The Sioux Uprising War


The battle of 1862, known as the Sioux Uprising consisted of seven Sioux tribes. Including four eastern tribes and three western tribes- the Lakota. The uprising primarily consisted of the two southernmost Dakota Tribes: the Mdewakantons and the Wahpeckutes. Each of the tribes consisted of bands, each with a leader and a chief. The Mdewakantons were divided into 9 bands.


Below is a day-by-day listing of the events that occurred in the war:


Monday August 18th:  Lower Agency tribes attended a council at Little Crow’s house. At dawn the Lower Agency houses and stores were attacked. Traders, physicians, interpreters, teamsters and others were all killed. The women and children were taken captive. Captain John Marsh led troops of Fort Ridgley to ambush Redwood Ferry, more than half of the command was killed. Over 400 civilians were killed there and at the Lower Agency. During the day and night along the Minnesota and Cottonwood Rivers in Renville County and Beaver, Sacred Heart and LaCroix Creeks were all raided. At 12 mid-night the looting of Yellow Medicine took place.


 Tuesday August 19th:  John Other Day, leading whites departed from Yellow Medicine at dawn. West of Fort Ridgley in a prairie the Indian council met. Lt. Timothy Sheehan led troops to the fort and they arrived after an overnight march from Glencoe. That day 40,000 settlers began flight from all parts of the valley. Missionaries were led by Reverend Stephen Riggs, which were started from Hazelwood. Private Sturgis then arrived at Fort Snelling, in the afternoon. Henry Hastings Sibley was then assigned to quell the uprising. A supply of four companies of soldiers was given. The soldiers lodge then led a minor attack on New Ulm.


Wednesday, August 20th :   The mark of the first attack on Fort Ridgley. Settlers of Lake Shetek then surrounded “slaughter slough.”


On Thursday, August 21st:  The attacks at Big Stone Lake, Eagle Lake, and other more distant localities took place


The population of refugees at Ridgley swelled to 300 on Friday, August 22. The same day a major attack went on there. Riggs party then reached Fort Ridgley, but decided to continue down river. Sibley had ignored the request from New Ulm for aid, and proceeded to St. Peter.


1/3 of the town of New Ulm was destroyed on Saturday, August 23, after an all day attack.  Monday, August 25th, New Ulm was then evacuated. Sibley remained at St. Peter to await the arrival of more troops and supplies.


Tuesday, August 26th:  Indians of the Lower Agency started to move up to the Yellow Medicine area.  On August 27th  a citizen horseman arrived at Fort Ridgley to announce that Sibley and his troops were nearing the fort.


Nearly 1500 troops and Sibley reached Fort Ridgley on Thursday, August 28th.


September 2nd:  Two companies in a dawn attack surrounded Birch Coulee. Thirty-one hours later after the start of the attack on September 3rd, a relief party from Fort Ridgley    reached Birch Coulee. In the coulee thirty- three lay dead or mortally wounded. “In Hutchinson, Forest City, and herds grazing near Fort Abercrombie are raided.”


Thursday, September 18th:  1600 troops led by Sibley headed toward Yellow Medicine after getting munitions and supplies from Fort Ridgley. A debate occurred among the Indians whether to kill or surrender the captives, while surrendered advocates sent messages to Sibley urging him to hurry.


On September 23rd:  The morning effort to ambush Column had failed and one third of Sibley’s troops saw action. On the 24th, Little Crow and hundreds of other leaders of the outbreak departed for Canada, Devils Lake, or for the western plains.


Finally, on September 26, forty days after the start, white and half-breed captives were freed from Camp Release.


The following months the trials of the Sioux Indians took place. At the end of the trials 306 were sentenced to be hung. President Lincoln decided that the number was too high, so he dropped it to 38. This marked the largest mass execution in American history.


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