
The Lower Sioux (http://www.cri-bsu.org/IA_web/htdocs/tribes/lowsioux.html)
The Upper Sioux (http://www.cri-bsu.org/IA_web/htdocs/tribes/upsioux.html)
www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/dakota/dakota.html detailed history of trials, with documents
Anderson, Gary and Alan Woolworth, editors. Through Dakota Eyes: Narrative Accounts of the Minnesota Indian War of 1862, Minnesota Historical Society Press (1988). ISBN 0873512162
Carley, Kenneth. The Sioux Uprising of 1862, Minnesota Historical Society (1976), second edition. ISBN 0873511034
Cox, Hank. Lincoln And The Sioux Uprising of 1862, Cumberland House Publishing (2005). ISBN 1581824572
Nix, Jacob. The Sioux Uprising in Minnesota, 1862: Jacob Nix's Eyewitness History, Max Kade German-American Center (1994). ISBN 1880788020
Schultz, Duane. Over the Earth I Come: The Great Sioux Uprising of 1862, St. Martin's Press (1992). ISBN 0312070519
Mark Steil and Tim Post. Minnesota's Uncivil War. (http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/200209/23_steilm_1862-m/index.shtml) Minnesota Public Radio (September 26, 2002).
Douglas Linder. The Dakota Conflict Trials of 1862 (http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/dakota/dakota.html) (1999).
Operations to Suppress the Sioux Uprising
Fort Ridgely – Wood Lake
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Sioux Uprising is mentioned in the following topics:
Monongalia County, Minnesota New Ulm (city, Minnesota)
Henry Benjamin Whipple Lower Sioux Indian Reservation
Upper Sioux Indian Reservation Taoyateduta
Thomas J. Galbraith Andrew Myrick
Battle of Big Mound Sioux (tribe, North America)
Wikipedia information about Sioux Uprising
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