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Full text of "Dakota war whoop : or, Indian massacres and war in Minnesota, of 1862-3"

DAKOTA WAK WHOOP : 



OR, 



INDIAN MASSACRES 



AND 



WAE IE" MINNESOTA, 



1863 '3. 



BY 

HAEEIET E. BISHOP McCONKEY, 

A/utlaor of " Floral Homes," &:c. 



i s EI i> 



ST. PAUL : 
PUBLISHED FOB, THE AUTHOR. 

WM. J. MOSES' PRESS, AUBURN, N. Y. 

1864. 



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year one thousand eight hundred 

and sixty-three, by 

HABRIET E. B. M'CONKEY, 

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Minnesota. 




BRIG. GEN. HETSiRY H. SIB-LET. 



TO BRIGADIER GENERAL 

fenrg f . Sibleg, 

ON "WHOM HONORS WERE NEVER UNFITTINGLY 
OR UNWORTHILY BESTOWED, 

THIS BOOK 
IS VERY RESPECTFULLY INSCRIBED. 

THAT THE LAUREL WREATH 
WHICH ENCIRCLES HIS BROW, MAY 

NOT FADE 

TILL EXCHANGED BY THE DIVINE HAND 

FOR A CROWN OF IMMORTAL GLORY, 

IS THE EARNEST PRAYER OF 

THE AUTHOR. 



PBEFACE. 



This edition of the DAKOTA WAR WHOOP, is a careful revision of 
the first, with additional items of interest, and is a reliable historical 
work, detailing facts in their time and order, so far as possible, and 
endorsed by the most conspicuous actors in the great drama. Gen. 
Sibley, a prominent actor, as will be seen, said to the writer, after a 
close perusal of the first edition, that it seemed quite a mystery, "how 
one, not an eye witness of the events, could detail them so graphi 
cally and minutely correct." So, also, another : "It is a truthful and 
vivid picture of the scenes represented." But we know the vast 
arena and scores of the sufferers, and have lost no opportunity in col 
lecting personal experiences, and yet, horrid as it seems, heart-sick 
ening as is the detail, there are unwritten facts, still more horrid, 
which would seem but the emanation of a distorted brain, or too vivid 
imagination. 

We take pleasure in crediting the photographs from which the en 
gravings and cuts were made, to Whitney's celebrated gallery, in St. 
Paul, to whom was awarded the first prize medal, at the Chicago Na 
tional Fair. 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER I. PAGE. 

INTRODUCTION. News of the outbreak 17 

CHAPTER II. 

THE BREAD RAID. Troops called to Yellow Medicine Threatening as 
pects Heroic conduct of Lieut. Sheehaii Quiet restored 20 

CHAPTER III. 

THE FIRST BLOW. Commencement of hostilities Burial of the dead 
Evacuation of the settlement 30 

CHAPTER IV. 

THE COUNCIL FIRE. Little Crow and his intent Indian wrongs (?) Prep 
arations for attacking the inhabitants Annuity Indians Upper and Low 
er Agency ... 37 

CHAPTER V. 

THE OUTBREAK AT RED WOOD. James "W. Lynde, the first victim Fall of 
Andrew Myrick, and horrid treatment of his body Wm. Bourat's fall 
and escape Death of Doct. Humphrey and family Surprise of the 
whites * 41 

CHAPTER VI. 

THE SLAUGHTER. The fury Miraculous escape from a burning mill Tor 
ture of women and children Bloody work of Cut Nose Slaughter of a 
family The daughter made captive Murder of George H. Gleason 46 

CHAPTER VII. 

GEORGE H. SPENCER. Early manhood Home among the Indians and its 
object 1. 
made capt 

CHAPTER VIII. 

CAPTIVITY AND RELEASE OF GEORGE SPENCER, AS TOLD BY HIMSELF. Dis 
satisfaction of the Indians The people's security The first note of alarm 
on the morning of 18th Aug. Knew it to be a war party Four comrades 
shot Spencer receives three balls, and rushes up stairs Position of dan 
ger there Intense suffering rescued by Chaska, his Indian friend Lit 
tle Crow's treatment of him 55 

CHAPTER IX. 

TJ. S. TROOPS CUT TO PIECES. Alarm at Fort Ridgley Death of Capt. 
Marsh Lieut. Sheehan going North Double quick return Assumes 
command Maj . Galbraith 61 



object Attempts on his property and life "Was wounded at first fire, and 
ide captive Saved by an Indian friend 50 



8 CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER X. PAGE. 

YELLOW MEDICINE. Mission stations Dakota council fire John Other- 
day News of the outbreak at Bed Wood, its effect The anxious night 
Sixty-two persons saved by Other Day Mr. Garvie 65 

CHAPTER XI. 

THE FAMILY OF AN OLD SETTLER TAKEN CAPTIVES. Their first alarm 
Start for the Port are captured by Indians Dead bodies At the house 
of Little Crow Escape of Charles Blair 72 

CHAPTER XII. 

THE PANIC. Flight of women and children Depopulated country Sad 
condition of refugees 30,400 involved in the massacre, directly or indi 
rectly 75 

CHAPTER XIII. 

ATTACK pN NEW ULM. Its situation and character of citizens Their 
sacrilegious work on Sabbath, August 17, and what followed Assault of 
the town Arrival of Judge Flandrau in command 81 

CHAPTER XIV. 

ATTACK ON FORT RIDGLEY. Return of Lieut. Sheehan His efforts to meet 
the expected attack Isolated position The attack Excitement in the 
Fort The spirit of the leader diffused through the ranks condition of the 
Fort Fire arrows The life struggle Re-enforcements sent Anxiety 
for their arrival Minnesota Third Promotion of Lieut. Sheehan 85 

CHAPTER XV. 

SECOND AND FINAL ATTACK ON NEW ULM. Preparations for renewal of hos 
tilities Destructive work of the Indians Courage of Commandant Flan 
drau The turning point in the struggle The savages repulsed Evac 
uation of New TJlm Mournful cortege 97 

CHAPTER XVI. 

OFFICIAL REPORT OF JUDGE FLANDRAU. Destruction of New Ulm 101 

CHAPTER XVII. 

THE MISSION PARTY. Rev. Dr. Williamson Peril of Rev. S. R. Riggs 
Peril of Dr. Williamson Prairie Wanderings Joy and disappointment 
on nearing the Fort Dangers of the way Norwegian grove housed 
with friends Ill 

CHAPTER XVIII. 

MASSACRE AT BIG STONE LAKE. Government plans Surprise and capture 
of Government hands Escape of Manderfield Ruins visited some months 
afterwards Dead bodies then found 117 

CHAPTER XIX. 

MURDER OF AMOS W. HUGGINS. Early settlement of Misssionaries Amos 
Huggins and his work His home Miss La Frambois Strange conduct 
of the Indians they shoot Mr. Huggins The excitement, etc 120 

CHAPTER XX. 

CAUSE OF THE WAR WHAT is AN INDIAN 1 Mr. Spencer's statement 
Cause of complaint The Indian defined Their language Half-breed 
interpreters The Agent volunteers into the service of his country Im 
pression of the Indians in regard to it British flag in their possession 
Desire of Little Crow for British protection Little Priest assisting in the 
fights Expectations of assistance from other tribes, &c. Demand of 
Standing Buffalo 124 



CONTENTS. 9 

CHAPTER XXI. 

SIIETAK MASSACRE. The community The memorable 20th Aug. 
Mr. Phineas P. Hurd Mrs. H.'s unwelcome morning visitors The raid 
on her house Fall of the hired man Driven from home her wander 
ings and sufferings of her two children Willie sick Her mother heroism 
to get on with both, after "Willie became unable to walk Arrival at a cab 
in Disappointment in finding nothing to eat She finds some decaying 
meat, and her boy is saved irom starvation Joined by other refugees 133 

CHAPTER XXII. 

THE GENERAL ONSLAUGHT Starting for the other settlements Attack by 
Indians Twelve killed Women made captives Mrs. Eastlick left for 
dead Mrs. Errett and two children killed Mrs. Eastlick revives and re 
turns to the battle-field Mr. Myres and family overtaken by the wounded 
fugitives Their sad condition Perils by the way Fears, &c. Mr. 
Myres goes to New Ulm and finds the battle raging The others to Man- 
kato Protection of U. S. troops Care for their wounds 139 

CHAPTER XXIII. 

OUTBREAK AT THE NORTH. Attack on the Breckenridge House Old Mrs. 
Scott, her perils, sufferings and escape Little Jimmy Scott Life adven 
turers 145 

CHAPTER XXIV. 

SIEGE OF FORT ABERCROMBIE. The first alarm Rush to the Fort First 
battle Return of Messengers A friend of the writer in peril Birth 
of three children Edgar Wright his body exhumed and mutilated. . . . 150 

CHAPTER XXV. 

INDIANS AT Sioux FALLS CITY. Murder of J. B. Amidon and son De 
parture of the populace The place burnt 157 

CHAPTER XXVI. 

THE HEROIC BOY. Mr. Ireland his captive daughters sufferings, men 
tal and physical Burton Eastlick starts on a tour of 90 miles with his 
baby brother in his arms Mrs. Eastlick, wounded and suffering, follows 
Meets her children August Garzene Mrs. Hurd and Mrs. Truland 
Ten days at "Brown's" Relief sent Burial of the Shetak dead 160 

CHAPTER XXVII. 

SIEGE OF HUTCHINSON Capt. Stuart's report Mrs. Adams Murder of 
her child 168 

CHAPTER XXVIII. 

BATTLE OF BIRCH COOLIE. The dead on the prairies the detachment sent 
to bury them 85 bodies found Encampment Morn of Sept. 2 Des 
perate fighting Extreme peril Benjamin S. Terry his life given from 
love to his friend Spencer Corporal Wm. M. Cobb Sergeant Wm. Ir 
vine Continued fighting Relief sent Joy of the men in the trenches 
Burial of the dead and removal of the wounded Robert Gibbons Mr. 
J. W. Decamp fought to retaliate the supposed death of his wife and chil 
dren, who lived to weep at his grave Other refugee women 171 

CHAPTER XXIX. 

BATTLE OF BIRCH COOLIE. OFFICIAL REPORT OF MAJ. J. R. BROWN 182 

At 



10 CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER XXX. 

WANDERING REFUGEES. Escape and rescue of Almira Harrington Mrs. 
Caruthers claimed by two Indians escapes by the aid of a squaw pad 
dles her own canoe safe in the fort An Indian playing priest, which en 
ables his fair captive to escape Peril of a young man and his escape 190 

CHAPTER XXXI. 
THE MANIAC. A poem 194 

CHAPTER XXXII. 

TALES OF SUFFERING. A woman and four children found after three weeks 
of prairie wandering and suffering Shocking mutilation of children 
Escape of the parents Further search reveals further horrors Mrs. 
Boetler's eight weeks of prairie life Dead bodies found and buried 196 

CHAPTER XXXIII. 

THE ATHENAEUM. Succor given to the refugees Changes of a day in their 
circumstances the fair-eyed babe saved as by miracle Heart-thrilling 
tales told by the sufferers 201 

CHAPTER XXXIV. 

THE CAPTIVE'S EXPERIENCE AS FURTHER RELATED BY HIMSELF. The In 
dians bi-eak camp for removal to Yellow Medicine Spencer recognizes the 
body of Gleason Soldier's Lodge Firing of buildings 206 

CHAPTER XXXV. 

EFFORTS TO REGAIN THE PRISONERS. Correspondence between Gen. Sibley 
and Little Crow 209 

CHAPTER XXXVI. 

CORRESPONDENCE OF GEN. S. AND LITTLE CROW CONTINUED Letter from 
"Wabashaw and Taopee Forward the trOops Body of Philander Prescott 
-%A brief history of the good man 212 

CHAPTER XXXVII. 

BATTLE OF "Woop LAKE Burial of George Gleason Preparations for bat 
tle The Indians driven Fidelity of Other Day "Wisdom of the Gene 
ral commanding 217 

CHAPTER XXXVIII. 

OFFICIAL REPORT OF COL. SIBLKY TO Gov. RAMSEY 224 

CHAPTER XXXIX. 

THE CHIPPEWAS. Proclamation of Hole-in-the-day Threatening aspect at 
the North Efforts for treaty unsuccessful Accomplished by Gov. Ram 
sey Novelty of the Indian dance They become a terror An embassy 
of Chippewas visit the capital The "talk," the feast, and ride on the "fire 
wagon " 229 

CHAPTER LX. 
THE CAPTIVE'S PBRIL 235 

CHAPTER LXI. 
THE FRIENDLY CAMP. Efforts to form it Final success Release 239 



CONTENTS. 11 

CHAPTER XLII. 

CAMP RELEASE. Two hundred and twenty captives rescued Strategy of 
Mrs. Reynolds Terrible sufferings of Miss Mattie Williams while a cap 
tive Joy on release Approach of Col. Sibley's troops Joy at camp 
Release Glory of the achievement 242 

CHAPTER LXIII. 

TRIAL OF THE PRISONERS. Heavy criminal calendar Various subterfugees 247 
CHAPTER LXIV. 

MRS. HUGGINS IN CAPTIVITY. Trials and heart-aches Mr. Manderfield re 
ceives kindness at her hands Julia takes leave of Mrs. H., and goes with 
her brother She goes to De Cota's Unwelcome reception Kind recep 
tion at the lodge of "Walking Spirit De Cota's fears for his scalp 252 

CHAPTER LXV. 

MRS. HUGGINS in care of Walking Spirit Kindness of her host Redeem 
ing traits Effects of their new mode of life Her employment Perplex 
ities of various kinds The children Insulting proposal Day of the 

week lost 257 

i " ." 

CHAPTER LXVI. 

THE ALARMS. Train of Northerners Fears for her children Return of 
a detachment of Northerners Feast with the chief A letter A bad 
man Explanation of his conduct 262 

CHAPTER LXVII. 

LEAVING FOR THE PLAINS. Mrs. H. decides to go Mode of travelling In 
cidents of the way Fears Trust 267 

CHAPTER LXVIII. 

RELEASE AND RETURN. Last outward bound night Increase of the cara 
van Darkest hour before dawn Preparations for company Joy in the 
arrival Release of two little girls Steps retraced Perils Visits the 
grave of her husband, &c. At Camp Release 270 

CHAPTER LXIX. 

REMOVAL TO CAMP SIBLEY. Trial resumed The criminal calendar at last 
cleared The sufferers of New Ulm 274 

CHAPTER L. 

REMOVAL OF THE "GOOD INDIANS" TO FORT SPELLING. Winter quarters 
Old Betsey Ta-o-pee First note of freedom to the captives Chaska. . 277 

CHAPTER LI. 
PROTEST ON SENATOR WILKINSON. Thrilling rehearsals, &c 280 

CHAPTER LII. 

CAUSE OF THE DAKOTA UPRISING. The normal savage state The desola 
tion The hidden harm Secession the main-spring of action Indian 
councils Discussion of the war theme The rebel Col. 's plan Where 
rests the guilt Its enormity deduced from the data 287 



12 CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER LIII. 

PREPARATIONS FOR THE EXECUTION OF THE CONDEMNED INDIANS. Its an 
nouncement to the prisoners Col. Miller's remarks Confession of their 
guilt Death-song General appearance Ascent of the gallows In 
tense interest of the throng Pall of the platform 38 souls launched 
into eternity , 292 

CHAPTER LIV. 
THE EXECUTION 300 

CHAPTER LV. 

THE CONDEMNED. Spiritual advice given them Apparent spiritual change 
Removal to Davenport, Iowa Improved condition 304 

CHAPTER LVI. 

THE WINNEBAGOES DECLARE WAR WITH THE Sioux. Former alliance 
Awful scene in Mankato Removal to new Reservation 306 

CHAPTER LVII. 
AN ALARM. Troubles at Medalia Col. Marshall sent in pursuit of the foe 309 

CHAPTER LYIII. 

REMOVAL OF THE GOOD INDIANS. Families of the scouts remaining Cos 
tume Blameworthy treatment of the Indians "Work of progress in their 
new homes, &c 312 

CHAPTER LIX. 

HORSE STEALING. Gangs prowling through the country Murders frequent 
Bounty for scalps 317 

CHAPTER LX. 

MURDER OF THE DUSTIN FAMILY. Appearance of hostile Indians in Henna- 
pin Co. Horrid state of the bodies One little girl alive 320 

CHAPTER LXI. 
LITTLE CROW'S WHEREABOUTS 323 

CHAPTER LXII. 

THE RANSOMED. Months of torture Horrid boasts of the savage Saved 
by Maj. Galpin Meeting of Mr. Everett with his little daughter Tilla. . . 326 

CHAPTER LXIII. 

THE INDIAN EXPEDITION. Camp Pope Arrival of Gen. Sibley His be 
reavement Departure for the plains Organization of the expedition 
Drouth and drawbacks Resting on the Sabbath 330 

CHAPTER LXIV. 

DEATH OF GEN. LITTLE CROW. The boy Lampson shoots an Indian Ex 
citement in town Striking resemblance to Little Crow Gen. Sibley and 
others declare it the veritable Chief himself confirmed 339 



CONTENTS. 13 

CHAPTER LXV. 

CAPTURE OP WO-WI-NAP-A. His wanderings after his father's death con 
dition when taken His own statement The boy chief when an infant 
Kissed by the writer 344 

CHAPTER LXVI. 

THE CAPTIVE BOYS. George Ingalls Little Jimmy Scott 349 

CHAPTER LXVII. 

THRILLING ADVENTURE OF MR. BRACKETT, AND DEATH OF LIEUT. FREEMAN. 
Mr. Brackett's story Eulogy of Lieut. Freeman 352 

CHAPTER LXVIII. 

THE CAPTIVE, JOHN JULIEN. Ten months in captivity Sad experience with 
the Indians Deliverance 359 



CHAPTER LXIX. 

PROGRESS OF THE EXPEDITION. Above calumny Delay of tidings Col. 
Marshall's adventurous return He brings reports of their engagements 
with the Indians Rehearsed 364 

CHAPTER LXX. 

CAPTURE OF A TETON. When found His motive in coming out Kindly 
treated and discharged A boat- load of returning miners killed brave 
fighting and slaughter by them 379 

CHAPTER LXXI. 

DEATH OP LIEUT. BEEVER. Col. Crooks with his men scour the woods and 
drink of the Missouri waters the body found Sadness in camp 382 

CHAPTER LXXII. 
TERMINUS OF THE CAMPAIGN. Return order 385 

CHAPTER LXXIII. 
OFFICIAL REPORT OF MAJ. GEN. HENRY H. SIBLEY 389 

CHAPTER LXXIV. 
OFFICIAL REPORT OF BRIGADIER GENERAL ALFRED SULLY 40G 

CHAPTER LXXV. 

TIE OF COMRADESHIP Death of Chaska Attachment to Geo. H. Spencer 
Brave and faithful Sudden death Poison the probable cause 420 

CHAPTER LXXVI. 

HOME AGAIN 426 

CONCLUSION.... ..428 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 



CHAPTER I. 

INTRODUCTION. 

"THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND MORE!" The na 
tion's rallying cry had electrified every telegraph wire 
and intensified the great heart of the Northwest. 
Women, with the spirit of the Kevolutionary mothers, 
had bidden their loved ones GO, glad that they had hus 
bands or sons to give in the crushing of a rebel foe. 
Minnesota was thoroughly aroused. Though as a State 
she had yet scarcely seen her first decade, she had 
already sent her Fifth Eegiment into the field. Fired 
with the spirit of the immortal "First," which won lau 
rels even in defeat,* her quota was again being filled. 
Young men, the flower, vigor, and hope of the State, 
with musket in firm grasp, stood ready, impatiently 
awaiting "orders !" 

"Home work enough to engage our troops for the 
present," said the "other half" of myself, excitedly, as 
lie entered from a spirited war meeting. "It is well 
that they had not received 'marching orders.' " 

"Another Indian 'scare,' " I interrogatively replied. 

* At the memorable battles of Bull Run and Ball's Bluff. 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 



CHAPTER I. 

INTRODUCTION. 

"THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND MORE!" The na 
tion's rallying cry had electrified every telegraph wire 
and intensified the great heart of the Northwest. 
Women, with the spirit of the Revolutionary mothers, 
had bidden their loved ones GO, glad that they had hus 
bands or sons to give in the crushing of a rebel foe. 
Minnesota was thoroughly aroused. Though as a State 
she had yet scarcely seen her first decade, she had 
already sent her Fifth Regiment into the field. Fired 
with the spirit of the immortal "First," which won lau 
rels even in defeat,* her quota was again being filled. 
Young men, the flower, vigor, and hope of the State, 
with musket in firm grasp, stood ready, impatiently 
awaiting "orders !" 

"Home work enough to engage our troops for the 
present," said the "other half" of myself, excitedly, as 
he entered from a spirited war meeting. "It is well 
that they had not received 'marching orders.' " 

"Another Indian 'scare,' " I interrogatively replied. 

* At the memorable battles of Bull Run and Ball's Bluff. 



18 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

"It is no 'scare,' I assure you, but an earnest and ter 
rible reality." 

"To frighten the credulous and the 'new comer' 
nonsense !" 

" 'TRUTH is stranger than fiction.' Facts need no 
further confirmation. An army of savages are even 
now sweeping down the Minnesota Eiver valley, swear 
ing destruction to all in their course, and death to every 
white man !" 

"It is not the first time our nerves have been set 
vibrating by such unpleasant rumors, and I have long 
since ceased to give credence to these crazy reports, 
which have had their birth in some wild brain. If the 
Indians would have made us trouble, it would have 
been when we were only a handful, and they strong as 
now, and in close proximity. It is all nonsense to think 
of it 1" And thereupon I proceeded to dash off the 
remaining stanza of a patriotic song, which was pulsa 
ting in every nerve and quivering on my pen's nib, 
when he entered. 

Alas ! the visions of the night troubled me, despite 
my unbelief. To fancy's ear came the fearful wail and 
the groans of the dying, and to fancy's eye came only 
one blood-blinding scene the dead, in tall prairie 
grass, or at their own hearth-stones ; and above the 
shrieks and groans of their victims rose the terrible war 
whoop of the government-pampered Dakotas, furious 
from a taste of blood, and panting for more. 

With the celerity of execution for which Gov. Eam- 
sey is noted, he had, on the following morning, four 



DAKOTA WAK WHOOP. 19 

companies armed and equipped, and moving towards 
the murder scenes, where hands were already stained 
with the blood of more than one thousand victims. 
The demand for energetic action was met by prompt 
effort, otherwise the savage hordes might have carried 
out their design ; swept through the land, killed or 
driven off the inhabitants, and re-possessed the soil for 
which they were receiving annually the interest on its 
equivalent, in gold and goods, thereafter to revel amid 
their blood-gained spoils. 

It is a dreadful tale one from which the heart re 
coils and the pen shrinks ; but I have girded me for 
the effort, and what though every hair of the head is 
erect, and every nerve a vibrating medium, making me, 
for the time being, as a living, actual witness of all I 
rehearse ; the reading world shall hear, if they cannot 
see, what young Minnesota has experienced, how her 
adopted sons and daughters have suffered from the sav 
age bullet and bloody tomahawk, while yet is undula 
ting the clear, prairie air, in brutal fierceness, never to 
die from the ear of the sufferers, the terrible Dakota 
war-whoop. 



CHAPTER II. 

THE BREAD KAID. 

The Dakota or Sioux Indians number about thirty 
thousand. These are divided into Bands, and each 
Band has its own Chief. They ignore the name of 
Sioux, by which they are known in the civilized world, 
and answer only to the name of Dakota. The purchase 
of the late Eeservation secured to the small number of 
the Bands interested in the sale, the interest annually 
in gold on $2,000,000 for the ensuing fifty years, to 
gether with blankets, provisions, etc., which, with any 
provident foresight, would place ordinary economists 
quite above want. On their new Keservation, Govern 
ment had established two Agencies, the lower at the 
mouth of the Red Wood, the Upper Agency at the 
mouth of the Yellow Medicine rivers, both tributaries 
of the Minnesota. The lower bands, residing mostly at 
or near the Lower Agency, went there for their pay, 
while the upper bands, living mostly on the plains, 
came to the Upper Agency. 

Choosing their own time to assemble, or instigated to 
it by a secret foe, the upper bands, numbering nearly 
7,000 men, women and children, had come to their 
Agency, demanding annuities, the arrival of which was 
delayed, and in regard to which, the Agent, Thomas J. 
Galbraith, was not advised. They had brought little or 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 21 

no provisions with them, and the small amount of game, 
with the fish they caught, hardly served to satisfy so 
many hungry stomachs. They demanded flour, for 
which orders of distribution had not yet been given 
shot an ox belonging to the Agent, which was scarcely 
a mouthful, among so many. The begging dance 
would furnish them food for a day or two, and so with 
the buffalo dance ; but they had no idea of seeking 
any laudable or remunerative employment, even though 
some of their children had died, they said, from starv 
ation. But it was a formidable work knowing the 
character of the Indians, as they did, that once giving 
them, you must continue to give to think of feeding 
so many, for a period quite indefinite ; besides, Govern 
ment had not provided boarding accommodations at 
this point, on so grand a scale. But the spirit of unrest 
became more and more apparent, and indicative of hos 
tilities. The tents of their encampment were struck, 
and hurriedly removed two miles to the rear. Dark, 
portentous clouds were evidently gathering in the polit 
ical heavens, Siouxward. A consultation of the few 
Government officials resulted in sending to Fort Ridg- 
ley for an armed force. 

In 1856, the frontier settlers were thrown into panic 
by the murder of forty persons, at Spirit Lake Settle 
ment, in Iowa and the southern extreme of Minnesota. 
The leader of the desperado gang was Ink-pa-du-ta, the 
basest among the base, who, ever since, had roamed at 
large, the vilest wretch unhung. It had been feared 
that his going unpunished and unpursued would em- 



22 DAKOTA WAK WHOOP. 

bolden the evil inclined, that the leniency would be a 
precedent on which they might base their future deeds. 
Still, dangers slept ; the settlers were unmolested, and 
those who had known him longest, became quite stupid 
in relation to the red man, so that when the clarion 
notes rang with such vibrating thrill through the State, 
one company of volunteers of the Minnesota 5th, at 
each of the three military posts, was all deemed essen 
tial for the protection of Government stores and fron 
tier defense. Capt. Marsh was in command at Fort 
. Eidgley, on the Minnesota, Capt. Hall at Fort Eipley, 
on the Crow Wing, and Capt Vanderhock at Aber- 
crombie, on the Eed river of the north, and the least 
expectation of these men was, that they were to bear 
the brunt in the outset, of a home outbreak, and so 
check the savage onset as to save the State from gen 
eral desolation, while relief forces were mustering, hur 
riedly, for the conflict. Well that we may not lift the 
curtain and peep into futurity. Experience, as it 
falls in life's pathway, is quite enough for our finite 
view, while, if the scope of mental vision enabled us 
to comprehend the whole in one, the effect would be 
overwhelming. The Divine Euler has his marked men 
for the emergency, though they know it not ; and rich 
in the fact is that man whose Grod is the Lord, and who 
can so await the disposal of His will, as to say in the 
results, "my life has been to a purpose." 

The 18th of June, 1862, Lieut Thomas J. Sheehan, 
Co. C., Fifth Eegiment Minnesota volunteers, a young 
man, full of patriotic fire, and burning with intense de- 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 23 

sire to combat a rebel foe, had orders to report with a 
detachment of fifty men, to Capt Marsh, and ten days 
after, loud cheers for their arrival rang through Fort 
Kidgley. The following morning, June 29, Capt. Marsh 
issued orders that Lieut. Sheehan, with his detachment 
from Co. C., and fifty men from Co. B., Fifth Minne 
sota, with Lieut. Gere, report forthwith to Agent Gal- 
braith, at Yellow Medicine, "for the purpose of preserv 
ing order, and protecting United States property, du 
ring the time of annuity payment." 

The Indians would listen to no advice to return 
home, secure their crops, and await the Agent's call, 
when their annuities should arrive. Assuming no mil 
itary dictation, but regarding "discretion the better part 
of valor" in warding the impending blow, Command 
ant Sheehan waited upon the Agent, with the earnest 
desire that provisions, to the extent of his ability, be 
issued, to satisfy the constant demand for "something 
to eat." 

As if to add intensity to kindling fire of desperation, 
two of their tribe were killed by the Chippewas, a few 
miles from camp. At early morn, the following day, 
an imposing array of mounted and armed Indians, 
1500 strong, clad only in moccasins and the breechlet, - 
started on the "war path," but at night they returned, 
crest-fallen from disappointment, directing vicious 
glances at the soldier's camp, which augured no good. 
To avert their minds from pursuit of the foe, a feast is 
promised, with the stipulation that they submit to be 
counted when thus convened, an ordeal essential to 



24 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

payment. Citizens and soldiers, some of whom kept 
guard, enjoyed the rare fun of the scramble, each for 
his share, as barrel after barrel of crackers were emptied 
on the ground. It was a hilarious time, and one of 
apparent satisfaction to the participants. Some forty 
barrels of water were served to satisfy the demand of 
the clamorous crowd for "drink," after which, for an 
hour or two, the friendly pipe passed from hand to 
hand, and the counting process was the finale of the 
day. 

On the 27th July, the following order was issued, 
giving little hope of rest for mind or body of our 
young hero : 

"SiB : I have to request that you detail a small de 
tachment of your command, and with it proceed forth 
with in the direction of Yellow Medicine river, in 
search of Inkpaduta and his followers, who are said 
to be camped somewhere in the region, with stolen 
horses, &c. 

u You will take said Inkpaduta and all Indian soldiers 
with him, prisoners, alive if possible, and deliver them 
to me at the Agency. If they resist, I advise that they 
be shot. Take all horses found in their possession, and 
deliver them to me. 

"A party of reliable citizens will accompany you ; 
they will report to you and be subject to your orders. 

"Ten or twelve men will, in my opinion, be sufficient. 
They should, by all means, be mounted on horses or 
mules. You should take at least nine days' rations, 
and should start a sufficient time before daylight to get 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 25 

away without the knowledge of our Indians. While I 
recommend prompt and rigorous action to bring these 
murderers, thieves and villains to justice, dead or alive, 
yet I advise prudence and extreme caution. 
"Very respectfully, your ob't servant, 

THOS. J. GALBRAITH, 

Sioux Agent 
"LIEUT. T. J. SHEEHAN, 

"Commanding Camp at Sioux Agency." 

Accompanying the expedition was a Christian In 
dian, who acted as guide. He seemed most eager of 
all the party to bring the scamp to justice, while he 
boasted of having before killed his son, and was one of 
the party who rescued Mrs. Nobles and Miss Gardner 
from their hands, after the Spirit Lake Massacre. After 
a chase of many a weary mile, finding the deserted 
camp, their eyes gratified only with the sight of a soli- 
itary Indian in the distance, supposed to be a spy of 
Inkpaduta, whom the best horse speed could not over 
take, and after continuing the search till further pur 
suit seemed useless, their horses were headed campward, 
where they arrived on the evening of August 3d, most 
opportunely. Notwithstanding the drumming and pow 
wow at the Indian encampment, during the night, the 
adventurers rested well after the excitement and travel 
of the last five restless days and nights, a needed refresh 
ing for the ordeal of the morrow. 

Scarcely had the sun of August 4th gilded the bluffs, 
when, painted and stripped for the work, the entire 
body of male Indians, with axes, hatchets and clubs, 



26 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

made general onslaught on the warehouse, the doors of 
which soon yielded to the well wielded blows. Then 
followed an unceremonious seizure of goods, flour and 
bacon, which the squaws, with wide spread blankets, 
(the common receptacle of all things,) awaited to re 
ceive, and, so far as able, convey to their encampment. 
They had chosen this early hour, before the powers of 
resistance should be astir, but in quick time the alarm 
was beat, and the little band of stout hearts were ready 
for action. Leaving the rest to guard camp, Lieut 
Sheehan, with twenty -five men, hastes to the scene of 
confusion. The resistance of the immortal one hun 
dred, in Sumter's walls, to ten thousand rebels, was less 
daring, had less of cool and determined bravery than 
this. What power have twenty -five men to cope with 
fifteen hundred infuriated savages, armed to the teeth ? 
But ah ! there was a power in the courage of the bear 
ing, in the determined flash of the eye, when he ordered 
them to "fall back," threatening with instant death any 
who disobeyed. See them quail beneath it their 
withering glances change to awe, as they coweringly 
obey. The gun of private Foster was jerked from his 
hand, discharged, his scalp was seized, and about to 
pass from his head to savage hands, when arrested by 
the above order. Mr. Fadden and James Grormon, 
warehouse and trader's clerks, were the only citizens 
rendering any assistance during this emergency, and 
are deserving of much credit and the thanks of the 
State at least. 

Now followed a grand stampede for camp, for though 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 27 

awed, they were not subdued. Here they were rushing 
to and fro, insulting the soldiers, and evidently daring 
them to unequal contest ; but when the howitzer, by 
order, was turned upon them, there was a "scattering 
in hot haste," for they had no power to cope with this, 
to them, most dreaded monster. The lull in the raging 
of human elements was seized by Lieut. Sheehan for 
an interview with the Agent, in the quiet of his own 
home. Permission was granted for convening a coun 
cil with his "red children." The chief speaker shook 
hands in mock friendliness with the commanding offi 
cer, and made a speech as* follows : 

"We are the braves. We have sold our land to the 
great father, (the President,) and we think that he in 
tends to give us what he has promised, but we can't get 
it, and we are starving; we want something to eat." 

Commandant Sheenan replied : "You should have 
gone to the agent before breaking open the warehouse, 
and asked him for something to eat, which he was in 
tending to give you to-day. If your great father heard 
that you had committed these depredations, breaking 
open the warehouse and attempting the life of his sol 
diers, he would not forgive you, for it would make him 
very mad" 

"We have asked the Agent almost every day, but he 
will give us nothing ; now we are starving, and we 
want you to ask him for us. We know if we kill the 
soldiers, it will make our great father mad. We held 
a council last night, and concluded we must have some 
thing to eat." B 



28 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

"If I get you a good issue of provisions this after 
noon, will you all go back to your teepees, and not 
trouble my camp, nor come around the warehouse any 
more?" 

"Yes, that is what we want." 

The whole responsibility being thrown upon the 
shoulders of this young officer, with results which fol 
lowed, may have had its parallel, but has been surpass 
ed by few. The plunder being ordered returned to the 
warehouse, the execution of the order devolved on him, 
but it was hauled from the shoulders of the men, by the 
Indians, as often as raised thereto. Matters again 
seemed rife for a general massacre. Guards were set 
by the savage rebels, and the lowering war clouds again 
muttered their thunders. Still the determined courage 
of the man for the hour did not forsake him, and in 
every effort was nobly seconded and aided by his com 
rade, Lieut. Gere, and he again demanded an issue of 
provisions, for which "they were as eager," he says, "as 
wolves for blood." This being received, the aggressors 
retired to feast in their own encampment, regarding 
themselves, no doubt, victors of the day. Considering 
all things, this was a fortunate ending, even though but 
temporary. The following day, some of the ring-lead 
ers were arrested and put in jail, when came a demand 
for their release, with a threat to kill every man, and 
blot out the Agency, if not complied with. Agent 
Galbraith ordered their release. 

Capt. Marsh, in compliance with the request of Lieut. 
Sheehan, arrived in camp, August 6th, and gave im- 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 29 

mediate and peremptory orders for the issue of the 
goods and provisions on hand, when quiet returned, 
and seeming satisfaction was restored. The military 
force having other, and, as thought, more important 
posts of duty, withdrew. Alas, for limited human 
foresight ! Little thought they that the startling events 
of these two weeks were the foreshadowings of the hor 
rid tragedies so soon to make every heart faint with 
their recital, and pale every cheek with terror the 
result, perhaps, of a long maturing plot. 






CHAPTER III. 

THE FIRST BLOW. 

The first event in tMs great Sioux raid to confirm 
the fact that they had broken truce with the whites, 
was at Acton, Meeker county, on Sunday, the 17th of 
August, 1862. A party of six or seven reckless young 
warriors from the Lower Agency, forty miles south, 
had gone out the previous day on a Chippawa "scalp 
hunt," but meeting no success in that line, and imbibing 
largely of "fire water," they entered that isolated set 
tlement, intent on carrying out whatever promptings 
their evil hearts might devise. The house of Mr. Jones, 
the postmaster of Acton, was first visited by them, 
where they were loud in their demand for whisky, but 
in lieu of which he gave them tobacco, to their appa 
rent satisfaction, when they left with no unfriendly 
demonstrations. Still, Mr. Jones was suspicious that 
evil was lurking in their hearts, as he an hour after as 
serted at the house of his step-son, Mr. Howard Baker, 
where he and his wife had gone, leaving his niece, an 
adopted daughter, with a child a year old, alone in the 
house. 

Three weeks previous to this, a "prairie schooner," 
a mere speck on the horizon, was seen approaching the 
settlement. It "cast anchor" before the door of Mr. 
Baker, and its crew was Mr. and Mrs. Webster, who 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 31 

had come to start life in that really inviting region. 
Here a temporary home was given them, while prepa 
rations for their own went forward. 

A little before noon, these same Indians, in their 
usual unceremonious manner, entered the house of Mr. 
Baker, where the friends were still in social converse. 
Save the fact of their being drunk, there was nothing 
to incite suspicion. In such a state they are always to 
be feared. After much meaningless talk, they proposed 
to "go out and shoot at a mark." 

Mr. Webster, who had never before seen an Indian, 
stood on the door step, a mere spectator of the game. 
The Indians, taking advantage of the discharged guns 
of the others, made him their first victim. His wife was 
in the covered wagon, unpacking some articles for use, 
and thus screened, escaped their bullets. Mr. Jones 
ran a short distance, when an unerring aim brought 
him down. Mr. Baker rushed into the house, where 
he and his mother, Mrs Jones, were soon prostrate in 
death. His wife, with her two children, of four and 
six years, had fled to the cellar, and so escaped. The 
sight of blood infuriated their demon thirst, and hastily 
they return to Mr. Jones', break down the dooi which 
the young girl had fastened, and killing her, spared 
the child, which the next day is found lying in the 
blood of the slain, which is in coagulated pools on the 
floor. 

As soon as satisfied it was safe to do so, Mrs. Web 
ster and Mrs. Baker come from their concealment 
and, almost paralyzed with horror, survey the dreadful 



32 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

scene. The life-blood of Mr. W. had not yet ceased 
its flow, and an hour afterwards he dies in the arms of 
his heart-stricken wife. It was no time for communion 
with grief, but prompt and decisive action. With feel 
ings akin to joy, they call to a white man then passing. 
He stands in the doorway when, with speechless lips 
and bursting hearts, they point to their dead. With 
a demoniac srnile he says, "0, they've got the nose 
bleed," and turned to go. "But you will not leave us 
alone with these dead bodies," agonizingly pleaded the 
women. 

"They're doing well," was the reply of the heartless 
wretch, and then he followed in the wake of the In 
dians. 

Various were the conjectures as to who this inhu 
man monster might be, some of the more charitable 
believing him insane. Not so in the neighborhood 
where the tragic scene transpired. By those, he was 
believed to be in league with the enactors, and inciting 
to the bloody deeds. 

Three miles away was an intelligent Swede settle 
ment, and thither these women and helpless children 
wend their lonely way. The sun had sank to rest, ere 
with sickned hearts and weary feet they are welcomed at 
a friendly abode friendly, though the spoken language 
of each is not understood by the other. The Indians 
had been seen ; yea, a fine span of horses had been 
mounted and rode off by two of them. Then the in 
telligent signs ; the grief-marked faces, and the blood- 
bedabbled dresses told the awful tale. Before mid- 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 33 

night, the whole settlement was aroused and their 
course determined. 

On the following morning, some two hundred in all, 
every man armed, went out to bury their murdered 
friends. Mr. Jones, whom the women had supposed 
instantly killed, and was concealed from their view by 
an outbuilding, had evidently had a severe grapple 
with death, deep holes having been dug in his strug 
gles by his hands and feet Already the bodies had 
become very offensive, and pools of clotted blood were 
all over the floor of the house. The burial party was 
fired on by the Indians before the hasty rites were 
finished ; a ball passing through the hat of one, which 
was returned with even less effect, save in causing 
them to mount their stolen steeds and fly to the covert 
of the woods. 

That was an anxious, restless night, for those about 
to abandon their homes for safety. Guards were sta 
tioned around the house where the women and chil 
dren were gathered, while the main body of men were 
preparing to depart on the morrow. In that vast train 
of sixty teams was one bright Swede girl, who was 
afterward employed as a domestic in the home of the 
writer. From her the minutiae of these facts were 
obtained. All was smiling with plenty and homes 
were becoming attractive, when the rude touch of sav 
age hands passed over them, and subsequently wrote 
desolation on all. Change, how sudden, had come over 
their earthly hopes ! Blight how unexpected had fallen 
on their prospects ! As they wind over the prairie, 



84 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

both ear and eye are alert, lest an ambushed or grass 
hidden foe lurks with deadly aim ; but safely they are 
guided to a haven of rest, where present dangers are 
past. The smitten hearts find sympathizing friends ; 
but no kindness can efface the memory of that Sabbath 
day, when, powerless to save, their loved ones lay dead 
before them. During that day's trial and those which 
followed, these women evinced rare good sense and 
genuine intelligence, impressing those who conversed 
with them, of their worth and virtues. 




LITTLE CHOW. 
( The Bloody Chief. ) 



CHAPTER IV. 

THE COUNCIL FIRE. 

The purpose of Little Crow, chief of the Lower 
Annuity Indians, was to strike a strong, decisive blow 
at the Lower Agency as soon as "paid off," before the 
whites had scattered to their homes, and this to be 
followed up by extermination and a repossession of the 
entire State. 

A premature and unbidden blow had been struck 
at Acton, and with lightning speed some of the fiend 
ish perpetrators hastened on their stolen steeds to Eed 
"Wood, or Lower Agency, twelve miles above Fort 
Ridgley and at midnight, stand before their chief, 
exhibiting their blood-stained hands, and recounting in 
fiendish triumph, the deeds of the day, and urging an 
immediate onslaught on the whites. For well they 
knew the consequences if they were given up to re 
ceive justice at the hands of a proper tribunal if 
withheld, war, they urged, was inevitable. 

Little Crow had, in several trips to "Washington, and 
otherwise, picked up some knowledge of the world, 
and the nation's power, and he knew well the element 
with which he had to contend. He had so far adopted 
the customs of the whites as to wear their apparel, live 
in a brick house, sleep in a bed, eat at table and drink 
all the whisky he could get. Being an adept in craft, 



38 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

he hesitates, though his heart thirsts for blood, and he 
covets the rewards of the white man's industry. But 
there is much at stake. "Wait till paid off," he said, and 
then the work should begin. Still, if his young men 
were going to fight, even now, he coveted the glory of 
leadership, they could have their own way. 

Here let us say that the name by which this bloody 
Chief is known, is only a nickname, which descended 
to him from his grandfather, who received it from 
wearing a crow's skin upon his breast. His true name 
is Tah-o-ah-ta-doo-ta, meaning "his scarlet people." 
The band he governed was known as the Lightfoot 
Band. 

The longer that council fire burned, the higher and 
brighter rose the flame, and the more determined grew 
the spirit emitted by the lightning flashes of their eyes. 
They urged that the whites, all but the old men and 
boys, had "gone to the war," and that these, with the 
women and children, could be easily exterminated. 
Now was the time for the work of death to begin, 
to avenge their wrongs. 

Here let us pause and investigate those wrongs. 
Personal wrongs there may be, but national wrongs in 
relation to them we fail to see. Sloth is their own 
worst and most powerful enemy. Like the care of a 
provident parent for the children of his love, is the 
government provision to render them useful and happy. 
To encourage civilization among them, it has used 
every means that money or influence could induce. 
To every Indian who will lay aside his blanket, cut off 



DAKOTA WAK WHOOP. 39 

his hair, and put on white man's apparel, is accorded, 
in addition to his annuities, a farm of eighty acres, pre 
pared and stocked, and farming implements provided ; 
on this a house is built and furnished, and medical 
attendance guaranteed. In addition to this, he receives 
a percentage on every rod of fence built, on every bush 
el of grain or potatoes raised, and for every acre of 
new land cultivated, with full ownership of the same, 
so long as he continues to occupy it, or follow indus 
trial pursuits. How would the souls of poor white 
men expand with ambition, was the same kindly gov 
ernmental care extended to them ! There would be far 
less poverty and wretchedness in our large cities than 
now. But in the main, the Indians prefer their own 
mode of life, and despise the one who thus sells his 
tribal birthright (his blanket,) and goes to work like a 
white man. Some, however, have done it, in spite of 
the disgrace, as many small but comfortable brick 
houses at Red Wood and elsewhere will testify. This, 
however, is the exception, not the rule. More generally, 
you will find their chivalrous spirit manifested in loung 
ing and smoking, while the women perform all the 
labor, except fighting and eating. 

The decision was made. The remainder of the 
night, while the populace slept in security, was spent 
in preparations for action. Before dawn, the spirit 
was deeply imbibed by all, with few exceptions, and 
the murderous weapon was clutched with a despera 
tion which even their blood-thirsty souls had never be 
fore known. They were eager for the onset. 



40 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

The signal for general attack was to be the firing of 
a gun by the store where waved the American flag, 
when the assailants, previously divided into squads 
and stationed at every house, would each discharge a 
volley, and the people, rushing from their houses to 
learn the cause, would become an easy prey. Thus it 
was settled, and thus eating and drinking, they wait 
and watch for the first glimmerings of day. 

It will be remembered that the Lower Annuity 
Indians all resided at or near the Lower Agency, and 
a day was sufficient to bring them all together to pay 
ment, whenever the gold and goods should arrive. 
These for all time, they were now willing to exchange 
for the booty they would obtain, and the glory of 
wearing a scalp feather. 



CHAPTER V. 

THE OUTBKEAK AT BED WOOD. 

That Monday morning of August 18th, 1862, dawned 
clear and mild, all nature seemed radiant with life and 
hope, and more like a festive bridal morn than the en 
acting of the dark plottings of the night. 

Their plan was admirably carried out, and had blood 
alone been their intent, not one would have escaped 
to tell the tale. The people, as they had presumed, 
rushed to the doors to ascertain the cause of the strange 
alarm, with no apprehension of evil. Men were indis 
criminately shot down, hatchets were buried in the 
heads of women and children, or they were dragged 
off into captivity, a fate far worse. Soon arose the 
smoke of burning buildings and the shrieks and 
groans of the sufferers, as the tomahawk cleft their 
bones and chopped their flesh in pieces, was terrific, 
beyond the power of pen to describe. There were 
women and children imploring mercy at the hand 
where there was none, from those whom their own 
hands had fed, and their own houses, now in flames, 
had often sheltered from the pitiless rain and cold, 
now as reckless of all as the weapon which seeks 
the brain. O the horrors of that one first hour ! One 
has very truthfully said, that these barbarities could 



42 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

"not have been exceeded, had all hell been turned 
loose, with no opposition or restraint." 

So paralyzed were the people, tha^ strange to say, 
not a gun was fired, not a hand was raised in defense, 
and such unlocked for success seemed but to madden 
their rage into more violent fury. 

The first victim was James W. Lynde, son of an 
eminent Baptist minister of Covington, Kentucky. 
He was a single man, thoroughly cultivated in all the 
physical, social, intellectual and refined elements of 
manhood. His soul- absorbing love of nature led him 
where he could revel amid her beauties, and worship 
amid her smiles. His passion for music and the muses 
he had highly and extensively cultivated. He had 
held the position of editor of the "HENDERSON DEMO 
CRAT," had served with acceptance as State Senator, 
and held many other offices of trust in his adopted 
State. As they had predicted, he with others stepped 
to the door to learn the cause of the tumult, when he 
was made a target for seven balls, and fell dead. 

Andrew My rick, formerly of Westport, N. Y., when 
the first gun was fired, ran up stairs, where for a long 
time he lay concealed under a dry goods box. The 
Indians, with all their daring, are arrant cowards, and 
no one dare to be the first one up for fear of being a 
victim to whatever death weapon he might have. To 
bring him down, they in a loud voice proposed to fire 
the store, when he climbed through the scuttle to the 
roof, let himself down by the lightning rod to the roof of 
a low addition, and from thence j uniped to the ground 



DAKOTA WAK WHOOP. 43 

and ran toward the brush, where, had he not been seen, 
he might have been safe. Unfortunately, it was other 
wise, and a shower of arrows pierced him through. 
He was then dragged back to the store, and his face in 
dignantly pelted with the gold coin they had found in 
his safe, while the vilest imprecations fell from their lips. 
The burying party of Birch Coolie notoriety, of whom 
more anon, found his body and buried it, so marking 
his grave that his brother had him afterward removed 
to St. Paul. 

William Bourat was clerk in the store, and on being 
wounded, rushed up stairs with another, whose history 
demands a separate chapter, securely fastened the trap 
door and prepared for their fate. With a wild whoop 
of triumph, the Indians had rushed in and taken pos 
session of the store, and while distributing the goods, 
were concocting their plans to dispatch these hapless 
victims, and then burn the building. Bourat hearing 
this, determined to make a bold dash for his life, 
wounded and bleeding as he was, rushed down stairs 
and through the crowd, clamorous in securing their plun 
der, and passed out in safety. When two hundred 
yards from the building, he received a heavy charge 
of duck shot in the side, and another in his leg, which 
brought him to the ground. Nor had this satisfied 
the savage thirst. His clothing was stripped from him, 
and then he was piled with logs to prevent escape, till 
they could return and "cut him up," as they talked 
among themselves. What a moment was that ! To do 
or die, was the only alternative. None could look to 



44 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

a comrade for aid, and few knew the fate of their 
friends. He must save himself if saved, and by su 
perhuman effort. he removed the logs and went on the 
way rejoicing in his own escape. 

Doct. Humphrey, Government physician, had fallen 
in death, at his own door, which he had turned to enter, 
when his house, in which his wife and children were 
fastened, was set on fire, and she and her three 
little girls were burned in it. Several weeks after, 
their charred and blackened remains were found in the 
cellar, and with the decayed and mutilated body of 
her husband, decently buried. A little boy of this 
family, eleven years old, escaped from the burning 
building to the woods, across the river, where he re 
mained concealed till the arrival of troops, when he 
"fell in," and stood in the thickest of the fight, while 
the unequal contest raged, and was by them protected 
till conveyed to friends in St. Paul, the sad-hearted 
lone remnant of an unbroken happy family of the 
previous day. 

Such was the surprise of the whites, that they were 
as nearly paralyzed with wonder as alarm. Some mis 
take, thought they, and in some instances, actually gazed 
at the elevated rifle, threatening to send a bullet to the 
heart But in less time than I am writing, the true in 
tent was evinced by bloody reality. Many had come 
out with half made toilets, some of whom were shot 
down, and others barely escaped with their lives, having 
no time to return for more clothing. What a scene ! 
burning dwellings, dead men strewing every yard, and 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 45 

forbidding entrance to every door, women butchered 
or dragged into captivity, children screaming, till their 
brains are dashed out against a tree,. or the butt of a 
rifle, and all so sudden, so unlooked-for ! My God, is 
there vengeance in heaven ! 

With demoniac yells, they seize upon every treasure. 
Goods are recklessly trodden down, money safes broken 
open and the contents divided, and a scene of such car 
nage and plunder, modern history does not record. 
When the sun arose, the smoke of burning buildings 
darkened its rays, and the earth was drinking the blood 
of the slain. 



CHAPTER VI. 

THE SLAUGHTER. 

A few had. escaped by the ferry, and, the Indians 
well knew, would carry the news of their dreadful work 
to the Fort, and that retributive justice was sure to fol 
low. To retard this, they secure the ferry-boat, kill the 
ferryman, disembowel him, chop off his head, hands and 
feet, which they insert in the cavity, and then dance 
around him, in hellish triumph, at what their own hands 
had done, and their own savage hearts devised. 

In some instances, after the first excitement of the 
onslaught, persons met their death by slow torture. A 
boy, in trying to escape, was overhauled, stripped to 
the skin, and then pierced with sticks and knives, as he 
was driven along, they in the meantime mimicking his 
agonies, hooting and laughing at him till death ended 
his sufferings. 

One man leaped from the window of the mill, which 
they set on fire, to the river, not soon enough, how-' 
ever, to prevent their well-aimed balls from entering 
his breast. With more than mortal energy, he swam 
the river, and was scarcely alive when he reached the 
opposite shore. For four days, without food, he drag 
ged himself round in swamps and grass more dead than 
alive, and was at last found by a party of refugees, 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 47 

sixty-five miles from his starting point, and by them 
taken to a place of security. 

Women were tortured in every imaginable manner. 
Some, with infants in their arms, had their breasts cut 
off, others their toes, and some were hamstrung and 
dragged over the prairie till torn and mangled ; from 
that alone they died Those who escaped, spread the 
alarm. The people seemed paralyzed to all but per 
sonal safety, and fled precipitately, not knowing whith 
er they went. In one instance, several families, not far 
away from home, had congregated in consultation as -to 
their course, when they were overtaken by the Indians, 
at the head of whom was "Cut Nose," one of whom it 
might emphatically be said, "Ye are of your father, 
the devil, and his works ye do." The first volley kill 
ed the few men, which, the women and children seeing, 
in their defenseless state, huddled more closely togeth 
er in the wagons, and bending low their heads, drew 
their shawls tightly over them. Two of the fiends 
held the horses while Cut Nose jumped into a wagon, 
containing eleven, and deliberately cleft the head of 
each, while, stupefied with horror, and powerless from 
fright, each awaited their turn, knowing the tomahawk 
would soon also tear through their flesh and bones, in 
like manner. Then kicking these butchered victims 
from the wagon, they filled it with plunder from the 
burning, houses, leaving them a prey to vultures and 
ravenous wolves. 

Forcing an infant from its mother's arms, with the 
bolt of a wagon they fastened it to a tree, and holding 



48 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

the mother before it, compelled her to witness its dying 
agonies. They then chopped off her legs and arms, 
and left her to bleed to death. And thus they butch 
ered twenty -five, within an area of as many rods. 

To serve their base passions, some of the younger 
women were saved alive, while perhaps the parents 
were cut down before their eyes. 

One family, who lived a few miles out, consisting of 
the parents, son and daughter, fled from the back door, 
as the murderers appeared at the front door. The 
father fired the first gun that had been raised against 
them, but before he could re-load, with fiendish yells 
the savages sprang upon them. The father, mother 
and son fell dead, and the daughter, with genuine tact, 
fell to the ground, holding her breath and feigning 
death. The monsters, after hacking and mutilating the 
quivering flesh of the others, seized her feet to drag 
her off unconsciously, she attempted to adjust her 
dress which these barbarians seeing, stopped short, 
and sparing her life for viler purposes, sent her back 
to swell the company of hapless captives. 

On the route between Yellow Medicine and Eed 
Wood, George H. Gleason, Agency Clerk, having in 
charge Mrs. Wakefield and two children, was surprised 
by a party of these Ked Wood murderers, who now 
were ravaging the country in every direction, and mad 
dened by every fresh taste of blood, were still dealing 
death and captivity to all in their way. Gleason was 
a favorite with all, and they had never received aught 
but kindness from his hands. But that did not save 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 49 

him. A bullet quick went to his heart. His person 
was searched, valuable papers scattered to the four 
winds, and he left, stripped nearly to the skin, while 
Mrs. Wakefield and her children were carried into cap 
tivity, there to remain until the time of the great re 
lease had come. 



CHAPTER VII. 

GEORGE H. SPENCER. 

The subject of this chapter, who has furnished much 
material for, and will play a conspicuous part in the 
tragedy announced, came to St. Paul in the early dawn 
of manhood, while yet the thriving young city was 
struggling in swaddling bands. West of the Missis 
sippi river, the Sioux title was not yet extinct. Their 
villages and encampments were in close proximity to 
town, and numbers of them were daily parading the 
the streets, visiting the stores to trade, and the houses 
to beg. 

Young Spencer, as clerk, found a knowledge of their 
language quite essential to success in business. Devo 
ting half of the night to study, and being a persever 
ing scholar and good linguist, he soon acquired a per 
fect knowledge of the Dakota language. This made 
him a favorite, and some strong personal friendships 
were formed with some of the most deserving of the 
tribe. 

The study which our hero most loved was the starry 
heavens. Watching the planets as they rose, tracing 
the stars in constellation, and the comets, till they 
moved off in unknown space, he, in nature's observa 
tory, would be lost to all else, save in adoration of Him 
who made them all, till his garments were drenched 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 51 

with the dews of night. To perfect himself in the 
glorious study of Astronomy, was the one absorbing 
desire of his life. And to facilitate this, was the main in 
ducement for forming a co-partnership with Wm. II. 
Forbes, which would isolate him in the heart of the 
Indian country for the five succeeding years. The 
lumber which entered into the construction of his store, 
was drawn more than two hundred miles, and none 
could be obtained nearer. 

Goods were readily converted into furs, and these 
into gold, which poured into the coffers of the firm like 
rain from full clouds. True, the life of Spencer was in 
jeopardy, or, to use his own words, he was obliged to 
"risk his scalp" in carrying out his designs ; for though 
he had many professed friends among them, those who 
sought his advice, and offered to him their daughters 
for wives, which he rejected with a firmness they could 
but respect, yet he well knew there was many a secret 
lurking foe, who would not hesitate to do him any 
amount of eviL 

Once his store was fired in the night time, when, but 
for timely notice by his Argus-eyed friends, he and all 
his goods would have been consumed 

Another time, his store had, all the evening, been 
filled with those who came for trade or gossip, when, at 
a late hour, he drank from a pail of water, to which all 
had had free access. An unusual taste excited his sus 
picion, in test of which he gave some to a cat, which 
died in violent convulsions, in less than a minute. In 
vestigation proved the presence of strychnine. His 



52 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

heavy moustache had collected the poison, and thus 
saved his life. Those more honorable than their fel 
lows, tried, in both of these instances, to find out the 
guilty, but investigation was a failure. He had learned 
thereby a lesson of caution, and that, as a race, the 
Sioux were worthy of little confidence. 

Mr. Spencer was en route to visit his host of St. Paul 
friends, where he held membership in the First Baptist 
Church, and stopped to spend the Sabbath at the 
Agency. He was at the store of his partner when the 
attack was made, and thinking there must be some 
mistake in what he saw, was looking on in perfect won 
der, till recalled by the power of three convincing bul 
lets. But as Mr. Spencer still lives, after being forty 
days regarded as dead, we shall let him tell his own 
story, simply adding, that this Chapter was commenced 
as a biography when there was scarcely a hope of his 
being alive. That he was shot, and said he must die, 
was all that his escaped friend knew of him or his fate. 
But there was "joy in that city," when it was told that 
he lived, was safe with his Indian friend, who designed 
to restore him to his white friends, as soon as safe to 
do so. 

The engraving represents him in the dress in which 
he was taken captive, the bullet holes being distinctly 
seen. While a captive, he was, as all others, obliged 
to wear the Indian costume, but his clothes, watch, dia 
mond pin and ring, together with his money, were care 
fully kept, by his Indian friend, and returned to him 
on his release. 








X/x 




CHAPTER Ylii. 

CAPTIVITY AND RELEASE OF GEORGE H. SPENCER, AS 
GIVEN BY HIMSELF. 

"Upon Monday morning, August 18th, 1862, the 
dissatisfaction which had long been manifested by the 
Mile-na-kan-toan and Wah-pe-ku-te bands of the Sioux 
Indians, reached the culminating point, and inaugura 
ted one of the most horrible massacres of which we 
have any record. 

"About six o'clock in the morning, the inhabitants 
of the Agency were, as usual, pursuing their customary 
avocations, little dreaming that that bright and beauti 
ful sun which was diffusing its genial rays over the 
earth, had risen for the last time upon them, and that 
when he should have performed his daily journey, and 
returned to his resting place at eve, their mutilated and 
mangled remains would be left food for the vultures, 
and their unprepared souls summoned into the pres 
ence of their Creator. 

"I had arrived in the place on Saturday evening, the 
16th. On Sunday evening, the 17th, I attended the 
Eev. Mr. Hinman's Church, where I heard a very fine 
and appropriate sermon. Had the Kev. gentleman 
known that the events which transpired on the following 
morning were to have taken place, he could not have 
preached a more appropriate sermon for the occasion. 

"On Monday morning, about six o'clock, on going 



56 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

to the door, I noticed an unusual number of Indians 
coming down the road into the village, all armed and 
naked, except the breech-clotk I knew it was a war 
party, and upon arriving in the village, they divided 
into small parties, and stationed themselves around 
every building in the place, and upon inquiring of those 
around our building (the store of Wm. H. Forbes) 
what the matter was, I was told that some of the 
enemy were seen near by, and that they were going to 
attack them. Supposing they meant Chippewas, I 
thought no more about the matter. Presently, how 
ever, I heard the firing of guns, and hideous yelling 
outside, when I rushed to the door, with five or six oth 
ers, and just had time to see that the trading house of 
Messrs. My rick & Co., had been attacked by them, and 
that they were firing into it, when a volley was dis 
charged at us. Four men fell dead, and I received 
three balls, one through my right arm, another struck 
me in the right breast, and the third in the stomach. 
One white man, William Bourat, and a half-breed boy, 
were not hit. I did not fall, and with these two, rushed 
up stairs. Upon reaching the foot of the stairs, I turn 
ed to see if they were following, when I saw the store 
was filling with Indians, and one had followed me to 
the stairs, where, placing his double-barrel gun almost 
against my body, endeavored to shoot me, but, provi 
dentially, both barrels missed fire, and I succeeded in 
reaching the upper story, without further injury.* 

*This Indian, so intent on the life of Spencer, was one whom, with his family, 
he had kept, two winters, from starvation ; in short, had been his most available 
friend. Such is the Indian's gratitude. 



DAKOTA WAK WHOOP. 57 

"After being up stairs a short time, the half-breed, 
looking through the window, saw an Indian, to whom 
he called. The Indian told him to come down, and he 
should not be. hurt; he thereupon opened the door and 
went down. 

"It was a trap door, secured by two or three boxes 
of guns, making it quite impossible for the Indians to 
open from below. 

"Bourat also gave himself into their hands, and after 
getting outside of the house, perceiving a good oppor 
tunity, started, and ran for life. The Indians fired 
upon him, and two charges of duck-shot struck him 
in the side and hips. 

"He fell, and feigned death. Some of them then 
threw some sticks of wood upon him, but he never 
moved, and they, supposing him to be dead, left him, 
saying they would come back and cut him up, when 
their other ^srork was done. After a while, seeing the 
coast clear, he succeeded in making his escape. 

"The half-breed,* through fear, I am inclined to 
think, joined the Indians in some of their raids, and 
confessed to having killed a white woman. He was 
among those who surrendered themselves to Gen. Sib- 
ley's command, and was convicted and executed at 
Mankato, with the others. 

"Being thus left alone up stairs, and my wounds be 
coming painful, I threw myself upon a bed, expecting, 
if I did not very soon die, that the Indians would come 



* His name was Paulito Osier, once a pupil of the writer, and by her taught tho 
first rudiments of education. lie was now a clerk in Forbes' store. 



58 DAKOTA WAK WHOOP. 

up and dispatch, me. While lying there, I could hear 
distinctly, all that was going on below. 

"I soon learned, from their conversation, that they 
were afraid to follow me up stairs, as they had the im 
pression that I was standing at the head of the stairs, 
with a gun. There were four cases of double barreled 
shot guns, and one case of rifles, in the upper story, of 
which they were aware. They proceeded to open the 
boxes and bales of goods and to carry them out They 
appeared very anxious to get at the guns, but would 
not come up, each one fearing to be the first one up, as 
they supposed he would be shot. They talked of firing 
the building. Fearing this, I arose quietly, and took 
off my shoes, and took a bed-cord and attached one end 
to the bed-post, and carried the other end to one of the 
windows, which I raised. I thought if they did apply 
the torch, I would lower myself to the ground and take 
the chances of being shot again, rather than to be burnt 
to death. About this time, an Indian called out to me, 
from below, to come down, that I should not be hurt, 
or, as he expressed it, 'you shall live.' I went to the 
door, but not recognizing him, refused to go down. I 
had been in tight places before, among the Indians of 
the plains, but a kind providence had always watched 
over me, and delivered me safely, and I now put my 
trust in that same Power, to deliver me from this most 
dangerous situation. 

"Thus matters stood, and things began to look des 
perate, when I heard a well known, and to me, most 
welcome voice, shouting my name from below. I rec- 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 59 

ognized the voice at once, and hastened to the door, 
and called him up. I was saved for the present, at any 
rate. It was the voice of my Indian comrade, Wa-kin- 
yan-tu-wa, (Chaska.) We had been intimate friends 
and comrades for the past ten years, and he happened 
to hear that I was wounded, but still living, and hast 
ened to where I was, to save me, if possible. When 
he came up, several others followed him, some of whom 
took me by the hand, and appeared to be very sorry 
that I had been hurt. My friend asked me 'if I was 
badly hurt, and if I thought I would die.' I replied, I 
did not know, but that my wounds were very painful 
He then said that he would take me home with him, 
and cure me, if he could, and if I died, he would bury 
me like a white man. 

"He then assisted me in getting down stairs, when 
several Indians cried out, 'kill him ! kill him ! show 
mercy to none! spare no American!' &c., when my 
friend, who was unarmed, seized a hatchet that was 
lying near by, and declared that he would cut down the 
first one who tried to do me any further injury. Wa- 
kin-yan-tu-wa had always been noted for his bravery 
on the war-path against the Chippewas, and they knew 
that he was not to be trifled with. Said he, 'this is my 
friend and comrade ; we have been comrades for ten 
years, and if you had killed him before I got here, of 
course I could have said nothing, but now that I have 
seen him, I will protect him or die with him. 

"They then suffered him to pass out After getting 
out of the house, he gave me in charge of a couple of 



60 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

squaws, and told them to take care of me while he got 
a wagon to carry me home. His lodge was about four 
miles above, at Little Crow's village. After putting me 
in the wagon, he ordered the squaws to take me home, 
saying that he would be along in a few minutes. We 
were stopped on the way three or four times, by armed 
Indians, on horse-back, who would ride up to the wagon, 
and demand 'what that meant.'* Upon being told, by 
the squaws, that 'this is Wa-kin-yan-tu-wa's friend, and 
he has saved his life,' we were allowed to pass on, and 
reached the lodge in safety. 

"My friend soon came home with some roots, with 
which, after washing me, he dressed my wounds, which 
were, by this time, exceedingly painful. Several of the 
Indians came in to see me, and to talk over their 
wrongs, (?) &c., and the reasons why they had declared 
war. 

"Little Crow, with whom I had been personally ac 
quainted for many years, came in to see me frequently, 
and assured me that I need have no fears, that I should 
be well treated, and thought that I could be very use 
ful to him as soon as I recovered from my wounds. 
This professed friendship, however, did not last long, 
for my friend utterly refused to join in the war against 
the whites Little Crow attributed it to my influence 
over him and they frequently quarreled in regard 
to the disposition that was to be made of me." 

* This was the first adult male captive whose life was saved, and the only one. 



CHAPTER IX. 

U. S. TKOOPS CUT TO PIECES. 

At the time of the outbreak, only eighty men, all told, 
garrisoned Fort Ridgley, which was distant from Eed 
Wood twelve miles. At nine o'clock, the first breath 
less refugee had told them of the awful slaughter, and 
one-half of the command, with Capt. Marsh, post com 
mander, were hastily moving toward the scene of car 
nage. 

At noon, they approach the ferry, but all is as quiet 
as death, with which they are surrounded. Not a red 
skin is to be seen. The ferry boat is on the other side, 
and the ferryman killed. There is no means of cross 
ing the river, and they wait in consultation, and doubt 
how to proceed. The ambushed Indians, all stained 
with blood of the slain, see their dilemma, and lose no 
time in wily movements to surround them. Crawling 
through grass and bushes to a bend above, they get 
across the river in canoes, and by moving unperceived 
by the troops, till sending one forward with instructions 
to detain them in friendly conversation through In 
terpreter Quinn, whom they beckoned to their aid till 
the adroit manoeuvre is successful. Then a galling, a 
terrible fire is poured upon them from both sides of 
the river. In panic they broke and run, but twenty- 
six of their number fell, to rise no more. Capt. Marsh, 
Ct 



62 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

a brave man, but bewildered by the unexpected on 
slaught, rushed into the river, sword and pistol in hand, 
as his only means of escape. Whether his death was 
occasioned by an enemy's ball or by drowning, is 
not known. He was carried down by the current, and 
one month later was found among driftwood, one mile 
below, his body in a remarkable state of preservation. 
He had been stripped of his coat and sword, which 
had been worn and flourished by the defiant savage, as 
testified by Spencer. 

The remnant of the command, fourteen in number, 
reached the Fort by different routes during the day, 
where the wildest alarm now reigned. Eefugees, 
many of whom were wounded, and all torn, worn and 
weary had come in, to the number of five hundred. 
The stock of ammunition was small ; their leader dead, 
and only thirty men capable of bearing arms. What 
was to be done in case of attack, which might come, 
any moment ? It was a question to be tested ! He 
who "is stronger than the strong man armed," taught 
them, most emphatically, in the lessons which follow 
ed "that the race is not the swift nor the battle to 
the strong." 

With the other events of the day to be chronicled, was 
the arrival of the long-delayed annuities, but for the 
delay of which, the trouble would have been postponed 
or prevented. It is but personal justice, however, to say, 
that the delay was unavoidable, "the powers that be" 
having had much trouble in purchasing the gold, for 
such was the treaty stipulation, and with no other funds 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 63 

would they be satisfied. This having been forfeited, 
their treaty, annulled by their own base hands, it is 
needless to say, never went to the Agency. 

The reader will recollect, that some two weeks pre 
vious to the general outbreak, Lieut. Sheehan, with 
one hundred men, had been ordered to Yellow Medi 
cine, that their armed presence might awe into quiet, 
the hordes of Indians awaiting "payment." From 
thence he had been ordered to attend Commissioner 
Dole, in efforts to make a treaty with the Eed Lake 
Indians. So, when the blow was struck, the match 
ignited so soon to produce a conflagration, the glare of 
which would be seen all over the State, yea, and na 
tion, he was forty miles away in rapid march north 
ward 

Orders were dispatched for his return, and his men 
hurried through most of the way on "double quick," 
and providentially arrived at the Fort on Tuesday 
noon, Aug. 19th, having made the distance in 9 1-2 
hours. The command now, by the death of Capt. 
Marsh, devolved on Lieut. Sheehan, and how nobly 
and how well he performed his duty, we shall soon 
see. The mantle of the lamented dead fell not on 
unworthy or unfitting shoulders. 

The morning previous to the outbreak, Maj. Gal- 
braith, government agent, who apprehended no more 
trouble, had left his family and post to raise the com 
pany of Eenville Hangers, had reached the Fort, fifty 
strong. When tidings of the outbreak reached them, 
they were on the way to Fort Snelling, to be mustered 



64 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

into the volunteer service of the general government, 
in response to the first three hundred thousand call. 
Thus in one day was that little handful, unexpected 
ly when hope was well nigh sinking, re-enforced by 
one hundred men, ready for action. Without these, 
the Fort must have fallen, and an unparalleled massa 
cre have ensued. 

For days, Maj. Galbraith continued in the active 
discharge of duty, writhing with intense desire for the 
fate of his family, whom he had little doubt had shared 
in the general massacre. This gave intensity to his 
efforts to meet the foe, and vigor to his arm when the 
siege had commenced. He would avenge their death ! 
He would mete to them the full reward of their doings. 
But, fortunately, these, after many days, were heard 
from. They had made their escape mid dangers thick 
around them, and now the husband and father hears 
of them in St. Paul. 



CHAPTER X. 

YELLOW MEDICINE. 

The settlement at Yellow Medicine is emphatically 
a farming community, the country for miles being laid 
off in eighty acre farms, on which are comfortable 
houses and other buildings. The owners are "farmer 
Indians," and this is the encouragement which govern 
ment gives to all who will adopt the customs and 
habits of the whites. Here at Hazelwood, was the 
Mission station of Rev. Mr. Biggs ; and here, in their 
little chapel, on Sunday, while the Acton tragedy was 
being enacted, was celebrated the supper of our Lord 
and Savior, of which several Indians partook. We 
speak of this here, because these persons, thus remem 
bering Him, were so soon to act an all-important part 
in the temporal salvation of their white neighbors. 

One mile below this point was the Mission house, of 
Rev. Dr. Williamson, of whom the writer has many 
pleasant and almost fraternal remembrances ; and, 
three miles below this, the Agency, with all the gov 
ernment buildings and the dwellings of other citizens. 
Here, the "upper Indians" came, annually to pay 
ment, and here, in addition to those residing here, they 
were now gathered, to the number of several thousand, 
for this purpose. 

Secure, as in months agone, the people had slept 



66 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

that ni.glit, and the morning dawned as others, bright 
and beautiful, full of hope and promise, for there were 
no premonitions of danger. They knew not that all 
day long the council fire in the Dakota encampment, 
the same which, two weeks before, had withdrawn its 
threatening atittude, burned with fearful brilliancy ; 
that their great captain, the Devil, had stirred the de 
moniac spirit in their hearts, till the war-spirit was 
sending its lightning flashes from their eyes, and mad 
dening them for the onset. He had instigated them 
simultaneously to strike the blow of extermination, and 
duped them into the belief that they were fully ade 
quate to the task. Then they should be a great and 
mighty people, like the "big knives" (Americans.) 
Other tribes would see and admit their greatness when 
the tree of prosperity should wave over them, and 
they would have no need of war, for their acknowl 
edged power would forever keep their enemies in awe. 

John Other-Day, the Christian name of one seated in 
that council, was, four years before, a miserable drunken 
Indian ; now his very presence seemed a terror to those 
inclined to evil. What had wrought the change? 
Hear what he saith : "It is the religion of Jesus Christ 
alone ; but for this, I should have been the bloodiest of 
the murderers." Who shall gainsay the power of the 
living vital principle which can so tame the savage 
heart ? 

His dress was now the white man's, and by his side sat 
a white woman, whom he had brought from Washing 
ton to be "the Indian's bride" and the light of his 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 67 

home, which had been transformed from a bark lodge 
to a comfortable brick house. He urged them to heed 
no more the muttering war thunders, but listen to the 
good spirit rapping at their hearts, and patiently await 
their annuities, and then return peaceably to their 
homes, adopt the customs and industrious habits of 
the whites, and the religion which the missionaries 
preached, so would they be prosperous and happy. 
Though he could not prevent, he evidently delayed 
the decision. 

Just as sunset's rosy tints were thrown athwart the 
sky, a horseman, with flashing eye, flowing hair and 
blood-stained blanket, rode up to the council circle. 
Intuitively they understand the message he brings. 
Every determined warrior springs to his feet and clutch 
es his musket. The work of destruction has com 
menced. Eed Wood is a heap of smouldering ruins. 
Other-Day waits to hear no more. Taking his wife by 
the arm, he moves in the direction of the Agency, 
and loses no time in warning all of their danger. 
In obedience to his directions, sixty two persons flee 
to the Agency warehouse, a strong brick building, for 
safety. Around this building, with four others, he 
keeps faithful watch all that anxious night 

Still outside of these, a hostile guard was set, with 
the supposed intent of dispatching them and attacking 
the building, at the moment when came the signal for 
general attack. But the Almighty Kuler thwarted 
their purposes, and permitted these sixty- two persons 
to escape, and saved the populace alive. 



68 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

At the sombre gray of dawn, the sharp crack of 
musketry was heard, followed by loud and triumphant 
yells. The hostile guard yell in fiendish response, and 
run for their share of the booty. The attack was on 
the government stores, and richest spoils awaited those 
soonest on the ground Their preconcerted signal had 
failed, through venal desire. By this bold dash, their 
own hands were greatly strengthened, the hand of re 
sistance weakened. At the two Agencies, during these 
two days, they took some twenty tons of ammunition 
to aid in their deadly work. 

Seeing the coast clear, Other-Day and his party has 
tily prepare for evacuation of their night's quarters. 
The sixty-two persons, with a small amount of pro 
visions, were crowded into live wagons, and before the 
sun had arisen, they had looked their last on their 
pleasant homes and the scenes which association had 
rendered dear. 

From Tuesday morn till Friday noon they wandered 
over the prairie, with little rest for man or beast, when 
they found themselves directly opposite the Lower 
Agency, only thirty eight miles in advance of their 
starting point. They had desired, on crossing the 
river, to take the main road to the Fort, to which 
Other-Day would not listen, and refused to act longer 
as their protector, unless they yielded to his wish. 
Events proved the wisdom of his choice, and the only 
course by which they could have escaped massacre. 

We regard John Other-Day as one having this espe 
cial mission to fulfill, as one whose heart the Lord had 




JOHN OTHER DAY. 
(The Christian Indian.) 



DAKOTA WAK WHOOP. 71 

prepared to act this very part in the bloody drama. A 
full week had passed before all were safely housed 
with friends at various points at the lower settlements, 
truly grateful for their escape, and anxious for the fu 
ture. 

Mr. Grarvie, a pioneer and for several years a trader 
at Yellow Medicine, inclined not to credence of the 
reports brought to him at an early hour, and at all 
events resolved to stay and defend his property to the 
last ; but before many hours, he found reality in the 
alarm, and all night vigorously defended himself and 
his barricaded building. He listened not to their fre 
quent calls to surrender, and was finally hit by a ball 
fired in at a window. He escaped from the rear of 
the building and reached the warehouse, about a half 
a mile distant, where Other-Day and his party were 
convened. His wounds aroused them to a keener 
sense of their danger. Before the terminus of their 
eventful journey, the sufferings of Mr. Garvie became 
so great they were obliged to leave him in the care of 
a friend, wliere death soon came to his release. 



CHAPTER XL 

THE FAMILY OF AN OLD SETTLER TAKEN CAPTIVES. 

Joseph R Brown was one of the earliest adven 
turers in the then undefined limits of Minnesota, He 
has acted a conspicuous part in the various settlements, 
and, understanding the language perfectly, had often 
been an important agent in the adjustment of Sioux 
matters. His wife is a full-blood Sioux, whose mother 
still lives with her tribe. His present residence is a 
few miles below Yellow Medicine, and his family, at 
the time of the outbreak, numbered fourteen. Most of 
his children had been pupils of the writer when he re 
sided in St. Paul, and therefore it was with no ordinary 
emotion that we received tidings of the massacre of 
the entire family. Mr. Brown himself, returning from 
the East, read the same in a St Paul daily, while on 
board a steamer, and knew not to the contrary, till in 
the vicinity, he learned instead they were captives in 
savage hands. 

On Monday, the 18th, Miss Ellen Brown went to 
see her grandmother at Yellow Medicine, and was by 
her informed and warned of the bloody intent. She 
returned home in alarm, but the family discredited it, 
to find it too sure on the following morning. It was 
earnest and hasty work then. Two teams were got 
ready, and they started for the Fort. Angus Brown, 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 73 

Jharles Blair, his brother-in-law, and hired man, re 
mained to see the way things were going, and follow 
on horseback. They were joined by two men who had 
crossed the river and come upon them unawares. Ap 
prehensive that the enemy might approach them in the 
same way, they turned the cattle loose and started on 
after the family. Blair rode ahead, and overtook them at 
Patterson's Rapids, where they were prisoners in the 
hands of about twenty Indians. This savage party 
averred they had as yet shed no blood, and did not 
wish to begin there, as all of these, except Mr. Blair, 
were allied to them by blood. They shook hands 
with him in a mock friendly manner, ordered him to 
dismount, appropriating his horse to their own use. 
The balance of the equestrian party, re-enforced by 
other refugees, were also taken prisoners, and from some 
strange freak the men allowed to go on with the rigid 
injunction "to speak to no one on the way" the first 
instance where men in their power were left unharmed, 
which was owing to Sioux blood. 

As the captive party proceed, half bewildered by 
the rapidly occurring events, and half doubting the 
reality of their experience, they are startled to its full 
consciousness by the sight of three dead mangled bod 
ies. They, too, might be awaiting a like fate ! 

After various erratic movements on the part of their 
captors, they were taken to the top of Red Wood hill, 
and there compelled to listen to a discussion as to the 
disposition to be made of them. An old Indian woman, 
seeing their danger and desirous to save them, got off the 



74 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

Browns, by secret manoeuvre, to Little Crow's village, 
and into an upper room of the chiefs house. 

Here they remained, trembling with apprehension, 
till a late hour in the evening, when Little Crow him 
self came up, and kindly shook hands with all. Evi 
dently, on his part, there was no hostile design. But 
he shook his head when Mrs. Brown spoke of ransom, 
and would not listen to it or encourage the hope. 

He, however, assured them, they should all, except 
Blair, be safe from hostile hands, but refused to insin 
uate his destiny. He evidently wished his escape, and 
it was to facilitate this that he blew out the light be 
fore going down stairs. Little Crow went off into the 
village, and a young Indian soon came whom he had 
commissioned to aid Blair in escaping. Hasty prepa 
rations followed, which left him "shaven and shorn," 
as well as blackened and blanketed. Several times, 
suspicious ones tried to pull his blanket from his face, 
as he followed his guide through their village. When 
two rods beyond its limits, he was told- to "go," and 
needed not a second bidding. 

That night he went into a marsh, where, for half a 
day, he floundered in the mud, and then lay in the tall 
grass for four days, eating only two crackers, which the- 
old squaw had given him when he left. Whenever he 
raised his head to reconnoitre, he held grass before his 
face an Indian trick, but for which he would have 
been seen, for the woods around were filled with them. 
On the fifth day he crossed the river, keeping under 
cover of a log which he pushed before him, and at 
night reached the Fort in safety. 



CHAPTER XII. 

THE PANIC. 

Despite the unbelief evinced in the "Introduction," 
the reader has seen it was not all a "scare," and a cer 
tain fertility of imagination enabled me to take a 
bird's eye view of the arena of three hundred miles, 
while the heart pulsates with fear for the safety of the 
enactors. 

In every direction are seen men, women and children 
with streaming hair, en dishabille, or garments rent 
and torn, perhaps blood-stained, in wild confusion fly 
ing from the theatre of actual danger. Horsemen, 
frightened out of their wits, are flying through the 
country, giving the alarm, perhaps when there is no 
cause for it, and the people "flee for their lives," as if 
a dozen Indians were at their heels, and their toma 
hawks raised above their heads. Mothers go one way, 
children another, while perhaps the husband and father 
hides himself from sheer fright, or becomes powerless 
for action from the same cause. Some hide in the tall 
prairie grass; some seek the covert of the woods; 
some rush to the river and take to the nearest water 
craft they see, and others fly to the nearest village, to 
find it quite evacuated, and feel themselves compara 
tively safe in the deserted houses they enter. 

One instance we know of, and were assured there were 



76 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

not a few of the same order, where a mother, alone 
with four children, was preparing them for bed, A 
messenger called from without, that "the Indians 
would soon be upon them, and were murdering all in 
their way." The children were almost nude at the 
moment, the mother but little in advance of them and 
barefooted, threw one child over her shoulder, took her 
babe in her arms, bade the others, one on each side, to 
hold to her skirt, and thus, though raining hard, 
she ran eight miles, never laying down her burden or 
stopping for breath, while she saw an Indian on every 
stump, and a blanket in every bush ; and this where 
there was not then an Indian within a hundred miles 
of them. 

I hope my reader will not indulge a smile, audible 
or otherwise, at this panic scene, for "I myself" con 
fess to a feeling akin to this, even though a citizen of 
St. Paul, a hundred miles or more away, though with 
no disposition to run. I wished to see it out, and then 
write it in a book for you to see what we suifered, my 
good friend. I had been over all this arena, and I 
knew the Indian from an acquaintance of fifteen years, 
and I knew no good of him. Now, the least street 
alarm would unseal the eye-lids and bring my nerve- 
quivering body to the window, for the Indians might 
even come here, and so cat-like were their movements, 
that the town might be half destroyed before an alarm 
was sounded ! Many families actually went "below," 
while those from "above" were rushing here for safety. 

Do you remember, reader, of the horrid "scare sto- 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 77 

ries" of the nursery, about the Indians, and of the after 
lessons of our school books, and how the impression 
of terror mixed in the mind with the very name of 
Indian ? You would have run then at the sight of a 
passive Indian, and these impressions were now hav 
ing their fruition of fear. You, no doubt, would have 
done the same. 

But it was not every where thus. Far up the valley, 
the alarm started, and like a wild tornado, it rushed on, 
till every house was filled in all the villages of this so 
lately quiet and beautiful valley ; every strong build 
ing was barricaded, and hastily put in the best possible 
state for defense. Arms and ammunition of all kinds 
were concentrated with all speed, and brave hearts, 
men, yes MEN of will and purpose, resolved to do or 
die. 

Still they come, those worn and weary refugees : 
One mother has dropped her darling infant by the 
wayside, and being hotly pursued, could not stop to 
recover it. A child has seen its parents, perhaps both, 
fall beneath a murderous bullet or tomahawk, and 
barely escape with life. Alas, "there is no more room 
in the inn ;" in many hamlets, every house is an inn, 
and every woman a nurse, and, pitiable to relate, not a 
few are obliged to turn from what would gladly have 
been a friendly shelter to the covert of bushes, and 
the protection of Him who "carries the lambs in his 
bosom," and to the ministrations of those who 

"Walk the. earth unseen, 
Both when we sleep and when we wake." 



78 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

On the more remote boundaries, red lights darted 
athwart the sky in the night time, and dense pillars of 
smoke obscured the sun in the day the light and 
smoke of burning houses and ripened grain-fields. 

As if to add to one night of terrific horror, a storm 
of thunder and lightning, and wind and rain, fell on 
those shelterless ones, so lately in the homes of com 
fort Yivid flashes made the darkness visible, felt 
almost, as in Egypt in the day of the plagues. It is 
no fiction, no fancy sketch, reader, nor was it a single 
instance, but innumerable, that when the heavens 
cleared, when the sun again rose on these roofless 
mothers, it rose, also, for the first time, on a new exist 
ence. A new life, a being of immortal destiny was 
folded in the arms and feebly clasped to the bosom of 
that mother. Yes, during surroundings like the above, 
many a child was born ; many a sad-hearted mother 
prayed the angels would take it before it should know 
sorrow or be left to die from starvation and cruel want, 
or worse, to fall into the hands of the merciless sav 
age. 

Let the plate be adjusted so as to take in the scene 
entire ; let the skillful artist daguerreotype the same in 
an actual life view, would it all be told ? Ah, no ! 
none but the Divine Artist can daguerreotype the 
heart throbs, and mental and physical throes in these ter 
rible days of panic and fright Faithfully registered 
in heaven, it is kept for the wonder and admiration of 
the angels ! Every pang is numbered, "every tear is 
bottled," for the future healing of those suffering 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 79 

hearts, on whom the calamity fell, not in righteous in 
dignation and judgment, as on some. 

True, much of the above described panic occurred 
where there was no immediate or present cause for it ; 
yet it cannot be wondered at Fresh excitement was 
constantly imparted by continual arrivals, as was new 
vigor to the flight by the fears which accumulated at 
every step. With all who participated in the panic, 
the cause to them was real. They suffered equally, in 
mind, with those who were flying from the actual mur 
derous scenes, for such there were, as the reader has 
seen and shall presently see. They believed them to 
follow close in the wake of those who told the tale. 
In short, to be just upon them ; hence, like the snow 
ball gathering bulk and power as it rolls over the in 
clined plain, did this panic-ball roll on, depopulating 
the whole country in its course. 

During that memorable Monday, Aug. 18th, the In 
dians ranged over Brown county, elated with the pre 
vious day's success, carrying death and carnage wher 
ever they went Those who here escaped their mur 
derous hands, rushed to the charming little town of 
New Ulm, and, added to the population, made about 
2,000 souls. 

Gov. Eamsey, in his message to the Legislature, 
soon after convened, says, "Brown county, adjacent to 
the Sioux Keservation, has felt the worst effects of 
this calamity. It was peopled chiefly by Germans, 
and their neat cottages and fine farms gave evidence 
of the superior thrift and industry which distinguish 



80 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

this class of our foreign-born citizens. Driven from 
their homes, their property destroyed or plundered, 
robbed even of their household goods many of them 
mourning wives, husbands, children and parents mur 
dered their beautiful and busy town of New Ulm, 
and their own homes a blackened heap of ruins: 
these poor fugitives, many of whom cannot speak our 
language, are especially deserving our Sympathies." 

"In all probability, not less than 30,000 are involved, 
directly or indirectly, in the loss of life or loss of pro 
perty, from pillage, destruction, or abandonment," and 
the details of each family or individual experience 
would make a volume of thrilling interest 



CHAPTER XIH. 

ATTACK ON NEW ULM. 

Fifteen miles below Kidgley, on the opposite side of 
the Minnesota river, at the mouth of the Cottonwood, 
was the neat little town of New Ulm, containing about 
1,500 inhabitants. Nature had furnished an inviting 
site and been lavish with charms on the surroundings. 
Sad to say, a class of infidel Germans were first at 
tracted by its beauty were first to build here their 
homes. The original proprietors had stipulated that 
no church edifice should ever "disgrace its soil," under 
penalty of returning to the former owners. Thus, 
with no religious restraints, they became strong in 
wickedness, defiant of the restraints of the Gospel, 
and resolved that no minister should be allowed to 
live among them. One they drove from the place, and 
another was annoyed in every possible way. Even 
private Christians could not live in peace. They built 
a dancing hall, and the Sabbaths were spent in drink 
ing and dancing. Wealth had rolled into their cof 
fers, and they said, "our own hands have gotten it." 
As the crowning act of their ungodliness, some of the 
"baser sort" paraded the streets one bright Sabbath 
day, while Heaven was preparing the "vials of wrath" 
at Acton, bearing a mock figure, purporting to repre 
sent our blessed Savior, and labeled with vile and 



82 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

blasphemous mottoes ; and the closing scene of the 
day was burning him in effigy. 

Scarcely had the smoke of their unholy doings 
ceased to rise, as if calling for Heaven's vengeance, 
when, panic-struck, the enactors hide themselves as if 
from the wrath of the Almighty. The pleadings and 
threats of women to protect their homes were alike 
unavailing. New Ulm was doomed. The dance hall 
escaped the general conflagration, where "the wrath of 
man was made to praise Him," in being afterward used 
for worship by the troops stationed there. Yes, He 
who was here so lately derided and crucified afresh, 
was now worshipped and adored. 

Kecruiting for the volunteer service, some of its cit 
izens found, on Monday afternoon, several dead bodies, 
horribly mutilated, a few miles back of town. Hasten 
ing home to give the alarm, this party was fired upon 
by Indians in ambush, some of their number and two 
horses killed. The panic, increased by the constant 
arrival of refugees, who had barely escaped the bullet, 
the knife or tomahawk, became terrible. 

In expectation of an immediate attack, no man for 
the emergency was near. A few there were, brave, 
God-fearing men, who stood firm and unscared, ready 
to confront the danger, with a suitable leader. 

Midway between St. Peter and Traverse, which are 
separated only by a school section, is the mansion of 
Judge Flandrau, forty miles from New Ulm. On Tues 
day morning, while it was yet dark, the Judge was 
aroused by a violent rapping at his door. The start- 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 83 

ling news needed no repetition. Rapid movements en 
sued. Preliminaries were arranged for advanced ac 
tion ; the care of wife and child committed to an invalid 
relative from New York City, with peremptory orders 
to make the best time with a nag whose travelling 
qualities never won him a reputation for "fast," till 
past the line of danger. By noon of that day, his own 
house was closed, and he, with a company of one hun 
dred and fifty men, true as steel, and of the best mettle, 
was ready to march to the "seat of war." 

At four o'clock the same day, the dreaded assailants, 
three hundred strong, besieged the town. The entire 
population were huddled together, in houses, inside of 
two squares, and utterly powerless, from fright, when 
the first volley was fired Fortunately, a party of 
eighteen men had preceded the main body from St 
Peter, but vain were their efforts to rally the panic- 
stricken citizens. The Indians had first fired with long 
range guns, from the top of the table-land, and while 
they were advancing, this brave little body hastily or 
ganized and advanced to meet the skulking foe, who 
were now intrenched behind buildings, pouring their 
murderous volley into the town. The sure aim and 
true steel of these defenders of those who would not 
defend themselves, was made, in turn, to tell, and sev 
eral red skins "bit the dust" in mortal agony. A man 
and woman, running through the street, to seek better 
security, were killed, and these were all who met death 
in this encounter. To increase the panic, and add to 
the horrors of the scene, several buildings were on fire, 



84: DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

some of which were fired by the enemy, and others by 
friends, in order to get a better shot at the foe. 

At six o'clock, Judge Flandrau arrived, to the great 
joy and relief of those who preceded him. His cavalry 
charged at once, drove them back, killing twelve or 
fifteen. The Indians, seeing they had encountered 
more than their match, gather up their dead, and retire 
from the field 

At the end of these two awful and ever memorable 
days, in which the soil of Minnesota drank the blood 
of more than one thousand of her citizens, by savage 
hands inflicted, eighty of these were in New Ulm and 
the immediate vicinity, the list made up by the rem 
nants of slain families, who had sought refuge in other 
towns. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

ATTACK ON FORT RIDGLEY. 

The thrilling events at Yellow Medicine, the weary- 
prairie marches, neath a burning sun, the change of 
programme in rapidly varying events, did not abate the 
determined zeal of the young officer, on whom, now 
that Capt. Marsh had fallen, devolved the command in 
volving the temporal salvation of the post, and the 
hundreds who had sought refuge there from the most 
wily of human foes. Nature's sweet restorer, rest, was 
forgotten food was scarcely taken into the account of 
human needs, while the most active preparations to re 
sist an attack went on. No little assistance was ren 
dered by Mr. Wycoff, of the Indian department, hav 
ing in charge their annuities on the way to the Agency, 
accompanied by J. C. Ramsey, A. J. YanVorhes and 
Maj. E. A. C. Hatch, since having been commissioned 
with the celebrated Hatch's battallion doing active and 
efficient service, for which it was originated. 

So crowded was the garrison with refugees, that rigid 
discipline had to be kept over the citizens, as well 
as the soldiers, and the men were armed, or set to 
work on the defenses. Those were anxious working 
hours, greatly embarrassed by the presence of women 
and children. But the energy of their brave leader 
never failed him ; everywhere present, he cheered the 
Dt 



86 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

men in their work, infusing, throughout the ranks, his 
own indomitable spirit, while the Supreme Kuler held 
the savage hordes at bay, until they were comparatively 
prepared to receive them. No knowledge could be ob 
tained from the outer world, and they knew not of the 
fearful work in progress at New Ulm, but were sure 
that this news-calm was no precursor of good tidings, 
and regarded the whole region as under savage 
blockade. 

Foiled in their first attack on the doomed city, in 
censed by defeat, and thirsting for larger draughts of 
blood, these demon besiegers haste over the intervening 
space, designing a grand surprise, and capture of the 
fort Very cautious and guarded was their approach, 
with flowers and grass fastened into their turbaned 
heads, that they might not be detected from the tall 
weeds and grass. But the watchful eye of sentinels 
discovered them on the west side of the fort, at noon, 
on Wednesday, Aug. 20th. At one o'clock, they had 
nearly surrounded them, and with horrid yells, poured 
a volley into the garrison. Several crawled even to 
the walls of a building, raised the windows, and fired 
several shots at Mrs. Jones, wife of the Ordnance offi 
cer, who was rescued from her fearful position by a 
squad from Co. C., one of whom, Mark Grere, lost his 
life, in the brave, soldierly act, for which the lives of 
three Indians at once paid the forfeit. 

The excitement was intense. Men rally, in haste, to 
the conflict women and children scream, in uncon 
trollable panic the big guns fail to work, and inves- 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 87 

tigation finds them stuffed with rags, the work of four 
half-breed soldiers, who had deserted, and gone over to 
the Indians, and were now encouraging them in their 
work of death. Had the courage of the assailants 
been equal to the opportunity, they might have rushed 
in, at this moment, and carried off, in triumph, the 
scalp of every person there. 

But Grod overruled the savages' purpose, and the 
calm presence of mind which so characterized the com 
mandant, through all this anxious siege, never, for a 
moment, forsook him ; but, reckless of personal safety, 
even when bullet showers were thickest, he passed from 
post to post, cheering and encouraging his men, and 
had the satisfaction of seeing one savage fall by his 
own unerring aim. From the confusion came order, 
and the leader's spirit was soon diffused through the 
ranks, and every man stood firmly at his post A six 
pound howitzer being ranged upon the foe, in the 
hands of Sergeant Jones, did deadly work. Some 
were seen to bound into the air, from its unwelcome 
effects, and all, for that time, were scattered like autumn 
leaves, in a strong wind. As darkness fell upon 
the brave but besieged company, the foe gathered in 
council so near, that the clamor of voices was heard, 
all that weary, working night The day's battle had 
been sharp, determined and persistent on the part of 
the assailants ; as sharp, more cool and decided, on the 
other. Two soldiers and two citizens killed, and one 
wounded, was the sum total of the day's casualties to 
the garrison. 



88 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

The Fort buildings are mainly of wood, without walls 
or fortification, erected more for the purpose of govern 
ment storage than military defense, hence in constant 
danger of being fired, as were also the citizens' build 
ings without. Several ignited arrows were shot into the 
roofs, but fortunately without effect A timely rain, 
with thunder and fearful tempest, checked the night 
work, and gave the handful of weary men within the 
Fort, time to rally their failing strength and courage. 

With no lightning speed had the news of the out 
break gone to the Executive department. The Eden 
Yalley of the Minnesota had not yet seen its first de 
cade since it passed from savage to civilized hands, 
from those who would now wrest it from its lawful and 
just purchasers, and telegraph posts had not had time 
to grow, even in this prolific soil. But messengers, 
disguised as Indians, had crept forth from those walls, 
and gone, with swiftest horse speed, demanding re-en 
forcements. 

Impatient of delay, and distrusting their own powers 
of endurance, this struggling band continued daily, du 
ring the five days they were besieged, to send forth a 
"hurry up" for the relief desired. 

Eveiy hour was full of the most intense anxiety. 
If the battle ceased, it was only to be renewed with 
greater vigor. 

Women huddled together, in almost breathless fear, 
children clung to their mothers in terror, and those too 
young to understand its nature, seemed conscious of 
impending danger. Sentinels stood on the "watch 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 89 

tower" with eyes keenly alert, and ever and anon a spy 
glass surveyed the direction whence re-enforcements 
were expected to come ; officers and men stood at their 
posts all that weary night, not doubting but the attack 
would be renewed on Wednesday night. At daylight, 
on Thursday, 21st, the attack was renewed, but was less 
bold and spirited than on the previous day. The num 
bers seemed depleted, which was probably owing, in 
part, to losses of the previous battle, but more to scout 
ing parties being out, plundering the country and ex 
tending the work of death. The Indians retired, after 
about four hours hard fighting, until six, when they 
again renewed their work of death, continuing it for an 
hour and a half, when, being warmly repulsed by our 
troops, again retired, leaving the little struggling, heroic 
band to another night of anxiety. Aside from an oc 
casional alarm, nothing broke upon its quiet. It is sur 
prising, how long and how much, in the face of danger, 
men can endure, without rest 0, how eagerly they 
waited re-enforcements, but still they came not 

On Friday morning, the Indians seemed resolved on 
one more desperate assault on the Fort, to retrieve the 
advantage lost by the three previous attacks. In an 
ticipation of this, strong breastworks had been com 
menced, and though incomplete, afforded some protec 
tion. 

At mid-day, the enemy were seen advancing, at a 
distance of two miles, in increased numbers, and all 
mounted. The ravine surrounding the Fort, gave them 
protection, till fully ready for action. For five hours, 



90 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

bullets flew like hail, and the guns were one continuous 
rattle; the battle was bitter and persistent In one 
room, thirty-two balls were picked up, which had per 
forated the walls. One who was there, says, "All our 
previous engagements were as boys' play, in compar 
ison with this. It was evidently expected to be the 
last, on the part of the enemy, for they confidently de 
signed a charge and a capture. The first volley, -dis 
charged from the woods, the high reeds and out-build 
ings, was perfectly terrific. It seemed that all the in 
carnate fiends of hell were concentrated and let loose 
upon this little band, with all the fierceness of infuri 
ated demons, crazed for blood and plunder. The fire 
was received with coolness, by our men, and returned 
in the same spirit The officers and gunners were most 
exposed, yet only one man was killed, and but four 
wounded." 

Too much praise cannot be awarded the officers and 
gunners ; yea, every man in that seven days' sleepless 
watch and engagement, deserves a commission of high 
rank Sergeant Jones, doing deadly execution with 
his big gun, really saved the post At one time, a 
charging party was placed very near the fort, and the 
half-breeds within, distinctly understood and interpret 
ed the order "to charge on and seize the cannon." But 
to thus charge with death, they had not the courage. 

Early in the engagement, they had cut loose the 
mules and horses in the government stables, and at 
tempted to fire some outside buildings. 

The writer above alluded to, A. J. Van Vorhes, fur- 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 91 

ther says, under date of 25th, "After seeing themselves 
foiled in taking the post, their next game was to burn 
the barracks, in which are the government stores, the 
families seeking protection, &c. A number of fire ar 
rows were found on the roofs, but, fortunately, they 
failed in their mission. Every preparation was made 
for a night attack, but the severe lesson of the after 
noon, or a care for their plunder, prevented. 

"About six o'clock, Saturday morning, this body of 
demons was seen approaching by the same route, but 
continuing along the ravines, and under cover of hills 
and woods, they passed by, most probably on their 
way to New Ulm, or vicinity, from which direction the 
fires of burning buildings were seen, all Saturday 
night 

"Since the battle of Friday, we have been undisturb 
ed, but are in momentary expectation and preparation. 
The weather, perhaps, has had something to do with it, 
as we have had rain most of the day and night 

"Some three hundred women and children are here, 
for support and protection. This is a great embarrass 
ment to the officers and soldiers. With them out of 
the way, a great point would be achieved. When the 
hospital becomes filled with them, as will be the case, 
unless removed soon, our position will be distressing 
indeed. 

"What is the matter in St Paul and Fort Snelling? 
Have re-enforcements been sent and cut off, or are we 
to be sacrificed to indifference and apathy ? Let help 
be sent in such force that it cannot be impeded. With 



92 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

this point in the hands of the enemy, the Mississippi 
will share the universal desolation." 

There was prompt response to the first note of alarm, 
and yet they knew it not. Every hour was an age to 
them. Lieut. Sheehan had written on the 21st : "We 
can hold out but a little longer, unless re-enforced. 
We are being attacked almost every hour. Our little 
band is being decimated. We had hoped to be re-en 
forced to-day, but as yet, hear of none coming." 

Gov. Eamsey had hastened to Fort Snelling, where 
the new regiments were rendezvoused, and ordered four 
companies of the Sixth to march at once to the scene 
of disturbance, under Hon. Henry H. Sibley, whose 
long residence on the frontier, and thorough acquaintance 
with Dakota character, especially qualified him for 
the command to which he was designated. Seven 
other companies soon followed, under Col. Crooks, with 
orders to report to Col. Sibley. 

We do not wonder that, in this severe siege, with 
no rest, day or night, save, as every other man, in turn, 
occasionally, in the lull of battle, slept on his arms a 
few moments at a time, the eye grew weary with watch 
ing, and the heart faint with waiting, and that, in this 
anxious solicitude, they should feel themselves neglect 
ed and uncared for. Hours were magnified into days, 
and days into weeks, to them, while relief troops were 
moving up the Minnesota valley. 

'T was a foot-sore march. The men, many of them 
just from the counting-room or law office, were not in 
ured to hardness, Besides, there were unavoidable 



DAKOTA WAK WHOOP. U3 

delays, over which, the Colonel commanding had no 
control. To meet the foe, unprepared, would be to 
rush to unbidden death, and the rifles were found to be 
useless, even in the hands of those most skillful in 
their use ; therefore, they must camp at St Peter, till 
the defect could be remedied, or others brought from 
St. Paul. Two mounted companies, under command 
of Col. McPhail, went forward and reached the Fort, 
August 28, after the walls of the wooden buildings 
were perforated "like the lid of a pepper-box," greatly 
to the relief of the worn-out men, and enabled the half 
starved refugees to go to a place of greater security. 
The night of the 30th was the first of rest, to the 
besieged party, for ten days. All now slept well, while 
the re-enforcements stood guard. 

The Minnesota Third, a brave and gallant band as 
ever "sighted" rebels, was surrendered by their officer 
in command, to which they never assented, at Murfrees- 
boro, Tenn., in July, 1862. They were at once paroled, 
the officers remaining prisoners of war. This well dis 
ciplined regiment was deemed a desirable force for fron 
tier emergency ; hence, a request from the Executive 
Department, to the War Department, responded to by 
prompt "orders" to report at Fort Snelling. On the 
day of their departure from the south, an "exchange" 
was effected with the rebel powers, and so they entered 
the home field, untrammeled by the shackles of parole. 

To the Third was added the Seventh, which reported 
as before mentioned, so that Col. Sibley moved on to 
the fort, with a force of fifteen hundred men, where he 



94 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

arrived August 31st But he found not an Indian to 
oppose him, though tokens of their doings everywhere 
met the eyes, and their dingy smoke wreaths had not 
yet ceased to rise from the ruins. Ghastly dead men 
lay here and there on the prairies, their bodies far ad 
vanced in decomposition, torn and fed on by hogs and 
prairie wolves, and tainting the air with their vapor. 
That night they were saluted by a few shots from the 
foe, with no serious effect. 

"We close this chapter with the record of Lieut Shee- 
han's promotion to a captaincy of the Company he so 
gallantly led, in the seven days of peril, a merited hon 
or, awarded by Governor Eamsey, 26th Sept ; and 
thereafter his military skill found wider scope on the 
tented fields of the South, in combat with a rebel foe. 
May his well- won laurels ever be green, and his name, 
indelible on the scroll of fame, never receive ambition's 
taint, but like the burnished gold, be reflecting more 
glory, when children's children shall recount, with 
pride, the valor and achievements of Thomas J. Shee- 
han. 






m 



CHAPTER XV. 

SECOND AND FINAL ATTACK ON NEW ULM. 

During those fearful and anxious days, while the 
engagement was going on at Fort Ridgley, this doomed 
village was unmolested. The time was well appre 
ciated in intrenching their position, burying their dead, 
and in sending out scouting parties in various direc 
tions. One of these brought in thirteen persons who 
had secreted themselves in a slough to escape massa 
cre. 

The route of the Indians from the Fort was marked 
by the burning of buildings, the fires of which were 
seen at New Ulm, and intimated their approach to 
those preparing for their reception. When four 
miles in the distance, the foe were seen, and soon 
drove in the pickets, but all, save the still panic-struck 
inhabitants, rallied for defense. On they come, in all 
their fierce savage majesty. From twelve to five 
o'clock, the battle raged in the most approved style of 
savage warfare. With the rapidity of thought, they 
dodged from house to house, fifteen of which, in less 
than half an hour, were in flames, picking their man 
as they went Their arms were the best, and their aim 
deadly. 

The commander-in-chief, Judge Flandrau, was, dur 
ing all these terrible hours, in a dense shower of leaden 



98 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

hail, cool, discreet and determined, constantly among 
"the boys," cheering them on, and these performed 
their part equally as well. More and more desperate 
the enemy become ! Captain Dodd, well known in 
the State, makes an imprudent effort to drive them 
back by a mighty charge. Hiding forward of the 
breastwork, shouting to his comrades, "come on," he 
becomes the target. His body is pierced by five balls, 
but heroically he keeps his saddle till he fell in the 
arms of his own people. 

"At five o'clock was the turning point in the strug 
gle. Now it seemed as if the Indians would capture 
the town. The remarkable gallantry of Judge Flan- 
drau alone prevented this result, and a massacre, which 
for magnitude would have been without a parallel in 
the history of Indian warfare. He rallied his men, 
and, charging at their head, drove them out of the 
brush at the lower end of the town, the point whence 
they had inflicted the greatest injury upon the gar 
rison. 

"All night the burning of houses continued. Oc 
casional guns were fired till ten, when they fell back, 
formed into three great parties, and had war dances, 
shouting and singing during the night." 

During the fight, ten men were killed, and nearly 
fifty wounded. Theirs were carried from the battle 
field, and the number not known supposed to be not 
less than forty killed. 

"As morning dawned, the enemy again came dash 
ing over the prairie, 'spoiling for a fight,' and great 



DAKOTA WAK WHOOP. 99 

indeed was their chagrin and surprise to find their 
breastwork but a few smouldering ashes. They gath 
ered at the east end of the town, and seemed to be 
consulting what course to pursue. Finally, they col 
lected a large drove of cattle, of which there were 
plenty all around them, and moving these as a breast 
work, again advanced. But the cattle were not to be 
allied to such chaps, and soon commenced to make 
tracks for other parts, and the enemy, finding himself 
perfectly thwarted, skedaddled." 

As these took up their line of march for parts un 
known, they formed a train four miles long, of cattle, 
farm horses, and wagons, loaded with valuable booty, 
and several elegant "turn-outs." No wonder that, 
jubilant with success, they had made the night hideous 
with dance and song. 

The next order in the programme of arrangements, 
was the evacuation of New Ulm. The entire region 
above, and on either hand, was desolated, depopulated, 
one-half of the town destroyed, and had it been safe 
to do so, there was no inducement for the people to 
remain. 

Just one week had now passed since the first intima 
tion of the rise of savage ire, and alas ! what an in 
calculable amount of evil had been done. Where 
peace, plenty, and content reigned, there were heard 
now but the wails of anguished hearts, and seen but 
the desolation of hopes, the utter annihilation of 
earthly trust 

It was a mournful cortege which, on that Monday 



100 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

morning, Aug. 25, took up its line of march for Mankato, 
twenty-five miles distant. Instead of ambulances for 
the eighty wounded persons, some of whom were little 
children, innocent of wrong, hacked and mangled in a 
most shocking and brutal manner, they were conveyed 
in hard running farm wagons, while scouting Indians 
watched from a distance, but happily leaving them 
undisturbed. 

Such another company, perhaps, the world has never 
seen. Such a march, history never recorded. Here 
were mothers whose children, their shrieks still ringing 
in their ears, had been slaughtered before their eyes, 
strong men "shorn of their strength," who in one 
day had passed from wealth to poverty, homes in 
ashes, wife and children gone, some of whom wounded 
had crept away into sloughs or bushes to die, wives 
bereft of husbands, children of parents, the heads of 
all bowed down in overwhelming grief and a sense of 
utter destitution. For their protection, the glittering 
bayonet gleamed, and yet a sense of the comparative 
security was no relief to the bitter anxiety of heart 
In two instances, actual insanity occurred. 



CHAPTER XVI. 

BATTLE OF NEW ULM OFFICIAL REPORT OF CAP 
TAIN FLANDRAU. 

ST. PETEE, August 27th, 1862. 
His EXCELLENCY, GOVERNOR ALEX. RAMSEY : 

SIR : Events have transpired so rapidly, and my 
time has been so taken up since my last communica 
tion, that I cannot with certainty recall the condition 
of things existing at its date, but believe I wrote you 
almost immediately preceding the second attack upon 
New Ulm, which occurred on Saturday last. 

During the morning we discovered a succession of 
fires on the Nicollet county side of the river, very near 
the bluffs, approaching us from the direction of Fort 
Ridgley. Our supposition was that the Fort had 
fallen, and the Indians were moving down upon the 
town, on that side of the river, to unite with another 
party on the side we were occupying. 

As they increased in numbers very rapidly, I thought 
it best to send a detachment over to ascertain the de 
sign of the enemy, and if possible' give him a check 
on that side of the river. Lieut Huey, of Traverse 
des Sioux, volunteering to perform the service, I de 
tailed seventy-five men with him, and they crossed at 
the ferry opposite the town, about nine o'clock, A. M. 
Very shortly alter their departure, the Indians were 



102 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

discovered issuing from the woods above the town, in 
large numbers, and assembling upon the prairie. 

I at once posted all my available force upon the 
open prairie, outside the town, about half a mile at 
some points, and at a greater distance towards the 
point at which I conceived the attack would be made, 
determining to give them battle in the open field, 
where I conceived would be our greatest advantage. 

At nearly ten A. M. the body began to move towards 
us, first slowly, and then with considerable rapidity. 
The men were encouraged by their officers to stand 
firm and meet the attack, and all promised well. We 
had in all, about two hundred and fifty guns, while the 
Indians were variously estimated at from four to five 
hundred. I fixed the number at not over three hun 
dred and fifty. 

Their advance upon the sloping prairie, in the bright 
sunlight, was a very fine spectacle, and, to such inex 
perienced soldiers as we all were, intensely exciting. 
When within about one mile and a half of us, the 
mass began to expand like a fan, and increase in the 
velocity of its approach, and continued this movement 
until within about double rifle shot, when it had cov 
ered our entire front Then the savages uttered a ter 
rific yell, and came down upon us like the wind. I 
had stationed myself at a point in the rear, where com 
munication could be had with me easily, and awaited 
the first discharge with great anxiety, as it seemed to 
me that to yield was certain destruction, as the enemy 
would rush into the town and drive all before them. 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 103 

The yell unsettled the men a little, and just before the 
rifles began to crack, they fell back along the whole 
line, and committed the error of passing the outer 
houses without taking possession of them, a mistake 
which the Indians immediately took advantage of by 
themselves occupying them in squads of two, three, 
and up to ten. They poured into us a sharp and rapid 
fire, as we fell back, and opened from the houses in 
every direction. Several of us rode up to the hill, en 
deavoring to rally the men, and with good effect, as 
they gave three cheers and sallied out of various 
houses they had retreated to, and checked the advance 
effectually. The firing from both sides then became 
general, sharp and rapid, and it got to be a regular In 
dian skirmish, in which every man did his own work 
after his own fashion. 

The Indians had spread out till they had got into 
our rear, and on all sides, having the very decided ad 
vantage of the houses on the bluffs which commanded 
the interior of the town, with the exception of the 
windmill which was occupied by about twenty of 
the Le Sueur Tigers, and held them at long range. The 
wind was from the lower part of the town, and this 
fact directed the larger part of the enemy to that point, 
where they promptly commenced firing the houses, 
and advancing behind the smoke. The conflagration 
became general in the lower part of the town on both 
sides of the street, and the bullets flew very thickly, 
both from the bluff and up the street. I thought it 
prudent to dismount and direct the defense on foot. 
E 



104: DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

Just at this point, Capt. Dodd, of St. Peter, and some 
one else whose name I do not know, charged down 
the street, to ascertain (I have since learned,) whether 
some horsemen seen in the extreme lower town, 
were not our friends coming in, and were met about 
three blocks down with a heavy volley from behind a 
house, five bullets passing through Capt. Dodd, and 
several through his horse. They both turned, and the 
Captain got in sufficiently near to be received by his 
friends before he fell. He died about five hours after 
being hit. Too much cannot be said of his personal 
bravery, and general desire to perform his duty man 
fully. 

Capt Saunders, of the Le Sueur company, was shot 
through a part of his body shortly after, and retired, 
placing his rifle in effective hands, and encouraging 
the men. The fight was going on all around the town, 
during the whole forenoon and part of the afternoon, 
sometimes with slight advantage to us, and again to 
the Indians, but the difficulty that stared us in the 
face, was the gradual but certain approach, up the 
main street, behind the burning buildings, which prom 
ised our destruction. We frequently sallied out and 
took buildings in advance, but the risk of being, 
picked off from the bluff, was unequal to the advan 
tage gained, and the duty was performed with some 
reluctance by the men. In the lower part of the town 
I had some of the best men in the State, both as shots 
and for coolness and determination. It will be suffi 
cient to name two as types of a class of the fighting 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 105 

men Asa White and Newell Houghton, known to 
all old settlers. They did very effective service in 
checking the advance, both by their unerring rifles and 
the good examples their steadiness placed before the 
younger men. 

We discovered a concentration of Indians on the 
side of the street towards the river, and at the rear of 
the buildings, and expected a rush upon the town from 
that position, the result of which I feared more than 
anything else, as the boys had proved unequal to it in 
the morning ; and we were not disappointed, for in a 
few moments they came, on ponies and on foot, furi 
ously, about sixty in number, charging round the 
point of a little grove of oaks. This was the critical 
point of the day, but four or five hours under fire had 
brought the boys up to the fighting temperature, and 
they stood firmly, and advanced with a cheer, routing 
the rascals like sheep. They received us with a very 
hot fire, killing Houghton, and an elderly gentleman, 
whose name I did not know. As they fled in a crowd 
at very short range, we gave them a volley that was 
very effectual, and settled the fortunes of the day in 
our favor, for they did not dare try it over. I think, 
after once repulsing them in a fair fight, we could have 
successfully resisted them, had they returned a second 
time, as the necessary confidence had been gained. 

White men fight under great disadvantage the first 
time they engage Indians. There is something so 
fiendish in their yells, and terrifying in their appear 
ance when in battle, that it takes a good deal of time 



106 DAKOTA WAE WHOOP. 

to overcome the unpleasant sensation that it inspires. 
Then there is a snake-like stealth in all their move 
ments that excites distrust and uncertainty, which un- 
steadies the nerves at first. 

After this repulse, the battle raged until dark, with 
out sufficient advantage on one side or the other to 
merit mention in detail, when the savages drew off, 
firing only an occasional shot from under close cover. 

After dark, we decreased the extent of our lines of 
barricades, and I deemed it prudent to order all the 
buildings outside to be burned, in order to prevent 
their having come from behind which, to annoy us. 
We were compelled to consume about forty valuable 
buildings, but as it was a military necessity, the inhab 
itants did not demur, but themselves applied the torch 
cheerfully. In a short time we had a fair field before 
us, of open prairie, with the exception of a large square 
brick building, which we held, and had loopholed in 
all the stories on all sides, which commanded a long 
portion of our front towards the bluff. We also dug 
a system of rifle pits on that front, outside the bar 
ricades, about four rods apart, which completed our 
defenses. 

That night we slept very little, every man being at 
the barricades all night, each third man being allowed 
to sleep at intervals. 

In the morning, the attack was renewed, but not 
with much vigor, and subsided about noon. 

Daring the day, a body of men appeared in the 
lower town, and turned out to be a detachment of one 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 107 

f 

hundred and fifty volunteers from Nicollet and Sibley 
counties, under Capt. E. St. Ju]ien Cox, which had 
been forwarded to our relief by Col. Sibley. They 
had about fifty Austrian rifles, and the rest were armed 
with shot guns and hunting rifles. Their appearance 
inspired us with gladness, as things were becoming 
doubtful 

I held a council of the officers, and we determined 
to attempt an evacuation of the town, carrying off all 
the inhabitants, women, children, sick and wounded, 
to the number of about two thousand. This move 
ment was a very perilous x>ne to undertake, with the 
force at our command, but the confined state of the 
town was rapidly producing disease among the women 
and children, who were huddled up in cellars and 
close rooms, like sheep in a cattle car, and we were 
fast becoming short of ammunition and provisions. I 
feared the result of another attack by a larger force, 
and all the people decided that they would abandon 
the town the first opportunity, as residence there was 
impossible under the circumstances. 

At daylight next morning the barricades were bro 
ken, and the wagons taken out and put in motion. 
The scene was one of indescribable confusion and de 
struction. The poor people, naturally desirous of car 
rying off all they could, filled their wagons with boxes 
and baggage, to the exclusion (as we found before the 
train was complete,) of many of the women and 
wounded. I was, therefore, compelled to order all ar 
ticles of a bulky nature to be tumbled out, and their 



108 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

places supplied by more valuable freight It was hard, 
but necessary, and the inhabitants yielded with less 
reluctance than I had anticipated. 

About nine o'clock A. M., we moved with one hun 
dred and fifty-three wagon loads of women, children, 
sick and wounded, and a large company on foot. 
Lieutenant Cox took the general disposition of the 
escort, and the various commands were posted so as 
best to protect the whole in case of attack. It was a 
melancholy spectacle to see two thousand people, who 
a few days before had been prosperous and happy, re 
duced to utter beggary, starting upon a journey of 
thirty miles, through a hostile country, every inch of 
which we expected to be called upon to defend from 
an attack, the issue of which was life or horrid butch 
ery. Beggary, starvation, and probable destruction 
were at one end of the road ; a doubtful escape from 
the latter at the other. We took the latter alterna 
tive, and, under Providence, got through. 

During the battle, we lost, as near as I can ascertain, 
about ten killed and fifty wounded. I can give you 
no accurate detail of either, as the casualties occurred 
among citizens, soldiers, and strangers. The physi 
cians, of whom, fortunately, we had a good supply, ' 
may have kept some hospital lists, but I have been too 
much occupied to ascertain. I was satisfied to know 
the wounded were well cared for, without knowing 
who they were. 

I was seconded, ably and bravely, by all the officers 
and most of the men of the companies, and many citi- 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP 109 

zens from different parts of the State, and strangers 
who were present, so uniform was their good conduct, 
and valuable their services, that one could not be men 
tioned without naming all. There were several cases 
of abandonment immediately preceding the attack, 
which, if designed to evade the struggle, were dis 
graceful in the extreme, and unworthy of Americans. 
But as they may have arisen from other causes, I will 
not report the names of the parties. 

Many narrow escapes occurred during the protracted 
fight Several persons were shot through the hat 
One young man received three bullets through the 
pantaloons in rapid succession, without being hurt in 
the least 

We did not burn the town on leaving, thinking pos 
sibly that the Indians might not return and destroy it, 
and not deeming it much of a defense for them, should 
they occupy it on our return. 

It was my design that the country between New 
Ulm and Mankato, should be immediately reoccupied 
by our troops, and the ground temporarily lost by our 
withdrawal, regained at once by fresh troops, well 
equipped and capable of remaining on the field, and I 
looked for material of that sort for the business on my 
arrival ; but not a soldier from the regular service, ex 
cept Captain Dane, with one hundred horses, has yet 
reached that part of the country, which is at this mo 
ment utterly defenseless, except so far as he is capable 
of holding it The citizen volunteers that went to the 
assistance of New Ulm, disbanded pretty generally on 



110 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

their return, being barefooted, overworked, and re 
quired at their homes. 

I wish your Excellency would turn the tide of sol 
diers flowing into the valley, to the Blue Earth region, 
from which the whole southern portion of the State 
can be protected, and efficient co-operation afforded 
the column advancing upon the north side of the Min 
nesota. 

Hoping my operations meet your approval, I am 
Truly your obedient servant, 

CHAELES E. FLANDEAU, 
Commanding West of the Minnesota. 



CHAPTER XVII. 

THE MISSION 1*ARTY. 

Dr. Williamson, unwilling to believe there was any 
thing but a "scare," and yet fearing all things, sent 
away from Yellow Medicine, on Tuesday morning, the 
younger members of his family, while, with his wife 
and sister, he remained, to see whereunto the trouble 
would grow. For thirty years he had labored among 
this people had a perfect knowledge of their lan 
guage, and his soul was wholly engrossed for their 
good, both temporally and spiritually in short, had 
been, as the others, a faithful, self-sacrificing missionary. 
This was the work to which he had devoted his life. 
His influence over them, was, under some circum 
stances, very great. Why should it not be now ? He 
had seen individual dissatisfaction, but never a general 
uprising, and he was unwilling to interpret aright the 
demonstrations before him. 

Mr. Riggs, under the guidance of a Christian Indian, 
had started, with his family, from Hazlewood, early on 
Tuesday morning, but was met by a hostile party, his 
team taken from him, and they escaped to a bushy island, 
in the river, where they were nearly devoured by mos 
quitoes. The first detachment of Dr. Williamson's 
household, hunted them out, and with them went on 

theii way, numbering, in all, some forty persons, and 
Et 



112 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

not over six armed men in the company. Providen 
tially, the terrible rain storm, which caused the battle 
at the fort to cease, until the "cords were lengthened, 
and the stakes strengthened," completely obliterated 
their tracks, so that they were not followed and mur 
dered, by the war party which crossed their trail. 

The Doctor remained until Wednesday, when, as 
sured it was no longer safe to do so, they started, in an 
ox cart, guided by a Christian Indian, to overtake their 
family and other friends. Passing Beaver Creek Set 
tlement, they found it entirely deserted. Inquiring of 
some Indians where the white people were, they replied : 

"All gone to the fort, and you go, too, or you will be 
shot" 

Nearly all there had been killed or made captive. 
In one instance, a war party started out of the Big 
Woods, with the design of crossing the trail of these 
parties, to kill or make them prisoners. "His-big- 
fire," a Christian Indian, known as Eobert Hopkins, 
joined and kept with them until he had lured them 
from their purpose, and their intended victims had 
passed beyond the reach of their bullets, when he left 
the war path and returned to find the people of his 
choice the Christian Missionaries. 

On, the separate mission parties journeyed, scarcely 
knowing their whereabouts, or caring, so that they kept 
out of the way of the prowling savages, which, occa 
sionally, were seen in the distance. It was woman's 
patience and faith which shone clearest, and buoyed up 
the sinking spirits of the men, during those desolate 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

days and nights, suffering, as they were, for food, and 
often drenched to the skin with the cold, drizzling, and 
again the pelting rain. Even the children endured all 
this with a fortitude which shames complaining man 
hood. 

At last, the two mission parties, having each been 
increased by wounded fugitives, to whom they had act 
ed the "Grood Samaritan," form a junction, and together 
make for the fort, where, unknown to them, the battle 
fury raged with the greatest violence. All were eager 
to enter its walls, thinking then all danger would be 
over. How every heart rej oiced at the prospect of being, 
once more, safe from fear, with abundance of food and 
rest I 

Now they pass a sight which makes all hearts quail, 
and to thank God for their own deliverance, thus far. 
A mother and three children lay by the roadside, (the 
first time they had dared take to the road,) weltering in 
their own gore. And, near by, a sick woman had 
been burned, on the mattrass on which she lay, while 
her two sons were trying to escape with her. This filial 
love was rewarded by cruel death to each. Traces of 
massacre and butchery were more frequent, as they 
neared their destination, and their danger, where they 
had hoped security, was most augmented. The plains 
around were literally fall of Indians, some of whom 
were seen at no great distance. 

They now expected an attack, and drew up in battle 
line, with onward march, tightening their grasp upon 
their weapons, with firm resolve to die, rather than 



114 DAKOTA WAK WHOOP. 

yield to the foe. They trusted in the living God, and 
He could and did deliver them. 

Then they saw rockets ascend from the fort, and had 
no thought but that they were beacons, to guide them 
there, and not signals of distress, as they really were. 
There was then a lull in the battle storm, which was 
improved by Dr. Williamson and Mr. Hunter, who 
went forward, crawling on their hands and knees, and, 
as by miracle, avoiding the skulking Indians, and pass 
ing the blazing stables, enter the garrison, in safety. 
It was a wonderful exploit, which surprised all within 
the walls. But the long desired rest had not come yet. 

The exhausted condition of the troops, and the 
crowded state of the barracks, made it inexpedient for 
more to enter, even could they escape the savage bul 
let or tomahawk. With sad disappointment, the tidings 
was received by the hastening party, and their hearts 
sunk within them. It was now quite dark, and the 
glare of burning buildings misled these scalp-seekers, 
and though passing but a few rods from them, their 
"eyes were blinded that they did not see them," and 
they hastened on, with rapid speed, still further away, in 
quest of their prey. With suspended breath, and flut 
tering hearts, they had heard them pass, and again, 
with as much speed and little noise as possible, push 
on their tired teams. From sounds they heard, death 
seemed lurking all around, but, trusting in God, they 
fainted not. In fording a stream, the exhausted 
teams gave out, and then they unhitched and let them 
graze, despite the danger. So tired and worn were all, 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 115 

that they sank down on the wet grass to rest, while one 
only, each in turn, rifle in hand, stood guard over their 
sleeping friends. 

They knew these blood-hounds were upon their 
track, and that, just before daylight, was their time for 
attack, so, as this danger approached, they were again 
on the move. Four of their number now left, going 
in another direction. Scarcely were they out of sight, 
when their Mends heard the firing of guns ; afterwards 
the decayed bodies of these four men were found, 
where they fell, scarcely a mile from the main party. 
Thus had these again escaped death. 

On Saturday morning, August 23d, after a vigorous 
siege of four days, the Indians, despairing of ultimate 
success, and ignorant of the decimated condition of the 
garrison, leaving a few men to prevent the arrival of 
re-enforcements, and starve the garrison out, they with 
drew their main force, and moved for another attack 
on New Ulm. The Indians moved through the tall, 
dripping grass, in their approach to the doomed city ; 
scarcely five miles away were passing the mission 
party, to whom their guns were visible, and by whom 
the rattle of the same was distinctly heard. They saw 
the burning buildings, as one after another lit the sky, 
with its glare, or sent up its lurid columns of smoke. 

That night, another tragic scene was enacted, at Nor 
wegian Grove, two miles from which they "encamped" 
in a deserted house. Weary and worn, they slept se 
curely, while those who fled from it two hours before 
they entered, were already dead, though they then 



116 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

knew it not, nor of the bloody enactments, even then, 
at the "Grove." From this point, their dangers lessen 
ed, until all had been welcomed by friends, at various 
points, who had, during this memorable week, been 
mourning them as among the slain. They had "com 
mitted their ways unto the Lord," and he had, myste 
riously, "directed their steps." 



CHAPTER XVHI. 

MASSACEB AT BIG STONE LAKE. 

On the banks of Big Stone Lake, far away from white 
settlements, government agents had sent four men to 
cut hay, build a blacksmith shop and stables, prepara 
tory to establishing an Agency there. They had, with 
them, John Julien, a lad of sixteen, for cook, whose 
parents lived near the lower Agency, and were among 
the first victims of the raid. 

The first specified part, of their work was done, and 
they were camped on the shores of the lake, cutting 
logs for the buildings. On the morning of the 21st of 
August, unaware of any danger, and sleeping in uncon 
scious security, in their tent, they were suddenly arous 
ed by a loud and repeated war whoop. They were 
scarcely on the feet before they were surrounded by 
fifty or sixty Indians, some on foot and some on horse. 

Within ten paces of the tent, a volley was fired, kill 
ing one man, Henry Manderfield, instantly. Two oth 
ers escaped, to be murdered by another party, when 
thirty miles away. Another, Anthony Manderfield, 
brother to the above, plunged into the ravine, on the 
brow of which their tent stood, was closely followed, 
and several ineffective shots fired upon him. Reaching 
the lake, he waded along the shore, for two miles, fol 
lowed by three Indians, in a canoe. Seeing they gain- 



118 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

ed upon him, yea, were about to lay violent hands upon 
him, by a dexterous manoeuvre, he eluded their grasp, 
plunged into the bushes, where he remained concealed 
till the immediate danger was passed. He then pushed 
on, with bare and bleeding feet, in all haste, to the 
foot of the lake, and though, on one occasion, passing 
very near an Indian village, a rain, providentially, ob 
literated his footsteps, hence he was not followed. 

At Lac-qui-parle, at the house of a half-breed, he saw 
Mrs. Huggins, whose husband had been murdered, and 
Miss Julia La Frambois, captives. He was kindly 
cared for, his bleeding feet bound up, and his stomach 
cravings satisfied. But they urged him away, with all 
possible speed, for they knew it was unsafe for him to 
remain. After four days of almost incessant travelling, 
with very little food, he arrived at Fort Eidgley, if not 
a better, a wiser man, for his experience at Big Stone 
Lake, and to avenge their treatment of him, and the 
death of his brother, by joining a cavalry company in 
defense of the frontier. 

The boy, mentioned above, was taken prisoner, the 
details of which, we reserve for a separate chapter. 

When the "Expedition" passed this point, in June 
after, George Spencer, and others, went over to see the 
ruins of his trading house. Here they found the skel 
etons of two human forms, one of whom, George recog 
nized, by the shreds of clothing left, as the clerk in his 
own employ, when the outbreak commenced The 
other, as in the employ of Louis Eoberts, at another 
trading post, two miles away, who, in two days, lost 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 119 

$80,000 by the Indian raid. Here they had lain, through 
autumn's rains and winter snows, till summer's heat 
had come, and were now, by friendly hands, buried, 
where, by savage hands, they fell. How many more 
such there be, their bones bleaching by sun and wind, 
yet remains to be seen. 



CHAPTER XIX. 

MURDER OF AMOS W. HUGGINS. 

Some thirty years before this great Sioux tragedy 
was enacted, Revs. Riggs and Huggins, faithful and 
devout men of God, then in the vigor and prime of 
youthful manhood, and the heart's glow of richest 
earthly love, settled on the banks of Lac-qui-parle,* 
several hundred miles removed from civilized life. 
But they had girded them for the sacrifice, and the sal 
vation of the red man, for whom Christ had died, as 
for themselves, was the impulse of their hearts. In 
due time, a son was given to Mr. Huggins, which the 
Indians learned to pet-, caress and love. 

Slowly their work went on, and after years of toil, 
these now toil-worn men and women were able to re 
joice in some perceptible good to the people among 
whom they lived Olive plants had increased around 
their tables, and though, to human view, their work 
seemed disheartening, yet could their hearts rejoice in 
His goodness, while they could still "thank God and 
take courage." 

Amos W., the subject of this chapter, at the age of 
sixteen, was sent away, to finish the education com 
menced under the tutelage of his mother. Meantime, 
a change in the base of missionary operations took 
place, and this point was left for more urgent fields of 

*The lake that speaks. 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 121 

labor. Amos, having completed Ms education, return 
ed to his father's house, bringing with him a fair young 
bride, to grace his frontier home. Government had 
designated him as its agent, teacher, and general super 
intendent of Indian aifairs at Lac-qui-parle. On the 
very soil where his boyhood was spent, he dwelt, and 
among the very people of boyhood's memory. Thus, 
in quiet security, never dreaming of trouble, their iso 
lation was not an unpleasant one. To these loving 
hearts, all the joys of earth centered at their own 
hearth-stone. 

Employed as female teacher, Miss Julia La Frambois 
had long been a valued member of his household. 
Though a half-breed, she was a young lady of high cul 
tivation, and spoke several languages fluently. 

Two smiling cherubs blest their happy home, and a 
more bright and beautiful morning never dawned, than 
on the 19th day of August, 1862. It was Mrs. Hug- 
gins' twenty-fourth birthday, of which she says : "She 
little thought, when the morning dawned, so full of 
hope, and promised to be the happiest day of her life, 
it was to close, the saddest she had ever known." 

Mr. Huggins had been in the field, superintending 
the work in which the Indians were engaged, and at 
four o'clock in the afternoon, returned home, bringing 
with him the oxen they had been using. 

Previous to this, two Indians from Bed Iron's village 
came to the house, seemed unusually talkative, asked 
many questions of Miss Julia, about the sewing ma 
chine she was using, but excited no suspicion. As 
soon as Mr. Huggins came up, they left the house, and 



122 DAKOTA WAE WHOOP. 

the next moment the women heard the report of two 
guns. Julia rushed out, as the Indians rushed in, who, 
in a wild, excited manner, exclaimed to Mrs. H. : 

"Go out, go out ; you shall live but go out take 
nothing with you !" 

In the strange bewilderment of the moment, she 
scarce understood their meaning, and from their man 
ner, supposed that their enemies, the Chippewas, were 
upon them. Mechanically, she obeyed the imperative 
command, when she was aroused to terrible conscious 
ness, by seeing Julia, kneeling by the lifeless form of 
her husband. "O, Josephine ! Josephine 1" was all she 
said ; but it told the awful tale that he was dead. A 
ball had entered his back, passing through his body, 
killing him instantly. An ocean of grief swept over 
her soul, in that one awful and bitter moment. No 
time was given to adjust the lifeless form, but seeing 
they were really going to shoot her, unless she went 
away, she hastily threw over him a lounge cover, on 
which she was sewing, when she ran out ; and with 
tearless eyes, but a bursting heart, left him there, with 
out even a last kiss of those lips which would never 
again return this seal of affection. Julia had preceded 
her to Mr. De Cota's, a half-breed Chippewa trader, with' 
a Sioux wife, who lived near, taking with her the dar 
ling little Letta. 

When the heroic girl, with their host and hostess, re 
turned to the tragic scene, (it was not deemed safe for 
the wife to go with them,) they found many excited 
savages gathered around, some ready almost to "gnash 
on him with their teeth," for the crime of being a white 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 123 

man ; and others, among whom was the chief of the 
village, Wa-kan-ma-ni, or Walking Spirit, who de 
nounced the deed, the latter saying, had he been there, 
he would have died before harm should have come to 
Mr. Huggins. 

Before the sun went down, these friendly hands had 
buried him, without shroud or coffin, and with sad 
hearts, turned away, while the evil-designing Sioux 
pillaged the house, and divided among them, for their 
breakfast, the oxen, which he had driven from the 
field. With a brave heart, Julia had entered the house, 
even while full of pillagers and murderers, and secured 
some articles, which were afterwards of great value to 
them. 

Among the relics of these spoils, were two pocket 
Bibles, one of which was the well thumbed companion 
of Mr. Huggins, the precepts of which he bound to 
his heart, as "the man of his counsel and rule of life.'-' 
O, what a comfort was this, in the weary, anxious days 
of captivity which followed, precious for the sake of 
him who had read and loved its teachings, as also the 
"hidden manna" of its leaves the gracious promises 
which now fed her sore heart. Therefore, she trusted 
its teachings, and waited, while its Divine Author 
guarded her fatherless little ones, and kindly disposed 
the savages' hearts toward her. 



CHAPTER XX. 

CAUSE OF THE WAR WHAT IS AN INDIAN? 

We append the reply of one, to the above question, 
whose opinion is at least entitled to respect and consid 
eration. His whole statement will be found of thrilling 
interest; and we cheerfully present to our readers the 
following statement of Mr. Spencer : 

"Ever since the treaty, which was made in 1851, with 
the nation of Dakota or Sioux Indians, they have been 
finding fault, complaining that the government did not 
strictly comply with the stipulations of the treaty. 
While some of the causes of these complaints have 
been imaginary, there can be no doubt but that there 
have been good grounds for others. In regard to the 
management of affairs among the lower Sioux, where 
the recent outbreak originated, I cannot speak know 
ingly, as I have not resided among them since the 
treaty went into effect But among the upper Sioux, 
the Sissitons in particular, with whom I have been en 
gaged, in trade, for the past two years, there has been 
some cause for complaint, on their part. 

"I have often heard Standing Buffalo, the Sissiton 
chief, complain about the whites not fulfilling their 
promises in regard to the location of mills, schools, 
mechanics, physicians, etc., among his tribe. It is true 
that the lower bands enjoyed all the advantages to be 
derived from these sources, but as they were located at 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 125 

a distance of nearly one hundred miles from the vil 
lages and fields of the Sissitons, they derived but little, 
if any, benefit from them. It is too often the case, that 
the parties who are employed by the government to 
hold councils, form treaties, etc., with Indian tribes, do 
not sufficiently understand the character of the parties 
with whom they are negotiating ; and, consequently, 
although matters may go off smoothly enough at the 
time, difficulties are liable to arise in the future, the 
consequences of which may be disastrous. 

"As there are other savage tribes, standing in the 
same relations to the government to-day, that the Sioux 
occupied, previous to the insurrection, it may be well 
enough to examine, minutely, one or two points con 
nected with Indian affairs, which, if properly observed, 
may be the means of preventing a repetition of the 
cruel blow, by other tribes, which has been so fearfully 
inflicted by the Sioux. In the first place, let us exam 
ine the Indian himself. What is an Indian ? 

"Simple as this question may seem, yet it is one that, 
in my opinion, is not thoroughly understood by our 
officials, and others, who have Indian affairs in charge. 
In the great chain of nature, the Indian is a connecting 
link between the wild beast and the human species. 
In shape he is human, and has the gift of speech, and, 
to a limited extent, the use of language. In almost all 
his actions, he seems to be guided by instinct, rather 
than reason ; to say that he possesses no intellect, might 
possibly be saying too much ; but if he does, it seems 
to be so clouded and obscured, that it does not avail 
him much. Long association with the whites has de- 



126 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

veloped, in some of them, the reasoning faculties, and 
shown them to be possessed of some little intelligence. 
So the same thing may be said of some animals, whose 
performances seem to be more the result of reason than 
instinct The treachery of the Indian is proverbial 
Unaccustomed to the comforts and luxuries of a home, 
there is, in his language, no word which answers to our 
word home. Accustomed, from infancy, to witness 
scenes of violence and bloodshed, and, as soon as he 
can speak, it is impressed upon his mind, that the great 
est achievement he is capable of performing, is to dye 
his hands in the blood of his fellow-creatures, whereby 
he may become entitled to wear a scalp-feather. He 
soon learns to take delight in participating in the ex 
citement of the chase, and in following the war path. 
His passions being subjected to no restraint whatever, 
his imagination is constantly taxed to invent some new 
mode of torture, to apply to the victim that may have 
been unfortunate enough to fall into his hands. The 
brutish propensities largely predominating, it requires 
but slight provocation to cause him to turn his murder 
ous weapons against his fellow-beings. Poets may 
sing, and romancers may write, as much as they will, 
about the "noble savage," the "dignified and majestic 
bearing of nature's nobleman," the "generous traits of 
character" possessed by the "sons of the prairies," etc., 
but "distance lends enchantment to the view," and after 
having been, more or less, intimately associated with 
them, for the last ten years, I have been unable to per 
ceive but a very few of those noble attributes which 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 127 

have been so plentifully ascribed to them. There are 
some individual exceptions, it is true. As you will 
find, among our own race, persons, who have been rear 
ed under the holy influences of Christianity, possessing 
the spirit of fiends, so you will find, occasionally, an 
Indian who is possessed of some feelings of humanity. 
Skilled to perfection in the peculiar craft pertaining to 
his calling, and his powers of endurance being almost 
incredible, when aroused, he becomes the most danger 
ous of foes. 

"When difficulties and misunderstandings arise be 
tween civilized nations, they may be amicably adjusted 
by negotiation, or, that failing, a resort to warfare, con 
ducted on scientific principles, but never losing sight 
of the great principles of humanity. But not so with 
a race of savages. Diplomacy is something unknown 
to them. 

"When they feel that they have been wronged, they 
proceed (actuated solely by a desire for revenge) to 
wreak their vengeance upon defenceless, helpless wo 
men and children. Such being the state of things, how 
important it is that the government should see that the 
stipulation of the treaties now existing with those 
tribes who yet remain friendly, should be strictly and 
faithfully complied with. Since open hostilities have 
been commenced by one tribe, it will not require much 
to induce other tribes to follow their example. 

"Another point, which is a very essential one, is the 
employment of competent interpreters men who have 

a thorough knowledge of the two languages. It is my 
F 



128 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

opinion, that more than one-half of the misunderstand 
ings which have arisen between the Indians and the 
government, may be traced to the fact that the inter 
preter did not understand, himself, what had been said 
to him. As a general thing, half-breeds are employed 
to interpret. 

"White men, who are capable of interpreting, cannot 
afford to accept the position of government interpreter, 
because the salary is so small that they can make more 
other ways. To explain what I mean, more fully, we 
will examine the languages. Ten thousand words will 
probably more than cover the number of words in the 
Sioux language, while our language is said to contain 
over forty thousand words. Now, the half-breed, of 
course, is raised among the Indians, and acquires his 
mother tongue perfectly. As he grows up, he becomes 
associated with the people of the frontier, and from 
them acquires his knowledge of English, which is not 
such English as is spoken among the elite. The per 
son who has acquired his education, and has graduated 
from our high schools, speaks a different language, you 
might say, from the backwoodsman, who, probably, 
never saw the inside of a school-house. 

"The excess of thirty thousand words in our lan 
guage over that of the Indian, renders it very easy to 
say things which cannot be literally interpreted into 
the Indian tongue. In such cases, you can only con 
vey the idea ; that is, if the interpreter has intelligence 
enough to catch the idea himself. Now, our officials 
are generally intelligent and educated men. In coun- 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 129 

cils with the Indians, they use the English language in 
its purity, to which the ear of the poor half-breed is 
entirely unaccustomed. He hears big sounding words ; 
they are all Greek to him, and, under such circum 
stances, to convey the proper idea, is next to an impos 
sibility. Under such circumstances, treaties are formed, 
and, when signed by all parties, the Indian is, half the 
time, as ignorant of the contents of the document, as 
a native of Africa. On the other hand, I have known 
instances where white men, who were wholly unfit for 
the office, have received and held the responsible posi 
tion of interpreter for the government; men whose 
knowledge of the Indian tongue scarcely enabled them 
to carry on simple every day conversation. They were 
favorites of those in authority, and therefore received 
the appointment, the question of competency never 
being taken into consideration. Under such circum 
stances, it is the easiest thing in the world for serious 
misunderstandings to arise between the Indians and the 
government 

"Now, in regard to the Sioux, they knew that the 
Federal Government had been carrying on an expensive 
war for a long time ; they believed that almost all our 
able-bodied men had gone South to take part in the 
war. The customary time arrived for the payment of 
their moneys and distribution of goods, and the Indians 
were assembled to receive them ; but the money did 
not arrive. 

"They were put off, with promises that, by such and 
such time, they should have their money, but were as 
often disappointed. 



130 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

"Two months after the customary time for making 
payments had passed, when their agent volunteered to 
go into the service of his country, and faking almost 
every able-bodied man on the reservation with him, he 
left his post, to be gone, nobody knew how long. The 
Indians, finding that their agent had thus left them, 
without giving them any satisfactory explanations, 
were at once impressed with the idea that the Federal 
Government had ceased to exist, and that their money 
had been expended for the purpose of carrying on the 
war, and that they were left to take care of themselves, 
as best they could." 

When they broke camp at Ked Wood, and started 
for Yellow Medicine, Mr. Spencer says : 

"A fine large flag, of the Hudson Bay Company, was 
flying out to the breeze, from one of the wagons in front, 
and a few American flags, which had been captured, 
were raised at different points of the procession. 

"It did not occur to me, to inquire how they came by 
that emblem of British authority, but I supposed it to 
have been presented to some chief or soldier, many 
years ago, and it had been preserved until the present 
time. In the early part of the present century, British 
flags, medals, &c., were freely distributed among all the 
Indian tribes by the British traders. 

* * -x- * * * 

"Here much time was spent in counselling. Little 
Crow was very anxious to move up in a body, and 
place themselves under the protection of the English, 
at the Ked Eiver settlement, but a majority were against 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 131 

him. In the meantime, the attacks upon New Ulm 
and Fort Eidgley had been made, but their statements 
were so conflicting, and I was suffering from my 
wounds so much, that I took no pains to ascertain the 
particulars ; one thing is certain, however, that they 
did not lose so many men as the whites have always 
supposed to have been killed. 

"At New Ulm, the Sioux were assisted by some of 
the Winnebagoes, and the conduct of 'Little Priest,' in 
that engagement, was very highly spoken of by the 
Sioux. 

" 'Little Priest' is the head chief of the Winneba 
goes, and lost two of his warriors in that attack. Mes 
sengers were sent from here to the Sissitons, Yanctons, 
Yanktonais, and to the governor of Selkirk Settle 
ment, to inform them that they (the Mede-wa-kan-tons 
and Wa-hpe-kwtes) had declared war against the whites, 
and praying for their assistance. They considered it 
almost certain, that the western tribes would join them, 
and they confidently believed that the English would 
assist them. They say, that many years ago, the Eng 
lish gave them a small piece of artillery, and named it, 
'Da-ko-ta-chis-tina,' or 'Little Sioux,' and promised them 
that, in case any difficulty should arise between the 
Americans and themselves, they could look to them 
(the English) for assistance. I could not hear, in 
any of my conversations with them, anything that 
caused me to suspect that secessionists had anything 
to do with it. If the tribes on the Missouri had been 
tampered with by secessionists, (which may have been 



132 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

the case,) this outbreak, I think, was no part of the 
programme. 

"While encamped here, 'Standing Buffalo,' the head 
chief of the Sissitons, came down with about two hun 
dred warriors, and, in a council with Little Crow, de 
manded the goods that had been taken from the Agen 
cy buildings at Yellow Medicine, as his property. 
This demand Little Crow refused to comply with, say 
ing that as he had done all the fighting he was entitled 
to the plunder. Standing Buffalo then refused to take 
any part in the war, and threatened Little Crow or any 
of his people with death, if they came into his country 
for protection, in case they were defeated by the 
whites." 



CHAPTER XXI. 

LAKE SHETAK MASSACRE. 

Lake Shetak, in Minnesota, ninety miles west of 
New Ulm, is the head- waters of the Des Moines river 
in Iowa. Attracted by its unsurpassed loveliness and 
fertility of soil, some six or eight American families, 
making a community of some fifty souls, united in a 
settlement on its banks. Industry was well rewarded, 
and comfort smiled a constant guest at their hearth 
stones. A weekly mail brought them tidings from the 
outward warring world, in the strifes of which they 
had no wish to mingle. 

On the memorable twentieth of August, they went 
about their daily avocations as usual, till past mid-day, 
little dreaming of the terrible siege raging at Fort 
Kidgley, or the fate 'which awaited them ere the sun 
went down. So general was the onslaught from one 
extreme of the state to the other, it is hard to divest 
ourselves of the belief of preconcerted, pre-arranged 
action. Certain it is, that all acted under "orders" of 
the commanding general of evil ; hence their death- 
dealing power. 

Some two months before the outbreak, Mr. Phineas 
P. Hurd, formerly a resident of Steuben county, New 
York, but for three years a resident at Lake Shetak, 
with one man and a team, left home for Dakota Terri- 



134 DAKOTA WAE WHOOP. 

tory ; since which time no tidings had come from him, 
and his wife, was daily watching for his return ; and 
his own heart too also bounded with joy at the antici 
pated welcome, as the distance hourly decreased be 
tween him and home. 

The farm which smiled under the magic wand of 
cultivation, was left in charge of a Mr. Yoigt, and the 
tidy, skillful housewife and dairy woman, was evinced 
by the cheerful aspect within doors, and the golden 
butter and rich cheese which sent their fragrance from 
the dairy room. Mrs. Hurd was an industrious woman 
and early riser ; hence, before the sun was up or her 
children awake, she, with the hired man, was out milk 
ing the cows. On the bitterly eventful morning of 
August 20, 1862, while thus engaged, they are sur 
prised at the appearance of some twenty Indian horse 
men, and more at seeing her husband's horses among 
them. Suspicion was aroused and they hastened with 
in, while the savages were dismounting, to be followed 
by the whole gang, who at once commenced an indis 
criminate plunder. Beds were ripped open and the 
feathers sent kiting in the air ; cheese, for which they 
have the greatest abhorrence of anything eatable, were 
pitched into the yard ; trunks and drawers were rifled 
of their contents, and a ball was sent to the heart of 
Mr. Yoigt, who fell dead with Mrs. Hurd's baby in his 
arms, as he was trying to hush its cries. 

That was an awful hour ; her home desolated, her 
husband, though her fears were not yet confirmed, a 
mangled carcass but a few leagues from the home to 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 135 

which he hastened, and now driven out with her un 
dressed children, denied even a sun-bonnet or shawl, 
and life granted only on condition of giving no alarm, 
and starting across the prairie for the towns. Thus 
under an escort of seven Indians on horseback, with 
one child toddling by her side and another in her 
arms, she was hurried through an unfrequented trail 
for three miles, and then bidden to go alone, "to look 
not behind, nor tarry in all the plains," under penalty 
of sharing death with all the other settlers. 

The August sun was shining with unusual bright 
ness upon the suffering head of our heroine, and the 
thick matted grass was heavily beaded with dew, 
which also, soon set bleeding the bare tender feet of 
the pedestrians, and most piteously cried the little boy 
Willie, of only three years, to return home, and re 
peatedly asked where she was going. Alas, she could 
not tell him. Death by savage hands was behind her, 
and starvation with all its horrors before. The re 
peated firing of guns convinced her that her neigh 
bors were suffering a like peril with herself. 

It was some relief to her throbbing heart, *when her 
little boy ceased to complain and manfully trudged 
along by her side, with apparent confidence in his 
mother's course, and the younger rested in blissful un 
consciousness on her bosom. 

Now. burst upon the shelterless, weary wanderers, 
one of our wild western storms that terrible storm of 
which mention is elsewhere made which, sweeping 

over the prairies and bluffs, obliterated tracks, pro- 
Pl 



136 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

duced a lull in battle storms, and saved hundreds of 
hapless wanderers from savage hands and bloody 
death. So are often life's greatest discomforts, the 
soul's richest blessings. For three full hours the storm- 
king reigned supreme ; the thunder and lightning were 
terrific, and the water fell in a blinding deluge, wash 
ing out the trail, and covering the lower portions of 
the prairie. But He who folds the lambs in his bosom, 
gave her strength to wander on, breakfastless and din- 
nerless though they were, to a slight, sandy elevation, 
where, supperless, she laid down her precious charge 
for the night, while bitterly her heart ached that she 
could not respond to her boy's pleadings for food ; and 
there, her scant garments drenched to the skin, all that 
long dreary night, she leaned over her children, her 
own shivering body protecting them from the wind. 
Willie slept most of the night, but the baby worried 
almost constantly ; happily its plaintive wail reached 
not the savages' ears, else a tomahawk would have 
sought its brain. 

The second day was a duplicate of the first, till 
toward evening, when she had the additional trial of 
seeing her little boy become very sick, and his phys 
ical powers fast failing him ; but the baby still slept 
and nursed, and so suffered less. At night she struck 
a road, and then understood her whereabouts. With 
all her foot-sore walking, she was but four miles 
from home, having doubtless wandered in a circla 
Her heart sank within her and a sense of exhaus 
tion before unknown carne upon her. After two 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 137 

day's constant travel, her journey was just be 
gun. 

But, cheered by the fact that she was no longer lost 
upon the vast prairie, with woman's courage she pushed 
on in the road to New Ulm, till nature demanding 
rest, she halted for the second night. Willie's sickness 
increased, and he asked no more for food. In the 
morning he could no longer walk, but craved water 
from every spring or pool they passed 

To carry both her children was quite impossible for 
the exhausted mother, but her maternal love, of which 
we have no fuller or nobler exemplification^ found 
practical development Here let the reader pause and 
fix this woman and the circumstances surrounding her, 
in the mind's eye. Enter into her feelings if you can, 
after two days of fasting, watching and wandering, 
and tell me if history presents a more striking example 
of woman's heroism and endurance, as with the fire of 
determination in her eye, and firm purpose in her step, 
she conceals one child in the grass, and taking the 
other in her arms, passes over the first half mile, when 
she deposits this and returns for the other. Thus all 
that day she travels three times over the same path. 
We read of Spartan mothers and Cornelia's "jewels," 
but it is left for Minnesota mothers of 1862, to evince 
to the world the powers of human endurance in the 
strength of maternal love ! 

Take now another view. A distant cabin meets the 
eye, it revives her sinking heart and nerves her with 
the hope of rest and food, and on she presses, tell- 



138 DAKOTA WAK WHOOP. 

ing her boy of the relief so near. She enters, no 
sound breaks upon the awful silence, its inmates had 
either been murdered or had deserted it. She commences 
her search for food, but not an article could be found. 
In despair she sank down in unconscious exhaustion, 
to be aroused by the plaintive, pitiful cry of her boy, de 
manding the fulfillment of her promise for food, of 
which they had now been four days destitute. She now 
bethought of the garden, and thither she went, found 
some carrots and onions, of which she ate, but her sick 
child refused them. That night they slept in a corn 
field, and she made her supper on raw corn, having no 
fire to roast it. The following morning, with as much 
joy as Hagar felt when she found the stream in the 
wilderness, and pressed therefrom the cup to the lips of 
her famishing boy, did Mrs. Hurd find the decaying 
remnant of a ham, not to exceed a pound. Of this 
she fed at intervals her starving boy, and had the 
blissful satisfaction of seeing him rapidly revive, and 
his vomiting cease. It was manna from heaven to 
her. She was here joined by some of her refugee 
neighbors, (of whom more anon,) and they continued 
together till they reached "Brown's," sixty miles from 
Shetak, where the inmates had been murdered. There 
they remained ten days, making themselves at home, 
while awaking to the terrible reality of their fate, real 
izing more keenly the bitterness of experience, and the 
dark uncertainty which awaited them. 



CHAPTER XXII. 

THE GENEKAL ONSLAUGHT. 

The note of alarm sounding from the door of Mrs. 
Hurd, soon extended through all the settlement, and 
was confirmed by the strange movements of the hos 
tile foe. 

The people at once aroused to their danger and col 
lected in one house for defense ; but finding they were 
insufficient in numbers and means to combat so for 
midable a foe, determined on flight. Women and 
children were hastily loaded into farm wagons, and the 
men on foot were as body guards for defenseless wives 
and children. Shaping their course towards New Ulm, 
the fate of which they had not heard, their anxious 
hearts beat with premature hopes of a safe asylum 
there. Alas, how little thought they, with all their 
fears, that separation and death was so soon to ensue, 
and that captives and fugitives, some of them were to 
pass through sufferings of which their own hearts had 
never conceived ! 

When but two miles on their journey, a fighting 
party of eight or ten Indians suddenly came upon 
them, ready for immediate action. Women and chil 
dren hid in the high grass while the battle raged. 
Two of the men deserted at the onset. The others 



140 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

nobly stood their ground, till all the men were wound 
ed, and Mr. Eastlick and eleven others killed. 

The Indians, now regarding their work as complete, 
called to the women to surrender as prisoners of war, 
pledging life and protection if they did so ; if not, 
threatening them with death as soon as their retreats 
could be- hunted out. Their wounded husbands, hop 
ing they might eventually be ransomed by Govern 
ment, encouraged the surrender. Without a parting 
kiss, and scarcely a parting glance, they were driven 
away from husbands ; and children in some instances, 
with scarcely an idea of what their fate was to be. 
Like a horrid nightmare dream seemed the experience 
of the day, yea, of the last few hours. 

The supposed dying husbands watched the receding 
forms of their families, till lost amid the foliage, and 
then nerving themselves to superhuman effort, assisted 
each other to their feet in trial to escape, all save Mr. 
Ireland, who was left to die, and in his agony anxious 
ly awaited the end. 

When half a mile away, the captives were over 
taken by Burton Eastlick, who for the love he bore 
his mother, had determined to follow, but she entreated 
him to return for the sake of his baby brother, only 
fifteen months old, which had been ruthlessly torn 
from her ; with the injunction to save him, if possible, 
and carry him in his arms as far as he could, or till he 
reached some settlement. A sacred charge, and how 
regarded by this noble boy of twelve years we are yet 
to see. 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

No sooner had Burton received this charge, than 
with bursting heart, he obediently turned to retrace 
his steps, when the sharp crack of muskets made him 
look back in time to see his mother and three other 
women, together with several of the children, fall in 
death. Three bullet wounds in the head, back and 
knee of Mrs. Eastlick, had not produced the effect de 
signed by the savages, and a young monster beat her 
on the head with the butt of his gun till she was quite 
insensible, and then with the spared captives, they 
hastened away. 

"When Mrs. Bastlick revived, darkness had settled 
upon the earth, like the pall upon her heart. Her last 
recollections were of her friend and neighbor, Mrs. 
Everett, lying near her quite dead, and her infant 
vainly endeavoring to draw sustenance from the source 
to which it had never before appealed in vain, and a 
little girl was crying over them in the bitterness of 
first heart grief. Now, these two children were dead, 
the Indians had returned and shot them. 

To find her husband and see if he was really dead, 
Mrs. Eastlick crawled through the thick dew-matted 
grass to the battle ground. Cold and stiff she found 
him, and the little son of six years whom she left 
wounded in the feet, was with him he too had ceased 
to suffer. Eeader, picture to yourself that scene if 
you can ! Silence sublime, reigning over all the broad 
expanse of earth and sky, and she alone with her 
dead, and there she must leave them. Again and 
again she kisses lips and forehead, and turns away in 



142 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

tearless agotay, but firm, and resolved to find her wan 
dering, living 'children. 

Four miles from the main settlement of Lake She- 
tak, had resided the family of Mr. Myers. Early in 
the day he had become convinced that Indians, on 
hostile work intent, were prowling around. But there 
was no time or opportunity to confer with his neigh 
bors, and so with a sick wife, on a bed in an ox wagon, 
with four little children, he started for some point of 
safety. 

The wounded men, before mentioned, aided by an 
invisible power, had progressed about sixteen miles, 
and on the following day fell in with the Myers party. 
There was joy in that meeting, though their hearts 
were full of grief. The heavy, springless wagon in 
which they found a place, relieved, by change, their 
wounded limbs and broken bones ; but slowly, very 
slowly, moved those plodding oxen along, and sadly 
their aching hearts kept time to the dull creaking of 
the lumbering wheels. Their undressed wounds were 
painful in the extreme, and why or how they lived 
through these weary days, is not in the scope of human 
mind to understand. , Their only food was flour 
and water cakes, with no other ingredients, baked in' 
the sun, they fearing to make a fire, lest the lurking In 
dians should be attracted by the smoke, and thus 
again put their lives in jeopardy. 

They were unmolested by the way, but had several 
narrow escapes. On one occasion, they took shelter 
for the night in a deserted house, which had been 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 143 

sacked by the Indians. Scarcely ten rods distant was 
another house, where some Indians spent the night in 
feasting and plunder, but left, providentially, without 
making any discovery as to the occupancy of the 
other. 

On approaching New Ulm, Mr. Myers left the team 
to go into town for assistance. When too near to rem 
edy his error, for he was seen and pursued, he saw the 
Indians had already besieged it, the work of destruc 
tion was going on, and their horrid war whoop rung 
on the air. Happily he eluded pursuit, and though he 
could not return to his waiting, anxious family, he 
bent his steps for Mankato, twenty-five miles below, 
where he arrived in safety. 

The wagon party, alarmed at his long absence, con 
cluded some evil had befallen him, and sure he would 
not return, moved on, heading their oxen toward Man 
kato. Nervous, excited, anxious and alarmed at every 
sight or sound, worn- out with suffering, hunger and 
waking, and constantly watching for Indian "signs," 
it was not strange they should mistake the encamp 
ment of U. S. troops for Sioux teepees. They left 
their wagon and hid in the swamp, but fortunately not 
till they had been seen by the soldiers, who suspecting 
the true cause of their movements, hunted them out 
and brought them into camp, where a safe escort into 
town was furnished them. 

It was eight days since their wounds were received, 
to which neither lint nor bandage had been applied. 
But now, broken arms are set, putrid wounds dressed, 



144 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

and the poor sufferers made as comfortable as the cir 
cumstances would allow, in a town of only two thou 
sand inhabitants, already crowded with refugees. 



CHAPTER XXIII. 

OUTBKEAK AT THE NORTH. 

Like a spark of fire in a magazine of powder, had 
been the war spark, ignited at Acton, and from the ex 
treme north to the south-western boundary of Minne 
sota, the explosion was being felt An electric chain, 
passing from village to village, through every savage 
heart, could scarcely have produced a more simultane 
ous uprising. 

On the 24th of August, a party of Sioux crossed the 
the Red river of the north, at Breckinridge, where the 
entire "town" was comprised in a mammoth hotel took 
possession of the horses, and slaughtered or drove off 
the cattle. Their next onslaught was on the "Breckin 
ridge House," which was strongly barricaded by those 
who had resolved to defend it, or die in the attempt 
Doors and windows were smashed in, and no living 
man was left to tell the tale. On the following day, a 
reconnoitering party drew up before the house, and 
scarcely had their eyes surveyed the destructive work, 
ere a large force of Indians sprang up, as from the 
earth. Their swift-footed horses, as well as their riders, 
saw the danger, and they reached the fort, in safety. 
A day or two after, another body of men went up to 
learn more of the true state of affairs. As they came 
near, a woman came forth from the saw mill, eliciting 



146 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

both their sympathy and protection. She wore but 
two garments, and these were stiff with the blood 
which, for twenty-four hours, had flowed from her 
wounded side, during which time she had not tasted 
food. Her home was at "Old Crossing," sixteen miles 
distant, where, with her son, she kept a "station," and 
with them lived little Jimmy Scott, her pet grandson, 
only five years old. The Indians attacked the house 
before breakfast. Young Scott was killed, and his 
mother severely wounded. She lay upon the floor, 
they supposing her dead, while they plundered the 
house. Then they came round her, kicking and punch 
ing her with sticks and guns, stripped off her dress, 
preparatory to mutilating her body, when the sound of 
approaching wheels drew their attention without, and 
they rushed for the prize of the farmer's loaded mar 
ket wagon, she not daring to move a hand to staunch 
the blood of the wound, lest they should return, and 
note its change of position. But she opened her eyes, 
and saw little Jimmy, bewildered, and almost power 
less from fright, and faintly whispered him to do the 
savages' bidding, they might let him live. 

The farmer had escaped to the woods, and greedy 
with venal desire, they did not pursue ; but driving the 
wagon to the door, emptied the flour from the sacks, 
and drove off, taking little Jimmy, who, in obedience 
to his grandmother's injunctions, passively submitted 
to his fate. Not till the sound of the wheels had died 
on her ear, and no other sound broke upon the awful 
silence, did she again venture to open her eyes. Then 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 147 

she crawled to the door, where lay the ghastly form of 
her murdered son, her youngest born, and, faint from 
the bleeding wound, and without bonnet, shawl, or dress, 
she started. Fifty dollars in silver had been over 
looked, when the Indians robbed the house, and this 
she hid in a haystack, with the provident hope of its 
doing goc/d to some one. All that day, she walked 
and crawled, eating nothing but some savory herbs, that 
grew in her path. As twilight's mellowing influence 
fell over the earth, she crawled to the door, where she 
had hoped a friendly admittance. One glance, and she 
knew the fiends had been there ; and though she did 
not know of the three dead bodies within, she turned 
to the saw mill, for shelter, and was found, as described. 
The ladies at Fort Abercrombie made her as comfort 
able as their own wardrobes would allow, and with 
kind surgical care, her wound was, in due time, healed 
A party went down to "Old Crossing," to bury her son, 
and brought to her the money she had hidden. A few 
days after, others found the body exhumed, with a 
stake driven through it, into the earth. 

The reconnoitering party entered the Breckmridge 
House, where they found the three dead bodies, with 
chains on their legs, by which they had been dragged 
from room to room, leaving a bloody trail, as the work 
of plunder progressed. They had now been several 
days dead, and were very offensive. 

On further search, the stage of Burbank & Co.'s line 
was found in the river, the top cut off, the horses taken, 
and the driver killed. Articles of minor value were 



148 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

scattered around, and a distributing office had been 
improvised for the mail, letters and drafts were sent to 
the four winds of the prairie. Thus commenced the 
conflict, along the northern line of travel, and so few 
were the men and arms at Fort Abercrombie, that all 
who were there, and more, were needed for its protec 
tion. 

Many of the people who were- driven from their 
homes, could not get to the Fort, and so made their way 
to the nearest village. Thrilling tales are told of these 
life adventurers, of their almost miraculous escapes, 
and providential guidance beyond the reach of savage 
hands. We remember of a man and his wife, with a 
little boy, of four years, whom they had brought forty 
miles, on their backs, coming into St. Cloud. Never 
had they a mouthful to eat, and never a loud word was 
spoken. Once or twice only, did the little hero whis 
per, "I am hungry" 

Another instance there was of a man shot at his own 
doof. His wife drew him in, and bolted the door, when 
her husband continued to load the gun, which she fired, 
through the window, till the Indians, after several had 
fallen, withdrew, doubtless supposing a hidden force 
within. The husband, sure he must soon die, and feel 
ing that every moment's delay but increased her peril, 
begged his wife to save herself by flight Eeluctantiy 
she did his bidding, and after incredible hardships, by 
day and by night, she reached a friendly shelter. A 
few days later, some white men entered the dwelling, 
expecting to find only a putrid corpse. To their sur- 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 149 

prise, the man was still alive, though he had made re 
peated attempts to end his physical agony. In a short 
time, he was re-united with his wife, rejoicing in the 
failure of the dull butcher knife to perform his bidding. 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

SIEGE OF FORT ABERCROMBIE. 

When the northern stampede began, Fort Abercrom- 
bie was garrisoned by only forty men, in command of 
Captain Yanderhock, with no protecting walls, or even 
embankments. The danger becoming known, messen 
gers, with "life in their hands," were sent forth to warn 
the citizens, government and Red River trains, known 
to be on the route, which, it was rumored, the Indians 
had gone to intercept, and also to Si Paul, for mil 
itary re-enforcements. The citizens at once banded 
with the troops for defense of the post, and soon com 
pleted a breastwork, from cord wood, covered with 
earth on the three most exposed sides. 

The list of women and children soon swelled to six 
ty-two, who, being crowded into the soldier's quarters, 
the only bullet proof building, made a one room com 
munity of two hundred and fifty. Here commissary 
stores were brought, water was hauled, and whatever 
of comforts could be supplied for so large a family. 
Eyelids were held open in suspense, and the nerves of 
the women set quivering, at the least note of alarm. 
There was neither eating nor sleeping, only as each 
gnawed at hard tack, with which their pocket was sup 
plied, when faintness from the cravings of hunger 
came over them, and slept on a blanket, which was 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 151 

rolled up for a seat, during the day. The men, in turn, 
kept guard without, while the women, even though all 
freedom from excitement was most desirable for some, 
energetically worked at cartridge making, or moulded 
bullets for hourly expected use, 

The first show of Indians was on the 28th of Au 
gust, when, in a daring, dashing manner, a large com 
pany of horsemen came in sight of the fort, and killed 
the herdsman, surrounded and drove off nearly three 
hundred head of cattle, and many of the horses and 
mules of the fort, which, in defiance of the guns, they 
entered the stables to obtain, A few, almost reckless 
men, went forth to dispute their right, and sheltered by 
the stacks of hay, actually drove them from the stables, 
and saved a few of the horses. The Indians fled to 
the woods, where Capt. V. thought imprudent to follow 
them, as the fort had poor enough protection at best 
Take away the handful of men, and who would save 
it, if attacked from another side ? The three succes 
sive days, the Indians bivouaced in sight of the Fort, 
their smoke revealing their whereabouts, while they 
barbacued and feasted. 

At early dawn, on the morning of Sept 1st, the ac 
tual siege of the fort commenced, and, for several hours, 
raged, with fearful power, against fearful odds. The 
loss on our side was comparatively small, only one 
killed and several wounded. Their casualties were 
unknown, as only two of their dead were left on the 
field ; the prairie was strewn with cloths and paper, sat 
urated with blood, which indicated more than it proved. 
G 



152 DAKOTA WAE WHOOP. 

The brave little band at the fort was, by no means, 
idle. Every soldier and citizen worked with a will, in 
anticipation of a renewed attack, till, on the morning 
of the sixth just as the sober gray was yielding to 
rosy tints the pickets announced the enemy's ap 
proach. This band was variously estimated at from 
five hundred to one thousand strong, and spread them 
selves, the mounted ones ahead, in the form of a fan, 
till three sides of the fort were enclosed by them. As 
they wildly dashed on to the attack, their yells were 
most terrific, and their appearance hideous in the ex 
treme. This was so unlike anything the men had ever 
heard or seen, that the first effect was not very cheer 
ing ; but they rallied behind the breastwork, and though 
attacked at four points, fought with a coolness and he 
roism equal to anything we read of in history. Had 
they met this superior force of blood-hounds, with oth 
er than determined wills, all must have fallen into sav 
age hands, and the buildings have been reduced to 
ashes. The fire from the howitzer scattered them like 
autumn leaves. One shell entered a log building, 
where many of the savages had taken refuge, doing 
deadly work. The blood on the floor revealed its ef 
fect. After three hours' hard fighting, the unequal 
conflict ceased, with a decided repulse to the assailants. 
Scarcely had their war whoops ceased to reverberate on 
the air, when a messenger, two weeks away, returned, 
with the cheering news of re-enforcements near. In 
forty-four hours, Mr. Hill had made the trip of two 
hundred and fifty miles, to St. Paul, and his demand 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 153 

for troops was promptly responded to ; but these could 
not move with, the celerity of fleet horses, nor could 
each man carry, in his haversack, sufficient food for his 
journey. 

Though there were no more direct attacks, small 
scouting parties kept up a harassing fire from the op 
posite shore, where bushes and weeds concealed them. 
The dwellings, to which some of the families had re 
turned, were being riddled with balls, and some per 
sons had very narrow escapes. A friend of the writer 
was guest at the house of Mr. Stone, the sutler. After 
two weeks' fasting, the women went over, with the 
hope of being unmolested, while they should have a 
week's palatable rations prepared. They were seen, 
and a ball, sent to them, whizzed past their heads, and 
lodged in the casing of the door, as they were about to 
enter. Then, like "rain on the roof," they fell all around, 
while the inmates of the house lay upon the floor, 
almost breathless, with fear, till the bullet storm had 
subsided. Under circumstances like those named, per 
sonal ablution or tidy apparel, was not to be thought 
of, and for three weeks, the husband of the friend 
above alluded to, never removed his boots from his 
feet, only to shake out the fleas. 

Under circumstances and with surroundings like 
those before described, the existence of three immortal 
beings was commenced. True, two of these had just 
opened their eyes, drew a few fleeting breaths, and then 
passed on to that eternal state, of which this life is but 
a shadow, away from the cares and bloody strife 



154 DAKOTA WAK WHOOP. 

which surrounded their advent into existence. In a 
soldier's bunk, partitioned from the main quarters by 
tent canvas, the chill wind whizzing between the logs, 
laid my friend, Mrs. L., pale, weak and senseless. 
Bravely had she endured the terrible siege, but the re 
action came. The little one soon passed away. Her 
husband lay on a stretcher, in the same little place, for 
his wound was not healed. All are to leave the 
band of women and children, whom a common misfor 
tune had bound so closely, and almost made friends of 
uncongenial spirits. They drew around her bunk, for 
a last leave of one who had been a moving spirit in 
their midst one whose manner ever endeared her to 
all hearts, high or low, rich or poor. She heeds it not. 
She realizes not that she is so soon to be left, with 
scarce a female friend, and well may it be that she 
does not. Yet an All- wise Being had "ordained her 
unto life," even in such surroundings, and, in due time, 
the anxious hearts of friends, who could render no aid 
in this extreme need, but to wait and pray, was relieved 
by her presence among them, she quite satisfied with 
her eventful experience in frontier life. 

Three weeks had they worked, watched, and waited, 
till, at last, when the suffering need is withdrawn, three 
hundred men are added to the number already there. 
These were decreased by death but eight, since the 
siege commenced, but several were helpless from 
wounds. Small parties were sent out daily, to recon 
noitre, who, every little while, would discover an 
Indian, like a toad under a mushroom, his head 



DAKOTA WAK WHOOP. 165 

popping from 'neath a bush, or from amid the weeds, 
tempting a shot, and these parties were, several times, 
surprised by superior numbers, when desperate fighting 
would follow ; but the savages were always the van 
quished party.. Once, our men effected, by strategic 
movement, a backward retreat, and though leaving two 
dead on the ground, and others were wounded, they 
reached the goal in safety. One of this party actually 
died from fright, a few hours after his return. Another 
gave out, but with encouragement and aid, stood again 
upon his feet, just in time to send a ball to the heart of 
an Indian, who, at the moment, aimed at the heart of 
his comrade, though not in time to prevent a flesh 
wound in his leg. 

The sad presentiment of the parents of a young man, 
in this rencontre, which was distinctly heard at the fort, 
proved literally correct. A few days after, a volunteer 
party went out to find and bury him and another, who 
was killed at the same time. The body of the last lay 
on his face, with his skull smashed in, and his brains 
scattered about, with eighteen bayonet thrusts in his 
back, and on one leg, a gash, nearly to the bone, from 
the hip to the calf of the leg. 

The body of the other, Edgar Wright, had been rip 
ped open to the throat, the heart and liver taken out, 
the lungs left on the chest, the head cut off, scalped, 
and stuck in the cavity of the abdomen, with the face 
toward the feet. The hands were cut off, and placed 
side by side, two feet from the body, but what was indi 
cated by this arrangement of these organs, was not un- 



156 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

der stood. In this case, as in those of a majority of the 
sufferers, the victim was void of offense toward their foe, 
and a young man of unblemished reputation, against 
whom they could have had no memory of wrongs to 
revenge. They knew him well, and ha.d received fre 
quent hospitality at his hand. This case is not an ex 
ception, for they have been most ingenious in devices 
of cruelty toward those who have most befriended them, 
and for whom they had professed most friendship. 

We narrate these horrid facts, not because we love 
to dwell upon them not because we are unmoved by 
the pen rehearsals, and the nerves can be quiet under 
it; but we give them, that the Indian sympathizers 
may see the diabolical natures of the foe our State has 
had to meet. We think it a mock philanthropy, which 
would screen these guilty, unprovoked wretches from 
merited justica 



CHAPTER XXV. 

INDIANS AT SIOUX FALLS CITY. 

Wherever the magic wand of civilization had passed, 
there went the human fiends, intent on bloody work. 
We have seen them in the interior ; we have seen them 
at the extreme north ; and now to the very south 
western corner of the State, and even a few miles be 
yond, in Dakota Territory, we see them as on other 
occasions, watching for a mark to shoot at. Sioux 
Falls City on the Big Sioux river, had just commenced 
an existence, and eight families were all its boast. 
Their nearest neighbors to the east were at Lake She- 
tak, sixty-five miles distant, and the nearest on the 
south at Yankton, about the same distance as the for 
mer. 

Fortunately, on the 25th of August, a small mili 
tary force under Lieut. Bacon, was stationed here, else 
doubtless there would have been a general massacre, 
and the world would have been ignorant of the transac 
tion. Bright and joyous rose the sun on that sadly 
eventful day, and nought of earth or air evinced the 
dark pall to settle upon that little community, and rest 
with leaden weight on some. 

Mr. Joseph B. Amidon, who had emigrated from 
St. Paul three years before, was, as also his wife, a 
former resident of Essex county, N". Y., and they were 



158 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

among the "first settlers" of this point. He resided on 
a "claim," one mile from the main settlement; and was 
with his son at work in the hay field, nearly a half 
mile from his dwelling. The supper prepared by the 
hand of his waiting, watching wife, remained un 
touched, for the husband and son came not from their 
toil. Anxiety filled her heart, strange suspicions un 
nerved. her, though she knew not of the Sioux up 
rising. The clock struck ten, and unable longer to 
endure her suspense, she went to the soldiers' camp, 
her nearest neighbors. With soldierly promptness, 
they searched without avail the field where, during the 
day, they had seen the missing ones. Across the road 
was a cornfield, and thither how they repair, fearing 
they may have been decoyed there, and sure of 'foul 
play from savage source. Just as the morning dawned, 
the cold, stiffened bodies were found ; a ball had 
pierced the father's heart, and earth had drank his 
blood. The soft plowed earth where they lay, showed 
very plainly Willie's severe struggles with death. 
Three balls had pierced his body, to the effects of 
which he yielded not easily or soon. They are taken 
to their now desolate home, where the wife alone 
awaits tidings from them. It is no marvel that she 
was well nigh paralyzed with the shock of sudden 
grief, and mechanically submitted to the bidding of 
others, as they prepared to bury her dead. 

Scarcely was the dust to dust consigned, ere the In 
dians appeared, menacing for a fight, which was stern 
ly met by the determined force. A sharp, brisk en- 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 159 

gagement ensued, in which seven Indians were made 
to "bite the dust," and which prevented the further ex 
ecution of their base designs for that time. 

In the rapid succession of events, came the news of 
the outbreak, and the Governor's order for the people 
to leave for some point of safety. Government con 
veyance and military protection would be furnished, 
but only one hour was allowed to prepare for depar 
ture. What an hour was that I How much must be 
crowded into it, and it is no wonder the brain should 
reel or the heart seem petrified with the sudden transi 
tion ! But there was no alternative, savage eyes were 
even then watching their movements, awaiting the 
withdrawal of troops, for a general conflagration, 
which ensued a few hours later. This sad-hearted cor 
tege, moving with the swiftness of ox and mule teams, 
are pilgrims and strangers in an unpopulated region, 
some of whom are obliged to make a circuit of a thou 
sand miles, to reach a point two hundred and fifty 
miles distant Such are the dangers of the way where 
moccasined feet stealthily tread. 

Gt 



CHAPTER XXVI. 

THE HEROIC BOY. 

We have seen Burton Eastlick following the cap 
tive party, and returning by the urgent desire of his 
mother. He had seen his mother shot, and supposed 
her dead. Beside his dying brother he watched till 
the angels bore his spirit above, placed the dear little 
form beside his idolized father, and with a bravery 
which would have honored men of mature years, af 
fectionately took his baby charge, and commenced 
preparations to start, in obedience to his mother's dying 
wish. Mr. Ireland, who, it will be remembered, was 
left to die, remonstrated. "He could never carry out 
the design, and it was better that they die there to 
gether." But the boy was resolute and firm. "Noth 
ing should deter him from the effort, he would carry 
the baby as long as he could, they might be saved." 
And so, folding his arms close about the child, he 
started. Mr. Ireland had given him some directions 
about his course, and other matters, which proved of 
use to the boy when alone upon his strange but holy 
pilgrimage. 

The heroic spirit of the boy incited Mr. Ireland with 
new hope of life, and he said, "Why should I die here 
alone, when such a boy can do so much. I, too, will 
try and get away." And so he went, bleeding and 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 161 

suffering as lie was, every rod gained increasing his 
desire to gain another. Ah, there is a Providence that 
watches our course and aids us in distress, and truly 
man is immortal till his work is done. We have, in 
more instances than are recorded in this work, been 
led more than ever before into a full, firm, unwavering 
belief in that Providential care and guidance which 
shapes our course in life so minutely as to number 
"the very hairs of our head." 

A n infidel world must admit the hand to be more 
than chance, which spared so many of this doomed 
settlement, protecting them in captivity, 6r succoring 
them by night and by day in eiforts to reach the other 
settlements. Mr. Ireland's body had been the target 
for eight balls, three of which had passed through his 
lungs. His wife and two of his children were killed, 
and two daughters, Rosanna and Ellen, carried into 
captivity, and compelled to walk the entire distance to 
the Missouri river, being over seven hundred miles by 
the route they chose. This, and other incredible hard 
ships which befell these girls, would seemingly have 
overpowered the physical energies, had not Divine aid 
been given them. He who said, "Call upon me in the 
day of trouble, and I will deliver thee," did not forget 
his promise, until they felt themselves safe with their 
rescuers, though strangers, such as their young hearts 
might well appreciate, and who in due time restored 
them to the arms of their father. 

Can imagination paint the sufferings of Mr. Ireland 
during his weary wanderings of fourteen days, that 



162 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

followed his resolve for life ? His wounds alone, with 
the kindest wifely care, and most careful nursing, 
should have allowed many anxious fears for the result. 
Weakened by the loss of blood, and the want of food, 
with naught but the bracing breeze, and the pure spring 
water, which none too frequently bubbled in his path, 
it is surely beyond the comprehension of mortal, how 
the frail fabric could continue to throb and beat with 
pain, while the fever's heat would nearly consume his 
vitals. How painful the progress, how bitter the 
thoughts of the future, for he knew not that one of 
his family lived, or if alive, but that a life fate worse 
than death was theirs, with faint hope of living to tell 
the tale of his horrid suffering, or much less to clasp 
to his heart the remnant of his once happy family. 

Ninety miles, thick with dangers, lay before him, 
but our little hero, Burton, faltered not. True, his 
arms became very tired, but then he placed this pre 
cious burden on his back, and thus the first day he 
made sixteen miles, and thus he traveled on, making 
sixty miles in ten successive days. His food was raw 
corn and such as he could find in deserted houses. 
How carefully he munched the coarse, unpalatable 
fare, to relieve the baby cravings for its mother ! How 
tenderly he folded him in his arms to shelter him from 
the chill night dews how lovingly soothed his weary 
wail, lest the very breeze should announce their living 
to those from whom they fled and how spasmodi 
cally hugged him to his heart, at the least real or im 
aginary note of alarm ! Brave, darling boy ! Did 



DAKOTA WAK WHOOP. 163 

angels ever before witness a deed like thine! His 
tory's page furnishes nothing more noble, more deserv 
ing immortal fame! Thy name with the good and 
great shall live. We would fain impress on thy young 
brow the seal of admiring approval, and record with 
immortal pen the undying virtue of thy noble deed ! 
God bless thee, noble boy ! 

The reader has seen the resolute mother, wounded, 
bruised and left for dead, crawling back to the battle 
field, finding her precious dead, and, with sublime pur 
pose heroically turn from them for a lone, weary march 
over the now desolate prairies. She traveled by night 
and hid in the grass for several days, till almost ex 
hausted from exertion and hunger. At the risk of 
being seen and murdered, she resolved -on finding 
something to eat. So she crawled through the grass 
to a cornfield, but her stomach, so long empty, rejected 
the raw corn, and she became deathly sick and obliged 
to lie by for some time. 

The friendly breeze cooled the festering, undressed 
wounds, which were occasionally bathed by a cool 
spring, and on she moved, an illustration of the pow 
ers of human endurance. At a deserted house she 
stopped over night, killed a chicken, and with her 
teeth, pulled the raw, bleeding meat from its breast. 
She continued very sick during the night, but the fol 
lowing morning, tearing the remainder of the chicken 
into strips to be dried in the sun as she went, she pro 
ceeds, and this, with three ears of raw corn, was all 
she eat during all those ten solitary days. Oh ! the 



164 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

lonely night wanderings ! the anxious, listening days, 
when the very silence was painful the terrible stom 
ach cravings and the bitter heart throbbings for the 
loved and slain, as also for the living ! But guided by 
an unseen hand, deliverance is sure to coma Joy, 
such as but the mother heart knows, was soon to com 
mingle with her grief, such as for a time to make her 
almost forget its woes, and her weary, wounded body 
its pains. 

From Sioux Falls City, in Dakota Territory, to New 
Ulm, August Garzene, a Frenchman, was employed in 
carrying the mail. Lake Shetak settlement lay on his 
route. All the little community were known to him. 
On his return route he meets Mrs. Eastlick, whom he 
at first scarcely recognizes, so jaded and changed is 
she. By dint of management, he gives her a seat in 
his single sulky, and at "Dutch Charley's", ere many 
hours, she folds to her heart her emaciated children, in 
whom the reader will recognize the heroic boy and his 
baby brother. We present the reader the sad, happy 
group, in their fugitive garments. 

There, too, was Mr. Ireland, with eight balls in his 
body, whom the boy's courage had saved, together 
with Mrs. Hurd and her two children. These last had 
fallen in company several hours before and continued 
their less lonely course together. A glad meeting for 
hearts so mangled and torn ! A few miles further they 
continue their pedestrian journey, where at "Brown's" 
they find more comfortable quarters, from whence Mr. 
Ireland is sent ahead to New Ulm for assistance. 




MRS. EASTLICK AND HER CHILDREN. 
(The Heroic Boy and his Baby Brother.) 



DAKOTA WAK WHOOP. 167 

Lieutenant Koberts, with twelve men and a team, 
was at once dispatched to their relief, and reached 
them about midnight. The following morning at day 
light, with an escort of soldiers, they were on their 
way to join their neighbors at Mankato, who supposed 
them dead, when after fifteen days of intense suffering 
they enjoyed the luxury of food and rest, devoid of 
present fear. 

Twelve bodies had fallen in death, at Lake Shetak, 
Aug. 20th, 1862. Twelve months and more, through 
winter's snows and summer's heat, the angels watched 
their unburied dust, while surviving friends plead for 
an escort of soldiers, to protect them, in the last sad 
burial rite. On the 28th Oct., 1863, they had the 
mournful satisfaction of consigning the beloved "dust 
to dust." Each body had retained its own living im 
press so distinctly, that there was no difficulty in mark 
ing the grave of each. 

The beautiful farms there lie in waste, and the whole 
region is depopulated. Such is the work of savage 
hands, such the horrors of savage ire. 



CHAPTER XXVII. 

SIEGE OF HUTCHINSON. 

The main body of troops, as we have seen, were 
marching up the Minnesota Valley, to the theatre, or 
centre of hostilities. Detachments or companies were 
stationed in the most exposed localities, some of whom 
had brisk skirmishes with the red foe, and others were 
left unmolested. Several companies of mounted citi 
zens did efficient service, at various endangered points. 

Captain Strout, with a company of fifty men, was 
stationed at Cedar City, whence all the people had fled. 
Here they were unexpectedly attacked by one hundred 
and fifty Indians. They fought like veteran heroes, 
until nearly overpowered by numbers, they retreated 
to Hutchinson, a town well fortified, eighty miles above 
the capital, and the first beyond the Big Woods. 

From Cedar City, this savage band moved towards 
Forest City, making a determined assault, but success 
fully repulsed by the inhabitants, who had fortified the 
town, and made it quite a stronghold. 

Thwarted in their last attempt, they advanced on 
Hutchinson, where Capt. Strout and his fifty men, to 
whom the citizens of town and vicinity joined them 
selves, valorously met the foe, and after more or less 
hard fighting, for two days, successfully repulsed them. 
Capt. Strout's dispatch, under date of Sept 3d, says : 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 169 

"I was attacked to-day by about one hundred and 
fifty Indians, about half of them mounted. They 
numbered full double my force, and fought us for two 
hours and a half. I threw my company into four sec 
tions, and in open order, pressed against them, as skirm 
ishers, after which, as they so far outnumbered my 
force, I made a fierce march against their main body, 
which was still in front Our loss, in the engagement, 
was three killed, and fifteen wounded. A number of 
the men were very much injured by exhaustion. 

"I think I am safe in saying, that the Indians lost, in 
killed and wounded, two or three times our number. 

"We lost most of our rations, utensils, tents, and 
some arms, from the excitement. Some horses ran 
away, others got mired, so that we lost nine, in all, from 
these causes. 

"The Indians had excellent guns. They were 
bright, and carried better than our guns. They were 
dressed partly in citizen's dress, and many of them 
rode fine horses. Their ponies would lie down when 
they dismounted. Sometimes the Indians would rush 
up to within one hundred yards of my force." 

Near the village of Hutchinson, lived a Mr. Adams, 
who, with his wife and child, were fleeing for their 
lives, to the protection of the town, when he, their nat 
ural protector, abandoned them to their fate. Finding 
themselves closely pursued, he threw the child, which 
he was carrying, and concealing himself in the grass, 
made his escape. She, possessed of a true mother's feel 
ings, stopped to pick up her child, and was captured. 



170 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

Her captor wished to take the child upon his horse, but 
she clung to it with an unyielding grasp. After re 
peated attempts to take it from her, the Indian became 
enraged, forced it from her grasp, and then shot it be 
fore the eyes of the agonized mother. These facts, I 
have from Mr. George Spencer, who had been a captive 
three weeks, when Mrs. Adams was brought into the 
Indian camp. During this time, he had heard no news 
from the whites, though many captives had been 
brought in. He says, "I told my friend (Chaska) that 
I should like to see the white woman who had just 
been brought in, when he immediately sent for her." 

"I found her to be a very pretty and intelligent little 
woman, and from her learned the latest news in regard 
to the preparations which were being made by the 
whites to punish the Indians." 

"In relating to me her history, when she spoke of the 
murder of her child, her first born and only child, she 
wept bitterly. Upon seeing which, the Indians inquired 
the cause. They then directed me to explain to her 
the reason why her child had been killed : that if she 
would have let the Indian take it, he would have 
brought it along safely." A poor apology for his bar 
barity, inhuman fiend, that he was. 



CHAPTER XXVIII. 

BATTLE OF BIRCH COOLIE. 

The citizens of Minnesota had now begun to realize 
the horrors of a home war. Sorrow comes to their 
hearts, and sadness to their homes. Familiar faces, 
which went forth, but a few days agone, will be seen 
there no more ! 

The murdered dead remain unburied, and their 
nauseous effluvia taints the air, at Eed Wood, and else 
where. A detachment, composed of one company of 
cavalry, under Capt. Anderson, and another of infantry, 
under Capt. Grant, in command of Maj. J. R. Brown, 
were sent out, August 31st, by Col. Sibley, commission 
ed with the sad burial charge of these victims of savage 
brutality. At night, they encamped opposite the Lower 
Agency, and on the following morning, they find and 
bury about thirty bodies, in every conceivable state of 
mutilation, and mostly the heroes of Capt. Marsh's 
company. While this was being done, a detachment, 
having crossed the river to the Agency, were engaged 
in the same sad and unpleasant duty there. About 
eighty -five bodies in all, were buried by the two com 
panies, that day. 

Having re-united, they moved on, some three miles, 
to Birch Coolie, where they encamped for the night. 
There were no traces of Indians having been in the 



172 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

vicinity for many days, and a precaution against them 
was less in their thoughts, than personal comfort, when 
their camping ground was selected. Had they appre 
hended an attack, they would have sought the protec 
tion of the timber, not more than two hundred yards 
away, instead of the smooth prairie, the most unpro- 
pitious spot that could have been found for the ordeal 
which followed. Fortunately, the camp was made in 
the usual way, with the wagons packed around, and the 
teams fastened to them. The horses of the mounted 
men were fastened by strong picket ropes. A guard 
of thirty men and two non-commissioned officers, were 
detailed, and ten sentinels were on constant duty. 
Around the camp fire, the men talked over the horrid, 
sickening scenes of the day, till drowsiness settled upon 
their eyelids, when each, in their own respective tents, 
sunk into slumbers profound, unmindful of the senti 
nel's monotonous tread. 

Sept. 2d was giving due notice of its dawning morn, 
in the sober gray which precedes its golden glimmer 
ings of light, and an officer of the guard was com 
pleting his round with a new relief The sentinel saw, 
by the waving furrows of the tall grass, that objects 
were moving stealthily along, in zigzag lines, not far 
away. Unwilling to give the alarm, without cause, he 
recalled the officer, and pointed them out to him. At 
this moment, came deafening war whoops from all 
sides, and the next, a raking cross fire poured in upon 
the unconscious sleepers. Most of the guard fell, some 
killed, and others wounded. The tents were riddled 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 173 

with bullets, and many in them were wounded, and 
others received their death shots, before aware of the 
presence of danger. Not sixty seconds of time was 
required for all this, and the utmost confusion prevailed, 
for a few minutes, and had the assailants charged into 
camp, a general slaughter would have followed. The 
panic and confusion of mind, which such hurried events 
create, gave place, in an almost incredibly short space 
of time, to calm, deliberate action. Every wounded 
man, whose hand could clutch a rifle, crawled from his 
tent, and with those uninjured, ranged himself at 
command, along the edges, behind the prostrate bodies 
of horses, wagons, or whatever else could answer for a 
temporary barricade. Thus on their faces, two and 
two, they worked. Some dug trenches with their bay 
onets, throwing up the earth with their tin cups, while 
others, loading as they lay, would rise on one knee, fire 
and fall, to repeat the process. Meanwhile, the hoarse 
braying of the animals, in their dying agonies, mingling 
with the groans of the wounded and dying men, is be 
yond the power of pen to depict. The first volley was 
the most deadly of any, for when the men were thor 
oughly roused, they deported themselves with the cool 
ness and bravery of heroes and veterans, though they 
had been scarcely two weeks in the field. Every man 
was a host. It is but justice, to make some allusion to 
the honored dead, who fell here, in defence of our Min 
nesota homes. 

Among the first to enlist in the renowned company 
of "Young Men's Guards," raised in St Paul, for na- 



174 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

tional service, was Benjamin S. Terry. When the 
burial party went forth from their encampment, at Fort 
Eidgley, Sergeant Terry volunteered to accompany 
them, though his company was not detailed. His ob 
ject was to identify his bosom friend, George Spencer, 
by some specifications by which a stranger could not, as 
it would be far advanced in decomposition (for all sup 
posed him dead.) This made known to Capt. Valen 
tine, consent was given. No sooner was the alarm 
given, than, rifle in hand, he sprang from the tent, 
when a ball pierced his side and he fell, mortally 
wounded. Several times after his wound was dressed, 
he crawled from his tent, and took unerring aim at the 
head of a grass-hidden foe. He was perfectly aware 
of his situation, and before the sun went down, had 
fought his first and last battle with the Indians, and 
closed the more important life battle. He was a mem 
ber, modest and unassuming, of the First Baptist 
Church, in St. Paul, and of three brothers, was the 
second who had fallen by savage hands ; the first in 
1852, while acting as their teacher and missionary, at 
the north. His body was afterward removed to St 
Paul, and more than one eye was dimmed as they saw 
the friend for whom his own life had been given, with 
tearful heart and sad face, acting as first bearer at his 
second burial. 

Corporal Wm. M. Cobb, of St. Paul, was a young 
man of many virtues, and the pride of his father's, 
household. He received four bullets at one volley 
but still bravely fought on for an hour, when, ex- 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 175 

hausted from the loss of blood, he walked to the sur 
geon's tent, where his wounds were dressed. He lived 
until the next morning, but not to see the end of the 
fight His dying injunction was "not to give up the 
camp." 

Sergeant Wm. Irvine was among the bravest of the 
brave. For thirty hours he lay upon his face without 
food or drink, discharging his gun as often as he could 
"sight an Indian." He had just sent a message to 
Capt Grant that he had killed three or four, when a 
a ball pierced his head, rendering him senseless. He 
died on his way to the fort, after relief had come to 
that worn out band. 

These, with others, were afterward removed to St. 
Paul, and with suitable honors, buried in Oakland 
Cemetery. "So rest the brava" 

All that day and all the night, that bullet shower 
raged. The little brave band was completely sur 
rounded, and no possibility of sending for relief un 
less heaven interpose, they must all die. Many a one 
lay soaking with his own blood, the soil of the trench 
he had dug with his bayonet and tin cup. On the 
morning of the 3d, the crack of the rifle is still 
heard, and its effect continues to tell upon our men. 
With savage yells and demoniac war-whoops the work 
goes on till nearly night 

In Capt Grant's force were several half-breeds, who 
had fought valorously all the day and night On 
Wednesday morning, the Sioux commander called out 
in his own language for these to leave the whites, come 



176 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

over to their side, and they should have protection, as 
suring them that only the white blood was sought, and 
that they were going to charge at once and put every 
person to death. This was understood by all the half 
breeds, and by Maj. Brown, who translated it for Capt 
Grant 

But Heaven interposed in the moment of greatest 
peril, and sent the boom of the approaching cannon, 
and at the same moment, an Indian horseman rode 
rapidly up to their commander, and was distinctly 
heard to say, that "two miles of white men" were com 
ing to the relief of the besieged party, which was fol 
lowed by the quick command to "cut them off anni 
hilate them I" 

The pickets around Col. Sibley's camp at Fort Kidg- 
ley, fifteen miles distant, heard the firing early on 
Tuesday morning, and reported the same at headquar 
ters, but the echoes from the woods and reverberations 
from the bluffs, prevented them from determining the 
exact point of compass from whence the sounds pro 
ceeded. Convinced that the burial detachment was in 
imminent peril, somewhere, two companies, with a few 
mounted men, with a six pound howitzer, under 
Col. McPhail, were ordered to their relief. As 
by intuition, their march was shaped in the right 
direction. 

Bidding defiance to the men and terror inspiring 
gun, the savages hastened on to meet and annihilate 
them, leaving a few men around the camp, which they '' 
thought now almost defenseless. Little Crow had pro- 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 177 

claimed to his people that Col. Sibley's army was com 
posed of old men and little boys hence but little to 
be dreaded in the conflict. But when they saw the 
formidable array, with all the modern paraphernalia 
of war, they deemed annihilation less sure, and con 
cluded to defer it till the next day, while they demon 
strated their prowess by firing from a distance, brand 
ishing their hatchets, defiantly waving their blankets 
and sounding the horrid war whoop. 

To the inexperienced eye of our men, the scattered 
horde of savages seemed greatly magnified in numbers, 
and they fancied themselves too weak to cut their way 
to the relief of the struggling, suffering band ; there 
fore they bivouaced for the night, and returned a 
messenger for still greater re-enforcements. This mes 
senger was the brave and intrepid Sheehan, of Yellow 
Medicine and Fort Eidgley renown. The Indians an 
ticipating the design, tried to cut him off, chased him 
some seven miles, sending more than fifty bullets at 
him but his work was not yet done. Col. Sibley, 
with his entire remaining force, took up the line of 
march the same evening, reaching the second detach 
ment about midnight. At early dawn the column was 
in motion. As the sun rose, the sheen of bright mus 
kets, in the hands of distant running Indians, was 
seen all around them, but quite out of range. They 
had delayed their attack for the stimulus of rest and 
food, but now, when they saw this column twice the 
length of the previous evening, they were powerless 
with wonder ; unable to account for its sudden growth, 



178 DAKOTA WAK WHOOP. 

and declared that "five miles of white men and a big 
gun were too much for them to fight." 

A sufficient number of the enemy had remained at 
Birch Coolie to keep up a harassing fire. The main 
body of the Indians continued to brandish their bur 
nished weapons, which flashed back the sun's rays, 
and louder and more defiant became the continuous 
war whoop. 

Thus was each party deceived with the number and 
strength of the other. Our force continued to ad 
vance in battle line, their fire, however, having but 
little or no effect on the distant foe, unless it was to 
impart an impression of superiority in strength and 
discipline, and keep them in the distance, till they 
finally retired. 

When first the group of conical tents appeared 
across the distant ravine, there were doubts whether 
they were friends or foes. To annihilate them if the 
latter, before they have time to remove, and to relieve 
them if the former, the march is quickened. Dead 
horses form the barricade, but not a sign of life ap 
pears. Had all been slaughtered and the relief come 
too late? Aye, live men were in the trenches and joy 
fully aware of the approach of friends, for they knew 
they could hold out but a few hours longer. The 
want of water alone would soon have made them pow 
erless. Had the savage force remained undivided, 
they would doubtless even then all have been, found 
slain. A strange, wild, but genuine joy reigned in 
camp. Some clapped their hands and laughed, others 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 179 

danced in delight some gave praise to God, and oth 
ers were mute with their real heart gratitude. 

There was but little time for congratulation, for thir 
teen dead comrades lay unburied, and sixty more were 
suffering from wounds. "The hero of a thousand bat 
tles" no more deserves the laurel wreath of FAME than 
the heroes of Birch Coolia For thirty-six hours, 
without food or rest, they had worked as none but he 
roes can, and had held their camp against three hun 
dred savage foes. 

Impromptu mattrasses of prairie grass, placed on the 
'hard wagon bottom, served for ambulances, and at sun 
down they commenced their return march. At mid 
night, tired and worn out with fighting and marching, 
they entered camp at Fort Ridgley. 

According to facts afterwards obtained from reliable 
sources, the Indian force at Birch Coolie was three 
hundred and nineteen men, who had come from their 
encampments at Yellow Medicine, with the design of 
separating in two columns and simultaneously attack 
ing Mankato and St. Peter, in order to mete to them 
the fate of New Ulm, and had no idea of meeting any 
opposition by the way. The event proved that the 
detachment had been started from Fort Eidgley at the 
right time. Had these savages met with no check, 
they would have laid those flourishing towns in ashes, 
and many of the people would have shared the fate of 
those of New Ulm, and the adjacent country and 
then it was their purpose to follow up this success 
(they never thought of repulse,) to St. Paul, attack it 



180 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

in the night time and reduce it to ashes, and more se 
verely afflict the people than they had elsewhere. But 
Grod rules, and their designs were thwarted. 

Those whose graves were made on the battle-ground 
were not the only victims of the Birch Coolie battle. 
One after another of the brave wounded swelled the 
list of dead, so that in ten days they numbered twenty- 
three. Of these, Robert Gibbons is worthy of special 
mention, being a humble Christian and prominent, de 
voted member of the Methodist Church in St. Paul. 
He had given two sons to the national army, and when 
a sudden home emergency arose, he joined a cavalry 
company to die the soldier's honored death, and when his 
remains were removed, to receive the soldier's honored 
burial, amid bleeding hearts and appreciating friends. 

Mr. J. W. DeCamp had entered the ranks to fight 
in retaliation of the supposed death of his wife and 
three children. But he fell while fighting valorously, 
and though he reached the fort alive, he did not live 
to know but his worst fears were true. 

Mrs. DeCamp was a companion in captivity with 
Mr. Spencer, and the utter neglect with which she was 
treated,' was almost as unendurable as the surplus of 
of attention to others. She was claimed by no one in 
particular, and consequently, often went to bed hun 
gry, she and her children, if indeed they were so for 
tunate as to find a blanket bed, on which to sleep. 
Our informant has himself besought the pity of the 
inhuman brutes and obtained something for her to eat. 

One dark rainy night, according to a pre-arranged 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 181 

plan, with no one to guard her, she found little diffi 
culty in seeking the river, where a flotilla of canoes 
awaited herself and children, together with the family 
of her rescuer. For three days and nights they floated 
or paddled down stream in these open crafts, with the 
discomforts of a cold, drizzling rain, with insufficient 
clothing or food. But hope of a re-union with her 
husband, stimulated her desire for life. 

On their way, they discovered a woman and five 
children lurking in the bushes, their clothes and flesh 
rent with the briers, and they were much emaciated 
from long fasting and anxious watching. This was 
Mrs. Eobideaux, who was welcomed to their frail fleet, 
and made as comfortable as circumstances would admit. 
These were all brought safely into port by Lorenzo 
Laurence, a Christian Indian, who jeopardized his life 
in this and other kindred acts, and with John Other- 
day, and others, is entitled to the^ gratitude and pro 
tection of white people for all time. These are evi 
dences that the missionaries' labors have not been en 
tirely in vain. 

Simon, too, another Christian Indian, and an old 
man, rescued Mrs. Newman and three children from 
the hands of their captors, and rested not till he had 
placed them in friendly hands at the Fort. But the 
bright hopes which poor Mrs. DeCarnp entertained of 
meeting her husband went out when she reached her 
destination. Her brimming cup of sorrow overflowed 
at his grave, which had been made several days when 
she reached the Fort 



CHAPTER XXIX. 

BATTLE OF BIRCH COOLIE OFFICIAL EEPOKT OF 
MAJ. J. R. BROWN, COMMANDING- DETACHMENT. 

FORT EIDGLEY, Sept. 4, 1862. 

Col. H. H. Sibley, Commanding Expedition in Sioux Country : 

SIR : In compliance with your order, I left the en 
campment at this post, on the morning of August 31st, 
1862, to visit the different settlements between this post 
and Beaver River, to search for and bury all persons 
that could be found murdered, and at the same time, to 
examine the country about the Lower Sioux Agency 
and Little Crow's village, to mark all indications of the 
movement of the Indians, and the course taken by 
them in their retreat 

Capt Grant's Company A, 6th Regiment ; Capt An 
derson's Company of mounted men, several volunteers 
from the officers of the expedition, a fatigue party of 
twenty men, and seventeen teamsters, with their teams, 
formed the force of the detachment. 

On the 31st of August, the detachment moved in a 
body and encamped on the Minnesota bottom, at the 
mouth of Birch Coolie and opposite the Lower Sioux 
Agency, having found and buried sixteen corpses du 
ring the day. 

On the 1st of September, the detachment marched 
in a body to the river bank, when the mounted corn- 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 183 

pany, with one team and eight of the fatigue party, 
accompanied me across the river, under the protection 
of the infantry. After searching around the Agency, 
and becoming satisfied there were no Indians in the vi 
cinity, Capt. Grant was directed to remain with his 
company, and twelve of the fatigue party, and sixteen 
teams, on the east side of the river, to bury what mur 
dered persons could be found at the crossing and at 
the settlements, as far as Beaver river, and from the 
Beaver river to return to the upper timber on the Birch 
Coolie, and encamp. 

I proceeded with that portion of the detachment that 
had crossed the river, to bury the dead about the 
Agency, and then proceeded to Little Crow's village, 
and from there I went alone to where the road leading 
to the Coteau de Prairie diverges from the Yellow Me 
dicine road, to ascertain whether the Indians had gone 
to the Coteau, or continued up the Minnesota, towards 
the Yellow Medicine. 

The road and the camps about Little Crow's village, 
indicated that the main body of the Indians had an 
immense baggage train, which had gone forward about 
six days previous, and a smaller baggage train coming 
from the lower part of the reservation, had gone forward 
two days subsequently, the entire force keeping the 
Yellow Medicine road. 

In all our examinations, no signs could be found 
about the village, along the road, or at the river cross 
ing, near the village, that any Indians had been in the 

vicinity for the four days previous. This was the uni- 
Ht ' 



184 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

ted opinion of Maj. Galbraith, Messrs. Alex. Faribault, 
Geo. Faribault, and J. J. Frazier (who were among the 
volunteers,) and myself; and, as the Indians, when 
encamped near their villages, invariably visit them 
frequently, the general supposition was, that upon 
learning the approach of troops, the lower Indians 
had gone up to join the Yellow Medicine Indians, 
that they might subsequently act in concert in 
their defense against the troops, or in their movement 
west 

Having accomplished the object of my visit to Little 
Crow's village, I proceeded to the ford, near that village, 
and re-crossed the Minnesota river, and near sunset, 
reached the encampment selected by Capt. Grant, near 
the upper timber of the Birch Coolie, and about three 
miles from the Lower Agency. 

The two divisions of the detachment buried, during 
this day, fifty-four murdered persons. Capt Grant 
found a woman who was still alive, although she had 
been almost entirely without sustenance for fourteen 
days, and was severely wounded. She escaped from 
the massacre at Patterson's Kapids. 

This camp was made in the usual way, on the smooth 
prairie, some two hundred yards from the timber of 
Birch Coolie, with the wagons packed around the camp, 
and the team horses fastened to the wagons. The 
horses belonging to the mounted men were fastened to 
a stout picket rope, between the tents and wagons, 
around the south half of the camp Capt. Anderson's 
tents being behind his horses, and Capt Grant's tents 



DAKOTA WAK WHOOP. 185 

being inside the wagons, which formed the north half 
of the camp. 

A guard of thirty men and two non-commissioned 
officers was detailed and organized ten sentinels be 
ing stationed about thirty yards from the wagons, at in 
tervals, around the camp, with instructions to keep a 
good lookout, and report any noise or other indications 
of the approach of Indians. 

Nothing was reported from the guard, until half past 
four o'clock, on the morning of September 2d, when 
one of the guard called out, "Indians," and almost in 
stantly afterward, a shower of balls fell upon the camp. 
The firing, for probabjy a minute, was entirely on the 
part of the Indians, during which time, many of our 
men were either killed or wounded ; but the mortality 
among the men, at that time, was, by no means, as se 
vere as might be supposed, owing to the protection 
afforded by the horses. 

Capt Anderson and his company promptly availed 
themselves of the protection afforded by the wagons 
near him, and opened fire upon the Indians. 

Capt. Grant's company and the fatigue party prompt 
ly seized their arms, and commenced firing ; but they, 
for some minutes, continued to expose themselves, im 
prudently, and, consequently, were very much cut to 
pieces. After the entire detachment became settled 
under the shelter of the wagons and dead horses, but 
few were killed or wounded, and the close firing on 
our side soon caused the Indians to withdraw to the 
shelter of the woods. 



186 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

After the withdrawal of the Indians, the construc 
tion of rifle-pits was commenced in different parts of 
the camp, which, although the men worked with a will, 
progressed slowly, owing to the hardness of the soil, 
and the want of proper tools. Three spades, one pick, 
"bayonets, tin pans, etc., constituted our means for ex 
cavation ; and yet rifle-pits to the extent of about two 
hundred feet in length were completed. From the time 
the first rifle-pit was commenced, but one man was 
killed and two wounded, although the fire of the 
Indians was continued until the arrival of re-enforce 
ments. 

Although the Indians had great advantages over us 
in the early part of the engagement, I think that the 
mortality on our side, fearful as it was, did not exceed 
that of the Indians, judging by the numbers they 
carried across the prairie from the timber from which 
they fired. Our men were cool, and had orders to dis 
charge their pieces only when a prospect of hitting a 
foe was presented. 

About two o'clock, on the 2d of September, the 
report of a cannon, which we were confident was dis 
charged by friends approaching to our relief, was hailed 
with joy, and as we were then in a condition to laugh at. 
all the attacks of Indians upon our position, we felt 
confident that they would be cheated of a victory 
through starvation or thirst. 

As the re-enforcements advanced, the Indians began 
to withdraw from us, and prepare for operations against 
the approaching force. We could see and hear the 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 187 

Indians, and learned through them that the force was 
not large, and they hoped to cut it off. This gave us 
some uneasiness, because we feared the troops might 
attempt to cross the Birch Coolie about dark ; but we 
soon learned they were halted, and that the Indians 
proposed to wait until morning to make an attack 
upon them. In the morning of Sept. 3d, we again 
observed the the manoeuvers of the Indians, and could 
plainly hear their lamentations at the discovery that you 
with your entire force had reached Col. McPhail's 
camp during the night. From that time, the Indians 
had no hopes of either capturing us or defeating the 
re-enforcements. Still they kept up a fire on us until 
your van reached within two or three hundred yards 
of us. 

The Indian force which attacked our camp, I esti 
mate at from two hundred and fifty to three hundred, 
all well armed and many mounted on good horses. 

Enclosed, you will find Capt. Anderson's report, 
detailing the force, operations, and casualties of his 
company. His officers and men (with the exceptions 
he indicates,) acted with the utmost coolness and cour 
age. The captain, although twice severely wounded, 
continued in active command of his company until 
your re-enforcements reached our camp. To the prompt 
movements and energetic action of himself, and his 
officers and men, the early retreat of the Indians from 
the prairie, is in a great measure due. 

Capt. Grant rendered important service in the 
construction of the main line of rifle-pits. Lieut. 



188 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

Gillam, of Capt. Grant's company, with a small party, 
located themselves on the left of Capt. Anderson early 
in the fight, and did gallant service. Lieut. Baldwin, 
of the same company, also acted with cool courage in 
the different portions of the camp where his duties 
called him. Lieut. Swan, of the 3d infantry, (a vol 
unteer,) was in charge of a party near and on the left 
of Lieut. G-illam, where he and his party did good 
service. Mr. Alex. Faribault, with his son, J. Frazier, 
and other volunteers, had position on the north por 
tion of the camp, where good service was done during 
the continuance of the battle. Major Galbraith and 
Capt. Eedfield, both volunteers, were wounded early 
in the morning. Maj. Galbraith received two wounds, 
but continued to assist in the construction of the rifle 
pits. Lieut. Patch, (volunteer) and Sergeant Pratt, of 
Capt. Grant's company, also rendered valuable service 
in the defense of the western rifle-pit 

There were wounded, of the volunteers, in addition 
to those mentioned above, Daniel Blair and Warren 
DeCamp, the latter very severely. Mr. J. C. Dicken- 
son, of Henderson, and R Henderson, of Beaver river, 
also volunteers, left the camp in company with four 
others at the first fire, and were probably killed. The 
body of Mr. Henderson was found a short distance 
from the camp. 

Having received no report from Capt. Grant, I am 
unable to give the names of the killed and wounded 
of his company, and the fatigue party attached to it 

There were a few men who behaved badly, mostly, 



DAKOTA WAE WHOOP. 189 

I think, teamsters ; but with these exceptions, the entire 
detachment acted with commendable coolness and 
courage. Probably the desire of Capt. Grant's com 
pany to charge upon the Indians, led to their exposure, 
and consequently so many deaths and wounds. After 
they took position behind the wagons, but few casual 
ties occured. 

It is a singular fact, that the woman found by Capt. 
Grant escaped unhurt, although she lay in a high 
wagon, exposed to the fire of the Indians, and which 
had several balls pass through it. The killed and 
wounded were reported to Yan on the 3d instant, by 
Dr. Daniels, who accompanied the detachment. That 
report I believe to be correct. 

Every horse belonging to the detachment was 
killed, excepting six, which were left at the camp, 
being wounded and unable to travel 

The tents belonging to the detachment were perfectly 
riddled, one having one hundred and forty ball holes 
through it. They are unfit for service. 
Very respectfully, 

Your obedient servant, 

JOSEPH E. BEOWIST, 
Maj. Gen., 3d Division Minnesota Volunteer Mil., 

Com. Detachment 



CHAPTER XXX. 

WANDERING REFUGEES. 

Alone, in the wild morass, through tangled bottom 
land thickets, crawling in tall prairie grass, and subsisting 
on hazel-nuts for eight days, a mother wandered with 
her child. Her scant house covering nearly worn from 
her person, was poor protection from the chill night 
air, and the dew-beaded grass added to the discom 
fiture of her midnight ramblings. No Indian trail, 
even, marked the course for her feet to tread ; but her 
upturned eye marked the course of the stars, and her 
uplifted heart sought guidance of Him who "stayeth 
the rough wind in the day of the east wind." The 
infant which nestled now quietly in her bosom, had 
ever been fretful, restless and loud crying. Often she 
detected the savage foe prowling upon her path. Then 
she would kneel and pray for deliverance, and that the 
pitying angels would keep quiet the babe, that its 
wail reveal not her lurking place so would the dan 
ger pass. 

Incredible as it may seem, this woman, Mrs. Almira 
Harrington of Leavenworth, Brown county, had a se 
vere bullet wound in the back. The same ball had 
killed a man near her and severed a finger from the 
hand of her infant. 

The first night of encampment by the sad New Ulm 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 191 

cortege, on their mournful route to Mankato, was her 
rescue made. She was cautiously crawling through 
the grass towards the encampment, when discovered by 
a picket, who snapped two caps at her before he dis 
covered she was a white woman, and but for their de 
fect he would have shot her. This mistake occurred 
from her hailing him in the Sioux language he very 
naturally mistaking her for one of the tribe. Her 
story is a very thrilling and affecting one, and given 
with no ordinary intelligence, as she is a woman above 
the ordinary grade of intellect. Her escape and rescue 
may be regarded almost a miracle. 

The escape of Mrs. Caruthers, of Beaver Creek, 
from her captors, is hardly less remarkable than the 
former. Two Indians claimed her, both of whom de 
termined to make her his squaw. The contest between 
them became fierce, each unwilling to yield his right. 
In the heat of the quarrel, one of their squaws, fearful 
of being supplanted in the affections of her lord, sig 
nified a readiness to aid her. She accordingly spirited 
Mrs. Caruthers and her two children off to a cornfield, 
from whence she made her escape, not waiting to know 
the result of the quarrel. 

After being out two days and nights with little rest, 
she reached the Minnesota river, where she found a 
canoe and tried to paddle herself over. But "white 
squaw" having not yet learned "the light canoe to 
guide," found her frail craft playing funny antics, and 
resigning herself to its pranks, she laid down "the 
paddle," and floating on with the drift-wood five or six 



192 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

miles, was providentially thrown on shore near the 
Fort She rapped for entrance, with one child in her 
arms and another on her back, and found a safe asy 
lum there. 

An amusing incident occurred with a young lady 
captive at the Lower Agency. The house of the 
Episcopal clergyman, Mr. Hinman, had been pillaged, 
and his clerical robes desecrated to savage use. With 
the red man, as with many white men, it is the dress 
that makes the man hence their increased pomp and 
stately bearing when new blankets are distributed. 
No doubt he had looked in some time at the open door 
when the good man had been ministering at the altar, 
with an envious eye for his priestly robe. Now what 
could be more opportune ? It was his, he had got it, 
and he would wear it he would even honor his fair 
captive with the escort of his dignified self in pontifi 
cal robes. In self-admiration and self-congratulation 
he stalked around, vainly imagining himself the ad 
mired of fair eyes, when a witty thought struck him, 

and turning to Miss , he asked if she "belonged to 

his church ?" The ludicrousness of the scene, despite 
the sadness, produced an audible smile, at which the 
poor fool was so elated, attributing it to his witticism 
alone, that he arose in ecstatic rapture, and for the mo 
ment forgot all but himself The opportunity was 
seized for escape, and when the pompous wit came 
down to a level with the rest of mankind, "his bird had 
flown," and no magic could lure her from her safe hid 
ing place. 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 193 

A young man who escaped the murderous grasp, 
lay all that fearful Monday in his grassy concealment 
He then moved on as best he could, till, finding him 
self nearly surrounded, he crept away in the grass, 
barely avoiding their savage clutches. Here he re 
mained till a heavy rain came on, when, from a knowl 
edge of their character, he felt he had little to fear. So 
he manceuvers till confident of eluding pursuit, and 
boldly pushes forth. From a high bluff he has sur 
veyed the scene, and no signs of Indian for miles 
around. Down the hill he rushes with rapid strides, 
but at the base is brought to a dead halt. One hun 
dred and fifty warriors at least are huddled together in 
the tall grass, not ten feet from him. The noise of the 
rain prevented the detection of his footsteps, and for 
tunately their backs were toward him, blankets drawn 
over their heads, and heads under their arms. Quick 
as if a thunderbolt had hit him, he drops to the ground 
and commences a worming ascent hunger and weari 
ness creeping upon him. Another day and night he 
rests, when again he resorts to the creeping process, and 
finally, succeeds in reaching a standing where erect 
locomotion is comparatively safe, to find not unfre- 
quently in his path some freshly bleeding token of 
their inhuman deeds. 



CHAPTER XXXI. 

THE MANIAC. 

When Captains Chittenden and Northrup, under 
Col. McPhail, passed up the Minnesota Valley, to raise 
the siege of Fort Ridgley, they were joined by Charles 
Nelson, a Swede, whose home at Norwegian Grove Set 
tlement was burned the day previous by the Indians. He 
had seen the tomahawk cleave the head of his wife in her 
attempt to escape. His two little sons he last saw run 
ning for the corn, and the Indians in close pursuit. 
He, with bleeding feet, walked twenty-five miles to 
Henderson, where he met the troops, and supposing 
himself the only survivor of his family, joined them, 
thus to avenge their fall. 

Passing the spot, so late his happy home, he seemed 
utterly stupefied with grief, and mechanically closing 
the gate of his garden, inquired, "When it would be 
safe to return." His reason was gone ! This incident 
incited the following lines a few days after, while their 
writer, Captain Chittenden, was seated under the Falls 
of Minne-ha-ha, which our nation's poet has immortal 
ized in his wondrous (?) song of Hiawatha : 

Minne-ha-ha, laughing water, 

Cease thy laughing now for aye, 
Savage hands are red with slaughter 

Of the innocent to-day. 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 195 

111 accords thy sportive humor 

With their last despairing wail ; 
While thou'rt dancing in the sunbeam, 

Mangled corpses strew the vale. 

Change thy note, gay Minne-ha-ha; 

Let some sadder strain prevail 
Listen, while a maniac wanderer 

Sighs to thee his woful tale : 

"Give me back my Lela's tresses, 

Let me kiss them once again 1 
She who blest me with caresses, 

Lies unburied on the plain ! 

"See yon smoke ; there was my dwelling ; 

That is all I have of home ! 
Hark ! I hear their fiendish yelling, 

As I houseless, childless roam ! 

"Have they killed my Hans and Otto? 

Did they find them in the corn ? 
Go and tell that savage monster, 

Not to slay my youngest born. 

"Yonder is my new-bought reaper, 

Standing 'mid the ripened grain, 
E'en my cow asks why I leave her 

Wand' ring unmilked o'er the plain ! 

"Soldier, bury here my Lela ; 

Place me also 'neath the sod ; 
Long we lived and wrought together 

Let me die with her O God ! 

"Faithful Fido, you they've left me ; 

Can you tell me, Fido, why 
God at once has thus bereft me ? 

All I ask is here to die. 

"0, my daughter Jenny, darling ! 
Worse than death is Jenny's fate I" 

Nelson, as our troops were leaving, 
Turned and shut his garden gate. 



CHAPTER XXXII. 

TALES OF SUFFERING. 

Before the persistent and protracted engagement of 
Birch Coolie, Capt. Grant, on his route there, found a 
woman and four children in the swamp, who, for three 
weeks had subsisted on nuts and wild plums. They 
had seen no fire, found no covering but heaven's can 
opy, while rains had beat and fierce winds had blowed, 
and their now tattered garments were hardly sufficient 
for covering, and the chill autumn night air piercing 
to their very vitals. During this time she had given 
premature birth to an infant, which her own hands had 
buried. Exhaustion and constant fear made her a 
half wild woman, and she endeavored to elude her 
rescuers when first seen, by crawling deeper into the 
morass, and for some time she could not be made to 
understand that they were really her friends. 

Her story is a heart- thrilling one. She had seen her 
husband and two children butchered, and her own 
back, incredible as it may seem, was the receptacle 'of 
seventeen buck-shot, which were not removed till after 
she was brought to St. Paul. Three of these were 
lodged in the bone, and none had entered the vitals, it 
having been a side shot. By superhuman effort and, 
woman's dexterous skill, she and her two remaining 
children eluded her pursuers, and to her own were 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 197 

added two others, of a slain neighbor, which Provi 
dence threw in her way, and now, day and night, these 
four helpless little ones clung to her, begging for food 
and shivering with cold. She had not expected ever 
again to see a white person, believing herself the only 
one living in all that region, and had expected relief 
only in death. 

During the memorable thirty-six hours while raged 
the bullet shower of Birch Coolie, this poor suffering 
woman, with the children, was lying quietly, as if 
fear and suffering had paralyzed the senses, in a wagon, 
protected only by a tent canvas. Several balls passed 
through the wagon box. Gradually she came to re 
alize the change in her condition, and well did she 
appreciate the comparative comfort and kindness she 
received. 

Soon after the terrible war whoop had rung through 
the State before yet the people had regained mental 
equilibrium the citizens of Saint Paul were startled 
by the bringing hither by their parents for medical 
treatment, two shockingly mutilated children, the first 
real exhibition we had here seen of savage barbarity. 
Four children were alone in the house, two of whom 
were killed outright, and the other two left, one of 
eleven years, with fourteen frightful tomahawk gashes 
about the breast, arms and head the other, a mere 
baby, had three severe cuts on the head and face. No 
human skill could save them. 

The mother with four other persons, was out of the 
house when the attack was made on it. Those with 



198 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

her were killed, |ind she barely escaped with life, and 
hid in the woods till nightfall. The husband and 
father, unprepared for the change in his home, after a 
day's absence, returns to find it desolate indeed his 
mangled children lying upon the floor, and all in 
silence, save the groans of the two in whom life yet lin 
gered. In that brief survey, how his agonized soul 
yearned for the presence of her who doubled his joys 
and divided his sorrows ; nor was he long to endure the 
suspense. She had crawled from her concealment, when 
night shadows made it safe, to endure the anguished 
surprise with her other self But there is no time 
for tears or even the burial of their dead, they must 
fly with the mangled living. 

A detachment of soldiers, sent up the Big Cotton- 
wood for the purpose, found and buried nine bodies, 
all of which were terribly decomposed. 

One man, evidently surprised at his meal, had fallen 
forward on the table. 

A woman was lying across a wagon-rack, near 
which was the body of a man, doubtless her husband, 
with his head cut off and several bullet-holes in his 
body. 

A child was found nailed through its hands and 
feet to a tree. Another literally skinned ! O, the 
horrors of savage butchery ! The world has no record 
of such inhuman acts. 

The first process of torture is usually to strip them 
of clothes, and the varied and cruel modes would' 
seem incredible, were they not authenticated beyond 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 199 

dispute; but we withhold the most saddening, soul- 
sickening pictures, for the pen revolts at their rehearsal ; 
nay, there is no written language that would convey 
their full import True it is, as often remarked during 
its progress, that the most horrid features of this 
Indian war will never be written. 

A wife and several small children were, in one in 
stance, butchered before the eyes of the husband and 
father, he being detained for the purpose of being made 
a witness. Prematurely hastening the advent of her 
infant, they threw it around her neck as she was bound 
to the tree, and turning to the husband said, "there, 
you go to St Paul and tell them we are going to serve 
all the women there the same." 

On the 27th of October, two months after compara 
tive quiet had been restored to our borders, and troops, 
unmolested, were encamped at Yellow Medicine, the 
recent stronghold of the red man, and heaven's dews, 
heavy and chill, were nightly drenching the earth, two 
emaciated figures of the human form were brought 
into camp. They were Mrs. Boetler and her child, of 
three years old, who had wandered since the outbreak, 
not having seen a human being till picked up by the 
soldiers. There is no power in language to convey an 
idea of what she suffered, never seeing fire, and living 
mainly on raw potatoes, till, from extreme weakness, 
she could not speak above a whisper. She made her 
escape with three children, two of whom died from 
starvation. With her own hands she dug their graves 
in the sand and heaped them up with leaves. The 
little girl who lived was as weak and emaciated as 



200 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

herself, but with kind treatment, medical attention and 
good nursing, physical vigor returned, but a pall never 
to be removed, rests upon their hearts. 

The foraging party which brought Mrs. Boetler into 
camp, buried forty-seven bodies, and left elsewhere, sev 
enteen unburied. There is little doubt but hundreds 
have been left, unfound, till decomposition has taken 
place, and that the number of actual slain will swell 
to a larger list than we now have, while houseless, fire- 
less wanderers roamed here and there till the last shred 
of clothing was gone, and cold weather upon them, 
they lay them down to die, having been the severest 
sufferers of the Indian raid. 



CHAPTER XXXIII. 

THE ATHENJEUM. 

So vigorous were the measures, so determined the 
efforts of our troops, that ere one month had passed, 
the fast fevered pulse was quiet, fears were subdued, 
and midnight alarms ceased, save in night-mare dreams, 
resulting from the daily developments of blood and 
murder. 

Minnesotians, with all their fertility of imagination, 
had never anticipated the sad fate which awaited her 
that her fairest portions would, be drenched with the 
blood of the owners, or that the most remote frontiers 
man needed any stronger protection than his own 
powerful arm and his own resolute will. The Indians, 
we all thought, would never dare molest a settler ; not 
that they were too good to do it, but fear of the pow 
ers to whom they were amenable would prevent. But 
too late have they awakened to the need of strong 
frontier defenses a cordon of military posts will be 
demanded, to protect from further incursions, extend 
ing from the Red river of the North to the Red river 
of the South. 

The direct loss by savage hands was not much less 
than that occasioned by the panic and flight. Many 
of the dead found on our prairies were the victims of 
starvation, after having fled the actual danger. 

Scarcely a town without the range of their savage 



202 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

menace but gave shelter to the homeless; in many, 
citizens opened their own dwellings to give comfort 
and solace to the stricken ones. Societies were formed 
for their relief, food and clothing provided without 
stint, and for many weeks large donations from eastern 
cities, in money and goods, were daily received by the 
committees, and distributed to each "as they had 
need." The thanks of Minnesotians are due, and 
given in no stinted measure, for the prompt and ready 
co-operation in relief of these suffering thousands. 

Take one example as a specimen of the congregating 
points. The vast German Athenaeum of St. Paul, was 
given up to the reception of refugees. Benevolent 
hearts, beating in the breasts of noble men and women, 
were devoted to their needs. Through these and her 
own observation, the writer obtained an insight into 
the individual history of that one-roomed community, 
more than one half of whom were children. Arrivals 
and departures were of daily occurrence, and some 
days, five hundred persons were there to be fed, and 
many of them clothed, wholly, or in part, besides sleep 
ing arrangements provided, and, as the weather was 
becoming colder, there was necessarily a large demand 
for bed coverings. 

Many of these spoke only a foreign tongue, and a 
striking characteristic of all was the seeming extreme 
age lines of grief and care. Nor is it strange. Most 
of these had been reduced from competence to penury. 
Garners were full, plenty smiled at their boards the '" 
family circle was unbroken. One day, and ! how 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 203 

changed ! Farms are dreary wastes, the stock driven 
off or roam, uncared for, over the prairies, houses and 
barns are pillaged, or a heap of smouldering ruins, and 
the family ranks invaded by grim and ghastly death. 
The panorama is a very sad one to gaze upon, and still 
sadder is the real life it represents. Dost wonder, read 
er, that premature age is engraven on the index of those 
sad, weary hearts ? Alas ! we only wonder that death 
has not set his signet there. Truly, woman was made to 
suffer and endure ! 

Here, at the Athenaeum, is one family, whose beauti 
ful country home, just without the village of New 
Ulm, was the admiration of all. Their carriage and 
elegant matched horses were conspicuous objects during 
the besieging of that town ; for their buildings had all 
been burned, and their valuables seized upon. Their 
broad acres, teeming with golden plenty, were now one 
desolate waste, over which the cattle roamed, uncared 
for, and several thousands in money and promissory 
notes, were burned with the house. But all was naught, 
for the family circle was unbroken. 

One little child, with violet eyes, of deep meaning, 
the only living member of its family, is being kindly 
nursed by a self-constituted foster-mother, who feels 
that Providence directed her to its rescue. This woman 
was fleeing from those whose war-whoop was ringing 
in her ears, when, stumbling over some object, conceal 
ed in the grass, she fell prostrate. Kegaining her feet, 
she involuntarily cast her eyes backward for the cause 
of her downfall. The fall, rise, and seizure of the child 



204: DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

was but the work of an instant, and with it in her 
arms, she soon eluded pursuit. Then, in her covert, 
she first looks upon the child To her surprise, its 
mother, whom she knew to have been killed, was a 
neighbor and dear friend. The story being told, this 
darling baby-boy elicited no little interest from those 
who visited the building, and many of our best citizens 
desired to adopt him. But the foster-mother said u nay," 
its grand-parents were its rightful claimants, and her 
care would cease not till theirs commenced. 

Another, with an eye of more than ordinary intelli 
gence, dignity of mein and lady -like in deportment, 
had opened her house and larder to the heroic men 
who so nobly fought' in defense of New Ulm, till the 
excitement of the terrible conflict obliged her to take 
her couch in real indisposition. Thus helpless she lay, 
while the bullets whizzed, and rattled upon the walls, 
and at last, necessity forced the alternative of firing 
the dwelling for better range of the foe. Hurried by 
her husband, she caught an ordinary dress, which was just 
thrown on (our lady readers will understand this), 
slipped her stockingless feet into slippers and made 
her egress at the front door as the savages made in 
gress at the rear. But her bright, intelligent boy of 
ten years, and her husband were saved, so she bore in 
silence the loss of all things else. 

Here, too, is another ; her husband died in her arms 
from a wound, a few hours after the battle. Her aged 
mother and herself each try in vain to hush the plain- * 
live cry of the children in their arms, both mere in- 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 205 

fants, but recently, she says, " so rosy and fat," now 
so squalid and pale. Plenty smiled in her larder and 
cellar, and her wardrobe was rich and rare. The gar 
ments they wore away had become mere shreds, and 
their place is supplied by those of coarser texture than 
ever worn before. Her home and its contents are a 
heap of ashes, and with a bursting heart she sobs, "all 
would be nothing if he were only here." Though 
scarcely thirty, she looked like an aged grandmother 
of her own children, so terrible is such sudden grief to 
the heart 

As soon as possible, all who desired it, were fur 
nished homes, either from private bounty or public 
resources, when a gradual improvement was apparent 
The little squalid ones again smiled and crowed in 
healthful glee, and the burden of their mother's grief 
was lightened by the occupation of mind and the 
necessity for effort 



CHAPTER XXXIV. 

THE CAPTIVE'S EXPERIENCE AS FURTHER RELATED 

BY HIMSELF. 

""We remained at Little Crow's village five days, 
during which time all the Indians who had their vil 
lages below that place, moved np to our encampment, 
and in those five days the country for miles around 
was visited by the warriors, who dealt death and de 
struction to every person or thing within their reach. 
A great many female prisoners were brought in every 
day. I was the only white man ever taken and spared. 

"There were three or four Canadians who had resided 
among the Indians a great many years, who had 
married Indian women and had children grown, who 
re-married with them ; but they were not considered 
as prisoners, as they were allowed to retain their teams 
and other property. One of these men is said to 
have made his escape to the whites, but returned to 
his Indian family again after a few days. 

"The attacks on New Ulm and Fort Eidgley were 
made while we were at this village, and after being 
convinced that they could not reduce the Fort, they 
made preparations for a move. 

"In a short time the lodges were all struck, and their 
entire camp was in motion. A great many wagons 
were broken down on the journey in consequence of. 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 207 

their being so heavily loaded. They supposed, of 
course, that a white man's wagon could carry all that 
could be piled on to it 

"As I was too badly hurt to walk, my friend got 
me a place to ride in a small one horse wagon, while 
he walked along by my side. The train of horses, 
wagons, etc., I should judge was about three miles 
long. After crossing the Eed Wood river we had 
proceeded about three miles, when the body of a white 
man was pointed out to me, lying near the side of the 
road, upon his face. I got out to look at it, but it was 
so much swollen I could not have recognized it But 
upon the shirt collar I read the name of 'Greo. H. Grlea- 
son.' He had then been dead about a week. Poor fel 
low, he had not a personal enemy among the whole 
tribe, but was universally beloved by all, both whites 
and Indians, but those savage fiends had sworn to 
spare none, not even women nor helpless children. 

"About three o'clock of the second day's march we 
arrived at Yellow Medicine, where a large encamp 
ment in shape of a circle was formed, wifh the 'Ti-zo- 
ti,' or Soldier's lodge in the centre. 

"I would here add that this Soldier's lodge, being 
composed of the bravest and wisest, governs the tribe. 
Their word is law, and from their decision there is no 
appeal. To it the chief must submit in silence. 

"Here the Mission houses, the Agency buildings, 
and the house of Other Day were fired, also some 
other houses belonging to the farmer Indians. 

"We remained here about two weeks, during which 
It 



208 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

time the battle with Capt Strout's company was fought 
and the battle of Birch Coolie. Here, also, Gren. Sibley 
succeeded in opening correspondence with Little Crow. 
It was here, also, that Mrs. Adams was brought in a 
captive, some particulars of which will be found else 
where." 

From this point, two messengers were dispatched 
north, south, and west, as spoken of elsewhere, and 
from here he sent word to his friends that he was still 
alive, etc. 



CHAPTER XXXV. 

EFFORTS TO REGAIN THE PRISONERS. 

Until after the battle of Birch Coolie, the Sioux had 
no doubt of final and complete success. The spirit of 
their leader had been infused into the mass, and for a 
time his scepter of influence was swayed in power. 
But a reaction comes. The whites have not all gone 
South, and those that remained had given occular dem 
onstrations of their fighting qualities. Little Crow, 
the wily warrior Chief, feels his influence on the wane, 
and is often obliged to hide himself at night, to escape 
the fury of his dissatisfied soldiers, and then in the 
morning he convenes a council and all are ready to do 
his bidding, after he has feasted them to their full con 
tent 

Colonel Sibley had left a note attached to a stake on 
the Birch Coolie battle ground, as follows : 

"If Little Crow has any proposition to make to me, let him send 
a half-breed to me, and he shall be protected in and out of my camp. 

H. H. SIBLEY, 
Col. Commanding Military Expedition. 

The note was found and given to their male captive 
to be read to them. Little Crow desired him to pen 
the reply which he would dictate, but his arm, broken 
by the bullet, was not yet well, and he declined, but 
sent by the flag of truce which bore the reply, a mes- 



210 DAKOTA WAK WHOOP. 

sage to Ms friends "that lie was alive." The following 
is a verbatim copy of Little Crow's letter. 

"YELLOW MEDICINE, Sept. 7, 1862. 

"DEAR SIR: For what reason we have commenced this war, I 
will tell you. It is on account of Major Galbraith, we made a treaty 
with the Government a beg for what little we do get and then can't 
get it till our children are dicing with hunger. It was with the tra 
ders that commence. Mr. A. J. Myrick told the Indians they would 
eat grass or their own dung, then Mr. Forbes told the lower Sioux 
that were not men then Robert he was making with his friends how 
to defraud us of our money, if the young braves have push the white 
man, I have done this myself; So I want you to let the Governor 
Kamsey know this. I have a great many prisoners women and chil 
dren it aint all our fault the Winnebagoes was in the engagement, 
two of them was killed. I want you to give me answer by bearer 
all at present. 

Yours truly, 

his 

LITTLE M CROW, 
mark." 

The following day the truce bearers returned with 
the following reply to the foregoing : 

"LITTLE CROW : You have murdered many of our people without 
any sufficient cause. Return me the prisoners, under a flag of truce, 
and 1 will talk to you like a man. 

H. H. SIBLEY, 
Col. Commanding Military Expedition." 

The above was not in accordance with the mighty 
warrior Chieftain's ideas, and the prisoners were still 
"held in durance vile." 

The soldiers, the people and the press became im 
patient for the expedition to proceed. Col. Sibley was 
charged with remissness, negligence and a desire to 
favor the Indians. Still he kept his own counsels, 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. , 211 

unmoved by calumny and trusting his own superior 
judgment He knew his men were undisciplined re 
cruits, but never an army composed of better material. 
Halls of science, business houses and churches had 
contributed to swell the enrolled list They must not 
be sacrificed, and to rush unprepared upon the enemy 
was madness. Besides, he knew the Indians well 
habits, character and fighting proclivities he knew, 
too, what woxild probably be the fate of the unhappy 
prisoners, should he be precipitate. The Indians held 
them for a specific end. Had the attack on them been 
made before they deserted their camp, it was their de 
sign to tomahawk every captive. This was not con 
sidered by his impatient slanderers, whose tongues 
were afterwards silenced, when they saw the wisdom 
of his plans and his courage in braving censure. 



CHAPTER XXXVI. 

CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN COL. SIBLEY AND 
LITTLE CROW. 

It was hoped that the checks which had been given 
the Sioux, with the practical knowledge gained of the 
fighting qualities of those with whom they contended, 
would cause the cessation of hostilities and the deliv 
ery of the captors. But always, in their mode of war 
fare, the danger is nigh when least expected. Fair, 
open field fight is avoided. Small guerrilla squads 
prowl through the country on fleet stolen horses, stri 
king where they can wield the most successful blow, 
and before the alarm can be raised, are beyond the 
reach of punishment 

Coursing down the Minnesota valley, we find them 
in Blue Earth county on the 12th September, commit 
ting depredations and murders, where comparative se 
curity was being felt, and no supposition of an Indian 
within fifty miles. Four men, after taking their fami 
lies to a place of safety, had returned to secure their 
crops, as many others had done, and were surprised 
and murdered, within one mile of a military company, 
stationed there for the protection of the neighborhood, 
This circumstance evinced the necessity of strong 
armed forces, where there was no apparent danger. 

On the 12th of Sept, another flag of truce, with 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 213 

another communication from Little Crow, was received 
at the "head-quarters." The bearer of the dispatch, 
had a secret for CoL Sibley's ear a dissatisfaction had 
arisen in camp, confirmed by a private letter, secretly 
brought and delivered, and it was very evident that 
the war party among the Indians, had determined on a 
desperate stand against our forces. We give below a 
copy of Little Crow's second letter to Gen. Sibley : 

"RED IRON VILLAGE, OR ) 
WAY-AU-AKAN. \ 
"To HON. H. H. SIBLEY : 

il we have in ma-wa-kan-ton band one hundred and fifty-five pres- 
oners not included the Sisitons and warpeton presoners, then we 
are waiting for the Sisiton what we are going to do with the prison 
ers they are coming down they are at Lake quiparle now, the 
words that I want to the governel il want to here from him also, and 
I want to know from you as a friend what way that il can make 
peace for my people in regard to presoners they fair with our 
children or our self just as well as us. 

"Your truly friend, 

"LITTLE CROW." 

We append the answer. 

HEAD-QUARTERS MILITARY EXPEDITION, ) 
Sept. 12, 1862. J 

To LITTLE CROW, Sioux CHIEF: 

I have received your letter to-day. You have not done as I 
wished in giving up the prisoners taken by your people. It would 
be better for you to do so. I told you I had sent your former letter 
to Gov. Ramsey, but I have not yet had time to receive a reply. 
You have allowed your young men to commit some murders since 
you wrote your first letter. This is not the way to make peace. 

H. H. SIBLEY, 
Col. Com. Mil. Expedition." 

The following is the private letter named above, re 
ceived at the same time as the other. The contrast of 



214 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

the two will readily evince the power of the Christian 
over the savage Indian : 

"WAY-AWA-KAN, Sept. 10, '62. 
"Cor,. H. H. SIBLKY, Fort Ridgley : 

"Dear Sir : You know that Little Crow has been opposed to me 
in everything that our people have had to do with the whites. He 
has been opposed to everything in the form of civilization and Chris 
tianity. I have always been in favor of, and of late years have done 
everything of the kind that has been offered to us by the Govern 
ment and other good white people he has now got himself into 
trouble that we know he can never get himself out of, and he is try 
ing to involve those in the murder of the poor whites that have been 
settled in the border ; but I have been kept back with threats that I 
should be killed if I did anything to help the whites. But if you 
will now appoint some place for me to meet you, myself and the few 
friends that I have will get all the prisoners that we can, and with 
our families go to whatever place you will appoint for us to meet. 

"I would say further, that the mouth of the Red Wood, Candiohi 
on the north side of the Minnesota, or the head of the Cottonwood 
river one of these three places, I think, would be a good place to 
meet. 

"Return the messenger as quick as possible, we have not much 
time to spare. 

"Your true friend, 

"WABASHAW, 
"TAOPEE." 

CoL Sibley returned answer, as follows : 

"HEAD-QUARTERS MIL. EXPEDITION, ) 

Sept. 12, 1862. f , 

"To WABASHAW AND TAOPEE : 

"I have received your private message. I have come up here 
with a large force to punish the murderers of my people. It was not 
my purpose to injure any innocent person. If you and others who 
have not been concerned in the murders and expeditions, will gather 
yourselves, with all the prisoners, on the prairie in full sight of 
my troopspand when the white flag is displayed by you, a white flag 
will be hoisted in my camp, and then you can come forward and 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 215 

place yourselves under my protection. My troops will be all moun 
ted in two days' time, and in three days from this day I expect to 
march. There must be no attempt to approach my column or my 
camp, except in open day, and with a flag of truce conspicuously 
displayed. I shall be glad to receive all true friends of the whites 
with as many prisoners as they can bring, and I am powerful enough 
to crush all who attempt to oppose my march, and to punish those 
who have washed their hands in innocent blood. 

"I sign myself the friend of all who were friends of your great 
American Father. 

"H. H. SIBLEY, 
"Col. Com. Mil. Expedition." 

As soon as the Expedition was provided with "bread 
and bullets for ten days in advance," the Col. issued 
his marching orders, and on the 18th of September 
crossed the Minnesota river, opposite the Fort, nearly 
two thousand strong, and in mud and rain, pushed on 
eager for the climax. 

On their route the main body found and buried the 
body of Philander Prescott, an esteemed Christian man, 
who for more than thirty years had been employed as 
interpreter, and had been one of the first victims of 
savage wrath. His history is peculiar and full of in 
terest. When a young man he had found his way into 
the heart of the Sioux country, where, throwing off 
the restraints of civilized life, he adopted the habits, 
customs and costume of the tribe. He had married a 
squaw who bore him several children, who were grow 
ing up in all the ignorance which surrounded them. 
Thus he lived and thus he might have died, had not the 
Holy Spirit been commissioned with a message to his 
heart, reviving in even these dark surroundings the re 
ligious impressions of childhood. Deep and pungent 



216 DAKOTA WAK WHOOP. 

conviction for sin was fastened "like a nail in a sure 
place," and he found peace at the feet of Jesus in the 
surety of pardon through his blood. Now arose the 
question of duty. The now Christian man could not 
leave his wife and children in heathen darkness, and 
therefore resolved to give them, with their people, the 
benefit of his new life. So he came to the frontier and 
engaged as Interpreter, first at Fort Snelling and later 
at the new Agencies. His family had been educated 
in the walks of usefulness, and everywhere commanded 
respect When the trouble commenced, his wife hid 
him in an oven, where he remained till the danger 
seemed comparatively over. Then he started for the 
Fort, a lone pedestrian, shuddering at the fresh tokens 
of savage wrath which often met his eye. But this 
was not long ; the savage hounds were upon his track, 
and his aged body is left to decomposition without 
funeral rites, while his well-prepared soul basks in the 
light of eternal day. 



CHAPTER XXXVII. 

BATTLE OF WOOD LAKE. 

Col. Sibley's force was camped on Wood Lake, three 
miles below the Yellow Medicine Agency. Thus far 
had they come 'unmolested by the skulking foe, but 
frequent proofs of their doings met the eye in the 
mangled and decaying bodies. Wherever their en 
campments had been, the ground was strewn with 
empty trunks, boxes, barrels, fruit and oyster cans, 
and various other indications of the quality and kind 
of spoils. 

A scouting party, among whom was Other-Day, was 
sent forward on the 21st Sept., who having curiosity 
to gratify, hitched their horses for reconnoissance of the 
deserted Indian houses. A horse of their own party 
galloped up riderless, and Other-Day hastened out just 
in time to see an Indian riding off his own horse at 
full speed. His fire was without effect, but his flash 
ing eye gave promise of success in a determination for 
revenge. 

Where he was murdered, was found the body of 
George Gleason, whom it will be recollected was one 
of the victims of the first day's massacre. There was 
little else than a dried skeleton. His skull was broken 
in, and all his clothes gone, save his drawers and shirt 
Some gold buttons with his initials, which the savages 



218 DAKOTA WAK WHOOP. 

had overlooked, were the only means of identity. 
Around him were fragments of dispatches he was car 
rying to the Lower Agency, and other papers of both 
public and private interest With sad hearts they 
heaped the earth over the remains of their once jovial, 
warm-hearted friend, and when all terror had fled that 
region, he was removed by Masonic friends to Shako- 
pee, where, at last, the rites of a Christian burial were 
given him. 

A daring warrior of Little Crow came to the oppo- 
posite shore the night previous to battle, counted the 
tents of Col. Sibley's camp, by which, seeing but forty- 
eight, he estimated a force of only three hundred men. 
Their number was seven hundred and eighty, and so 
they felt safe in risking a battle. The "braves," more 
honorable than their chief, overruled his intent of a 
night attack, reminding him of his boast that he could 
whip the white men, and now, say they, "let's show 
them by open day-light that we can do it." Crow's 
plan was to attack with a small force in front, suffi 
cient to draw them from the ravine, and at a signal to 
be given, the ambushed Indians were to seize the bag 
gage wagons and shoot the drivers. So confident was 
he of success, that their women were brought down- to 
the opposite side of the river to carry off the spoils, 
while the men should do the butchering and make a 
clean sweep of the camp. 

Early on the morning of the 23d, a foraging party 
was surprised, and conveyed the alarm to camp, while 
it was breakfasting. The Renville Eangers, under 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 219 

Lieutenant Grorman, were sent at once to their support. 
In a few moments, the surrounding bluffs were covered 
with Indians, both on horse and foot, trying to circum 
vent the camp. The Third Eegiment followed in sup 
port of the Eangers, who now pushed on a mile in ad 
vance, and were nearly surrounded, and barely effected 
a retreat. The artillery kept the opposite shore of the 
lake, clear. Two companies of the Sixth had a skirm 
ish on the left, and the Seventh Eegiment, under Lieut. 
Col. Marshall, made a gallant charge into a ravine on 
the right, and drove the enemy from shelter there. 
This charge is pronounced by all, as one of the most 
valiant and successful ever made. And when we re 
flect that it was by an undisciplined regiment, not two 
months from the quiet of home life, and most of them 
in their first fight, with those who had drank in the 
war-spirit with their earliest breath, we marvel that 
the brave Col. Marshall, with his young heroes, had 
not all been left in ghastly death, instead of driving 
the foe and leading his men out of that ravine, glori 
ously victorious. 

Other-Day, too, proved himself on this occasion true 
as steel, and of great courage. He pushed forward of 
the lines, rushed in amongst the Indians, exposing 
himself to the fire of both sides, and several times 
being mistaken for an enemy, was fired at by our men. 
Finally, after he had shot three Indians, he was sur 
rounded and led triumphantly into camp with two cap 
tured ponies, which more than squared up his account 
for the loss of his own horse. 



220 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

During the fight, Little Crow was seen in the dis 
tance, riding a black horse, with a spy glass in his 
hand, which he used ever and anon, to see how 
the war was waging. It was a complete repulse 
to the Sioux, and from this time they were thoroughly 
convinced that the despised whites were more than a 
match for them. 

Had the cavalry force been sufficient to follow up 
this repulse, the whole band might have been de 
stroyed or made prisoners. But they being nearly 
naked, with no incumbrance but their guns and pow 
der flasks, soon outdistanced the infantry and rendered 
further pursuit futile. But the back bone of the out 
break was broken the power of Little Crow vanished 
as in air, and they sought their own safety by flight. 

The aspect of affairs, as Col. Sibley moved up the 
Minnesota valley, was extremely threatening, and the 
difficulties under which he labored of no ordinary na 
ture. Had he yielded to the almost unanimous desire 
of the people to advance, before being fully prepared, 
and his command been defeated or even temporarily 
repulsed, it is a fact which does not now admit of 
question, that there would have been a general upris 
ing of all the savages on our border, embracing not 
only the entire Dakota bands, but the Chippewas and 
Winnebagoes also, which would have resulted in a 
repetition, upon a larger scale, of the murders and out 
rages committed by the lower bands of Dakotas. The, 
imminent peril to the whole State of a premature move 
ment, was constantly present to his mind, and con 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 221 

trolled every action throughout, notwithstanding the 
immense outward pressure brought to bear from every 
quarter. The obstinately contested but successful bat 
tle of Wood Lake, broke the power of the savage, 
completely demoralized the hostile bands, and relieved 
the entire frontier, teaching the savages a lesson they 
are not soon to forget. 



CHAPTER XXXVIII. 

COL. SIBLEY'S DISPATCH TO GOV. RAMSEY. 

WOOD LAKE, NEAR YELLOW MEDICINE, > 
September 23, 1862. $ 

To His Excellency, Gov. Kamsej : 

Sir : I left the camp at Fort Ridgley on the 12th 
inst, with my command, and reached this point early 
in the afternoon of the 22d. There have been small 
parties of Indians each day in plain sight, evidently 
acting as scouts for the main body. This morning I 
had determined to cross the Yellow Medicine river, 
about three miles distant, and there await the arrival 
of Capt. Rogers' company, of the Seventh Regiment, 
which was ordered by me from New Ulm, to join rne 
by a forced march, the presence of the company there 
being unnecessary by the arrival there of another com 
pany, a few days previous. 

About seven o'clock this morning, the camp was 
attacked by about three hundred Indians, who sudden 
ly made their appearance and dashed down toward us, 
whooping and yelling in their usual style, and firing 
with great rapidity. 

The Renville Guards, under Lieutenant Gorman, 
were sent by me to check them, and Major Welch, o 
the Third Regiment, was instantly in line with his com 
mand, with his skirmishers in the advance, by whom 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 223 

the savages were gallantly met, and after a conflict 
of a serious nature, repulsed 

Meanwhile another portion of the Indian force 
passed down a ravine on the right, with a view to 
outflank the Third regiment, and I ordered Lieut 
Colonel Marshall, with five companies of the Seventh 
Regiment and who was ably seconded by Major Brad 
ley, to advance to its support, with one six-pounder un 
der the command of Capt. Hendricks, and I also or 
dered two companies of the Sixth Regiment to re-en 
force him. 

Lieut CoL Marshall advanced at a double-quick, 
amidst a shower of balls from the enemy, which for 
tunately, did little damage to his command ; and after 
a few volleys, he led his men to a charge, and cleared 
the ravine of the savages. 

Major McLaren, with Capt Wilson's company, took 
position on the extreme left of the camp, where he 
kept at bay a party of the enemy who were endeavor 
ing to gain the rear of the camp, and finally drove 
them back. 

The battle raged for about two hours, the six-pound 
er and mountain-howitzer being used with great effect, 
when the Indians repulsed at all points with great 
loss, retired with great precipitation. 

I regret to state that many casualties occurred on 
our side. -The gallant Major Welch was badly wound 
ed in the leg, and Capt. Wilson, of the Sixth Regiment, 
was severely bruised by a nearly spent ball in the 
shoulder. Four of our men were killed, and between 
J 



224 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

thirty and forty wounded, most of them, I am rejoiced, 
to say, not severely. 

The loss of the enemy, according to the statement 
of a half-breed, named Jos. Campbell, who visited the 
camp under a flag of truce, was thirty killed and a 
large number wounded. We found and buried four 
teen of the bodies, and as the habit of the Indians is 
to carry off the bodies of their slain, it is not probable 
that the sum told by Campbell was exaggerated. 

The severe chastisement inflicted upon them has so 
far subdued their ardor that they sent a flag of truce 
into the camp to express the sentiment of the Wahpe- 
tons, composing a part of the attacking force, and to 
state that they were not strong enough to fight us, and 
desired peace, with permission to take away their dead 
and wounded. I replied that when the prisoners were 
delivered up, it would be time enough to talk of peace, 
and that I would not grant them permission either to 
take their dead or wounded. 

I am assured by Campbell that there is serious de 
pression in the Indian camp many having been op 
posed to the war, but driven into the field by the more 
violent. He further stated that eight hundred Indians 
were assembled at the Yellow Medicine, within two 
miles of the camp, but that the greater part took no 
part in the fight. The intention of Little Crow was 
to attack us last night, but he was overruled by oth 
ers, who told him if he was a brave man, he ought tp 
fight the white man by daylight. I am fully prepared 
against night attack, should it be attempted, although 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 225 

I think the lesson received by them to-day, will make 
them very cautious for the future. 

I have already adverted to the courage and skill of 
Lieut. Col. Marshall, and Majors Welch and Bradley, 
to which I beg leave to add those of the officers and 
men under their respective commands. Lieut. Col. 
Averill and Major McLaren were equally prompt in 
their movements in preparing the Sixth Kegiment for 
action, and were both under fire for some time. Capts. 
Grant and Bromley shared the dangers of the field 
with Lieut. Col. Marshall's command, while Capt. Wil 
son, with his command, rendered efficient service. 
The other companies of the Sixth Eegiment were not 
engaged, having been held in position to defend the 
rear of the camp, but it was difficult to restrain their 
ardor, so anxious were officers and men to share with 
their comrades the perils of the field. To Lieut. Col. 
Fowler, my A. A. A. G., I have been greatly indebted 
for aid in all my movements his military knowledge 
and ability being invaluable to me, and his assistance 
in to-day's affair particularly so. To Major Forbes, 
Messrs. Patch, Greig, and McLeod, of my staff, who 
carried my orders, I must also acknowledge myself 
under obligations for their activity and zeal, while to 
Major Brown, also of my staff, though suffering from 
illness, it would be injustice not to state that he aided 
me materially by his exertions and advice. The med 
ical staff of the several regiments were cool and ex 
pert in rendering their professional aid to the wounded. 
Assistant Surgeon Seigneuret, attached to my staff, is 
to be commended for his skill and diligence. 



226 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

I am very much, in want of bread rations, six-pounder 
ammunition, and shells for the howitzer, and unless 
soon supplied, I shall be compelled to fall back, which, 
under present circumstances, would be a calamity, as 
it would afford time for the escape of the Indians with 
their captives. I hope a large body of cavalry is, be 
fore this, on their way to join us. If I had been pro 
vided with five hundred of this description of force 
to-day, I venture the assertion that I could have killed 
the greater part of the Indians, and brought the cam 
paign to a successful close. 

Kev. Mr. Kiggs, chaplain of the expedition, so well 
known for his knowledge of the character and lan 
guage of the Indians, has been of great service to me 
since he joined my command. 

I enclose the official report of Lieut. Col. Marshall 
I omitted to mention Lieut. Gorman and his corps of 
Eenville Eangers. They have been extremely useful 
to me by their courage and skill as skirmishers. Cap 
tain Hendricks and his artillerists won deserved praise 
to-day, and Capt. Sterrett, with his small but gallant 
corps of cavalry, twenty-seven in number, did good 
service also. 

I send reports of the several Surgeons, embracing 
lists of the killed and wounded. 

Yery respectfully, your ob't serv't, 

H. H. SIBLBY, 
Col. Commanding. 



CHAPTER XXXIX. 

THE CHIPPEWAS. 

While these barbarities were being enacted in the 
west and southwest, "tidings out of the north" troubled 
the political elements at the Capital. Indeed, all the 
surrounding counties are astir, for there are rumors of 
a Chippewa uprising. A dark, portentous storm seems 
about to increase the fury of the one already raging. 
Aye, rumor says, the Chippewas have joined hands 
with their hated enemies, the Sioux, and, henceforth, 
they will do battle together for the extermination of 
the whites, that Agent Walker, they claim, has 
wronged them, and they will have redress. All this is 
not without foundation, and ere the excitement has 
reached its acme, Agent Walker shoots himself, some 
say, under the excitement of an insane mind, and more 
uncharitable ones say, from fear of his doings with 
them being fathomed. 

At this juncture, Hole-in- the-day, the nation's head 
Chief, issued a proclamation, to the effect that he would 
not be responsible for the conduct of his people, after 
ten days, and desired all white settlers to leave the 
country, before the time specified. The Sioux raid had 
already depopulated many of the fairest portions of 
the upper country, and now, the few remaining and 
dwelling 011 the Chippewa reservation, fled to Fort Eip 



228 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

ley or Abercrombie for protection, which were even 
then crowded with refugees, whom the Sioux had driv 
en there. 

A messenger came from Hole-in-the-day to Commis 
sioner Dole, asking him to come with Judge Cooper, 
and make a treaty. These, with Senator Wilkinson 
and Paymaster Thompson, went at once on their mis 
sion of peace. It was said that Hole-in-the-day had 
assured his people that "we had all we could manage, 
with our brethren the South, and if they pleased to 
combine with the Sioux, their power would not be re 
sisted. There surely was cause for alarm alarm for 
the safety of the State, alarm for the fleeing inhab 
itant. 

In due time, with a strong armed force, threatening 
in its aspect, the embassy seat themselves in council, 
when these are at once surrounded by a still stronger 
force of Chippewas, sending terror to the heart ; and to 
their minds, bidding defiance to all treaty efforts. Two 
or three days were consumed in this way, each retain 
ing their own military force on the ground, and refusing 
to be first to withdraw. There was no avenue of hope 
under such threatening skies, and a messenger was dis 
patched to Grov. Ramsey, to make all haste to be at the 
council. He lost no time, and with two or three oth 
ers, was soon under way, and met Commissioner Dole, 
who considered himself fortunate in having escaped 
with his life, but deemed him hazardous in the extreme, 
in going, without a military escort. Therein was the' 
trouble, but the Commissioner comprehended it not; 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 229 

so giving all power into the Ijands of the far-seeing 
Governor, the two parted. 

After an absence of three days from the Capital, the 
second corps of commissioners returned from a success 
ful conference with the Chippewas. On the 15th Sept., 
all pending -difficulties were declared settled, and they 
shook hands, in taking leave, more cordially than when 
they met, leaving them in a better state of mind than had 
existed for years. The public mind was relieved. This 
was the first rift in the savage war clouds. "Fair weath 
er," saith the prophet, "cometh out of the north." This 
seemed a precursor of hope for the dying echoes of the 
war-whoop, on the other hand. Nearly every Chief 
of the nation was present, and appended their signature 
to a treaty of peace, involving perpetual friendship, 
made and signed at Crow Wing, Sept. 15, 1862, and 
in presence of the several bands over which each Chief 
bore rula All hostile demonstrations now cease, and 
all return, in quiet, to their rude village homes. 

Not months had passed since the painted savage, in 
our streets, or even any number of them, was no cause 
for alarm. Children followed them from street to street, 
and old men and maidens, last initiated into western 
life, were eager for an eligible position to witness the 
celebrated performance of the begging or scalp dance. 
To the ungratified eye, it was a coveted scene, and even 
those to whom it was no more a novelty, never lost the 
opportunity. But we have shown how vast a change a 
little time worketh. A red skin becomes a rare sight, 
and no more thought of, but in connection with rapine 



230 DAKOTA WAE WHOOP. 

and murder. Women . turn pale in affright, children 
scream in terror, and men involuntarily elevate the hand 
to the cranium, as if to hold fast their scalp, for a band of 
some forty Indians suddenly appear in front of the Capi 
tol, on the morning of Sept. 22, demanding an interview 
with the Governor. The practiced eye could see they 
were not Sioux, whose bloody knives were still un 
sheathed ; hence the alarm soon subsided, for policy 
forbade the violation of a peace treaty, not yet one 
month old 

This delegation represented twenty -one bands, each 
of which was accompanied by its Chief, tendering the 
service of the Chippewa nation to Gen. Pope, who was 
in command of the Department of the north-west, hav 
ing its head quarters in St. Paul, to become our allies 
in fighting the Sioux. After trailing the "stars and 
stripes" through the streets, for an hour or two, while 
the people, in various humors, looked on its desecra 
tion, preliminaries for a formal reception and "talk," 
on the following morning, was being made. 

The time designated being made known to them, 
they, prompt to the hour, were seated on the ground, 
their feet underneath them, in the usual manner, await 
ing the best bow of the Governor, when he gave his 
"talk" in his usual felicitous humor. He welcomed 
them to the city, forgave past indiscretions of some of 
their young men, in taking property of the whites, 
which he was sure they all now regretted, and was^ 
happy that the Chippewas had never shed the blood of 
the white man, as their bad brothers, the Sioux, had 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 231 

done. He said that Gen. Pope, the great war chief, 
who had lately come to fight these bad Indians, was 
not ready for them now, but would send them word 
when he wanted them to go upon their war-path. He 
regretted that they were not here an hour earlier, as 
they then could have witnessed the deliberations of the 
great council of the State.* He wished them a happy 
journey home, promised them a good supper that night, 
and a ride on the fire wagonf to St. Anthony. 

The above brief speech was responded to with the 
usual grunts and "ho, hos," and being concluded, the 
Chief, Berry Hunter, assured the Governor that the 
words he spoke "went right into his ears, and they were 
good, and though he was an old man, he had not lost 
his reason. That they had come down to show their 
white brothers they felt very friendly, and never de 
sired to have any other feeling toward them/' 

Big Dog, another Chief, desiring to display his ora 
torical powers, as also his warrior prowess, came for 
ward and said "his hands were very red he had paint 
ed them on purpose, so that when he came to imbrue 
them in the blood of the Sioux, they would show no 
stain." 

After some more like unimportant speeches, of which 
these are samples, the council broke up in seeming sat 
isfaction, but, doubtless, as much from the promised 
feast, as any other cause, to which, at the appointed 
hour, they did ample justice. And the following 

* An extra session of the Legislature had just adjourned, 
t Cars. 

Jt 



282 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

morning opened their eyes in wondering pleasure, as 
they swiftly rode over the prairie, but dodging, in 
alarm, at the shrill notes of the engine whistle. 



CHAPTER XL. 

THE CAPTIVE'S PERIL. 

Perhaps it was the power of the whites, and the fear 
of merited punishment, or the influence of Chaska, 
whom his white friend had impressed with the evil of 
their doings, which made dissatisfaction apparent in 
the Indian camp, and incited the resolve for a separa 
tion. "The leaven" was surely "hid in the meal," and 
was working with its own hidden effect for the forma 
tion of a friendly camp. Believing this to be the case, 
Little Crow and Ms adherents, daily threatened the 
life of the captive, Spencer. Chaska was the "head 
soldier" of his chief when the work began, who had 
relied on him to carry out his monster plans of ruin 
and death, but against the whites he would not "move 
so much as one of his fingers." Threats were made, 
hard quarrels resulted from his pacific course, and the 
disposition to be made of the "white man." Armed 
and mounted men almost daily rode to the door of the 
lodge demanding "the white man to be brought out." 
And this, when he was too weak to stand alone, sup 
ported by the strong arm of his red friend, with the 
hostile guns aimed at his heart Then Chaska, brave 
and fearless, would aim his double-shooter, with " Shoot 
if you like ; kill him if you will ; but two of you will 
come out of your saddles if you do." They knew his 



234 DAKOTA WAK WHOOP. 

spirit, and did not care to risk a test of his steel on 
their own person ; so for that time the danger would 
pass, to be repeated in a few hours. Their tent had a 
large hole dug in the center, where he was concealed 
when danger was known to be near. 

"For the most part of the time," (we quote his own 
language,) "for ten days previous to the arrival of our 
forces, I was kept concealed, in consequence of nume 
rous threats made, and an order issued by Little Crow 
that Ta-o-pi, my friend, and myself, should be put to 
death. 

"The friendly Indians, however, guarded me faith 
fully, notwithstanding I was considered by many as 
the cause of placing their lives in danger. The night 
before the battle of Wood Lake, I was disguised and 
sent to a lodge in a different part of the camp, in con 
sequence of two or three armed Indians who had been 
discovered lurking round the lodge in which I usually 
staid, evidently with the intention of trying to get a 
shot at me. 

"Another time a squaw came in and whispered some 
thing to my friend, who instantly seized his gun, and 
bade me put on my blanket and follow him. As I 
followed, he hurriedly told me that Little Crow and two 
others were prowling around, and intended to fire into 
the lodge where I was. I was taken to a neighboring 
lodge and placed in the hole already dug, and care 
fully concealed, where I passed a long and sleepless 
night, with a guard of ten or twelve Indians around 
on the outside. These and similar occurrences hap- 



DAKOTA \VAK WHOOP. 235 

pened so frequently, that I at length became in 
different, and did not care how soon death might 
come. 

"My bodily sufferings were very great, but nothing 
when compared with my mental anxiety. Being 
threatened with death so often, sometimes I almost 
prayed that some of their attempts to kill me might 
prove successful. I thought that death would be a re 
lief to me. 

"Being constantly with my friend, I received the 
best of treatment from him and his wife. But the fe 
male captives were, with very few exceptions, subjec 
ted to the most horrible treatment. In some cases, a 
woman would be taken out into the woods, and her 
person violated by six, seven, and as many as ten or 
twelve of these fiends at one time. There was, I be 
lieve, but one captive killed ; that was a boy, who had 
in some way offended his captor, who deliberately shot 
him dead. 

"With the exception of being almost devoured by 
fleas and other vermin, which always infest the In 
dian lodge, my situation was as comfortable as it 
could be under the circumstances. Before leaving the 
Indian camp, my friend restored to me my ring, pin, 
watch, money, clothes, and, in fact, every thing I had 
about my person when I was taken. 

"I oftentimes contemplated making my escape, or 
at least attempting it ; but my wounds were not sufn- 
ciently healed to allow me to undertake it. I am sat 
isfied that, had I been perfectly well, I could very 
easily have stolen a pony and gun, and knowing the 



236 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

country well, I should not have had much difficulty in 
escaping. 

"The battle of Wood Lake was fought, and the In 
dians were thoroughly convinced that the whites were 
more than they could successfully contend against, and 
sought safety in flight 



CHAPTER XLI. 

THE FKIENDLY CAMP. 

The day of redemption was drawing nigh ; hearts 
were to be relieved of the bitter anxiety, and the suf 
ferings of the captives in the Indian lodges, to end. 
Of the formation of the friendly camp, Mr. Spencer 
gives the following particulars : 

"While yet at Bed Iron's village, Ta-o-pi, Ma-za-ku- 
ta, Wa-kin-yan-wash-te, my friend, in accordance with 
the instructions received secretly from Gen. Sibley, 
attempted to form the friendly camp, or in other words, 
to form a separate encampment from the main camp, 
and to get as many of the captives as they possibly 
could into their possession, and remain firm, and when 
the whites came up, to deliver themselves and the cap 
tives up to Col. Sibley. 

"Several attempts were made to establish this camp, 
but no sooner would the lodges be set up, than hun 
dreds of armed Indians from Little Crow's camp would 
come over and push down the lodges and force them 
back into the main encampment. Some few friendly 
Indians made their escape, taking captives with them, 
and succeeded in getting into Fort Bidgley. 

"White Lodge left us at this place with his entire 
band, taking away with him about fifteen captives. 
They went over toward the Missouri river. One day, 
when most of the warriors were absent, a party of 



238 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

about twenty-five lodges made another attempt to 
camp by themselves. They were this time successful. 
They pitched their lodges in a small hollow, and de 
termined to intrench themselves and fight rather than 
to again be forced back with Little Crow's party. 
They accordingly dug large square holes in the centre 
of the lodges, in which to place the women and chil 
dren in case of an attack ; so that the little camp was 
in quite a defensible condition. After it was thus 
fortified, several other Indians who had not the courage 
to join in at first, came in, and in a few days our camp 
numbered about one hundred and twenty -five lodges, 
and fighting men enough to hold it against all the 
warriors that the opposite party could bring against 
it. 

"Standing Buffalo, the Sissiton Chief, and Wa-a-na- 
tan, the chief of the Cut Heads, came down while we 
were at this place and held council with Little Crow, 
and determined not to take any part in the war against 
the whites. 

"A great deal of credit has been given to Wa-ba- 
shaw, a well known chief, for assisting in the formation 
of the friendly camp. But I can see no just cause 
why he should have the credit of doing an action 
which justly belongs to others. After the battle of 
Wood Lake had been fought, and upon the .return of 
the -Indians; hastily holding a council, Crow and his 
followers determined to flee to the plains. Wa-ba-shaw 
started off with them, and returned and joined the 
friendly camp only the day before our forces came in 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 239 

sight His conduct was most cowardly all through 
the whole trouble. 

"Our camp remained firm, and two days after we 
had the most welcome news that the 'Long Trader' 
(the name by which Gen. Sibley is known among the 
Indians,) with his troops, was in sight. 

"It was to me a glorious sight. I had been in cap 
tivity forty days, and during most of that time my 
life had been in imminent danger almost every hour. 
When I rolled myself in my blanket to take a little 
rest, I knew not whether I should awake in this world 
or the next I was now about to be released, and take 
my friends by the hand. Could it be a reality, or was 
it only a pleasant dream, such as I had often had, to 
be again dispelled by sounds of the well known war- 
whoop, which would warn me to betake myself to my 
place of concealment? The gleaming of the bright 
bayonets in the sun, the sound of the ear-piercing fife, 
and the rattling drums, were sufficient to convince me 
that it was not a dream, but that I was saved. 

"Too much praise cannot be awarded to Colonel Sib- 
ley, whose thorough knowledge of Indian character 
has so successfully enabled him to accomplish the ob 
jects of the expedition. 

"The rescue of his unfortunate countrymen, who 
were held as captives, by a savage foe, was ever upper 
most in his thoughts, and though others may censure 
him for not coming up to their expectations, we, who 
have been rescued, will ever hold the name of Henry 
H. Sibley dear in our hearts." 



CHAPTER 

CAMP KELEASE. 

Two hundred and twenty captives had been aided 
into the friendly camp, and now hearts beat with 
exultant hope of no distant release. To what bru 
tal indignities had they been obliged to submit ! How 
the heart revolted at the loathsome retrospect ! wives, 
mothers, young ladies, and young girls, almost chil 
dren, had met the same fate. 

The fairest, most cultivated, and most attractive 
of the youthful women, was Miss Mattie Williams, 
of Painesville, Ohio, who, at the time of the out 
break, was residing with an uncle, seven miles up the 
Yellow Medicine river. Each sought their own safety, 
in whatever direction circumstances seemed best to in 
dicate, neither person or company waiting to see the 
course of the other. Mr. and Mrs. Eeynolds, the uncle 
and aunt of -Miss Mattie, were nearing a place of safety, 
when a party of armed Indians were seen making to 
ward them. What was to be done? The reeking, 
jaded horse, just ready to fall, could not be urged out 
of a walk, and the first thought was to abandon the 
buggy and trust their own locomotion for safety. But 
he being a large man, was dissuaded by his wife, who 
suggested the strategy of playing Indian. By the time 
they had their blankets adjusted in the most approved 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 241 

Indian style, the savages were sufficiently near to sup 
pose them of their own people, and so made off in an 
other direction, leaving them to a safe terminus of their 
route. Miss Williams, with a German servant girl, was 
in an open buggy, with a Mr. Patwell, and they had 
begun to feel safe from pursuit, when set on by a gang 
of these worse than blood hounds ; the man was killed, 
the Grerman girl was wounded, so that from the wound 
and other brutal treatment, she died in four days. 
Miss "W. was hit by a spent ball in the shoulder, but 
its pain was forgotten, in the terrible anguish that fol 
lowed, in the experience of forty days' captivity. Oc 
casionally, she would find the fragment of a book, or 
some coarse needle work, with which to kill time, else 
it was all given to bitter reflections on the sad reality 
of her lot ! how my heart yearned toward her, as 
she modestly alluded to the indignities, the cruel, brutal 
treatment which may not be penned, and I felt, and. I 
still feel, that the man or woman who would stoop to 
calumniate the fair fame, for such a cause, of one who 
has thus suffered, deserves to be branded a coward and 
a brute. 

Forty nervous, anxious days, forty restless, sleepless 
nights, suffering from cold and leaking tents, though 
never from hunger, forty days .clad in Indian costume, 
suffering in every way that savage passion could de 
vise ! A . soft, dewy mistiness creeps from the heart 
to the eyes as we contemplate the horrors of that life, 
which time and again she prayed might end. But the 
hour of release drew near. A giant mind with strong 



242 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

will, had every energy of soul bent to this one object, 
and its accomplishment was sure. With nervous joy 
she wrapped her blanket around her on the night of 
the 25th September, for the last time in that Indian 
camp, and laid her down, not to pleasant dreams, but 
to blissful waking visions of release. 

How her heart fluttered and beat in turn, lest the 
hope should be thwarted ! Nor was she alone in her 
night vigils. In every tent in that encampment "eyes 
were holden" from sleep. Only the infants slept un 
consciously, as if fear, care or pain had never visited 
the earth. Were those weary days, those anxious 
restless nights indeed to end ? was the one absorbing 
thought, and memorable for this will be that last night 
in Indian camp. At the first dawnings of day on the 
morning of the 26th, the camp was astir, and prepara 
tions went forward for the reception of their dis 
tinguished guests. Personal decoration was the absorb 
ing theme of the "Master of Ceremonies." Paint of 
every hue was in active demand, together with eagle's 
feathers, beads, and wampum, and white flags were 
displayed all through their village. 

At noon, a flag of truce, consisting of a stolen bed 
sheet, tied to the end of a pole, went forth to meet the 
approaching "Expedition." Great indeed was the cap 
tive's joy on the sound of the martial music, and at 
the sight of the bright gleaming bayonets in friendly 
hands ! The Indians, squaws and pappooses, were 
arranged in a circling wall around the camp for the' 
reception of their guests, or in awe at the strange and 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 243 

imposing display. Col. Sibley marched his column 
partly around their encampment and went into camp 
near the river. Some of the men whose families were 
held captives were allowed to go at once to them, 
and O ! the joy of such meetings ! Who shall paint 
the scene? In due time, Col. Sibley and staff went 
over to take formal possession of the camp. Around 
him crowded those from whom the blood-stains 
were scarcely washed, with every protestation of 
friendship and the constant declaration of "me good 
Ingian." 

Col. Sibley, from his great magnanimous heart 
assured them, that the really innocent had nothing to 
fear, while the guilty ones would meet the punishment 
their deeds merited. He now demanded the uncon 
ditional and unreserved surrender of all the prisoners. 
The preliminaries being concluded, the waiting, trem 
bling captives were brought forth and delivered up to 
him who had spent anxious days and sleepless nights 
devising for the accomplishment of this object. He 
says of it : "I conducted the poor captives to my 
camp, where I had prepared tents for their accommo 
dation. There were some instances of stolidity among 
them, but for the most part, the poor creatures, relieved 
of the horrible suspense in which they had been kept, 
and some of the young women freed from the loath 
some attentions to which they have been subjected by 
their brutal captors, were fairly overwhelmed with 
joy." This camp very properly took the name of 
"Camp Eelease." 



244 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

Another, in speaking of the circumstances, and the 
profound joy which made them speechless, says : 

"We brought them into camp and did all we could 
to make them comfortable, for every heart was moved 
at the recital of what they had suffered." 

Many of these were so overwhelmed with gratitude 
they could have fallen to the ground, doing reverence 
to their rescuer. One of his officers said to him 
"Col. Sibley, / would sooner have the glory of your 
achievement to-day, than the proudest victory ever won in 
battle" There was no audible reply, but his manhood 
was stirred within him, and his soul-fall eye was far 
more emphatic than words could have been. He had 
accomplished the sublime purpose of his heart, this 
great good to more than two hundred helpless beings. 
What mattered to him the vile reproach of envy, or 
the clamorous tongue bidding him rush on to mad ex 
termination, which would have brought inevitable 
death to every captive. He had the proud triumph 
resulting from a fearless discharge of duty, and to his 
own quarters he took the only adult male captive, 
caring for him as a "father careth for a son whom he 
loveth." 



CHAPTER XLIII. 

INDIAN PKISONEKS. 

After proper attention to the rescued, the next 
"order" in the military programme was the erection of 
a jail in the centre of Camp Eelease. Some were de 
tailed to cut the logs, others to haul them in, and oth 
ers to throw them up and firmly bolt their corners ; 
and before nightfall, the huge pen was completed, ready 
for occupants. These were brought in 'by Col. Crooks, 
with an adequate armed force. Those absolutely free 
from suspicion were unmolested. The prisoners were 
put in chains, and a strong guard set around the jail. 
A military commission, composed of Col. Crooks, 
Lieut. Col. Marshall, and Capts. Grant, Bailey, and 
Lieut. Olin, to which two or three others were after 
wards added, was convened for the trial of the guilty. 

No more formidable Calendar was ever brought be 
fore human tribunal. Four hundred and twenty -five 
men arraigned for criminal trial! Every precaution 
was taken that no injustice should be shown, and all 
testimony was required to be written down, that it 
might be easily recurred to, in case of any after ques 
tioning of their innocence. Those who plead "guilty'' 
to charges, had their cases soon disposed of. The 
equivocation of the guilty parties, who were allowed 
to testify in their own case, was often, to say the least. 



246 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

very amusing, and their statements devoid of all reason 
and good sense. Many would admit they fired in bat 
tle, but generally insisted it was at random, and 
nobody was hurt ! A plea supposed to be valid by 
the one who rendered it, was that the horse he stole 
was a very little one, and, of course, his crime not very 
great, and that the oxen he took were for the gratifica 
tion of his wife. 

A man in the vigor and prime of life declared that 
his gray hairs should attest his innocence, and some 
young men, that their hearts were too weak to face fire. 
A strange admission for an Indian. Another batch 
would insist that when the battle raged, they were 
lying flat on their faces, writhing in physical tortures, 
such as in babyhood would have been relieved by a 
dose of catnip tea. 

A small army of culprits vowed they had crept 
under a wonderfully capacious stone (which nobody 
ever saw there,) during the battle at Fort Bidgley, and 
did not emerge therefrom till all was quiet. A still 
larger number averred that an unsocial spirit kept 
them from fighting, and then again that they were in 
the rear of the several battles ; feasting on roast beef 
and green corn, and for the truth of the last assertion 
they called on the Great Spirit, Heaven and Earth to 
witness. One had his tender sympathies so wrought 
upon to see his kin killing the whites, that he lay down 
to sleep and did not wake till the battle was over. 

Cut-Nose, whose bloody deeds are before recorded', 
was condemned for the same, and a companion in crime 




\xea-c 

CUT NOSE. 
( The \Yholesale Butcherer. ) 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 249 

for having butchered nineteen persons, both made most 
solemn protestations of "me good Indian," with strong 
est avowals of friendship for their accusers, proving, 
very conclusively, that many, in the friendly camp, 
were as black in crime, as any who went at large, un- 
whipt of justice. 

All ages, from boys of fifteen to infirm old men, 
were represented by these criminals. One said, he 
4 'was fifty a great many years ago, when he quit count 
ing." The characters were as diverse, if the physiog 
nomy was a criterion, as the persons represented by 
them. 

The party engaged in the captivity of Mattie Will 
iams and the murder of Mr. Patwell, were doomed to 
the punishment their deeds merited. A very old man 
was identified by two boys, one of more than usual 
intelligence. Their families had escaped from the 
vicinity of Beaver Creek, and arrived almost within 
hailing distance of the fort, when met by the Indians, 
who told them, if they would return to their homes, 
and give them their teams, they should not be injured. 
They accepted the alternative, but when nearly home, 
the Indians suddenly fired into the party, killing seve 
ral, and then took the uninjured women and children 
prisoners. The stolid old wretch was made to confront 
the witnesses, who identified him as having taken un 
erring aim at more than one of the party. It was a 
thrilling scene, the boy hearts swelling with emotions 
unutterable. "I saw that man shoot my mother," burst 
forth from one of the boys ; and "I saw him," said the 



250 DAKOTA WAIi WHOOP. 

other, "shoot a man who had kneeled down to pray." 
Another was recognized by Mrs. Hunter, as having shot 
her husband, and taken her into captivity. 

Several of the Eenville Eangers, who, it will be re 
membered, had deserted, were brought before this tri 
bunal. They had been in all the battles, and fought 
with a determined daring, equal to the fiercest of the 
full bloods. Of these, particular attention was drawn 
to a young Hercules, about eighteen, bright, intelligent ; 
and competent for a vast amount of evil. He declared 
he was outside the fort, when the Indians surrounded 
it, and was thus unintentionally thrown into their 
ranks, and that his hands were as free from blood as 
his heart from guile. The evidence, however, proved 
him to have taken the first scalp at Wood Lake, from 
an old grey-headed man and former comrade, and re 
ceived therefor one of the two belts of wampum, which 
had been promised by Little Crow, as a reward for kill 
ing the first white man. One greatly amused the Court 
by asserting that he was the sole cause of the war. 
He was an old sore-eyed man, of lymphatic tempera 
ment, and had been living, he said, near New Ulm. 
The benevolent whites had supported him, and their 
lavished kindness incited the jealousy of the other In 
dians, hence the war. 

Thus might we multiply instances of strange fabri 
cations and flimsy subterfuge of falsehoods, which, in 
detail, would crowd a larger volume than this. Bu*t 
enough has been given to show their duplicity and 
their guilt. Three weeks of patient, unremitting labor, 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 251 

was given to this business, ere Camp Kelease was bro 
ken up, and still it remained unfinished. The troops 
were ordered "below," and the Court adjourned to the 
Lower Agency, where the work of death had first 
commenced. Surely, no more appropriate place could 
have been found. 

While at Camp Release, Col. Sibley was very justly 
promoted to "BRIGADIER GENERAL OF VOLUNTEERS," 
and the same was confirmed by the U. S. Senate, one 
year after. 



CHAPTER XLIV. 

CAPTIVITY OF MRS. SOPHIA JOSEPHINE HUGGINS. 

Driven away from her husband, as the reader has 
seen in a former chapter, it was very natural that Mrs. 
Huggins should look to the one for protection who had 
evinced a kindly spirit toward her, and believing they 
would be more safe with the Chief than elsewhere, she, 
with Julia and her children, went to his house the same 
evening. 

As they passed through the village, many squaws 
came oat, with a show of grief, in the usual way of 
laying the hand over the mouth, groaning, &c. The 
men loafed at their tent doors, smoked their pipes and 
said nothing, pretending not to see them. They were 
kindly received by the Chief's wife and other mem 
bers of the lodge, her mother, and their son, Na-ho- 
ton-mana, a lad of fifteen years. A buffalo robe was 
spread for them at the further end of the lodge, and 
this "seat of honor" was always reserved for her, so 
long as she remained a member of the family. On 
one of her own pillows, at night she rested her throb 
bing head* and many other articles from her own house 
were around her, reminders of the day's experience. 

That was a dreadful night. Men went and came to 
consult their Chief, and loud talking was heard aH 
over the village. Only the children slept sweetly and 
soundly, as if in their own little crib at home, with a 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 258 

loving father near. So hurried and stunning had been 
the events of the previous evening, that all seemed 
more . the result of some mental hallucination than 
actual reality. 

The choicest cut from her husband's oxen was set 
before them for breakfast, but when she thought that 
he slept his last sleep, she wept but could not eat 
The pent up waters of the heart had happily found 
vent. Thank God for tears ! without them, grief's con 
suming fires would soon destroy the powers for intelli 
gent action. 

News of their captivity having reached the ears of 
Mr. John Lagree, on the opposite side of the river, 
some distance away, he came with kindly proffers of a 
home to these women, promising, as he thought, greater 
security. Walking Spirit left them to their own choice. 
Their route lay through Lame Bear's village, where 
they saw many reminders of the past Indian chil 
dren dressed in their own children's clothes her hus 
band's writing desk and their own chairs, besides evi 
dences that they were not the only sufferers. This 
was on Wednesday, the 20th August, the day of first 
attack on Fort Kidgley, about eighty miles away. 

The hearts of these women were sad and lonely in 
the extreme, and their anxiety none the less from an 
ignorance of the extent of the trouble, and the fact 
that Lagree and a Frenchman who staid with him, 
were in -turn watching without, or sleeping with a 
loaded gun at their side. On Thursday, dreadful ti 
dings came from the seat of Indian war. All the Mis 
sionaries and Government officials, it was said, were 



254 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

killed, and so for more than one long anxious week 
had everybody believed. How precious the promises 
of holy writ, when grief was so poignant and anxiety 
so distressing. And now, Mrs. Huggins must be 
robbed of her only earthly comforter and counsellor. 
Julia's brother, hearing of her fate, had come disguised 
as an Indian, to take her to his home at Yellow Medi 
cine. It would not be safe for the mother and chil 
dren to go with them, and therefore she must abide 
her time of release, and suffer all her FATHER'S will. 
That night Mr. Manderfield, who had escaped from 
Big Stone Lake, came in. The women bound up his 
bleeding feet, and for the time forgot their own sor 
rows in efforts to relieve his sufferings and preparing 
him with comforts for the remainder of his way. He 
bore the first tidings of their fate and whereabouts to 
white friends below, who from that time were busy 
with thoughts and devising plans for her release. On 
Friday morning, Julia bade her companion in captiv 
ity adieu, and in Indian costume went forth by the 
side of her brave brother, on their tedious and perilous 
journey. 

An invitation at this juncture was received from 
De Cota, to return and make her permanent abode with 
him at Walking Spirit's village. So after the sad 
leave-taking of Julia, attended by Lagree, she and her 
children set out on horseback. As they trotted on 
through the woods, she imagined every tree hid a lurk 
ing foe, ready to spring out and shoot them, for she 
had now become very nervous from continued excite '* 
ment and suspense. At Lame Bear's village, Lagree, 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 255 

who was a Chippewa half-breed, seeing many Sioux 
about, feared to go further, so getting an Indian woman 
to "pack" Letta, she took little Charlie in her own 
arms, sick and weak though she was from having eaten 
nothing that day. Presently an old squaw came run 
ning after her, signifying a desire to relieve her of the 
physical burden. So she put him on her back, pap- 
poose fashion, with which the little fellow seemed quite 
content 

Her fears were destined to no abatement, for but a 
little out of the village four hideously painted warriors 
were lounging by the roadside ; but she hid herself 
behind the women as best she could, and passed un 
molested, probably they not detecting her nationality. 
Again, in passing through a piece of woods, she was 
desired to go ahead, but trembling with fear, while the 
women manifested even greater alarm, the cause of 
which she could not understand. 

Now came another sore trial for this "bruised reed." 
Faint, sick, tired and hungry, she came to the door 
where she expected a friendly welcome, and in re 
sponse to their invitation she had made this weary 
day's journey. Mr. De Cota, her recent neighbor, 
silently smoked his pipe without the door of his lodge, 
deigning her never a look, while his squaw wife, cold 
ly, though not unkindly, motioned her on to the chief's 
house. Her sensitive, sore heart well nigh sank within 
her. What would be her next step, if thus coldly re 
ceived at Walking Spirit's ? The old chief was away, 
but his wife, anticipating the wants of the exhausted 
woman, brought her water and food, and arranged for 
Kt 



256 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

her to rest, almost tenderly looking after her com 
fort, 

We are glad that we have comparatively small 
record to make of women being the aiders and abet 
tors of the transactions which brought such dismay to 
our frontier. As a general thing, they have "fed the 
hungry and clothed the naked" when in their power 
to do so. True, they have been subject to their liege 
lords, and obliged to do their bidding ; but whenever left 
to themselves, we are convinced that the fundamental 
elements of true womanhood live in the hearts which 
beat beneath their dirty short gowns and rusty old 
blankets. Keiaove the shackles which the men inflict 
upon them, and they would soon arrive to the dignity 
of white women. 

It is but justice to De Cota to say that he was loyal 
to the whites, and would have received Mrs. Huggins 
according to his invitation, had his courage been ade 
quate to the occasion. But he knew his own scalp 
was in danger, and the least provocation would jeop 
ardize his life yet more. Things around him looked 
stormy enough, and his Sioux wife could not save his 
scalp to the rightful owner, should any act of his ex 
cite their displeasure. Not long after he took his wife 
and went to his own people, and for several months 
thereafter was in government employ, carrying the 
mail through the trackless region from Pembina to 
Fort Kandall. 



CHAPTER XLV. 

MRS. HUGGINS IN CAEE OF WALKING SPIRIT. 

The old chief was from home, trying to quell the 
war-spirit of the young braves, and did not return till 
Mrs. Huggins had been several days domiciled in his 
lodge. The usual gutteral salute "ho-ho-ho-," sound 
ed very cheerily and pleasant, as he extended his hard 
brawney hand, by which she understood she was very 
welcome. This increased her confidence, which he 
seeing, made still greater efforts that she should not feel 
it misplaced. The language of his actions she knew 
was very kind, though she understood little of his 
spoken vernacular. In this assurance, she says her 
"poor, weary, anxious heart felt comforted. This old 
man was my friend and protector, I could here find 
something like rest, quiet and security." 

For the six successive weeks she remained a mem 
ber of the chief's family, regarded more as a distin 
guished guest than a powerless captive. We rejoice 
that there are some alleviating features in the wretched 
Dakota character something to evince them not 
hopelessly "the children of- wrath." We believe them, 
bad as they are, the creatures of God, objects of his 
care and government, but how fallen, how totally 
depraved. Under like influence, with the same 
Heaven-born privileges as the white race through gen- 



258 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

erations past, the results would be equal. Even worse 
savages than the North American Indians those 
whose richest feasts were upon the putrid bodies of 
their slain enemies, have been brought under the teach 
ings of the holy influences of Christianity. "Christ has 
been formed" in their hearts the hope of glory, and 
"the wrath of man has been made to praise him." So 
it may be, so it will be with these. All nations "shall 
call Him blessed," for the mouth of the Lord hath 
spoken it, and we are no ways sure but the Lord will 
overrule this initiatory step for their elevation to the 
great platform of religious, Christian nations. 

For ages, the Indian has known naught but his 
present life, and from infancy, has been taught that 
his highest achievement was to take the scalp of an 
enemy. Hence their glory in the number of scalp- 
feathers they are entitled to wear. 

Not from Walking Spirit and his family alone, was 
this lone captive the recipient of favors. All the 
women of the village seemed desirous to outvie each 
other in this regard, and invariably addressed her in 
the language of kindness and respect. They would 
often say, "white woman feel sad ; I want to shake 
hands with her." But their style of living soon began 
to tell seriously on little Charlie's health, then the 
women sent milk for him, and would come and take 
him out for the air. For days they lived only on 
potatoes and corn, and then occasionally beef or dog 
meat, and once in a while they had coffee and sugar >, 
Those who were well provided with food for the day, 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 259 

often sent for her "to come and eat" with them. She 
had learned to make a virtue of necessity, and the 
practical illustration of the adage, "when in Eome do 
as Eomans do," and a cheerful, pleasant conformity to 
the society in which she lived, conciliated her into 
favor. Once she was sent for at bed time, to "come 
and eat." Though not hungry, she went, as it was not 
policy to refuse. A piece of nice carpet was spread 
for her to sit on, and a white towel for her plate, 
which was one of her own, and one of her own dishes 
to drink from ; the bill of fare, consisting of potatoes, 
rice, dried apples and cold water. She says of the 
culinary department, sometimes, when she thought 
of the dirty dishes her food was on, the dirty kettles 
it was cooked in, and the dirty hands which prepared 
it, her stomach rebelled. But she tried to keep away 
such troublesome thoughts, and make the best of what 
she had. She well appreciated the kindness which 
sent one of the women to Yellow Medicine to bring up 
flour and other articles for her use, and one cold frosty 
morning, another came cautiously behind her and 
threw a warm shawl over her shoulders ; though part 
of the stolen booty, we credit the kindly spirit which 
evoked the act. 

One of her great perplexities was the means of ab 
lution, which Mrs. Walking Spirit remedied by ob 
taining from a neighbor a half powder keg. She had 
no other convenience for washing clothes than an old 
iron heater, which had been used for a dog dish. 
This she cleaned, and made subserve her purpose. 



260 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

Once or twice she was privileged with a tub and wash 
board, which had been her own property. She was 
thankful to get clean clothes, though they went un- 
ironed. 

All this time, not one of the young men of the 
village was allowed to speak to her, and there was a 
commendable pride, as they expressed it, 'in keeping 
her very carfully." No work was ever demanded, or 
even expected of her ; yet occupation lightened the 
burden of grief, and so she would assist her hostess in 
sewing, cooking, and even at times brought water from 
the brook. Many of her own articles of dress were 
returned to her, and she was permitted to wear her 
own costume ; but it was hard to see her children's 
clothes, of which they were in real need, worn by 
Indian children, and very painful to see the clothes of 
her murdered husband on the persons of those, if not 
his actual murderers, who had "consented unto his 
death." 

The children became great favorites, were petted and 
caressed, and afraid of no one, and this partiality came 
near causing her the severest heart-pang she had 
known. The chief's wife had a brother who lived 
far to the north, and had no children, and whom she 
had induced to think could get Mrs. Huggins to give 
to him her little girl. The proposition was made 
through a French interpreter, but her decided a no" 
gave no little offense, especially to the old woman, the 
man's mother. He was very angry, but the presence 
of the chief awed him, for he would not suffer the 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 261 

child to be taken without her consent ; but the offense 
was never forgiven, nor could she feel the same meas 
ure of confidence in the offended party as before. 
The former fondness of the old woman for the children 
was changed to indifference or hate, and she was ever 
afterward very cross to them. This, however, Mrs. H. 
allowed to pass unnoticed, and thereby prevented any 
serious quarrels ; yet she lived in constant fear of 
their being taken by stealth, and would never again 
trust them alone in her care. She now watched them 
closely when they were packed around the village by the 
squaws, who had before done it, eliciting no special 
anxiety from the mother, and at night folded them in 
her arms, while she dreamed of a horrid waking to 
find them gone. 

With nothing to distinguish one day from another, 
Mrs. H. soon lost the days of the week, and afterward 
learned that several Mondays had been kept by her as 
the holy Sabbath day. 0, how the Christian woman 
longed for the privileges of the sanctuary, or even th^ 
quiet of home retirement, where slie could worship 
God, with "none to molest or make afraid." But the 
time for her removal from the red-heated furnace had 
not yet come, but the "form of the FOURTH" was with 
her. The refining, purifying process was not yet com 
plete, and she girded her soul with patience to endure 
all her Father's will. 



CHAPTER XLVI. 

THE ALARMS. 

There was a mighty host of "Northerners" coming 
directly through the village. They had many carts, 
and some of the warriors were on foot and some on 
horse. The village was in great alarm. 

Mrs. Huggins was hurried out to look at them, in 
the distance, and then to a tent, with orders to suffer 
no noise from the children, until these were entirely 
passed. The caravan halted just past her tent, and 
their tumult so excited the children, that they cried to 
go out, and it was some time before they were fright 
ened into silence. There were, at least, six men to a 
woman, in the crowd. The excitement was intense. 
Men, women and children were running about, as if 
frightened out of their wits, all of which the hidden 
woman could see through a hole in the tent. But for 
midable and unwelcome as were these visitors, they 
must be fed. This was the only hope of a pacific turn 
in affairs, had they come for evil. The young warriors, 
eager for display, galloped around, firing off guns, and 
making other demonstrations of their prowess. Then 
rang forth on the serene air, the stentorian voice of a 
would-be mighty chief. With a high head, proud look 
and stately tread, he stalked back and forth, as he de 
livered himself of the eloquent speech which was burn- 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 263 

ing in his soul, threatening to consume him. For sev 
eral hours, our heroine lay in her concealment, when 
all was again quiet. 

Now came a time when the village was deserted, and 
Mrs. Huggins was alone, with the nameless old woman, 
for many days. From night till morning, and from 
morning till night, she trembled with fear, and closely 
hugged her children to her heart, lest, in an unexpect 
ed moment, they should be torn from her, but, guard 
ed by the divine hand, she was safe. 

A week or two after the advent of the "Northern 
ers," a detachment of the band returned. "Walking 
Spirit invited them to his lodge for a feast, more to con- 
cilitate peace than from any real friendship. He guar 
anteed protection to his captive, and directed her to sit 
behind him at the door, doubtless for quick egress, in 
case of trouble, while his guests would fill the lodge. 
With two loaded guns beside, him, they sat down to 
the feast, no other woman being allowed inside, only 
to bring the food, which was fried bread and coffee, to 
the door. Several of the guests were attentive to the 
children, feeding and allowing them to drink from their 
own cups. After considerable speechifying and mean 
ingless parade, the crowd dispersed, much to her relief. 

One day, the chief handed her a nice looking letter, 
written in Dakota language. She was unable to read 
it for him,, but waited, with anxious forebodings, the 
imparting of its contents, and yet with faint hopes of 
some feeble glimmer of light for herself and children. 
But instead, the contents were such as to make the 



264 DAKOTA WAK WHOOP. 

friendly chief declare himself 'Very angry," so angry 
that he threw the letter into the fire, in retaliation of 
the base insult Good Day, its author, had proposed 
to buy the captive for a wife, and hence her protector's 
rage. 

On another day, she was told to stay very closely in 
doors, that a "bad man was in the village, and would 
kill her." She was alone with the children, and wholly 
engrossed with her sewing, when, of a sudden, the 
blanket door was thrown up, and a fierce looking, hid 
eously painted young man, with an elevated drawn 
sword, stood before her. A child from a neighboring 
lodge, followed him in, eyeing first one and then the 
other, with a look of terror. With great self-command, 
after the first moment of surprise was over, she bent 
her face to her sewing, yet trembling so violently, she 
could scarcely hold her needle. But his scrutinizing 
gaze over, he went away, without speaking. Then she 
drew a long breath, and thanked God, that she and her 
children were alive. A moment after his leave-taking, 
the chief, panting and blowing, sprang through the 
opening. Her's was no feigned j oy at seeing him, as she 
smilingly said, "You frighten me, coming in such haste." 

"You frighten me," he replied, as he sat down to rest. 
"I was afraid you would be killed before I got here." 

Some women then came in, and told her about the 
angry man. His wife, for whom he was in search, had 
run away from him, and therefore had he come to the 
chief's house. Thus was she in constant alarm hef 
nervous system agitated with the most harrowing fear, 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 265 

and was often hid, by her protector, from threatening 
dangers. 

News from below became more and more exciting, 
and, finally, the battle of Wood Lake determined the 
terror-stricken Indians on flight. "To go or not to go," 
was left optional with the captive. She could not go 
alone to her friends below, nor could Walking Spirit 
now go with her, as he had hoped to do, as all the re 
gion was filled with the hostile, fleeing foe. So she 
committed herself to the guidance of Providence, know 
ing thereby she should not be led wrong. 

All was now the bustle of preparation. Corn and 
potatoes were to be gathered and prepared for the jour 
ney, or buried. One, acquainted with their life habits, 
and unacquainted with present incentives, would have 
thought them suddenly metamorphosed into a provi 
dent, working people. Some pounded corn from the 
cob, others parched it or bagged it up for the journey, 
and others were packing the household goods. Our 
heroine was no idler, and, therefore, made herself as 
useful as she could. She assisted to put up five sacks 
of corn and potatoes, for family provisions by the way. 

All being in readiness to depart, the story was circu 
lated, that all the white prisoners were killed, and that 
retributive justice would soon fall upon the Indians. 
Walking Spirit would have remained, had he dared, 
but discrimination between the friendly and unfriendly 
Indians, he thought, would not be made in the swift 
winged justice upon their track. The innocent wjis 
liable to suffer with the guilty. 



266 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

Hosts of Sioux were daily arriving from below, with 
whom many of the villagers "fell in," swelling each ar 
rival to quite a caravan. 



CHAPTER XLVIL 

LEAVING FOR THE PLAINS. 

The chief's family, still reluctant, were the last to go. 
Mrs. Huggins had not yet made her decision known. 
She was perplexed, if not in despair, but she still 
trusted Him who said, "call upon me in the day of 
trouble and I will deliver thee." When all was ready, 
the question to go or stay was again submitted, and her 
answer "I will go," pleased her protector, and prompted 
a renewal of "faithful care." To her and her children 
was accorded the privilege of riding on the rear top 
of the load, while Mrs. Walking Spirit, on foot, led 
the old horse which dragged the load on poles her 
mother carried a large pack, and his son led the colt, 
while he himself drove the oxen. The cow, by espe 
cial request of her hostess, was led by Mrs. Huggins. 

Methinks I see them now filing across prairies ; 
through dark ravines ; up beetling bluffs and in the 
forest shade ; while, with mighty force of will, her 
severe heart-struggles are forbidden vent To lighten 
the load, in the ascent of 'hills and through mud-holes, 
our heroine, often, with a child on her hip, and fast 
hold of the rope which was attached to the cow's horns, 
performed the unromantic trip of wading ankle deep 
in mud, and then sat down in the grateful shade of 
some ancient tree, panting for breath. 

The first day of the journey, these were exclusives, 



268 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

though in sight of the main caravan. At night their 
tent was pitched in a beautiful valley, and when the 
horses were "staked" and all other matters properly 
attended to, as in well regulated families, they drew 
around a sumptuous board "groaning" with skunk meat 
and potatoes. 

The calm quiet, the sublime silence of the night was 
a real luxury to the ardent soul of Mrs. Huggins. It 
was sweet to reflect on the constant care of Him whose 
presence fills the universe. Nature had spread around, 
her sweetest charms, in which a heart like hers might 
revel both day and night. Early next morning, before 
the family had breakfasted, an excited horseman rode 
up with tidings which brought all who understood it 
to their feet, followed by hasty arrangements to go. 
Falling in with another company, the greatest haste con 
tinued till the middle of the afternoon, they, meanwhile, 
eating nothing, and with only a little parched corn for 
the children, who became tired, sick and fretful. For 
four successive days they continued the same haste, 
the little boy daily growing weaker and weaker, and it 
was so hard to see him droop thus, with no means to 
relieve him, and to feel that very soon this precious 
comfort might be taken from her. Then there was the 
fear of starvation haunting her, or that Walking Spirit 
might be overpowered by Little Crow or some of the 
Northerners, and she be taken away from him. While 
her only employment was to think, it is not strange, 
that, with all her firm and steadfast faith, she was thus 
in soul perplexed. Then again, buoyant hope would 
cheer her heart, for she knew that friends were earnest- 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 269 

ly praying for her safety and release, and she believed 
that when the divine end was accomplished, the severe 
discipline would cease. In the presence of danger she 
ever relied on the judgment of others, to "lie down 
and cover up," without inquiring as to the why or 
wherefore trusting the promise "He shall cover thee 
with his feathers, and under his wing shalt thou trust," 
and so was she "not afraid of the terror by night nor the 
arrow that flieth by noon-day." 



CHAPTER XLVIII. 

RELEASE AND RETURN. 

The reader has seen the main body of troops at 
Camp Eelease, from whence, on the day following their 
arrival, General Sibley dispatched four of the most 
trustworthy half-breeds and Indians, with instructions 
to follow up the fleeing Indians, and bring back Mrs. 
Huggins and children, with as much expedition as 
possible. 

The fourth and last outward bound night, Mrs. Hug- 
gins was made to understand that many bad Indians 
were in the very large encampment. They had many 
cattle, horses and wagons, and she counted eighty 
yoke of oxen, and knew that all were the trophies of 
their raid upon the whites. Hope now well nigh died 
from her heart, for in the midst of the great darkness, 
how could she think of deliverance as near ? So in 
the physical as moral world, often when least expected, 
the greatest blessings come. The following morning, 
a message was brought to the chief, which produced a 
counter movement on the part of his family. The 
white lady was not made to understand the reason ; 
perhaps they designed a joyful surprise, but she dare 
not hope it augured any good to her, and the suspense 
threw her into a feverish anxiety, from which she did 
not recover till it was practically demonstrated. When 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 271 

at noon they camped, the family bustled about in 
preparation for visitors, thus much she knew. 

While wondering and waiting for the strange arrival, 
her heart gave a sudden bound of joy, for the familiar 
faces of her rescuers were before her. Intuitively she 
understood their mission. Two letters from General 
Sibley to Walking Spirit and herself were read, and he 
declared at once his intention of strengthening the es 
cort by returning with her to Camp Eelease. Such 
was the joy of her heart that sleep came not that night 
to her eyes. The mind was active in the past, present 
and future. 

While Mrs. Walking Spirit got the breakfast, Mrs. 
Huggins repaired the wardrobe of her husband, that 
he might appear as respectable as possible in the pres 
ence of superiors. When she finished, she returned 
the thread and scissors to his wife, who pressed her to 
retain the latter, as a parting gift and a memento of her 
love. 

We will note at this point, the release of two little 
German girls and a half-breed boy, who were in the 
main encampment. This, to their honor be it said, 
was more than the duty assigned their rescuers. One 
of the girls was very beautiful, whose mother was at 
Camp Eelease when she arrived there, and after clasp 
ing her to her heart in wild joy, she looked to Mr. 
Kiggs, and emphatically asked, "Where is the other ?" 
He could not tell her, 

The first night they camped at Big Stone Lake. 
Lame Bear and some of his people were there, who 
extended to them the hospitalities of their camp. The 



272 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

excitement of joy and its reaction, after all she had 
passed through, had nearly prostrated Mrs. Huggins' 
nervous energies, and with a thankful heart she that 
night sank upon the comfortable bed which was made 
for her, and awoke refreshed, ready to go on her way 
rejoicing. 

Passing over the same ground she had in going out, 
with no incidents worthy of note but a satisfaction of 
daily drawing nearer home, we find them, in less time 
than when outward bound, approaching Camp Eelease. 
When but a few miles out, they passed twelve war 
riors, savagely painted, smoking on the grass. Murder 
flashed from their eyes, and there was evident cause 
for alarm, though some of the men halted to shake 
hands and smoke with them. But as they drove rap 
idly away, a close watch was kept over the shoulder, 
till fairly away from any danger of their following. 
That night the camp was in sight of Lac-qui-parle. 
They resorted to Sioux stratagem as a precaution 
against enemies, by leaving their wagons and camping 
some distance from the road. There was little sleep ; 
every ear was alert for sounds of a wily foe, and they 
suffered much from cold, as autumn frosts had come, 
and the night winds were very chill. 

With kind consideration, they halted on the follow 
ing morning for Mrs. Huggins to visit the grave of 
her husband, around which they drove stakes by her 
request, to protect it from careless intruders. They 
allowed her time to linger over every familiar spot as 
sociated so closely with him who slept near. How 
desolate all appeared, and with heart even more des 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 273 

olate than all, she turned away, and for her children's 
sake, nerving her soul with energy to battle a little 
longer with life. 

Eight miles farther, and they entered Camp Eelease, 
which is to be memorable for all time in the history of 
Minnesota. The reaction, of a system wrought up so 
long to the highest tension, had come ; but with the 
kind care and sympathy there bestowed, she and pin 
ing little Charlie rallied wonderfully during the two 
weeks in which the trials of guilty Indians still pro 
gressed, before being sent down to the anxious hearts 
awaiting her. To one who has thus suffered, to one 
who has thus been released, nought but gratitude the 
most profound could ever arise toward her temporal 
deliverer, and to Him who disposes the hearts of men 
to do His will, and brings out all things according to 
His own hidden plans. 



CHAPTER XLIX. 

REMOVAL TO CAMP SIBLEY. 

On the 23d of October, the condemned and uncon- 
demned prisoners, chained two and two, were loaded 
into wagons, twelve or fifteen in each, and under a 
military escort started for Camp Sibley. Here the 
trial was resumed in a log house, formerly owned and 
occupied by a half-breed named LaBatte, "for unro- 
mantic kitchen purposes, but from hence to pass into 
history and be immortalized." The main building 
separate from this, had been deeply stained with the 
blood of the owner, whose native affinity did not save 
him from the murderous scalping knife. From the 
ashes of his dwelling in which he was burned, after 
having been shot, the soldiers drew forth his charred 
remains. But a few steps away was the store of 
Nathan Myrick, where Lynde, the first victim, DeVill 
and Andrew Myrick were killed. With such remind 
ers of their guilt before them, how could they hope 
for pardon ? We wonder that fair and impartial trials 
were given we wonder at the staying hand which 
prevented their execution en masse and we wonder 
at the patience of the commission in the long, tedious 
trial! 

But this heavy criminal calendar was at last cleared, 
and of the men arraigned for trial, three hundred and 
three were sentenced to be hung, and twenty to im- 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 275 

prisonment. They were removed to Mankato, where 
an immense jail had been prepared, there to await the 
execution of their sentence. 

As the train of guarded prisoners neared New Ulm, 
the citizens who had returned to their homes came out 
pell mell the women leading the van, assailing them 
with axes, stones and clubs, in retaliation for murdered 
husbands and children. Even at the point of the 
bayonet the infuriated mass rushed into the midst of 
the soldiers, determined to return an equivalent for the 
past. In several instances the guns were turned aside, 
or the axe warded off as the fatal blow was about to 
descend. One woman actually cleft the jaw of an In 
dian with a hatchet, and another fractured a skull, so 
that the victim died in a few days. Some eight or ten 
were badly wounded before the assailants could be 
driven off. We regret to have this retaliatory act to 
record, but we aim to give a true and impartial history 
of the main events. Still we will not too harshly con 
demn. They had suffered much, and were still smarting 
under the terrible blow, and a half frenzy seized them 
when they saw the authors of their misery. Doubt 
less, more serious would have been the results, had 
they foreseen that in fixing the day for their execution, 
the Chief Executive would have been moved with pity 
for the guilty wretches, and ordered the punishment 
of all but thirty-nine suspended. 

This fact becoming known, some two hundred men, 
whom suffering and bereavement by savage hands had 
made desperate, armed with hatchets, knives, and other 
death-dealing implements, on the 8th of December, 



276 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

forced their way through the guard at Camp Lincoln, 
near Mankato, with the avowed intention of dealing to 
the murderers the merit of their crimes. Col. Miller, 
prompt and resolute in the discharge of duty, had 
them surrounded and prisoners, before they could effect 
anything, but released them on a pledge to abstain 
from further attempt at violence. Gov. Eamsey issued 
a proclamation, urging upon the citizens not to throw 
away the good name Minnesota had hitherto sustained, 
by any rash acts of lawlessness which were not neces 
sary to the ends of justice, of personal security, or 
even private vengeance. "Our people," he says, "have 
had just cause to complain of the tardiness of execu 
tive action in the premises, but they ought to find some 
reason for forbearance in the absorbing cares which 
weigh upon the President. If he should decline to 
punish them, the case will then come clearly within 
the jurisdiction of the civil authorities." 



CHAPTER L. 

REMOVAL OF THE GOOD INDIANS TO FOET SNELLING-. 

The army of "good Indians," men, women, children 
and half-breeds numbered some eighteen hundred. 
On the 7th of November these took up their line of 
march for Fort Snelling, under escort of Lieut. Col. 
Marshall's command, all of which made a train of 
four miles in length. 

The "winter quarters," previously prepared, was an 
immense pen in which their teepees were set according 
to latest approved city surveys with streets, alleys 
and public square. Around and without, armed sol 
diers paraded day and night for six successive months, 
and the Government outlay for their support was little 
less than $2,000 per month ; while the hundreds of 
worthy women and children whom their own tribe had 
made widows and orphans, were mainly dependent on 
their own exertions, or the benevolence of a sympa 
thizing public. Visitors daily thronged the enclosure 
with "passes" from the post commander, and when ad 
mitted, a disgustingly filthy sight met the eye. The 
streets were the receptacles of all the offal of the 
lodges, where barefooted women and children splashed 
around in the filthy snow slush, as much at home as 
my reader on .a velvet carpet with neatly slippered 
feet 



278 DAKOTA" WAR WHOOP. 

Here we saw old Betsey, whom we knew before the 
State was a State, or the Territory had a name, and 
without whom its history would be incomplete, so 
identified is she with frontier life and pioneer experi 
ence. Her ugly old phiz is seen in every Photograph 
gallery in the land, and readily recognized by every 
street urchin. Everywhere she has warm personal 
friends, and it is her proud boast that none of her 
family have taken part in the raid against the whites. 
Even she, old as she is, was pattering around barefoot 
ed, as lithe as a girl of sixteen. Then we bade her 
good-bye, supposing it the last time, and she actually 
kissed our hand at parting. But when the encamp 
ment was broken up to go to the new "hunting 
grounds," by the earnest desire of her farmer son, Ta- 
o-pee, old Betsey was permitted to remain with him, 
so we may have a chance for another parting kiss. 

It will be recollected that Ta-o-pee was very active 
in the formation of the friendly camp, and for the re 
lease of the prisoners, and made the first move in that 
direction. Wabashaw, too, was there. These had 
kept aloof from crime, using every means to subdue 
the rage of their red brothers. When an answer came 
from their letter to Col. Sibley, the utmost caution was 
requisite to conceal the fact from others. Great excite 
ment that night prevailed, in their camp, on account 
of the letter Little Crow had received, the contents of 
which, when interpreted by Spencer, was proclaimed 
by Little Crow, in thunder tones, to the clamorous 
throng, which crowded around his tent. Ta-o-pee had 



DAKOTA WAK WHOOP. 279 

a secret for the white man's ear, which he managed to 
communicate. There was an assenting nod to the re 
quest that he be in readiness to read the letter, the first 
favorable moment. Excitement run high, and the tent 
was full, till far into the small hours of morning Ta- 
o-pee, with nervous anxiety, hidden beneath a calm ex 
terior, frequently coming in and going out again. At 
three o'clock, all was quiet ; now was the time ; the 
moment was an important one. They knew that evil, 
designing ones were prowling around, suspicious of 
everything ; so, throwing a blanket over their heads, 
that the light might not be seen from without, they, 
underneath it, struck a match, lighted a candle, and in 
a soft whisper, read the important missive, which the 
reader has before read, and which was the first hope- 
inspiring note of a temporal salvation. 

Chaska, too, with whom the reader is so well ac 
quainted, came also with the train. While, in various 
ways, making himself useful to our people, he was 
charged, by envious ones, as having taken life before 
he rescued his friend, for which charge, he was a long 
time under guard, awaiting trial. He was honorably 
acquitted, and engaged as scout to the expedition, the 
following spring. Having renounced his tribal birth 
right, he was, to all intents and purposes, a white man, 
faithfully doing his duty, whatever and wherever it 
might be. 



CHAPTER LI. 

PKOTEST OF SENATOR WILKINSON" AND OTHERS. 

With the groans of the wounded still deadening our 
ears, and while the echoed shrieks of the already dead, 
still reverberate from bluff to bluff, and while he still 
lies in wait for our heart's blood, sympathy for the 
"poor, wronged red man," is being roused, in some 
parts of our nation. We love the EAST the soil 
which our infant feet trod we love its people and its 
lofty principles of right, but we ignore their argument 
of the Indians' wrongs. Our nation's pampered proteges 
instead. 

In discussing the removal of the "good Indians" we 
confess to a desire to see them turned loose on Boston 
common, as Congress was memorialized to do by seve 
ral thousand citizens of Minnesota. Had the tragic 
scenes, of which we have given but a faint outline, 
been concentrated for one stereoscopic view, in any 
Eastern city, had their streets been drenched with 
blood, as were our prairies, had fire and ravishment 
come to their homes, as to ours, we think we know the 
New England heart well enough to say, that quite as 
little leniency would have been desired for the perpe 
trators, as by us. 

We think the protest against Presidential clemency, 
from Senator Wilkinson and Representatives Aldrich 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 281 

and Windham, worthy of immortal record, and here 
re-produce it for the benefit of our readers, yet to be. 
"To the President of the United States: 

"SiR : We have learned, indirectly, that you intend 
to pardon or reprieve a large majority of the Indians 
in Minnesota, who have been formally condemned for 
their participation in the brutal massacre of our people, 
in the months of August and September last. If this 
be your purpose, as representatives from that State, we 
beg leave, most respectfully, to protest against it, and 
we do so, for the following reasons : 

"These Indians were condemned, most of them, upon 
the testimony of women, whom they had carried into 
captivity, after having murdered their fathers, hus 
bands and brothers, and who were treated, by these In 
dians, with a brutality never known before, in this 
country, nor equaled in the practice of the most bar 
barous nations. There were nearly ninety captives, 
who were wives and daughters of our neighbors and 
friends. [This does not include the children.] They 
were intelligent and virtuous women some of them 
were wives and mothers others were young and in 
teresting girls. 

"These savages, to whom you propose to extend 
your Executive clemency, when the whole country was 
quiet, and the farmers were busily engaged in gather 
ing their crops, arose with fearful violence, and travel 
ling from one farm to another, indiscriminately mur 
dered all the men, boys and little children they came ' 
to, and although they sometimes spared the lives of 



282 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

the mothers and daughters, they did so only to take 
them into captivity, which was infinitely worse than 
death. 

"Mr. President, let us relate to you some facts with 
which we fear you have not heretofore been made ac 
quainted. 

"These Indians, whom (as we understand,) you pro 
pose to pardon and set free, have murdered, in cold 
blood, nearly or quite one thousand of our people, 
ravaged our frontier for more than one hundred and 
fifty miles north and south, burned the houses of the 
settlers, and driven from their homes more than ten 
thousand of our people. They seized and carried into 
captivity more than one hundred women and girls, and 
in nearly every instance treated them with the most 
fiendish brutality. 

"To show you, sir, the enormity of these outrages, 
we beg leave to state a few facts, which are well known 
to our people, but delicacy forbids that we should 
mention the names of the parties to whom we refer. 

"In one instance, some ten or twelve of these Indians 
visited the house of a worthy farmer, who at the time 
was engaged with his sons staking wheat They 
stealthily approached the place where the honest far-- 
mer was at work, and seizing the opportunity, shot the 
father and two sons at the stack. They then went to 
the house, killed two little children in the presence of 
their mother, who was quite ill of consumption, and 
then took the sick mother and a beautiful little 
daughter, thirteen years of age, into captivity. But 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 283 

this is not all, nor is it the most appalling feature 'of 
this awful tragedy. Its horror is yet to be revealed. 
After removing these unhappy prisoners to a lodge 
some two miles away, these fiends incarnate, after 
placing a guard over the weary and exhausted moth 
er, took her little one outside the lodge, removed 
all her clothes, and fastened her back on the ground. 
Then they commenced their work of brutality on 
this young girl. One by one they violated her 
person, unmoved by her cries, and unchecked by the 
evident signs of approaching dissolution. This work 
was continued until the Heavenly Father relieved her 
from suffering. They left her dead upon the ground. 
This outrage was committed within a few feet of the 
sick and dying mother. 

"There is another instance of a girl eighteen years 
of age. We knew her well before and at the time of 
her capture. She was as refined and beautiful a girl 
as we had in the State. None had more or better 
friends ; no one was more worthy of them than she. 
She was taken captive by these Indians, her arms were 
tied behind her and she was tied fast to the ground 
and ravished by som;<*. eight or ten of these convicts 
before the cords were unloosed from her limbs. The 
girl, fortunately, lived to testify against the wretches 
who had thus violated her. Without being more 
specific, .we will state that nearly all the women who 
were captured were violated in this way. 

"Again there was a little boy brought to St. Paul 
(whose father and mother had been murdered,) whose 



284 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

life was spared as a witness of the horrid nature of 
this massacre. His right eye was cut completely out, 
it had fallen from its socket and perished on his cheek. 
His two little sisters, aged respectively six and four 
years, were also saved, but in an awfully mutilated con 
dition. Their tender arms had been mangled with the 
savages' knives, and otherwise fearfully wounded and 
left on the ground for dead. 

"Mr. President, there was no justification or pretext 
even for these brutalities. We state what we know, 
when we say that the Sioux Agent, Mr. Galbraith, has 
labored faithfully and efficiently for the welfare of 
these Indians. The Government, as you know, has 
built a house and opened a farm for every one of these 
Indians who would reside upon and cultivate it. 
Missionaries have labored zealously among them for 
their spiritual welfare. There has been paid to them 
yearly the interest upon $2,000,000. Farming imple 
ments have been purchased, and farmers have been em 
ployed by the Government to improve and cultivate 
their lands. 

"These Indians have been called by some, prisoners 
of war. There was no war about it It was a whole 
sale robbery, rape and murder. These Indians were not 
at war with their murdered victims. 

"The people of Minnesota, Mr. President, have 
stood firm by you and your administration. They 
have given both it and you thei r cordial support. They 
have not violated law. They have borne these suffer 
ings with a patience such as but few people ever ex- 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 286 

hibited under such extreme trial. These Indians are 
now at their mercy ; but our people have not risen up 
to slaughter them, because they believed that their 
President would deal with them justly. 

"We are told, Mr. President, that a committee from 
Pennsylvania, whose families are living happily in 
their pleasant homes in that State, have called upon 
you and petitioned you to pardon the Indians. We 
have a high respect for the religious sentiment of your 
petitioners ; but we submit that is a bad taste, indeed, 
that it is entirely unbecoming them to interfere in 
matters with which they are so little acquainted, 
and which relate entirely to the security of our own 
people. 

"We protest against the pardon of these Indians, be 
cause, if it is done, the Indians will become more in 
solent and cruel than they ever were before, believing, 
as they certainly will believe, that their great father 
at Washington either justifies their acts or is afraid to 
punish them for their crimes. 

" We protest against it, because if the President does 
not permit these executions to take place under the 
forms of law," the outraged people of Minnesota will 
dispose of these wretches without law. These two 
people cannot live together. 

"We do not wish to see mob law inaugurated in 
Minnesota, as it certainly will be, if you force the peo 
ple to it. We tremble at the approach of such a con 
dition of things in our STATE. 



286 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

"You can give us peace, or you can give us lawless 
violence. We pray you, sir, in view of all that we 
have suffered, and of the danger that still awaits us, 
let the law be excuted let justice be done our people." 



CHAPTER ML 

CAUSE OF THE DAKOTA UPKISING. 

Hitherto we have scarcely hinted at the cause of the 
strange and sudden uprising of this powerful tribe; 
but such effects have had their birth in design. Mr. 
Spencer said to the writer, that had he been less a suf 
ferer while a wounded captive in their hands, had not 
his life been daily threatened so that he had little hope 
of living to transmit the truth to the world ; in short, 
had he foreseen what he now sees, he might have 
probed the whole matter, and the moving impulse 
would have been made known to him. He heard 
nothing from them to confirm the view we here present, 
or by which he would feel justified in declaring it to 
be an offshoot of the rebellion. This is, however, a 
synopsis from reliable sources, to which he had no ac 
cess at the time, and we shall leave the reader to de 
duce his own conclusions. 

However deep and long they slumber beneath the 
rubbish of sloth or fear, the fires of discontent, of 
envy and hate, are ever burning in the savage heart. 
Sooner or later they will burst forth in wild volcanic 
throes, when peace treaties are forgotten, the buried 
tomahawk exhumed, and woe to the defenseless victim 
over whose head the scalping-knife is flourished. In 
every normal savage heart exists a principle of reck 
less hate towards the whites, which, stimulated by real 



288 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

or imaginary wrongs, needs no avalanche of argument 
to start the missiles of death. Like a spark of fire in 
a magazine of powder, the ignition is as sudden, the re 
sults as terrible. That the great Sioux raid of '62 was 
somewhere premeditated, plans intelligently matured 
and admirably arranged for secrecy, is beyond a doubt 
Strategy is the art of savage warfare, secrecy the guar 
anty of success. 

We have seen squads of daring, determined war 
riors, all over the counties of the north, west, and 
south-west, striking a simultaneous blow on the settle 
ments, desolating an area of four hundred miles in 
extremes, filling the woods and marshes with starved, 
panic-stricken women and children, bestrewing the fair 
prairies with corpses of men, and desolating the fields 
of ripened plenty. No magic pen could portray, no 
master pencil paint the horrid, sublimely tragical 
events of the horror-stricken plains. The reaper lying 
dead in his swath, with his sickle in his hand ; cattle 
roaming at large, and bellowing in inquiry of the mid 
night that has suddenly fallen upon their noon ; while 
the huge, swollen bodies of others, were mingling 
their nauseous affluvia with the headless bodies of 
men ; hogs were rooting in the long ringlets, or feeding 
on the fair cheek of beauty, and dogs going mad from 
the same, in short the tide of desolation was sweep 
ing over all. 

Some hidden leaven has been at work from fur- 
clad Pembina to blood-dyed Secessia had the lump 
been leavened, till it became a risen mass of duplicate 
rebellion. Investigation shows conclusively that Se- 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 289 

cessia had sent her emissaries not only to the Dakotas, 
but all other tribes of the north-west fostering a 
spirit of unrest, magnifying mole-hill grievances into 
mountain realities, inciting the barbarous war-spirit 
dormant in their hearts, and infusing a death-dealing 
fury wherever the war-king should stride. The hope 
of a savage menace to the frontier, involved the one 
that the north-western troops, everywhere noted for 
their valor, would be retained and recalled from the 
national field to subdue a savage foe. Hence they 
prated of wrongs, and encouraged a hope of a re-pos 
session of garden Minnesota, glittering in wealth and 
happy in the quiet of well-earned homes. That the 
task was no difficult one, the double subtlety of rebel 
lion taught, for it assured them that all the fighting 
powers were engaged with a southern foe. Thus 
the whole gear was in complete running order, before 
the war horse was bid to move. 

It has been conclusively proven, that runners, ever 
after the great rebellion began, were going back and 
forth among the various tribes, and .particularly to 
effect their object with the Minominees, who utterly re 
fused complicity. God was on the throne of heaven, 
and thwarted much of the base design. 

In one of their grand councils, convened in Wiscon 
sin, for the purpose of discussing the war theme, it was 
emphatically stated, on the authority of a head chief, 
that all the western tribes were going to join the South, 
and that there would be a general uprising among the 
Indians, in the summer, 1862. 



290 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

There is no doubt but the Chippewas did seriously 
contemplate an alliance with the Sioux, at one time, 
but being discountenanced, by the prudent foresight of 
some of their own number, it was timely nipped in the 
bud, by the wise policy of Gov. Eamsey. 

A Lieut. Colonel, in Ashby's rebel cavalry, wrote 
from Virginia, under date of Aug. 20, 1862, to his 
brother-in-law, of Columbus, Wisconsin, advising him, 
and denning ways and means for so doing, to haste to 
the Confederate lines for safety. But if he failed in 
this, to seek an asylum in Illinois, giving, as a reason 
for the warning, "a general uprising of all the Indian 
tribes in the north-west, about the first of September." 
Even then it had commenced, but the Divine hand had 
held in check all but the wrathful Sioux, and Little 
Crow had dared to attempt what some of the nations 
of Europe dare not risk 

What fearful guilt rests upon the murder plotters 
the proxy desolaters of the fair land and domestic 
peace, for that secession is the root and base of the 
wide-spread ruin, we think the evidence admits scarce 
a doubt, but so secretly, so adroitly manceuvered, that 
scarcely can the horns of the beast be seen, pushing 
this way and that, like the one of which the prophet 
speaks, and like it, destined to a final overthrow. The 
enormity and magnitude of the desolation, can be some 
what comprehended, by the figures on which we rely 
for data. 

It will be recollected that 30,000 persons were actual 
sufferers, in flight, loss of property, and loss of life. 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 291 

Two thousand, nine hundred and forty persons claimed 
redress from Government, for the loss of their earthly 
all. The total amount of claims for losses sustained 
by the above, is $2,600,000. For the disbursement of 
these claims, the annuities, which are forever forfeited, 
are appropriated, an arrangement, than which none 
could be more just or equitable. 

May God yet make the wrath of these Sioux to 
praise him, and so overrule all these trying events, as 
to result in both individual and national good, tempo 
rally, spiritually and eternally. 



CHAPTER Lin. 

PREPARATIONS FOR THE EXECUTION OF THE CON- 
-.- / DEMNED INDIANS. 

As soon as the President's order, postponing the day 
of execution, from the 19th to the 26th Dec., was re 
ceived, the military authorities at Mankato commenced 
preparations for the execution. The gallows, twenty- 
four feet square, so arranged as to afford room for the 
hanging of ten, on each side, was erected on the levee, 
opposite the "winter quarters" of the condemned. The 
people felt that justice was being defrauded of its dues, 
and that the gallows might have been of more extend 
ed capacity, had the President been less squeamish. 

On Monday, the 22d of December, the condemned 
prisoners, were separated from the "suspended" ones, 
and removed to a strong stone building, where every 
precaution was taken to secure their safe keeping from 
the hands of violence, which was feared from excited, 
misguided, but injured men, 

On the afternoon of the same day, Col. Miller, the 
officer in command, through his interpreter, Rev. Mr. 
Riggs, announced to the prisoners,- the decision of their 
"Great Father" at Washington, in these words : 

"Tell these thirty-nine* condemned men, that the* 

*The death sentence of one of this number was afterward suspended. 









GQVEKN"0]rj OF MLAiNK 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 295 

commanding officer of this place has called to speak to 
them upon a very serious subject, this afternoon. 

"Their Great Father at Washington, aftfcr carefully 
reading what the witnesses testified in their several 
trials, has come to the conclusion, that they have each 
been guilty of wantonly and wickedly murdering his 
white children. And for this reason, he has directed 
that each be hanged by the neck until they are dead, 
on next Friday. That order will be carried into effect 
on that day, at ten o'clock in the forenoon. 

"That good ministers are here, both Catholic and 
Protestant, from amongst whom each one can select a 
spiritual adviser, who will be permitted to commune 
with them constantly, during the four days that they 
are to live. 

"That I will now cause to be read the letter from 
their Great Father at Washington, first in English, and 
then in their own language." (The President's order 
was now read.) 

"Say to them now, that they have so sinned against 
their fellow men, that there is no hope for clemency, 
except in the mercy of God, through the merits of the 
blessed Redeemer ; and that I earnestly exhort them to 
apply to that as their only remaining source of comfort 
and consolation." 

The prisoners received their sentence very coolly, 
some smoking their pipes, composedly, during the ad 
dress ; and one, apparently more hardened than his fel 
lows, when the time for execution was designated, qui 
etly knocked the ashes from his pipe, and re-filled it; 



296 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

while another slowly rubbed a handful of kinnekinnick, 
preparatory to a good smoke. 

The preference of clergymen being signified, the Col 
onel and spectators withdrew, leaving them in consult 
ation with those selected. 

During the four days which intervened, before the 
sentence was to be executed, nearly all had made con 
fession of their guilt, to their spiritual advisers, but felt 
it "a shame" for them to suffer the penalty of their 
crimes, while others, equally as guilty, went unhung. 
Their confessions, made to and written out by Rev. Mr. 
Riggs, were generally done in a cool, truthful manner, 
though with some exceptions, and these were checked 
by the others, and told that they were all dead men, 
and that there was no reason why they should depart 
from the truth. They dictated letters to their families 
or friends, expressing the hope that they would join 
them in the world of the Good Spirit 

On Tuesday evening, they extemporized a dance, 
with a wild Indian song. It was feared this was a pre 
lude to something else which they might attempt, so 
their chains were thereafter fastened to the floor. Mr. 
Riggs says it was probably their death song which they 
sang. Those who had friends in the main prison we're 
allowed to receive a visit from them, and then they 
parted, to meet no more till in the spirit world. These 
partings, with the messages conveyed to absent wives 
and children, were sad and affecting, and many tears, 
were shed. Good counsel was invariably sent to their 
children, and in many cases they were exhorted to a 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 297 

life of Christianity, and good feeling toward the 
whites. 

Several of the prisoners were completely overcome 
during this leave-taking, so that they were obliged to 
suspend conversation. Others laughed and joked, un 
moved and unconcerned as if they had been sitting 
around a camp fire smoking their pipes. One said he 
was old, and even though uncondemned, he could not 
hav 3 hoped to live long, and that he was dying inno 
cent of white man's blood, and he hoped thereby his 
chances would be better to be saved that he had every 
hope of going "direct to the abode of the Great Spirit, 
where he would be always happy." 

As the last remark reached the ears of another, who 
was also speaking with his friends, he said, "Yes, 
tell our friends that we are being removed from this 
world over the same path they must shortly travel. 
We go first, but many of our friends will follow us in 
a very short time. I expect to go direct to the abode 
of the Great Spirit, and to be happy when I get there ; 
but we are told that the road is long and the distance 
great, therefore, as I am slow in all my movements, it 
will probably take me a long time to reach the end of 
my journey, and I should not be surprised if some 
of the young active men we will leave behind us, will 
pass me on the road before I reach my destination." 

In shaking hands with Eed Iron and another Indian, 
this same man said, "Friends, last summer you were 
opposed to us. You were living in continual appre 
hension of an attack from those who were determined 
M 



298 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

to exterminate the whites. You and your families 
were subject to many insults, taunts and threats. Still 
you stood firm in your friendship for the whites, and 
continually counselled the Indians to abandon their 
raid against them. Your course was condemned at 
the time, but now we see your wisdom. You were 
right when you said the whites could not be extermi 
nated, and the attempt indicated folly. You and your 
families were prisoners, and the lives of all in dan 
ger. To-day you are at liberty, assisting in feeding 
and guarding us, and we shall die in two days because 
we did not follow your advice." 

The night before the execution, Col. Miller received 
an order from the President, postponing the execution 
of Ta-ti-mi-ma, the Sioux name for David Faribault, a 
half-breed, and a former pupil of the writer. He was 
convicted for murder, and the capture of women and 
children ; but there were strong doubts among those 
best acquainted with the subject, of his guilt of mur 
der, and this belief was daily strengthened by new 
evidence. Hence the respite.* 

The last night allotted them on earth, they smoked 
and chatted, or slept as unconcerned as usual, and 
seemed scarcely to reflect on the certain doom awaiting 
them. "As we gazed on them," says one who visited 
the prison at a late hour that night, "the recollections 
of how short a time since they had been engaged in 
the diabolical work of murdering indiscriminately both 
old and young, sparing neither sex nor condition, sent' 

*He has since been unconditionally pardoned . 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 299 

a thrill of horror through our veins. Now they are 
perfectly harmless and look as innocent as children. 
They smile at your entrance and hold out their hands 
to be shaken, which appear to be yet gory with the 
blood of babes. Oh ! treachery, thy name is Dakota !" 
The Catholic priest spent the entire night with them, 
endeavoring to impress upon them a serious view of 
their condition, and before morning dawned, his 
efforts were rewarded by the privilege of baptising 
several, who also partook of the communion of that 
church, before leaving the world. They wished their 
friends to know how cheerfully and happily they met 
their fate, devoid of all fear or dread. 



CHAPTER LIV. 

THE EXECUTION. 

The spiritual advisers of the condemned Indians 
were all with them, early on the morning of the 26th 
December, and were now listened to with marked at 
tention. They had gaily painted their faces, as if for 
grand display in the begging dance, and, frequently, 
their small pocket mirror was brought before the face, 
to see if they still retained the proper modicum of paint. 
They shook hands with the officers, bidding each a 
cheerful good bye, as if going on an ordinary journey. 
Then they- chanted their monotonous, but very exci 
ting death song. 

The irons being knocked off, one by one, their arms 
were pinioned with small cords, and the wrists fastened 
in front, leaving the hands free. Songs and conversa 
tion gave a cheerful appearance to the scene, while 
they moved around, shaking hands with each other, 
the soldiers and reporters bidding the frequent "good 
bye." This over, they arranged themselves in a row, 
and again sang the death song, after which they sat 
down for a last general smoke. 

Father Eavoux, the Catholic priest, now addressed 
them, and then knelt in prayer, some of them respond- ^ 
ing, while they were even affected to tears. The long 
white caps, made from cloth, which had formed part of 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 801 

the spoils taken from murdered traders, were placed 
upon their heads, leaving their painted faces still visi 
ble. Their repugnance to this was very evident 
Shame covered their faces, and they were humiliated 
by it, as chains and cords could not do. The singing 
ceased, and there was little smoking or talking now. 
The three half-breeds seemed most affected, and their 
sad countenances were pitiable to behold. 

Crouched on the floor, they all awaited their doom, 
till precisely ten o'clock, when they were marched in 
procession, through a file of soldiers to the scaffold, 
crowding and jostling each other to get ahead, as a lot 
of hungry boarders rush to the dinner table in a hotel. 
At the scaffold they were delivered to the officer of the 
day, Capt. Burt. 

As they commenced their ascent to the gallows, the 
air was made hideous by the repetition of their death 
song. It was a moment of most intense suspense 
every breath in that immense throng seemed suspended, 
when one of the baser sort improvised an exhibition 
of his contempt of death, and the lookers on, in the 
most vile and indecent manner, accompanied by foul 
impromptu song, insulting to the spectators, and such 
only as the vilest could conceive or execute a mock 
ery to the triumph of that justice whose sword was 
suspended by a hair over his guilty head. One young 
fellow smoked a cigar after the cap was drawn over 
his face, he managing to keep his mouth uncovered. 
Another smoked a pipe till the noose was adjusted 
over his neck. 



302 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

The general aspect of the scene was intensely solemn, 
though there were many little incidents which, under 
other circumstances, would have been ludicrous in 
the extreme. Thirty-eight men awaiting the moment 
when one blow would launch them into eternity ! Did 
civilized world ever look upon the like before ? All 
who looked, approved the sentence, and would, had it 
been ten times as large. 

The silence was awfully intense then came three, 
slow, measured and distinct beats on the drum, by the 
signal officer, Major J. R Brown, when each of the 
condemned clasped hands with his next neighbor, 
which remained in firm grasp till taken down, and 
then the rope was cut by Mr. Dooley, who, with his 
family, were among the Lake Shetak sufferers. 

One loud and prolonged cheer went up as the plat 
form fell, and then all relapsed into silent gaze at the 
thirty -seven bodies which hung dangling in the air. 
One rope had broken, and the body it held was upon 
the ground. This incident created a nervous horror in 
. the vast assemblage and complete satisfaction to the 
morbid curiosity which led them to be eye witnesses 
to such a spectacle. Though there was no sign of life 
remaining, the body was again suspended. There 
seemed to be but little suffering the necks of nearly 
all were dislocated by the fall, and in just twenty 
minutes, life was declared extinct 

The bodies were placed in four army wagons, and r 
with Company K, under Lieutenant Colonel Marshall, 
of the Seventh, for a burial party, were deposited in 



DAKOTA WAK WHOOP. 303 

the one grave, prepared for them, on the sand bar, 
nearly in front of the town. 

The other condemned Indians were chained in their 
quarters, that they might not witness the execution, 
and when the death song of their associates in crime 
fell upon their ears, they crouched themselves down, 
with their blankets over their heads, and kept per 
fect silence, seeming to feel all the horrors of their 
situation, and that a like retribution to them was not 
long to be delayed. All day they were much dejected. 

The disposition of the military force, amounting 
to 1,419 men, as also the entire arrangements for the 
execution, were most perfect and complete. Great 
credit is due Col. Miller for devising and carrying out 
so successfully his well directed plans, and for pre 
serving the quiet, order and discipline which distin 
guished the day. 



CHAPTER LV. 

THE CONDEMNED. 

During the winter, those whose death sentence had 
been postponed, continued to receive spiritual advice, 
as before the execution. 

Those who, from daily intercourse with them, were 
best prepared to judge, felt that the Spirit of God came 
into that jail of guilty ones, for whom Christ died, 
with mighty and convincing power, that darkened 
understandings were opened to receive the truth, and 
hearts, all stained and blackened by crime, were re 
generated by His blood. Others hardened themselves 
against the truth, and would none of "the reproofs of 
the Spirit." 

As a fruit of the change, one hundred and fifty be 
came earnest scholars, and soon learned to read the 
Bible and Hymn Book, in which they took great de 
light, and often held religious service among them 
selves. Whether, indeed, these were true converts to 
the Christian faith, we leave it for a religious world to 
judge, and the day of final account to decide. But 
this we do know, that they were never in so favorable 
circumstances for thought and for the mind to receive 
lasting impressions. Their roving, unsettled life has 
been the greatest drawback with which the Missionary 
has to contend. They would not stop to think. Now 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 305 

they had no other employ, and the time for instructing 
them was well improved by those who had long 
sought their souls' good. If "Christ died for the chief 
of sinners" surely he died for them, and great sinners, 
with enlightened consciences, have been pardoned. 

During the winter, several deaths occurred in the jail, 
so that when those whose sentence was suspended, 
were removed to Davenport, Iowa, they numbered but 
two hundred and sixty-three men, with whom went 
sixteen women for cooks and laundresses. The 
quarters there provided for them was an immense 
prison pen of boards, inclosing four large shanties 
clustered in the center. 

A decided improvement is noticed by those who 
visited them there, and before they left the State. 
Instead of dozing and idling away their time, as was 
their wont, they were often seen reading, writing or 
solving the first lessons on the slate. Habits of indus 
try, too, were formed ; it may be because compelled to do 
so, but cheerfully they set about cleaning camp, digging 
wells, or whatever work assigned them. Thus are we 
led to conclude that a transforming power has been at 
work, and though those who, when they visited them, 
and looked, for the first time, upon an Indian, went 
away disgusted, it argued not that a decided change 
for the better had not taken place. 

' -v Mt 



CHAPTER LVI. 

THE WINNEBAGOES DECLAKE WAR WITH THE SIOUX. 

An Indian, a savage, untamed, unchristianized In 
dian, be he Sioux, Chippewa or Winnebago, is an In 
dian, wherever you find him. They delight in cruel 
deeds, and are ready to join any tribe with whom they 
are at peace, in war against a weaker party. 

At the commencement of the outbreak, the Winne- 
bagoes, not as a tribe or band, but many individuals 
distinguished themselves with their allies for" bravery 
and daring, entering as vigorously into the battles as 
the aggressors themselves. But the tables are turned. 
The Sioux are driven away, and now war is declared 
upon them by the Winnebagoes, and more to curry favor 
with the victorious whites, than for any other cause, 
probably hoping the removal of their families deferred, 
while the men take the "war-path" against their ene 
mies. Certain it is, that some other motive than pre 
tense of friendship for the whites, has instigated so 
small a tribe as the Winnebagoes to take up arms 
against so powerful a nation as their Sioux neighbors, 
with whom they have heretofore been on friendly 
terms. 

The scouting Sioux, left behind, are hunted out, and 
no opportunity for a good shot is allowed to pass un- 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 307 

improved. Instances occurred, where as brutal, bar 
barous treatment was given the Sioux, by these ene 
mies, as they were ever guilty of towards the whites. 
The bodies of their victims would be mutilated, hearts 
would be torn out, large knives run through their cen 
tre, and then hung upon poles. 

A scalp dance was even improvised in the streets of 
Mankato, in which all the warriors, squaws and chil 
dren, joined. One young Winnebago brave paraded 
the main street, with the tongue of a Sioux warrior, 
recently murdered, apparently torn from his mouth, 
and swollen very thick, stopping, as occasion occurred, 
to gratify the morbid curiosity of passers-by. 

The Indian, whose tongue had given such mortal 
offense, had a wife of their own tribe, with whom he 
had lived, during the winter, among her own people. 
Hearing of the murder of two of his own people, by 
them, his Sioux blood was aroused, and he declared 
his intention of imparting the information to the tribe ; 
only his wife knew of his design, when he left, but he 
was overtaken and murdered before he left the reserva 
tion, hence the exhibition we have seen. 

But not serious or of long continuance were the fron 
tier troubles with these two tribes. One fled beyond 
the reach of harm for the winter, and it was only with 
skulking parties that they could deal, while they re 
mained. . The return of spring brought a change. The 
Winnebagoes no longer held their Eeservation in the 
very Eden of the Minnesota Valley. Far up the Mis 
souri river, their home is now where they could "worry 



308 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

and devour each other," with less molestation than be 
fore, was it not for the vigilant care of the Agents and 
the watchful eye of Government 



CHAPTER LVH. 

AN ALAKM. 

During the winter of 1862-3, comparative quiet was 
upon the borders and throughout the State. Military 
forces were stationed all along the frontier, to protect 
the most exposed portions, and prevent further incur 
sions. Marauding parties of savages lurked in the Big 
"Woods, and, as often as opportunity offered, murdered 
those in the most depopulated districts, stole the horses, 
and committed various depredations, in the more dis 
tant settlements. 

As winter advanced into spring, they became still 
more daring, and horse thieving more general. Little 
Crow had sent thieving parties all over the State, and 
things again assumed an alarming aspect, though by no 
means so formidable as before. 

Col. Miller, still at Mankato, was early awakened, 
one morning, to read and act upon the following alarm 
ing dispatch : 

MEDALIA, April 17, 1863. 
COL. STEPHEN MILLER : 

DEAR SIR : This morning, at two o'clock, two men from a de 
tached post, on the south bend of the "Watonwan, reported here, with 
the information that the settlement was attacked yesterday morning, 
by a large party of Indians, estimated by the Lieutenant in com 
mand, at not less than fifty. We have but one man killed and three 
wounded, and one boy, ten years of age, was killed. The Indians 



310 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

have taken all the horses they could get hold of one belonging to 
Government. Lieutenant Hardy writes, that he thinks the Indians 
will renew the attack this morning. I shall start re-enforcements at 
four o'clock, and send for the wounded. We will need a surgeon to 
attend to the wounded, also a force of cavalry, with which to pursue 
the Indians. Your ob't servant, 

T. G. HALL, 
Capt Co. E, 7th Reg't Volunteers. 

The settlement attacked, after this long quiet, was 
distant, to the south-west of Medalia, about twenty 
miles, and from Mankato forty-eight miles. A detach 
ment of twenty-one men, from Company E, of the 
Seventh Kegiment, under Lieut Hardy, was engaged 
in building a stockade, which was unfinished when the 
attack was made. This was at dawn, on the morn of 
the 16th of April. 

As soon as the alarm was given, messengers were 
sent to collect the settlers in the stockade, and the 
force was deployed so as to cover their flight as 
well as possible. One woman, Mrs. Targerson, was 
wounded in the thigh, before she left her house, where 
one man was killed, and another severely wounded 
with arrows. The wounded man grappled with the 
foremost Indian, broke two arrows, grasped his gun, 
and fired at them, when they fled. Mrs. T.'s wounds' 
retarded her running, so that the Indians soon overtook 
her, when they beat her over the head, in a most cruel 
manner, with the butts ,of their guns. This act was 
seen by some soldiers, who started for her relief, when 
the Indians fled, and she reached the stockade, without 
further molestation. 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 311 

The Indians appeared to be well armed, but had no 
horses, except what they stole in that neighborhood. 
They also drove off cattle belonging to the settlement. 

As soon as orders could be given, one company of 
cavalry and two of infantry, under command of Lieut. 
Col. Marshall, were on the way to the theatre of dan 
ger, and reached Medalia, the same night, from whence, 
the following morning, they proceeded, meeting the 
wounded party, in charge of Lieut. Hardy, for whom 
he was seeking a place of more safety and comfort. 

Upon the receipt of the same intelligence at Fort 
Eidgley, Lieut. Col. Pfender, commanding there, start 
ed a cavalry company, of fifty well armed men, to 
unite with Col. Marshall's command. This swelled the 
cavalry to one hundred, which, with several teams, 
with forage and ammunition, started, on Sunday morn 
ing, the 19th of April, in pursuit of the Indians. The 
infantry companies were left at Medalia and the stock 
ade, deeming a strong force essential to guard against 
another attack. 

The companies in charge of Col. Marshall, scoured 
the country as far as Lake Shetak, and, though often 
finding traces of where they had camped, but a day or 
two previous, they were always a little in advance, and 
the men returned to head-quarters, without having seen 
an Indian. 



CHAPTER LVIH. 

OF THE "GOOD 

Daring the session of Congress, in the winter of 1863, 
a new reservation was appropriated in the vicinity of 
Fort Randall, in Dakota Territory, instead of Boston 
Common, for the occupancy of the guiltless ones, taken 
in charge at Camp Release, in September, 1862. 

All winter, we had seen their uninviting camp, the 
curling smoke from the top of their tepees, and their 
filthy or gaily painted faces peeping from 'neath the 
folds of their blankets, on the flat, at Fort Snelling, 
where the waters of the Minnesota and Mississippi 
meet 

Just before their departure, a cargo of several hun 
dred contrabands was landed and encamped near the 
same spot. It was a novel sight, and quite amusing to 
the beholder, to see them open their eyes in wild 
amazement, as each party gazed at the other, in mutual 
seeming wonder. The blacks had thought that no 
mortals were as degraded as themselves, but had found- 
themselves outdone. The Indians had thought them 
selves the blackest of the human race, but now looked 
upon those of a deeper dye. And so they looked, and 
gazed, and talked, the few days they were privileged 
to remain as neighbors. 

But the steamer has "rounded too," to convey away 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 313 

from our sight, those government pets. Lodges are 
struck and packed with all their worldly goods, and 
with a strap passing round the forehead, slung over the 
backs of the squaws, as they move into their, for the 
present, moving quarters. 

In military order, the bands were marched on board, 
the celebrated chief, Wabashaw, taking the lead, and 
counted and tallied to see that none were missing. 
They were followed by the bands of Good Eoad, Wa- 
couta, Passing Hail, and Ked Legs. The greater por 
tion of these were women and children. Many of the 
trust- worthy Indians remained for scouts in Gen. Sib- 
ley's expedition, their families encamped on the prairie, 
in rear of the fort, and very properly provided for at 
public expense, and guarded, day and night, by armed 
men. In this company of some fifteen or twenty 
tepees, were some quite intelligent and cultivated wo 
men. Though most of them retained their native cos 
tume, some 'wore dresses and crinoline, like white wo 
men. One was pointed out to us as a teacher, acting 
in that capacity to the juveniles of the encampment 
Industry in the domestic department prevailed, and we 
were struck with the evidences of improvement in per 
sonal cleanliness. But we digress. 

To their shame be it said, that when the boat having 
the "good Indians" on board, landed at St Paul, a 
crowd of soldiers, led on by one who had been wound 
ed at Birch Coolie, commenced throwing stones and 
other missiles into the crowd of Indians on the boat, 
which it was impossible for them to avoid, as they were 



314 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

so closely packed on the boiler deck. Several squaws 
were hit upon the head, and quite severely injured 
A threat by the commanding officer, who had their re 
moval in charge, to charge bayonets on the offending 
crowd, soon dispersed them, and no further disturbance 
occurred. Such a gross outrage was strongly condemn 
ed by all good citizens, though they might have no 
fond partiality for the Indians. These were not the 
actual murderers, and hence no apology for such an 
act, than which nothing could have been more wanton. 

While the boat "lay to," many of the Indians 
were engaged in prayer and singing, in which last ex 
ercise they took great delight, but whether with devout 
hearts, it is not ours to say. 

From Hannibal, Missouri, these Indians were taken, 
by cars, to St. Joseph, and again embarked on the Mis 
souri, for their new Reservation. 

The new Winnebago Reservation is contiguous to 
the above, divided only by a small creek. Here, under 
the supervision of Col. Thompson, the Agent, they 
soon began to thrive, even in a desolated region, with 
scarcely a sign of cultivation. 

"The Colonel's improvements," says one who writes 
from there so early as July 15, "are certainly a striking 
and cheering sight In the foreground was a small 
camp of soldiers ; to the right, a steam saw-mill, in full 
operation ; to the left, a large, two story frame house, in 
course of erection ; while temporary buildings and tents, 
were scattered around, occupied by the workmen ; and 
prominent in the centre, a temporary breastwork, con- 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 315 

structed of supplies, brought for the workmen and for 
the Indians, in the centre of which stood a temporary 
building, used as an office and kitchen, the latter de 
partment presided over by "Bill," a darkey from St. 
Louis. 

"The Colonel was pushing on the work, superin 
tending everything himself. Buildings are rising as 
if by magic, and by autumn, if nothing untoward 
transpires, a model Agency will be nearly completed. 
It is laid out four hundred feet square, to be enclosed 
by a stockade fifteen feet high, inside of which all the 
buildings, of both Agencies, will be located. It will 
be more impregnable to Indian attacks than any I 
have ever seen. 

"He is also making preparations for the erection of 
fifty houses for the Indians, to be finished before win 
ter. For the short time the work has been in pro 
gress (only about six weeks,) it is astonishing that so 
much could be accomplished, and no one but a western 
man would believe it, if told the amount of work that 
has been done. Several of the buildings are finished 
and occupied. The saw mill is turning out lumber 
and shingles daily. The Indians are killing both 
deer and buffalo only a few miles away." 

A company of captive Sioux from White Lodge's 
band were sometime confined at Fort Eandall ; with 
them was a man sent there by Col. Thompson for cut 
ting and abusing his wife, who afterward hung herself 
in retaliation of the abuse. He made his way to the 
Agency, and was informed on by an Indian, and again 



316 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

sent back to prison. Two weeks later he was given 
over to the Indians, as the offense was against one of 
their own people, when a council was called and re 
sulted in a decision for death. The uncle of his in- 
injured wife was appointed his executioner. The 
prisoner, unaware of his fate, went forth to the execu 
tion, of which he was informed on the way. He was 
cool and collected, and evinced no alarm. His hands 
were left unbound, and in the brief interim between 
the arrival at the ground and the fatal shot he bounded 
upon his executioner and stabbed him thrice before he 
could be interfered with. Throwing away his knife, 
he expressed a readiness to die, and calmly waited till 
the son of the man he had stabbed was sent for to 
shoot him, according to the custom that the nearest 
kin must avenge the death. The boy came, but had 
not the courage to do the deed, when an Indian from 
the crowd volunteered to do it for him. 



CHAPTER LIX. 

HORSE STEALING. 

As the season advanced, horse stealing became the 
order of the day, or rather the business of the night. 
Imaginary Indians were often seen, real ones occasion 
ally, and then perhaps, as they were just mounting the 
favorite horse of the owner, and leading another, 
would gallop off so rapidly that if a shot were fired, 
it would be without effect. 

On the night of the 7th of June, a span of horses 
was stolen from a stable near Silver Creek, in Wright 
county^ The following morning a party started to 
track the thieves, and if white or red men, regain their 
property. The trail led through many difficult wind 
ings in marsh and timber, giving the assurance that 
Indians were really the thieves. All day they wan 
dered thus, when at night fall they saw the objects of 
their pursuit, not forty rods in front Where was 
their courage now ? where their determination to re 
gain their stolen property ? In less time than I am 
writing it, their horses' heads were wheeled, not so 
soon, however, but they heard the sharp crack of a 
cap and saw the emitted light. Indians and horses 
were left in the rear at a quick pace. Such was the 
dread which everywhere prevailed at the sight of one. 
His name even, had become a terror, and frightened 



318 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

men into leaving, sooner than by it the rollicksome 
pranks of boyhood were frightened into quiet. After 
investigation proved that the pursued had skedaddled 
with quite as much haste as the pursuers, leaving two 
packs of useful and indispensable articles on the 
ground, and many other things were scattered around, 
which nothing but fright and a desire for flight would 
have prevented their taking. 

Emboldened by success and the probable knowledge 
of the fear their presence created, this increased gang 
of stealing, murdering desperadoes were encroaching 
further and still further into the settlements, threaten 
ing to overrun every part of the State. 

A young man was found murdered in Pine county, 
under circumstances to incite suspicion against another, 
with whom he was in company. Nothing being known 
of the whereabouts of the latter, it was supposed he 
had made for parts unknown : and as the former was 
robbed of all valuables about his person, that he had 
appropriated it to his own personal use. 

The body of the murdered man bore unmistakable 
evidence of severe treatment, with both club and 
knife. After evidence developed the fact that Indians 
were his murderers, and that the suspected one escaped 
only to share a like fate. What a theatre for tragic 
events had the State become ! Everywhere the blood 
of human beings drenched the soil everywhere de 
cayed bodies were found everywhere these nightly, 
depredations were going on. 

On the 14th of May, a man was killed near New 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 319 

Ulm, and four liorses with which he was plowing, 
made off with, and this, where one or two companies 
of troops were stationed. So sly and so hasty are 
their movements that they come, do whatever they 
list, and are gone, ere any are aware of their presence. 
An order embodying a bounty of twenty -five dollars, 
which was afterward increased to two hundred, was 
issued by the Adjutant General for every Sioux scalp, 
and otherwise high inducements offered volunteers, to 
scour the Big Woods, search out the lion in his lair 
and lay the trophy of their achievements at the feet of 
the Historical Society a relic of the unparalleled 
tragedies to which our State has been subjected. 



CHAPTER LX. 

MUKDEB OF THE DUSTIN FAMILY. 

Hennepin county, west of the Mississippi, and north 
of the Minnesota rivers, and lying on both, is one of 
the best populated in the State. Nearly every quarter 
section is occupied and improved by industrious and 
thriving farmers. 

Minneapolis, the county seat of this county, is loca 
ted on the west side of the Falls of St. Anthony, hav 
ing a population of five or six thousand. Within six 
miles of this place the Indians came, bold in the exe 
cution of evil designs, yet cat-like in the manner. 
"Pis ever so ; they are always where least expected. 
When their presence excited no alarm, when a score 
of Indians was seen to every white man, many a time 
has the writer been startled from a reverie by a slight 
rustle at her side, or a heavy breathing, to find herself 
in the presence of a great stalwart Indian. Once, 
in coming down Third street, in St Paul, though 
grass-grown then, never dreaming of human presence, 
a sound somewhat like a high pressure steam engine 
on a Mississippi sand bar in low water, came to my 
ear, distant therefrom only the thickness of my bon 
net, and half turning my head, I encountered a mon- , 
ster Indian, with gaily painted face, evidently de 
lighted with my embarrassment, or his suggestive wit, 



DAKOTA WAB WHOOP. 321 

thus to exhibit himself for approval, though "never a 
word he spoke," but with the usual grunt passed on. 

This quality, be it what it may, is wonderfully ad 
vantageous to them in carrying out their present evil 
devices; and though to those far away, and unac 
quainted with their character and habits, it may seem 
strange that they should come and go and none be 
aware of their presence till the "fruit of their doings" 
is seen. "Were it not so, an Indian would have lost 
his native character ; in short, would cease to be an 
Indian, save in name. 

Eight miles from Minneapolis, a farmer with his son 
was at work in the field, when a party of seven In 
dians came suddenly in view. As soon as they saw 
they were discovered, they fled to the bushes. The 
farmer hastened to collect his neighbors, of whom 
twelve or fifteen returned to the spot, found their trail 
which led them round Madison Lake, two miles nearer 
town, when they lost the trail and abandoned the 
search. 

On Monday, the 29th of June, the day before this 
skulking party was seen, as above, in a more sparsely 
populated region, a few miles away, Mr. Amos Dustin, 
and his family of five persons, was passing over the 
prairie in an open lumber box wagon. When found 
on Wednesday following, Mr. Dustin was in the front 
of the wagon dead. An arrow was sticking in his 
body, and a deep tomahawk wound was in his breast. 
His left hand had been cut off and carried away by 
the Indians. N 



322 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

Beneath his seat crouched a little girl of six years ; 
her hair matted, her garments saturated, her face cov 
ered, and her shoes literally filled with the blood which, 
had trickled from the mangled body of her father. 
She was the only uninjured member of the family, 
and in her fears thought, as she said, that "the Indians 
looked very sharply at her, and supposed they would 
kill her too," but not a hand was laid upon her. 

The mother, and another child twelve years old, 
were alive when found, but mortally wounded. For 
two days and nights they had lain thus beside the 
dead bodies of their loved ones, unable to procure sus 
tenance or assistance. 

The mother of Mr. Dustin lay with her head hang 
ing over the wagon, her long silvery hair matted with 
blood waving in the wind. An arrow in her body 
had done the work of death. Was there ever a pic 
ture more horrid ? The horses, of course, were gone 
far away, conveying the perpetrators from the scene 
which they had enacted. 

More vigorous measures for home defense were at 
once taken. Seventy stand of arms were issued to 
Hennepin county. No means were spared by State 
and military authorities to prevent future outrages. 



CHAPTER LXI. 

LITTLE CKOW'S WHEREABOUTS. 

Where now was the Commander-in-Chief of the 
mighty Sioux forces, whose scouting parties were do 
ing so much evil in the land ? Five hundred miles to 
the northwest, on the bleak shores of Devil's lake, had 
been their winter quarters. But he had not idled away 
the winter in camp life luxury. Wherever he might 
find .a British subject, with the hope of aid from him, 
hither he went, setting forth his grievances in a mock 
pathetic manner, and begging his alliance in driving 
off the Americans. At Fort Garry, in British Ameri 
ca, whither he went with sixty warriors, he made strong 
efforts to form a peace treaty. After impressing them 
with the glory of the scalp dance, Little Crow made a 
speech, in which he spoke of the efforts the "Big 
Knives" were making to catch him, in very desponding 
tones, though he boastfully asserted the power of his 
warriors, on whom he relied, and said, though "he 
considered himself as good as a dead man, they should 
fight awhile yet" He spoke of all the Government 
proceedings against himself and the condemned Sioux. 
He did "not complain that they were refused a tract of 
land on which to settle, which would place them under 
British protection," but he would "be glad of a little 
ammunition to kill Americans with." This, Governor 



324 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

Dallas decidedly and promptly refused ; to which he 
boastfully replied, "it made no difference, he had plen 
ty." The people becoming tired of his insolence, beg 
ging and daring, Gov. Dallas politely ordered him and 
his followers to leave, and to trouble them no more 
with their presence. 

Again, they are back to their "winter quarters," dis 
sensions arising among themselves. Many are sick of 
the war some never having been engaged in it, but 
having gone off with them because they were Indians, 
and supposed all Indians were death-doomed, if caught. 
Standing Buffalo had never favored the war, neither had 
Sweet Corn ; they wanted to make peace, and were de 
termined, any way, to deliver themselves up as soon 
as assured by the President that no harm should come 
to them. 

The return of thieving parties elated Little Crow, 
for they had been very successful ; and, failing to put 
a quietus to the dissatisfaction in camp, he resolved to 
redeem his fallen influence and fortunes in personal 
efforts in that direction. Ten months before, and a 
mighty nation bowed to his nod, he was rich in booty, 
and his soul feasting on the blood of the slain. Now, 
taking his little son, he descends to petty horse steal 
ing, accompanied by less than twenty followers. We 
know naught of his wanderings, of his fastings and 
weariness, of his heart despondency and his howlings 
over his sad prospects, as his fleet foot passes over the, 
intervening distance to the seat of his former raid ! 
But the veritable Little Crow, who, one year before, 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 325 

was boasting of Ms prowess and might, is really and 
actually almost alone, a coward wanderer, avoiding the 
presence of those whose life he so lately sought ; with 
retribution upon his track. 



CHAPTER LXII. 

THE RANSOMED. 

More than two months of weary, death-inviting 
marches of sleepless nights and terrible anxiety 
from being constantly watched by their weasel-eyed 
captors, of savage abuse from which their women hearts 
recoiled with shuddering horror of hunger and cold, 
and the wan and worn captives of Shetak memory 
reached the banks of the Missouri river, far to the 
southwest. The little girls had been allowed, some 
times, to ride on the two poles dragged behind the 
horse, but otherwise had received the most brutal and 
inhuman treatment. Little Tilla Everett, only eight 
years old, was one time struck on the head by a squaw 
with a heavy stake, from the effects of which she was 
for a long time insensible, and none expected or 
scarcely hoped her to recover, for they had then little 
hope of improved fortunes, or that she would ever find 
her father, if he still lived. 

All the hellish ingenuity of their savage nature 
seemed taxed to invent some new phase of torture, the 
details of which would make the blood curdle with 
horror. Both the women were enciente when taken 
captives, and now were obliguvl to submit to the vile- 
embraces, one of five and the other of three of these 
brutal monsters, till abortion followed ; and even then 



DAKOTA WAK WHOOP. 327 

there was scarce a suspension of suffering in this re 
gard. Mrs. Dooley was four times sold once for a 
horse, again for a blanket, and once for a bag of shot 
Her little girl, six years old, was once sold for a gold 
watch, and again for two yards of cloth. 

The most menial service was exacted, and severe 
abuse meted to the mothers, who endeavored to keep 
their helpless ones constantly beside them, and receive 
the blows instead of them. But there came a time 
when even this was forbidden. Mrs. Wright was or 
dered to go for water. The child of two years cried 
for its mother, when it was beaten by a squaw, till near 
ly dead, and then turned over to a male brute, who 
went out behind the tent and killed it, before the moth 
er's return. 

One Indian often boasted of going to a house where 
a woman was making bread the mother of a small 
child, which lay in the cradle that he split the wo 
man's head open with a tomahawk, and then placed 
the babe in the hot oven, keeping it there till it was 
baked to death, when, not satisfied, he beat its brains 
out against the wall. This is corroborated by whites, 
who have been at the house where it happened, and 
from the appearance of the bodies, had no doubt but 
the "boast" was literally true. 

When we reflect that these women and children fell 
into the hands of such monsters, we wonder at their 
final escape, or at their enduring powers, under such 
vile treatment. Thank heaven for the rescue ! 

On the last day of October, 1862, when love of life 



328 DAKOTA WAIl WHOOP. 

had fled their worn and emaciated bodies scarcely 
covered by the mere shreds of clothing left them 
their first real joy since their captivity was in seeing a 
party of white men floating down the river. The 
Indians, finding they could not inveigle them on shore, 
commenced hostile demonstrations, when the hopes of 
the women sank as rapidly as they had risen. At the 
risk of life, however, they made themselves seen and 
heard enough to make known their condition. Upon 
this was based their final release. Major Galpin, for 
it was he with a small party of men, returning to his 
trading post, from this day devoted all the energies of 
his noble soul to this object, and directed, on his own 
responsibility, that no effort or expense should be 
spared for their ransom. The persons whose hearts 
were thus filled with gratitude to him who had secured 
them shelter and protection at Fort Eandall, were Mrs. 
Wright and daughter, Mrs. Dooley and daughter, 
Misses Eosanna and Ellen Ireland, and Tilla Everett, 
the only living member of her family spared to her 
wounded, sorrow-stricken father. Of this, Mr. Everett 
remained for months in ignorance, himself suffering 
from wounds in the hospital at Mankato. When the 
public press announced the ransom of his child, lie 
forgot the pain of his healing wounds, and started, to 
find his lost one. At last they met She rushed to 
his wide open arms, and was, in tearless silence, folded 
to his great throbbing heart. They who saw it wept, 
but the scene was too sacred for words. Like a tiny 
skiff and mighty ship in tempest swayed these two' 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 329 

bodies with strong emotion, and when seemingly the 
heart chords must snap with the severe tension, the 
angel of relief came. The flood gates of the soul 
were opened, unsealing the surging, pent-up waters of 
the heart, and in the moment of almost delirious joy 
they half forgot what heart and flesh had suffered in 
the anxious past But the billows of sorrow again 
swept over the soul, as the only antidote for the vacu 
um the lost and slain had made. May the world deal 
gently by all these sufferers, and as much as may be, 
smooth life's rugged pathway for their thorn-piereed 
feet and lacerated hearts. 

HI 



CHAPTER LXIII. 

THE INDIAN EXPEDITION. 

Camp Pope, where the troops to compose the ex 
pedition under command of Brig. Gen. Sibley, were 
ordered to report, was at the mouth of Red Wood 
river, so late the theatre of the terrible massacres 
which inaugurated the war in Minnesota. 

For weeks, activity and bustle prevailed here, in an 
ticipation of a three months' campaign and this was 
no small undertaking. The Brigade Commissary, 
Capt. Wm. H. Forbes, who had suffered the loss of 
some forty thousand dollars in the great raid, evinced 
his usual energy, ability and good sense in the man 
agement of this department ; and that no want of cal 
culation in him would bring failure to the expedition. 
Two hundred and twenty-five wagons were at last 
loaded with well packed provisions, and in due time, 
all was ready. 

On the ninth day of June, the monotony of camp 
life was interrupted by the arrival of Gen. Sibley in a 
grand military reception. All were anxious to be on 
the move, and this argued favorably for a start. Every 
domestic circle in the State was more or less personally 
interested in the success of the expedition. Its officers, 
from the Lieutenants to the General commanding, were 
from our own hearth stones. The troops were our own, 




CAPT. WM. H. FORBES. 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 383 

fathers, brothers and sons of Minnesota, and were 
walled in by a cordon of prayer from "loved ones at 
home," which must secure the blessings of God upon 
the enterprise, whatever of danger or defeat lay in their 
path, and whatever doubts might arise with envious 
evil-thinkers and evil-speakers. 

Gen. Sibley, with the great energy of purpose which 
had characterized his life and insured its success, now 
bent all these powers to this one purpose to forever 
free the beautiful northwest from the assassins against 
whom this expedition was planned. 

Scarcely had the excitement attendant on the oc 
casion of his arrival, subsided, when the strong man 
"bows himself and weeps," as only a bereaved father 
can. The first tidings from home brings the sad mes 
sage of a beloved daughter's death, smitten down by 
sudden disease. O, how vain seemed all earthly glory 
then, how brittle the cords that bind us to our dearest 
earthly loves I But there was no time for communion 
with grief All things in camp reminded him of the 
responsibility of his position, and he must needs gird 
him for the duty. 

On the 16th of June, 1863, all things being in 
readiness, the forward order was given, and the expe 
dition took up the line of march for the almost unex 
plored region of Dakota territory. The entire force 
numbered about four thousand men, distributed as fol 
lows : Sixth Kegiment, CoL Crooks, eight hundred and 
sixty men; Seventh Kegiment, Col. Marshall, seven 
hundred and forty men ; Tenth Regiment, Col. Baker, 



334 DAKOTA WAK WHOOP. 

five hundred and seventy-eight men, (three companies 
had been detailed for special duty) ; Cavalry, Col. Me- 
Phail, eight hundred and six men ; and Capt. Jones' 
Battery, one hundred and forty men and eight guns. 

Gen. Sibley's Staff was organized as follows ; 

Capt. R. C. Olin, Acting Adjutant General. 

Capt C. B. Atchinson, Assistant Commissary of 
musters, and Acting Ordnance officer. 

Captain Douglas Pope, Aid-de-Camp. 

Captain Edward Corning, Quartermaster. 

Captain Wm. H. Forbes, Commissary. ^ 

George H. Spencer, Chief Clerk of Commissary 
Department 

Captain Wm. H. Kimball, Quartermaster's Assist 
ant, assigned to special duty as pioneer in charge of 
pontoon trains. 

Lieutenant Joseph R. Putnam, Aid-de-Camp. 

F. J. Holt Beever, A. St. Clair Flandrau, and Ar 
chibald Hawthorne, Aid-de-Camps, with rank of Sec 
ond Lieutenant 

Seventy scouts, half of whom were volunteer In 
dians, and a majority of the balance half-breeds, were 
numbered with the expedition. These were in com 
mand of Major J. R Brown, J. McCleod, and Wm. J. 
Dooley, who were to act as chief of scouts, each half 
to serve on alternate days, and precede the expedition 
in all its movements. The position of Rev. S. R. 
Riggs was changed from chaplain to interpreter, and 
yet he acted in the first with quite as much acceptance 
as before, and with all the temptations around him 



DAKOTA WAK WHOOP. 335 

which, tended to so demoralize the army, he proved 
his trust in that Being who alone can deliver from the 
evils of vice, and that his soul was safe in that 
fortress. 

For transportation of commissary stores, there were 
two hundred and twenty -five wagons; for ordnance, 
twenty ; pontoons, eleven ; and battery, two ; for 
camp equipage of thirty-eight companies, nineteen; 
quartermaster's department and medical supplies, seven 
teen ; regimental head-quarters, eight ; head-quarters of 
the expedition, two. Surgeon Wharton received the 
appointment of medical director. 

The sale of intoxicating liquors was prohibited by 
general order, to remain in force during the expedi 
tion ; notwithstanding, those who so desired, by the 
working of some magic wand, always found their can 
teens re-filled whenever they had been emptied. 
Strange and mysterious are the genii of this prince of 
evil, and the working out of his secret plottings none 
but his leagued hosts can fathom ! 

Thus the efficient and well organized force was on 
the move, making a train of five miles in length, for 
midable enough in appearance alone to awe the whole 
Sioux nation, and of courage and daring equal to any 
danger or effort. 

The setting out of such an expedition was most un- 
propitious. Such a season of drouth was never known 
in all the West. The prairies were literally parched 
with heat, and all the sloughs and little streams dry. 
The fierce prairie winds were like the hot siroccos of 



336 DAKOTA WAE WHOOP. 

the desert, withering every green thing. Clouds of 
dust, raised by this immense column, would blind the 
eyes, choke the throat and blacken the faces of the 
men, so that they looked more like colliers than sol 
diers. In time, serious effects began to tell upon the 
wagons and provision boxes, some of which fell in 
pieces, and much time was spent in making secure 
those uninjured. Both men and animals suffered for 
water, but the health of the men was not seriously af 
fected, and, therefore, the spirits did not yield to cir 
cumstances. On the 19th, Mr. Biggs, writing from 
Camp Baker, one mile above the ruins of Hazlewood 
Mission Station, says : 

"We have travelled three days, and have made about 
thirty miles from Camp Pope. The teams are all very 
heavily loaded, so heavy, indeed, that although we all 
wish for rain to make the earth rejoice, yet if that rain 
should come, it might very seriously affect the progress 
of this command at present. But the green grass is so 
dried up that fires run on the prairie wherever it was 
not burned last fall. And the streams of water too, 
are falling, so that we shall be obliged to keep near to 
the larger rivers or lakes, to obtain a supply of water 
for these 4,000 men, and as many animals." 

"Our soldiers have marched, carrying their knap 
sacks, their blankets and their guns, an average of ten 
miles a day, which, with the immense train we have, 
in its present state, is thought as much as can reason 
ably be calculated upon. Yesterday morning, while 
the train was crossing the Yellow Medicine, I obtained 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 337 

from the General a squad of scouts and orderlies and 
came on to gather currants in the deserted gardens of 
the Missions. We found, and brought away with us 
a quantity of the pie-plant. These are the last rem 
nants of civilization to be found in this direction. I 
gathered a few pinks and other flowers from my own 
garden at Hazlewood. Some of the men brought 
in lettuce, which they found in the gardens of the 
Agency. 

"It is to me quite saddening to look on the desola 
tion which the outbreak has made in the land. Seeing 
them again, has more deeply impressed me with the 
exceeding folly as well as sin of the Dakotas. By 
that one wicked act they have forever deprived them 
selves of homes in this beautiful land. But there is a 
Providence that shapes the destinies of people as well 
as individuals, brings good out of evil, and makes the ' 
wrath of man to praise HIM." 

On the holy Sabbath day the standard rested from 
its march. This arrangement was, on the first Sab 
bath, made known to the campaign by the Command 
ing General, unless in cases of extreme and urgent 
necessity. Here again we endorse the sentiment of 
Mr. Riggs, that on the low ground of temporal economy 
they would find it profitable. "We shall march fur 
ther," he says, "week after week, by resting on God's 
day, than we should by marching through the seven. 
But there is a higher view of this subject : If God be 
with us in this campaign, we shall make it a success ; 
if God be not with us, we shall fail of accomplishing 



388 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

the desired objects. And one way to secure the pres 
ence and assistance of God, is to ' remember the Sab 
bath day, to keep it holy.' " 



CHAPTER LXIV. 

DEATH OF GENERAL LITTLE GROW. 

On the third of July, 1863, when all the boys in the 
land, and many of the men were preluding the morrow 
with fire crackers, and preparations for big sounds and 
grand display of fire works, a boy and his father, "way 
out in Minnesota," were ignorantly performing a far 
more important service to their country a service 
which will immortalize the name of Lampson, and 
render the two famous on historic page. They lived 
for an important end and have not lived in vain. 

Mr Lampson lived at Hutchinson, a town which 
suffered much, you will remember, early in the troubles 
of 1862, since which siege everybody had been on watch 
ful lookout for "a shot" in retaliation, and seldom went 
unarmed any distance from town. Mr. L. and his son 
Chauncey, were six miles in the country on this event 
ful day, when they discovered two Indians picking 
berries in an "opening" in the woods. Bushes and 
scattering poplars were interspersed, so that the Indians 
did not discover the two pair of eyes and the sure aim 
upon them. With commendable forethought, Mr. L. 
determined to make sure of his game before announc 
ing his presence, so he crept cautiously forward among 
the vines and rested his gun against the tree which 
they climed. He fired, his shot taking effect, but not 



340 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

a deadly one, as evinced by the loud yell and sudden 
movement backward. His victim, however, fell to the 
ground, severely wounded. With the prudence and 
caution which characterized his first movement, not 
knowing the number of Indians, Mr. L. thought best 
to retreat a little, where he could obtain the shelter of 
some bushes. 

The wounded Indian was not to be foiled in a shot 
at his antagonist, and so crept after him, and thus each 
were brought into distinct view of the other, when the 
two Indians they had first seen, and Chauncey Lampson 
who was concealed from their view, fired simulta 
neously. Chauncey 's ball killed the wounded Indian, 
and the other one instantly sprang to his horse and 
rode away. A ball from the Indian's rifle whistled 
close to his cheek, while one from the other's gun 
struck his father on the left shoulder blade, making 
only a slight flesh wound. 

Mr. Lampson dropped when the shot struck him, and 
his son, supposing him killed, and fearing a large force 
of Indians were near, having no more ammunition, 
and not daring to approach his father, who was some 
distance away, to obtain more, lest he should share the 
same fate, beat a hasty retreat for town. 

He arrived home at ten o'clock in the evening, when 
the exciting news flew like wild fire on the prairie in 
a windy day. An army squad from the company sta 
tioned there, with a number of the citizens, were soon 
marching rapidly to the scene of conflict, while others 
started in other directions to warn the citizens, and 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 341 

others still, went to Lake Preston for a squad of cav 
alry, who, acting with promptness, were guided to the 
spot before daylight, and relieved "Mr. Injun" of his 
scalp, and mark this, reader, this zvas the first scalp for 
which the twenty-Jive dollars reward was claimed, the first 
Sioux scalp taken by white man in 1863. 

When found by the company who had been first 
guided to the spot by young Lampson, the body of the 
Indian had been straightened, new moccasins put upon 
his feet, and his blanket carefully adjusted, as no dead 
"Injun" could do it. This led to the conviction that 
these were not alone in their evil designs and purposes. 

But we will not leave the reader to suppose that the 
elder Lampson "laid him down to die," from the slight 
though unpleasant wound he had received. With the 
determined courage which characterized his first move 
ment, he crawled into the bush'es, reloaded his gun, 
drew his revolver, and waited for the re-appearance 
of the foe. Thus he waited, and none coming, he 
profited by the cover of night to come forth from his 
concealment. Divesting himself of his white garments, 
that they might not prove a fatal mark for prowling 
Indians, and taking a circuitous route, he reached 
home about two o'clock on the morning of the 

"FOURTH." 

On the return of the military squad with the citizen's 
coat, moccasins, and a number of trinkets found on the 
person of the dead Indian, the programme of the daj> 
was changed, by sending out a detachment for the body 
which was brought in about three o'clock in the after 



342 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

noon. For two or three hours it was the common cen 
tre of attraction, and all professed to have known him 
well in life. The coat he wore was identified as the 
one taken from the man murdered some distance from 
there, of which mention has been heretofore made. All 
who beheld, declared a striking resemblance between 
this Indian and Little Crow, only this one a shade 
lighter, the age about fifty. Both arms were wither 
ed and deformed by breaking and permanent displace 
ment of the bones, ths palpable result of rough hand 
ling in past tima A strange coincidence they thought, 
as this was the case with Little Crow, and so, as the 
body was becoming offensive, they "dumped" him into 
a hole and left him -there, no tears of regret having 
fallen upon his unhonored grave ; and the Lampsons 
little dreaming the service they had rendered the State 
in ridding it of one for whom a government train 
five miles long was in pursuit 

The press published the facts as here in substance 
related. In two weeks it reached the camp of General 
Sibley, then far on his route to catch the wily chief. 
The striking coincidence, the minute description of the 
body, its resemblance to Little Crow, attracted the at 
tention of the Commanding General, who had known 
him well for years, and he declared it to be none other 
than the arch-enemy himself In this opinion Major 
Brown and Capt Forbes, who knew him equally well, 
concurred. Calling to the aid of their memories the' 
Indian scouts and half-breeds, not one was known in 
the whole tribe who bore this resemblance in all the 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 343 

minutiae to Little Crow. It was considered, too, a 
strongly corroborative circumstance, that the citizens 
of Hutchinson, who knew him, should detect this re 
semblance. This opinion was returned to the press, 
when investigation commenced, and every evidence 
adduced confirmed the fact that the scalp of the terror- 
inspiring LITTLE CROW was a trophy at the historical 
rooms in the State Capital. 

A more marked instance of Providential retribution, 
history probably does not record. The leader of the 
bloody insurrection and the first Indian war which has 
scourged our State, in which, for the first time, white 
men felt the scalping-knife of the savage, now his 
own head, in turn, paying the forfeit, furnishing the 
first scalp which white man has ever taken ! 

The grave of Little Crow, which was only a hole 
dug for the receptacle of the offals of slaughtered 
cattle, being lightly covered, his head was soon exposed 
to view, and with a stick was sloughed from the body, 
where for several days it remained, the brains oozing 
out in the hot sun, till evidences of its identity began 
to accumulate, when a more critical investigation was 
made. The teeth were found to be double set around 
the mouth, which was known to be the case with Little 
Crow ; and now the offensive, worthless thing, sud 
denly magnified into importance, was carefully pre 
pared in a strong solution of lime. The putrid, decay 
ing body, almost devoid of flesh, was exhumed, placed 
in a box, and sunk in the river, a cleansing preparation 
before passing into the anatomist's hands. 



CHAPTER LXV. 

CAPTURE OF WO-WI-NAP-A, SON OF LITTLE CROW. 

Five hundred miles to the north-west, at Camp Atch- 
inson, not forty miles from the shores of Devil's lake, 
the expedition train was divided, a portion remaining 
in camp, with orders to explore and root out the In 
dians, if any remained in that region. The other di 
vision, with General Sibley at its head, had moved in 
a south-western direction, for the Missouri river, where 
the main body of the hostile foe had fled. 

Three companies, in command of Capt Burt, went 
out from Camp Atchinson, on the 28th of June, to 
scour the region for a trail, which the scouts had re 
ported as having seen the day before. Nearing the 
shores of Devil's lake, they crossed the trail, which was 
lost in a dried-up slough. In their search to regain 
the trail, the head of an Indian was discovered instead, 
protruding from a clump of bushes. 

One of the scouts approached him and demanded his 
surrender. He threw down his gun, glad, in his half 
starved condition, of the prospect of getting something 
to eat on any terms. The remains of a lean wolf were 
beside him, which he had before killed with his last 
charge of ammunition, and cooked for his last rations. 
He very soon recognized and spoke to William Quinn,'- 
the half-breed interpreter, by whom, and several oth- 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 345 

ers, lie was at once recognized as the son of Little 
Crow. He was very much emaciated by his fastings 
and wanderings, and was moreover in great straits, not 
knowing whither to go or what to do. He had expect 
ed to find his own people still there, but instead, not 
an Indian had he seen, and he would, doubtless, 
soon have starved to death. His head was full of ver 
min, and was at once shaven, and he was taken 
into camp to await the order of the Commanding Gen 
eral. We subjoin his own statement, rather than our 
own version of his story, that the reader may compare 
it with the afore given circumstances at Hutchinson, 
which this statement fully corroborates : 

"I am the son of Little Crow ; my name is Wo-wi- 
nap-a; I am sixteen years old; my father had two 
wives before he took my mother ; the first one had one 
son, the second one a son and daughter. The third 
wife was my mother. After taking my mother, he put 
away the first two. He had seven children by my 
mother, six of whom are dead, I am the only one liv 
ing now. The fourth wife had five children born ; do 
not know whether they died or not ; two were boys 
and three were girls. The fifth wife had five children, 
three of whom are dead, two are living. The sixth 
wife had three children, all of them are dead, the old 
est was a boy, the other two were girls. The last four 
wives were sisters. 

"Father went to St. Joseph last spring. When we 
were coming back, he said he could not fight the white 
men, but would go below and steal horses from them 




346 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

and give them to his children, so that they could be 
comfortable, and then he would go away off. 

"Father also told me that he was getting old, and 
wanted me to go with him to carry his bundles. He 
left his wives and other children behind. There were 
sixteen men and one squaw in the party that went be 
low with us. We had no horses, but walked all the 
way down to the settlement. Father and I were pick 
ing redberries near Scattered lake, at the time he was 
shot. It was near night. He was hit the first time in 
the side, just above the hip. His gun and mine were 
lying on the ground. He took up my gun and fired 
it first and then fired his own. He was shot the sec 
ond time while firing his own gun. The ball struck 
the stock of his gun and then hit him in the side, near 
the shoulders. This was the shot that killed him. He 
told me that he was killed, and asked me for water, 
which I gave him. He died immediately after. When 
I heard the first shot fired I laid down, and the man did 
not see me before father was killed. 

"A short time before father was killed, an Indian 
named Hi-a-ka, who married the daughter of my 
father's second wife, came to him. He had a horse 
with him, also a gray colored coat, that he had taken 
from a man whom he had killed, to the north of where 
father was killed. He gave the coat to father, telling 
him he would need it when it rained, as he had no 
coat with him. Hi-a-ka said he had a horse now, and 
was going back to the Indian country. 

"The Indians who went down with us, separated. 



DAKOTA WAK WHOOP. 347 

Eight of them and the squaw went north ; the other 
eight went further down. I have not seen any of them 
since. After father was killed, I took both guns and 
the ammunition, and started for Devil's lake, where I 
expected to find some of my friends. When I got to 
Beaver Creek, I saw the tracks of two Indians, and at 
Standing Buffalo's village saw where the eight Indians 
who had gone first had crossed. 

"I carried both guns as far as Shayenne river, where 
I saw two men. I was scared, and threw my gun and 
ammunition down. After that, I travelled only in the 
night, and as I had no ammunition to kill anything to 
eat, I had not strength enough to travel fast. I went 
on until I arrived near Devil's lake, when I stayed in 
one place three days, being so weak and hungry that I 
could go no farther. I had picked up a cartridge near 
Big Stone lake, which I still had with me, and loaded 
father's gun with it, cutting the ball into slugs. With 
this charge, I shot a wolf, ate some of it, which gave 
me strength to travel, and I went on up the lake, until 
the day I was captured, which was twenty-six days 
from the day my father was killed." 

Sixteen years before the capture of Wo-wi-nap-a, the 
writer had been, for many days, a guest at the house 
of Doctor Williamson, then, as in latter years, the 
Sioux missionary at Little Crow's village, before its re 
moval up the Minnesota Valley. When the novelty 
of a white woman's landing from a "fire canoe" had a 
little subsided, this, then baby Chief, with others, was 
held up, that my unsophisticated admiration might be 



348 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

sealed with a kiss, an accorded honor with which I 
feared not to comply the same pappoose which I 
sometimes saw affectionately caressed by his father, but 
a weakness on his part, which he would prefer should 
have passed unnoticed. Like Joseph, he was the fa 
vorite son of his father, because his mother was loved 
more than all his wives. Wo-wi-nap-a returned with 
the expedition, and has since been in the guard house, 
awaiting military disposal. 



CHAPTER LXVI. 

TWO CAPTIVE BOYS. 

In the month of June, 1863, considerable sympathy 
was elicited in St. Paul, by the arrival of two little ran 
somed boys, who had been, since the outbreak, in sav 
ages' hands. Their ages were six and nine years, and 
to the good Catholic priest of St. Joe, they owed their 
release from captivity. He had parted with all his 
worldly goods to effect this, and then even rob 
bed himself of his own needful apparel, to clothe 
them decently and comfortably for their jour 
ney. 

George Ingalls, the eldest of these boys, was, when 
the trouble commenced, living near Yellow Medicine. 
Like others, the family fled for the fort, but before 
reaching there, were seized upon by Indians, who 
sprang from a hole in the earth. Mr. Ingalls was kill 
ed, and the rest of his family made prisoners. His 
three daughters, sisters of young George, were carried 
off to the plains, suffering incredible hardships, till 
finally ransomed at the Agency, on the Missouri 
river. 

George was sometimes at Big Stone lake, and in the 
same camp with a boy who forms the subject of anoth 
er chapter. Finally, they moved on to the north-west, 



850 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

towards Devil's lake, where the main Indian forces 
were to concentrate for the winter. 

My reader will recollect the little Jimmy Scott v of 
Old Crossing, who submitted to go with his captors, as 
his grandmother bade him, whom we now again intro 
duce as the veritable boy, but having passed through 
such suffering and hardship as to remember little else, 
and having even forgotten the name of his grandmother. 
The poor child would cry most piteously, when ques 
tioned relative to his adventures. Both physical and 
mental powers seemed seriously affected by the terrible 
ordeal through which he had passed, for a child of such 
tender years. 

The boys say they never suffered for food in quan 
tity, but the quality, with little variation, was not the 
most desirable, much of the time having only buffalo 
meat. They suffered much from intense cold during 
the long tedious winter, in the bleak winds from the 
lake which visited them very roughly, and there was 
much of human misery in the severe drudgery put 
upon boys so young. What mother's heart but bleeds 
at their woes and rejoices in their release ! The Indian 
women who had played mother to them, were sad to 
part with them, and seemed unwilling to do so, until 
plead with most earnestly in the eloquence of tears by 
the boys themselves. Little Jimmy cried bitterly on 
the neck of his Indian mother, when he "kissed her 
good-bye." 

May friends be so kind, the healing balm be so' 
gently applied to childhood's bitter memories, that this 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 351 

eventful experience be no serious drawback on their 
future lives, whose history will be marked with intense 
interest by those who have sympathized with them in 
these dark hours. 



CHAPTER LXYII. 

THRILLING ADVENTURES OF MR BRACKETT AND 

DEATH OP 'LIEUTENANT FREEMAN. 

The monotony of Camp Atchinson was interrupted 
on the evening of August 2d, by the appearance on 
the outskirts, of an emaciated human figure, who at 
once fell to the ground, in sheer weakness and exhaus 
tion. He was picked up and carried into a tent, and 
was at once recognized as George E. Brackett, of Min 
neapolis, beef contractor of the expedition, who had 
gone with the main body, and was now nearly dead 
from hunger and fatigue. 

He had, in company with Lieutenant Freeman, of 
St. Cloud, when about sixty miles out, left the main 
column and flanked off to the left for a day's adven 
ture, with little thought of its sad ending. Five miles 
away, having met nothing worthy of note, they over 
looked the country from the summit of a range of 
hills, when they saw several of the scouts not very far 
away. Passing a fairy -like lake, three graceful ante 
lopes tempted a shot, one only was wounded, which 
Lieut. Freeman followed, giving his horse in charge of 
Mr. Brackett. This drew them from their course, 
though the train was in sight several miles distant. 
Seeing the scouts on the other side of the lake, curi- 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 353 

osity led them on, through fresh evidences of Indians 
near. 

These dangers passed, they shaped their course 
towards the train, or to strike its trail. On the look 
out for the enemy, they discovered three objects be 
tween themselves and the train, who they soon decide 
to be real Indians, following up the train. Each made 
preparations to meet the other, and with all the cau 
tion at command, crept forward around the bluff. A 
mutual surprise ensues, when they recognize in each 
other friends of the same party. One of these scouts 
was Chaska, who is already well known. 

Just at this time a large squad of men were noticed 
on the bluff, nearly three miles away, at the same time 
a squad of cavalry, as they supposed, started toward 
them. The scouts turned off to the lake to water 
their horses, and the cavalry and themselves in motion, 
perceptibly lessened the distance between them, and 
no doubt existed but that Gen. Sibley's full command 
was on the other side of the hill, and so sure, that 
while they almost counted the horses, they gave no 
heed to the men. But suddenly they disappeared, 
they could not have sunk into the earth, and, there 
fore, must have turned back. So said these men as 
they rode carelessly along. 

Judge of the surprise when, instead of their own 
cavalry, fifteen Indians, deceptively bearing a flag of 
truce, suddenly charged upon them. They yelled to 
the scouts and rode toward them, but before they 
reached them, Lieut Freeman was shot, with an arrow, 
Ot 



354 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

through the back, and at the same time, another In 
dian fired at Mr. Brackett, who escaped the ball by 
clinging to the neck of his horse, and at the same 
time Chaska, from the top of a knoll, let fly at the In 
dians. Lieut. Freeman sat on his horse till they had 
passed in the rear of the scouts, when he remarked, 
"I am gone," and fell. He asked for the string to be 
cut from his neck, to which was attached a piece of 
the slain antelope, for water which was given, then 
slightly changed his position, and was gone. 

The Indians were now all around them, but were 
held in check by an invisible power, and fell back as 
the daring scouts rode rapidly toward them, ready to 
fire. This brief respite gave Mr. Brackett a chance to 
get the Lieutenant's rifle and revolver before he fol 
lowed the scouts, and to overtake them while his pur 
suers waited to catch the horse from which his com 
rade had just fallen. This done, with loud and trium 
phant yells, they start on again, and after a race of 
four miles, the fleeing party are completely surrounded. 
All jumped from their horses, and the faithful Chaska, 
more intent on the safety of his friend than his own, 
first saw him safely hid in the bushes, and then went 
forward to meet his red brethren. This was the last 
Mr. Brackett saw of the scouts, but lay in his conceal 
ment with his rifle cocked, while the Indians quar 
reled which should have his horse. But for this they 
would doubtless have searched out his hiding place. 

The afternoon was now far spent, and in a half r 
hour after the Indians had left in a circuitous course 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 355 

round a marsh, probably to avoid pursuit by Gen. 
Sibley's forces. Mr. Brackett crawled out from the 
rushes, and with the sun to his back, travelled for 
two hours, and thus he did for two days, and when 
the sun had set, hid in a marsh, where he slept at 
night. After the third day he began diligent search 
for the trail, which he struck on the afternoon of the 
fifth day, about twelve miles from where they en 
camped the night before he left the train, and about 
seventy miles from Camp Atchinson. So little ad 
vance had been made, that a man of ordinary caliber 
would have yielded to despondency, and there have 
died. Not so with the hero of this adventure. 
Though subsisting on frogs, birds and cherries, and 
these in limited quantities, for five days, his feet worn 
and blistered with constant travel, his forehead blis 
tered by the scorching sun, and sleeping every night 
with only the upper region of his nether garment for 
a covering, his indomitable energy enabled him to go 
on, though when he reached the camp, he could not 
have held out another day. The remainder of this 
perilous adventure we give in Mr. Brackett's own 
words : 

"About ten miles before reaching Camp A, I sat 
down to rest, and had such difficulty in getting under 
weigh again, that I determined to stop no more, feel 
ing sure that once again down, I should never be able 
to regain my feet unaided. I entered the camp near 
the camp fire of a detachment of the "Pioneers," 
(Capt. Chase's Company of the Ninth Minnesota In- 



356 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

fantry,) and fell to the ground, unable to raise again. 
But, thank God! around that fire were sitting some 
St. Anthony friends, among whom were Messrs. Mc- 
Mullen and Whittier, attached to that company, who 
kindly picked me up, and carried me to my tent. 

"I lost my coat, hat and knife in the fight on the 
first day. I took Lieut F.'s knife, and with it made 
moccasins of my boot-legs, my boots so chafing my 
feet in walking that I could not wear them. These 
moccasins were constantly getting out of repair, and 
my knife was as much needed to keep them in order 
for use, as to make them in the first place. But just 
before reaching the trail of the expedition on the fifth 
day, I lost Lieut F.'s knife. This loss I felt at the 
time decided my fate, if I had much farther to go, but 
kind Providence was in my favor, for almost the first 
object that greeted my eyes upon reaching the trail, 
was a knife, old and worn to be sure, but priceless to 
me. This incident some may deem a mere accident, 
but let such an one be placed in my situation at that 
time, and he would feel with me, that it was a boon 
granted by the Great Giver of good. On the third 
day, about ten miles from the river spoken of, I left 
Lieut F.'s rifle on the prairie, becoming too weak to 
carry it longer, besides it had already been so damaged 
by rain that I could not use it I wrote upon it that 
Lieut. F. had been killed, and named the course I was 
then pursuing. I brought the pistol into Camp At- 
chinson. 

" While wandering, I lived on cherries, roots, birds 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 357 

eggs, young birds and frogs, caught by hand, all my 
ammunition but one cartridge having been spoiled by 
the rain on the first day. That cartridge was one for 
Smith's breech loading carbine, and had a gutta percha 
case. I had also some waterproof percussion caps in 
my portmonaie. I took one-half the powder in the 
cartridge, and a percussion cap, and with the pistol 
and some dry grass, started a nice fire, at which I 
cooked a young bird, something like a loon, and about 
the size. This was on the second night. On the 
fourth, I used the remainder of the cartridge in the 
same way, and for a like purpose. The rest of the 
time I ate my food uncooked, except some hard bread 
(found at the fourth camp mentioned above,) which 
had been fried and then thrown into the ashes. I 
have forgotten one sweet morsel, (and all were sweet 
and very palatable to me,) viz : some sinews spared by 
the wolves from a buffalo carcass. As near as I am 
able to judge, I travelled in seven days at least two 
hundred miles. I had ample means for a like journey 
in civilized localities, but for thp first time in my life, 
found gold and silver coin a useless thing. My boot 
leg moccasins saved me ; for a walk of ten miles upon 
such a prairie, barefooted, would stop all further pro 
gress of any person accustomed to wear covering upon 
the feet The exposure at night, caused, more partic 
ularly, by lying in low and wet places in order to hide 
myself, was more prostrating to me than scarcity of 
food. The loneliness of the prairies, would have been 
terrible in itself, without the drove of wolves that, 



358 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

after the first day, hovered, in the day-time, at a re 
spectable distance, and in the night time howled close 
ly around me, seemingly sure that my failing strength 
would soon render me an easy prey. But a merciful 
Providence has spared my life, by what seems now, 
even to myself, almost a miracle." 

Mr. Brackett speaks in the highest terms of Chaska, 
his courage and devotion to the cause in which he was 
enlisted being unsurpassed in Indian life. He feels 
that he owes his life to him, by his firing in the first 
encounter, and rushing toward him in the second, 
which enabled him to hide as he suggested. 

Lieutenant Ambrose Freeman, who fell as above re 
lated, was a native of Virginia, and for seven years a 
a resident of St. Cloud, Minnesota, where his wife and 
five children waited his return, when he should recount 
to them the adventures and perils of the way. He 
bore an unblemished character, and was best loved and 
respected where best and longest known. His char 
acter in civil, accompanied him in military life, and 
no man in the expedition could have been more gen 
erally regretted He enlisted for frontier defense of 
our Minnesota homes. His body was promptly re 
covered and buried with honors due, at Camp Sib- 
ly, near the Big Mound, where a great battle with the 
Indians was fought soon after his fall. 

The scouts came safely into camp, minus horses. 



CHAPTER LXVIH. 



THE CAPTIVE JOHN JULIEN. 

The subject of this chapter was one of the three 
boys who were ransomed by the kind-hearted Catholic 
priest at St. Joe. His captivity was of ten months' du 
ration, but there is less of real bitter misery in it than 
of the other boys. John Julien was cook for the gov 
ernment laborers at Big Stone lake at the time of the 
savage onset there. He escaped and hid in the woods 
until he supposed the danger passed, and then thought 
he would return to the tent and find out if possible the 
fate of his employers, when he was made prisoner by 
an Indian who lived near, with the humane intent of 
protecting till he could set him at liberty. His name, 
which deserves historic record, is Bu-kosh-nu, meaning 
the "man with short hair." He took no part in the 
massacres, and taking the boy across the lake, with 
some valuable suggestions to guide him, sent him off 
alone. No sooner had he turned back, than he found 
the enemy were on his track, and running after, brought 
him back, and for several days kept him concealed at 
his own lodge. 

Then he allowed him to go with his own son to the 
lake, but no sooner was he seen, than a vicious Indian, 
one who had deeply drank of the extermination spirit, 
and vowed that no white blood should be left unspilled, 



360 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

took aim at his heart, and then ran off, not waiting 
to know the result, but supposing his pistol had per 
formed its intent. 

His little Indian companion ran and told his father 
of the cruel act, who came at once, took him kindly in 
his arms, carried him to his house, washed and dressed 
his wounds, and made him as comfortable as he could 
in his comfortless tepee. Then he took down his gun, 
his eye flashing vengeance, declaring he would shoot 
Hut-te-ste-mi, who had shot the white boy. This, 
John, in his forgiving spirit, overruled ; so he put up 
his gun and went forth, hatchet in hand, to avenge the 
deed by a demand of the pistol, which he smashed 
upon a stone, thus inciting the anger of the would-be 
boy murderer, and endangering his own life. 

Eu-kosh-nu dare not be found at his own house, and 
to protect his captive, whose life was now more than 
before in danger, had him taken to his cousin's, about 
half a mile distant. Good care was given to his wound 
during the five days he remained there, and the ball 
extracted from his side. 

One month later, thirty lodges of the vicinity were 
struck, and the occupants fell in with Little Crow's 
party, who having beeji ousted in battles, had started 
for Devil's lake, in the north of Dakota Territory, 
where it was their intent to mass their forces, after re 
ceiving all the pledges of assistance from other tribes 
they could get. 

The wounded, suffering captive must go with them 
on this long, wearisome journey. He walked the first 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 361 

day, as Ms captor had no way for him. to ride, who 
seeing he could not hold out thus another day, gave 
him to his relative, who protected him at Big Stone 
lake. He rode in the wagon of his new owner the 
rest of the way, and was with him during the remain 
der of his captivity. 

Instead of remaining at Devil's lake, a portion of 
this party passed on to the Missouri river, among 
whom was John Julien. The cold had now become 
intense, and the snow was deep; still these savage 
wanderers continue to move on, following up the wind 
ings of the river, till, after an abundance of sameness 
in experience, an encampment of Yanktons, five hun 
dred lodges strong, falls in their way. Here they 
rested and feasted on buffalo meat for five days, when 
they were joined by Little Crow with sixty lodges, 
with whom they remained .during the rest of the 
winter. 

None of these were stationary. The Yanktons 
broke camp and went in one direction, Little Crow's 
camp in another. The latter was very desirous to 
make peace with the Arickarees, (commonly known 
as the Rees,) and obtain their assistance in his anticipa 
ted campaign against the whites in the spring. Little 
Crow compelled the captive boy to go in front, when 
his delegation went forward to meet the delegation of 
Rees, that if trouble ensued he might be first to suffer. 
The object of the embassy being known, there follow 
ed an assent, a shaking of hands, and the smoking of 
pipes. But scarcely had the Rees reached the protec- 



362 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

tion of their own people, when they commenced firing. 
There was among them a peace and an anti-peace 
party, the latter the strongest, and of course over 
ruling the former. Our little hero was again wounded 
in the fleshy part of his leg. Eight Sioux were killed 
and one squaw, during the battle, which lasted from 
noon till sundown. Little Crow was completely routed, 
and retreated for the camp where he had wintered, 
forty miles distant. This was the last of April. 

The wounded boy tried hard to keep up with the 
retreating party, and after running five miles, his leg 
became too painful to proceed, and he hid himself 
to avoid the enemy in pursuit. At dark, however, he 
followed in their trail, and after travelling all night and 
the following day, reached the Sioux camp, where 
they were safe from their pursuers. 

Little Crow again bends his steps towards Devil's 
lake, and for the first five days they are entirely desti 
tute of food. Fifty miles above Devil's lake, 

the trader from St Joseph, met them with a parley 
for their furs, for which they received provisions and 
blankets. We mention this because it is an impor 
tant link in the chain of circumstances which led to 
the boy's release. This trader carried the tidings of 
this boy's captivity, as also, the two others then at 
other points, to St. Joe, when the kind hearted priest 
arranged for him to buy them. 

The owner of the boy was reluctant to sell him, he 
preferred rather to take him to the settlement and de- 
liver him up, in proof of his friendship for the whites, 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 363 

combined with the testimony of the treatment he had 
received while in his care. He ^ad exacted nothing 
unreasonable, had not required him to work, and when 
he sold a pony for a cap, coat, vest, pants, three shirts, 
a pair of stockings aud a blanket, he clothed his cap 
tive with them instead of himself. The other Indians 
would not accede to his wish to go to the settlement, 
and thinking that Gren. Sibley, to whom he had hoped 
to deliver him, would not come into the neighborhood, 
he finally consented to sell him ; and on the 13th of 
June he reached St. Joseph, where he was received by 
the priest and kindly cared for while he remained, and 
was sent to St. Paul, where he arrived the 17th of Sep 
tember, glad to be once more in civilized life, with the 
hope of a speedy reunion with the remnant of his 
father's family. 



CHAPTER LXIX. 

PROGRESS OF THE EXPEDITION. 

Slowly, but surely, plodded on the gigantic train, 
with all the drawbacks which beset its course. Little 
or no rain had visited them, and there fell scarcely a 
drop of dew to relieve the aridity of the earth, while 
the heat was much of the time one hundred degrees or 
more, and the hot sirocco air, when filled with dust, 
was almost unendurable. The true man may die, but 
he never fails. Whatever the discouragements, he is 
true to his purpose, and if he dies, it is with the harness 
on, and his mantle falls on another, as true as himself. 
Clouds may be around him, but, eagle-like, he soars 
above them, and heeds not the muttering thunders, or 
the tongue of calumny. The same rear fire which follow 
ed the expedition now, was kept up all through the 
campaign of the previous fall. It is an easy matter to 
find fault, while reclining at ease in one's office or 
home ; but not so easy to perform, successfully, a great 
and important work, and meet, at the same time, the 
impatient demand of the public. 

The objects of the expedition were kept constantly 
in view, from the first The release of the prisoners 
was successfully accomplished. The punishment of 
guilty parties followed, so far as the action of the Gen-, 
eral commanding was concerned, and over three hun- 




COL. WM. R. MARSHALL. 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 367 

died guilty warriors and murderers were condemned to 
death. That they were not executed, was no fault of 
his. The supreme law of the army forbids the execution 
of any sentence of court martial, without the sanction of 
the President of the United States. Where, then, rests 
the blame ? 

Still, unmoved by the clamor of fault-finders, the 
expedition was pushing on to the desired end, though 
never an Indian had they seen. At last they come 
upon their trail tent poles and camp fire remains, 
where game had been cooked, and other signs evince 
their nearness as they advance toward the Missouri. 

Days weeks had passed, and no tidings came from 
the main column to the anxious outer world ; and 
nothing was known of them at Camp Atchinson. But 
they were far from being idlers or laggards in the field, 
and were far in the heart of the enemy's country, 
away from civilization and refinement, amid scenery 
though beautiful to the eye, devoid of all other at 
tractions the country poor, in the extreme fully 
determined to mete to the foe the justice they merited. 
JSTor was it a boy's play to bring about this grand re 
sult Every man felt the responsibility of his position, 
and worked as if success depended alone on him. 
Time was flying fast and events were hastening to 
their final issue. 

At last it is known, for CoL Marshall brings the tid 
ings that three several engagements have taken place, 
in which the enemy, more than two thousand strong, 
the largest Indian force ever giving battle, had been 



368 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

completely routed, with heavy loss, and driven in ter 
ror and confusion across the Missouri river. 

Col. Marshall left the expedition after one day on 
the return march, and performed the hazardous trip of 
nearly four hundred miles in seven days, and much 
of the way without an escort and only two scouts. 
The main features of the battles we leave the reader 
to get from the official report of the commanding offi 
cer. Some items, however, not therein mentioned, 
may not be uninteresting. 

The great Sioux camp, when discovered by our for 
ces, were in consultation for proposing terms of peace, 
instigated to this by Standing Buffalo, who had long 
since declared his intention to deliver himself up, 
whenever opportunity offered to do so. To this prop 
osition all but eight daring, reckless young braves con 
sented, who mounted their horses and rode swiftly 
away. A party followed to bring them in, and had 
just come up with them on the hill overlooking the 
camp of white men. The scouts went up to parley, 
and several messages were returned from them to in 
dividuals, among which was a special request from 
Standing Buffalo to George Spencer, to "come over 
and see him." George lacked no confidence in the 
friendly chief, but something whispered him, "go not 
up," and fortunately he obeyed the monitory voice. 
Several of the men followed the scouts, and even 
shook hands with several Indian acquaintances. 
Among these was Doct. Weiser, from Shakopee, Sur-. 
geon of the Mounted Rangers ; but scarcely had he 
spoken to one, when one of the determined eight came 




STANDING BUFFALO. 
(The Friendly Chief.) 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 371 

behind and shot him through the heart. He fell from 
his horse and never spoke again. The scouts returned 
the fire, when the Indians fell back behind the ridge, 
firing as they went One of them was slightly wounded 
by a spent ball, which had passed through a rubber 
blanket rolled up on his saddle. All peace overtures 
were now at an end. Those who had encouraged a 
surrender "fell in" to save themselves from their own 
people. Standing Buffalo, still persistent in his peace 
principles, ran away to the north, where he remained 
many weeks afterwards. 

The fighting propensities of the savages were roused 
to their full tension, and their awful war-whoop rang 
through all the prairie air. It was three o'clock in 
the afternoon of July 24th, 1863, when Gen. Sibley 
ordered his troops forward to meet the foe. Then 
arose a terrible thunder storm, which shook the earth, 
and sent a bolt of lightning into their midst, killing 
one man and his horse instantly. For three full hours 
the contest raged, when the savages fled in wild confu 
sion. The mounted regiment of Col. McPhail pressed 
on in pursuit, while the main body of the infantry, 
having marched from early morn till three o'clock be 
fore engaging the enemy, went into camp. 

An unhappy mistake, (for such will occur in mili 
tary circles as well as in well regulated families,) oc 
curring at this time, has furnished food for the the ca 
pacious, craving stomach of calumny. But we think 
it due to the General commanding, to set the facts be 
fore the world in their true light, and as we obtained 
them from one who heard the order, and received and 



372 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

executed an auxiliary whose statements are above 
suspicion of cavil, we vouch for their correctness. 

Why was not the advantage gained at the first bat 
tle followed up, and the Indians more severely pun 
ished ? is the query of dissatisfaction. We reply, such 
was the design. We have seen Col. McPhail's cavalry, 
supported by the Seventh of infantry, under Lieut 
Col. Marshall, in pursuit of the fleeing foe, to be fol 
lowed by the main column. But no man or body of 
men can accomplish impossibilities. It will be recol 
lected that they had marched that day forty miles, be 
fore engaging the enemy. The advance scouts had 
just reported at head-quarters, the finding of the ene 
my's trail, when Captain Forbes, of the Commissary 
Department, rode to the front to say that the teams 
were giving out, and they were near the only water 
reported for several miles. Accordingly they went 
into camp. 

"You ride to Col. McPhail tell him not to pursue 
the enemy after dark, but to act discretionary as to a 
bivouac on the prairie," was the verbal and definite 
order given by Gen. Sibley to Lieut. Beever, who vol 
unteered to deliver it. This was followed by another 
to the Chief Clerk of the Commissary Department "to 
start three days' rations to reach the advancing force 
early in the morning. Promptly the last order was 
executed, and five loaded teams were on the way by 
eleven o'clock that night, but when one mile out 
stragglers were met, and finally the entire pursuing force. 
The order had been strangely misunderstood, and its 
most important phraseology delivered in a positive "re- 




COL. WM-. CROOKS. 



' 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 375 

turn to camp." The regret of its bearer was too poign 
ant for censure when he awoke to this serious blunder. 
But his was too noble a nature not to acquit the inno 
cent of all blame, even though his own name would be 
branded on historic page, and he frankly admitted the 
mistake to his comrades, and awaited his opportunity 
to do so before the world. He sleeps in the shadow 
of the woods in which he met his untimely fate, and 
his living testimony cannot exonerate the man on 
whom an envious world throws the blame, and who 
nobly suffers the tongue of calumny to declare his un- 
fitness for the command, rather than cast it on a worthy, 
defenseless dead man. And thus it rests. 

At last they have repulsed the enemy in three suc 
cessive battles, killing a large number, and driving him, 
in large force, across the Missouri river, between which 
and the expedition's encampment, was a mile of dense 
forest, interspersed with a heavy growth of prickly ash, 
the most impenetrable of all northern undergrowth. 
Imperfect Indian trails ran through them to the river, 
but, forbidding as were the circumstances, CoL Crooks, 
as valorous a man as ever led a regiment, called for 
volunteers to follow him there. After thoroughly 
shelling the woods, and scouring the "bottom," they 
drew rein at its shore, and drank themselves and their 
horses fi-om the sweet though turbid stream, which was 
truly refreshing, after having drank naught, for many 
days, but brackish water. While here, they were fired 
on from the opposite shore, but the balls fell harmless 
ly into the river, a warning, however, for them to 
make quick time in return to camp. 



376 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

Again it is inquired, why this last engagement was 
not the finale of the Indian war, and why they were 
not followed across the river ? 

We have shown the nature of the ground between 
them and the river. In the language of another, 
"white men cannot fight naked, and draw their subsis 
tence from the lakes, woods and prairies, as the Indians 
can." They must have their baggage wagon and pro 
vision train, otherwise they cannot carry on an offen 
sive war. Men and animals were well nigh exhausted 
when they reached the Missouri : besides the commis 
sary stores were scarcely sufficient for return rations. 
They would have had great difficulty in getting the 
teams through the dense forest, and then three days' 
time would have been consumed in crossing, which 
would have given the enemy three days' start, else 
they would have been all this time exposed to their 
fire. 

"White people," says Mr. Riggs, "are superior to an 
Indian in a thousand things, but fighting is not one of 
them. Our big guns, and our long range muskets 
and our better drills, give us an advantage over them. 
But in fleeing and fighting, fighting and fleeing, they 
are our superiors. Moreover; they cover a retreat 
most beautifully. If any one supposes it is an easy 
matter to annihilate these Arabs of the desert, let him 
try it. Perhaps he will come back a wise man." 
Some ask, he says, "why Gen. Sibley did not kill more 
Indians ? We reply, "they would not stay to be kill- 
ecL" He might have disgraced his humanity and 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 377 

killed the Teton boy lie might have killed an old 
woman brought in by the scouts, and in one or two 
other instances he might have performed like humane 
acts, had he been a brute, but manhood triumphed, 
and aside from these, not an Indian escaped that could 
be reached by hand or bullet. 

Every man, whether he has been in a campaign or 
not, claims the privilege of deciding how a campaign 
should be conducted, and the qualification of its Gen 
eral. A free country guarantees to them this right, 
however great the injustice of that decision. 

If we look to historic facts, we find no more success 
ful campaigns against the Indians, than have been those 
of Gen. Sibley ; and all in it, with whom we have con 
versed, agree that all was done which human wisdom 
and human energy could do. Let us not forget the 
vast army power, and the forty millions of money ex 
pended in unsuccessful attempts to drive the Seminoles 
from their swamp retreats, in Florida, A fish, thrown 
from its native element, will flounce about for a little 
while, and die of itself. So with the envious tongue. 
As sure as water finds its level, time and an overruling 
Providence will work all right. The name of Henry 
H. Sibley will live on history's unsullied page. Pos 
terity will laud him, when those of his calumniators 
will be lost in the great whirlpool of oblivion. 

We ignore any claim, in the military line, from po 
litical preference. The right man in the right place, is 
our motto. Gen. Sibley is a Democrat a loyal, con 
scientious one, we have no doubt ; while the writer is 
Pt 



378 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

a wool-dyed Kepublican, (if expression on this point is 
admissible,) and when WOMAN'S RIGHTS (?) prevail, 
shall vote that ticket, strong, but, then, as now, will ac 
cord to every man his due. 



CHAPTER LXX. 

THE CAPTURE OF A TETON. 

On the morning of the 28th of July, just as Gen. 
Sibley's command was breaking camp at Stony lake, 
they were attacked by Indians, in full force, and after 
three hours of sharp fighting, repulsed the foe, who 
fled toward the Missouri, and moved on in pursuit. 
Mr. Spencer, under the escort of scouts, fall of the 
spirit of adventure, left the main column in the dim 
distance, and discovered a solitary pony, quietly gra 
zing, about a mile to the left. Putting spurs to their 
horses, they started for its capture. As they approach 
ed it, a dark, motionless object was seen lying upon 
the ground. Coming nearer, some one cried out, "It's 
an old buffalo robe ;" but as one stooped to pick it up, 
it sprang from the earth, and bounded off like a deer, 
being extended to full size, and flying swiftly, in a zig 
zag manner. It was a broad mark for the carbines, but 
where in it was the motive power ? It was impossible 
to tell. Some thirty shots were fired, all hitting the 
robe, but still he kept on with the same zigzag course, 
and a constant motion, from side to side, of the robe, 
so that it seemed impossible to hit him. 

At last, Bottineau, the chief guide, reined up to him, 
put a revolver to his head, and fired, but he dodged 
the ball. He now stopped, dropped the robe, and 



380 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

threw up both hands, in token of surrender. The 
robe was literally riddled with balls, but not a scratch 
was on his person, and he had enlisted the sympathy 
and admiration of his captors, for his brave and gallant 
bearing. He was unarmed, save with a knife, stuck in 
his belt, which he silently threw away, on being order 
ed to do so. He was placed behind one of the scouts, 
and brought before General Sibley, to whom he ex 
tended his hand in friendly salute, which was not ta 
ken ; but with stern eye upon him, the General ques 
tioned him closely, till well satisfied with the truth of 
his statement, when they shook hands, and were friends. 
He belonged to the Teton band, one of the largest di 
visions of the Dakota nation, living west of the Mis 
souri river, taking no part in the war. His father was 
one of the head chiefs, and the son had come out on a 
visit to the Yanktonians, and learning they were soon 
to have a fight with the "Long Knives," curiosity led 
him on to see it. He retired with the repulsed Indians, 
but coming to a little valley of good grass, stopped to 
let his pony graze, and, wrapping himself in his robe, 
laid down to rest, and was fast asleep, before he knew 
it, and thus the scouts had come upon him. 

For the five days that he remained prisoner, General 
Sibley caused him to be treated according to the dig 
nity of his rank, as heir-apparent to the chieftainship. 
He became strongly attache^ to Mr. Riggs, and seldom 
left his side. Mr. Spencer says, "he was not more than 
twenty years old, and his was as fine a specimen of the 
human form, as he ever beheld," 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 381 

When the return order was given, General Sibley 
wrote a letter to his father, commending the wisdom of 
his course, in refusing to take up the tomahawk against 
the whites, saying he wished them to know that the 
whites were a merciful people, and though his son 
had been captured among the hostile Indians, he had 
spared his life, and permitted him to return to his own 
people. This was, no doubt, a stroke of good policy, 
as the death of this young Teton would have exasper 
ated his tribe, and rendered the Indian war much more 
formidable than otherwise. 

A few days after the dismissal of the young Teton, 
a party of miners, rich in gold dust, washed from the 
deposits of Idaho, were descending the Missouri, at the 
very spot where our men went down to drink. Indians 
were all around, ready to spring from the weeds and 
bushes, and the young Teuton, desiring peace, rushed 
toward them, holding the letter to his father, over his 
head. But they understood not the signal, and shot him 
dead, when they were at once surrounded, and, though 
fighting desperately, and killing more than twice their 
number, every man of them was killed, and all the rich 
avails of toil fell into the spoiler's hands. 



CHAPTER LXXI. 

DEATH OF LIEUT. BEEVEE. 

While Col. Crooks and his regiment were at the river, 
General Sibley, becoming aware of the proximity of 
Indians, and the dangers which surrounded them, exe 
cuted an order for their return to camp, which the bold 
and daring Lieutenant Beever volunteered to deliver. 
He was unmolested by the way, and though desired by 
Col. Crooks to remain until the men should be formed, 
and return under their protection, he was too true a 
soldier to disregard the discretio'nary order of a supe 
rior officer. Midway in the forest, the trail forked in 
several directions unfortunately, he took the wrong 
one, though it would just as soon have brought him 
into camp. 

Col. Crooks returned, and though Lieut. Beever 
messed with him, his tent was at Gen. Sibley's head 
quarters, and for several hours his absence was not no 
ticed, each party supposing him with the other. Night 
shadows had fallen upon the encampment before in 
quiry arose in relation to him, and no little alarm was 
created when it was known that he had not been seen 
since receiving the message from Col. Crooks. 

The sudden disappearance of one in universal favor, 
cast a gloom over the camp. Thursday, July 30th, 
Gen. Sibley sent out a command of eleven companies*' 
under Col. Crooks, to make thorough reconnoissance of 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 383 

the woods, and if possible, find his body, and that of 
private Miller, who was missed the same day. The 
latter had said, before going out, that u he wanted a shot" 
He received a shot, but whether he gave one or not, is 
unknown. He was found scalped, not far from Lieut. 
Beever, but whether the same rencounter terminated 
both lives, of course will ever be unknown, unless the 
facts be imparted by some friendly Indian. 

But a short distance from where Lieut. Beever lay, 
were two pools of blood, proving pretty conclusively 
that he had not yielded his life without a recompense. 
His horse had been shot through the head, and three 
arrows were in his back, and a ball had passed through 
his body, but the finale had been the blow from a tom 
ahawk. He was a "good shot" had with him two re 
volvers, carrying eleven balls, which had doubtless, 
found sure lodgment, the dead or wounded Indians 
having been carried off by their comrades. 

The remains were duly prepared and deposited in 
as good a coffin as could be obtained, and with his 
body servant (between whom and himself there was a 
mutual attachment,) as chief mourner, followed by al 
most the entire command, was placed in his prairie 
grave, near that of Docter Weiser, there to rest till the 
"graves give up their dead." 

This event was one of the saddest connected with 
the campaign. Frederick J. Holt Beever was an En 
glish gentleman of means and education, travelling for 
his health and improvement. His love of romance 
and adventure led him to embrace the opportunity of 
fered by the expedition, for seeing the western prairies, 



384 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

and he was attached to General Sibley's staff, as vol 
unteer Aid-de-camp. He was a jovial, social man, 
brave, energetic and reliable, and after "life's fitful 
fever," in his lone and lowly bed he rests well. 



CHAPTER LXXH. 

TERMINUS OF THE CAMPAIGN. 

In obedience to the order given below, the campaign 
was ended, and on Saturday morning, Aug. 1st, com 
menced retracing their steps towards civilization and 
friends : 
11 To the Officers and Soldiers of the Expeditionary forces in camp : 

"It is proper for the Brigadier-General commanding 
to announce to you that the march to the west and 
south is completed, and that on to-morrow the column 
will move homewards, to discharge such other duties 
connected with the objects of the expedition, on the 
way, as may from time to time present themselves. 

"In making this announcement, Gen. Sibley express 
es also his high gratification that the campaign has been a 
complete success. The design of the Government in 
chastising the savages, and thereby preventing, for the 
future, the raids upon the frontier, has been accomplish 
ed. You have routed the miscreants who murdered our 
people last year, banded, as they were, with the pow 
erful Upper Sioux, to the number of nearly 2,000 war 
riors, in three successful engagements, with heavy loss, 
and driven them, in confusion and dismay, across the 
Missouri river, leaving behind them all their vehicles, 
provisions and skins designed for clothing, which have 
been destroyed. Forty-four bodies of warriors have 



386 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

been found, and many others concealed or taken away, 
according to the custom of these savages, so that it 
is certain they lost in killed and wounded, not less 
than from one hundred and twenty to one hundred 
and fifty men. All this has been accomplished with 
the comparatively trifling loss on our part of three 
killed and as many wounded. You have marched 
nearly six hundred miles from St. Paul, and the 
powerful bands of the Dakotas, who have hitherto held 
undisputed possession of the great prairies, have suc 
cumbed to your valor and discipline, and sought safe 
ty in flight. The intense heat and drought have 
caused much suffering, which you have endured with 
out a murmur. The companies of the 6th, 7th, 9th 
and 10th regiments of Minnesota Volunteers, and of 
the 1st regiment Minnesota Mounted Rangers, and the 
scouts of the battery, have amply sustained the repu 
tation of the State by their bravery and endurance, 
amidst unknown dangers and great hardships. Each 
has had the opportunity to distinguish itself against a 
foe at least equal in numbers to itself. 

"It would be a gratification if these remorseless 
savages could have been pursued and literally extirpa 
ted, for their crimes and barbarities merited such a full 
measure of punishment; but men and animals are 
alike exhausted after so long a march, and a further 
pursuit would only be futile and hopeless. The mil 
itary results of the campaign have been completely 
accomplished, for the savages have not only been des-. 
troyed in great numbers, and their main strength 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 387 

broken, but their prospects for the future are hopeless 
indeed, for they can scarcely escape starvation during 
the approaching winter. 

"It is peculiarly gratifying to the Brigadier-General 
commanding, to know that the tremendous fatigues 
and manifold dangers of the expedition thus far, have 
entailed so small a loss of life in his command. A less 
careful policy than that adopted, might have effected 
the destruction of more of the enemy,. but that could 
only have been done by a proportional exposure on our 
part and the consequent loss of many more lives, bring 
ing sorrow and mourning to our homes. Let us, there 
fore, return thanks to a merciful God for his manifest 
interposition in our favor, and for the success attendant 
upon our efforts to secure peace to the borders of our 
own State, and of our neighbors and friends in Dakota 
Territory, and as we proceed on our march toward 
those most near and dear to us, let us be prepared to 
discharge other duties which may be imposed upon 
us during our journey, with cheerful and willing 
hearts. 

"To the Kegimental and company officers of his 
command, the Brigadier-General commanding tenders 
his warmest thanks for their co-operation and aid on 
every occasion during the progress of the column 
through the heart of an unknown region, inhabited by 
a subtle and merciless foe. 

"For the friends and families of our fallen comrades 
we have our warmest sympathies to offer in their be 
reavement. 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

"General Sibley takes this occasion to express his 
appreciation of the activity and zeal displayed by the 
members of his staff, one and all 

"By command of 

"BRIGADIER-GENERAL SIBLEY." 

The night previous to leaving, several shots were 
fired into camp by prowling Indians, who on the fol 
lowing morning made their appearance to the number 
of thirty or forty, determined to annoy where they 
could do nothing more. 



CHAPTER LXXIII. 

OFFICIAL EEPORT OF BRIGADIER GENERAL HENRY H. 
SIBLEY TO MAJ. GEN. POPE. 

MAJOR: My last dispatch was dated 21st ultimo, 
from Camp Olin, in which I had the honor to inform 
Major General Pope, that I had left one-third of my 
force in an intrenched position at Camp Atchinson, 
and was then one day's march in advance, with 1,400 
infantry and 500 cavalry, in the direction where the 
main body of the Indians were supposed to be. Dur 
ing the three following days, I pursued a course some 
what west of south, making fifty miles, having crossed 
the James river and the great coteau of the Missouri. 
On the 24th, about 1 P. M., being considerably in ad 
vance of the main column, with some of the officers 
of my staff, engaged in looking out for a suitable 
camping ground, the command having marched stead 
ily from 5 A. M., some of my scouts came to me at full 
speed, and reported that a large camp of Indians had 
just before passed, and great numbers of warriors 
could be seen upon the prairie two or three miles dis 
tant I immediately corralled my train upon the 
shore of a salt lake near by, and established my camp, 
which was rapidly intrenched by Col. Crooks, to whom 
was entrusted that duty, for the security of the trans 
portation in case of attack, a precaution I had taken 



390 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

whenever we encamped for many days previous. 
While the earthworks were being pushed forward, par 
ties of Indians, more or less numerous, appeared upon 
the hills around us, and one of my half-breed scouts, 
a relative of "Ked Plume," a Sissiton chief, hitherto 
opposed to the war, approached sufficiently near to 
converse with him. "Ked Plume" told him to warn 
me that the plan was formed to invite me to a council 
with some of my superior officers, to shoot us without 
ceremony, and then attack my command in great force, 
trusting to destroy the whole of it. 

The Indians ventured near the spot where a portion 
of my scouts had taken position, three or four hundred 
yards from our camp, and conversed with them in an 
apparently friendly manner, some of them professing 
a desire for peace. Surgeon Joseph Weiser, of the 
First Minnesota Mounted Hangers, incautiously joined 
the group of scouts, when a young savage, doubtless 
supposing from his uniform and horse equipments that* 
he was an officer of rank, pretended great friendship 
and delight at seeing him ; but when within a few feet, 
treacherously shot him through the heart. The scouts 
discharged their pieces at the murderer, but he escaped, 
leaving his horse behind. The body of Dr. Weiser 
was immediately brought into camp, unmutilated, save 
by the ball that killed him. Dr. Weiser was univer 
sally esteemed, being skillful in his profession, and a 
kind and courteous gentleman. 

This outrage precipitated an immediate engagement. 
The savages in great numbers, concealed by the ridges, 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 391 

had encircled those portions of the camp not flanked 
by the lake referred to, and commenced an attack. 

Col. McPhail, with two companies, subsequently re- 
enforced by others as they could be spared from other 
points, was directed to drive the enemy from the vi 
cinity of the hill where Dr. Weiser was shot, while 
those companies of the 7th Regiment under Lieut. Col. 
Marshall and Major Bradley, and one company of the 
10th Kegiment, under Capt. Edgerton, was dispatched 
to support them. Taking with me a six-pounder under 
the command of Lieut. Whipple, I ascended the hill 
towards "Big Mound," on the opposite side of the ra 
vine, and opened fire with spherical case shot upon the 
Indians who had obtained possession of the upper part 
of the large ravine, and of the smaller ones tributary 
to it, under the protection of which they could annoy 
the infantry and cavalry without exposure on their 
part. 

This flank and raking fire of artillery drove them 
from these hiding places into the broken prairie, where 
they were successively dislodged from the ridges, being 
utterly unable to resist the steady advance of the 7th 
Kegiment and the Eangers, but fled before them in 
confusion. While these events were occurring on the 
right, the left of the camp was also threatened by a 
formidable body of warriors. Col. Crooks, whose reg 
iment (the 6th,) was posted on that side, was ordered 
to deploy part of his command as skirmishers and to 
dislodge the enemy. This was gaflantly done, the Col. 
directing in person the movements of one part of his 



392 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

detached force, and Lieut Col. Averill of the other, 
Major McLaren remaining in command of that portion 
of the regiment required as part of the camp guard. 

The savages were steadily driven from one strong 
position after another, under a severe fire, until, feeling 
their utter inability to contend longer with our soldiers 
in the open field, they joined their brethren in one com 
mon flight Upon moving forward with my staff, to a 
commanding point which overlooked the field, I dis 
covered the whole body of Indians, numbering from 
one thousand to fifteen hundred, retiring in confusion 
from the combat, while a dark line of moving objects 
on the distant hills indicated the locality of their fam 
ilies. I immediately dispatched orders to Col. Mc- 
Phail, who had now received an accession of force 
from other companies of his Mounted Regiment, to 
press on with all expedition and fall upon the rear of 
the enemy, but not to continue the pursuit after night 
fall, and Lieut. Col. Marshall was directed to follow 
and support him with the companies of the 7th, and 
Captain Edgerton's company of the 10th, accompanied 
by one six-pounder, and one section of Minnesota how 
itzers under Captain Jones. 

At the same time, all the companies of the 6th and 
10th regiments, except two from each which were left 
as a camp guard, were ordered to rendezvous, and to 
proceed in the same direction, but they had so far to 
march from their respective posts, before arriving at 
the point occupied "by myself and staff, that I felt con 
vinced of the uselessness of their proceeding farther/ 



DAKOTA WAK WHOOP. 393 

the other portions of the pursuing force being some 
miles in the advance, and I accordingly directed their 
return to camp. 

The cavalry gallantly followed the Indians, and kept 
up a running fight until nearly dark, killing and 
wounding many of their warriors, the infantry 
under Lieut CoL Marshall being kept at a double 
quick in their rear. The order to CoL McPhail was 
improperly delivered, as requiring him to return to 
camp, instead of 'leaving it discretionary with him to 
bivouac in the prairie. Consequently he retraced his 
way with his weary men and horses, followed by the 
still more wearied infantry, and arrived at the camp 
early the next morning, as I was about to move for 
ward with the main column. Thus ended the battle 
of the Big Mound. 

The severity of the labor of the entire command 
may be appreciated, when it is considered that the en 
gagement only commenced after the day's march was 
nearly completed, and that the Indians were chased at 
least twelve miles, making altogether full forty miles 
performed without rest. 

The march of the cavalry, of the 7th regiment, and 
of "B" company of the 10th regiment, in returning to 
camp after the tremendous efforts of the day, is almost 
unparalleled, and it told so fearfully upon men and 
animals that a forward movement could not take place 
until the 26th, when I marched, at an early hour. 
Colonel Baker had been left in command of the camp 
(named by the officers Camp Sibley,) during the en- 



394 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

gagement of the previous day, and all the arrange 
ments for its security were actively and judiciously 
made, aided as he was by that excellent officer, Lieut. 
Colonel Jennison, of the same regiment. 

Upon arriving at the camp from which the Indians 
had been driven in such hot haste, vast quantities of 
dried meat, tallow and buffalo robes, cooking utensils, 
and other indispensable articles were found concealed 
in the long reeds around the lake, all of which were, 
by my direction, collected and destroyed. For miles 
along the route, the prairie was strewn with like evi 
dences of a hasty flight Col. McPhail had previous 
ly advised me that beyond Dead Buffalo lake, as far 
as the pursuit of the Indians had continued, I would 
find neither wood nor water. I consequently establish 
ed my camp on the border of that lake, and very soon 
afterwards parties of Indians made their appearance, 
threatening an attack. I directed Capt. Jones to re 
pair with his section of six-pounders, supported by 
Capt. Chase, with his company of pioneers, to a com 
manding point, about six hundred yards in advance, 
and I proceeded there in person. I found that Col. 
Crooks had taken position with two companies of his 
regiment, commanded by Captain and Lieut. Grant, to 
check the advance of the Indians in that quarter. 
An engagement ensued at long range, the Indians 
being too wary to attempt to close, although greatly 
superior in numbers. The spherical case from the 
six-pounders soon caused a hasty retreat from that lo- 
pality, but perceiving it to be their intention to make' 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 395 

a flank movement on the left of the camp, in force, 
Capt. Taylor, with his company of Mounted Rangers, 
was dispatched to retard their progress in that quarter. 
He was attacked by the enemy in large numbers, but 
manfully held his ground until recalled, and ordered 
to support Lieut. Colonel Averill, who, with two. com 
panies of the 6th regiment, deployed as skirmishers, 
had been ordered to hold the savages in check. 

The whole affair was ably conducted by these offi 
cers, but the increasing numbers of the Indians, who 
were well mounted, enabled them, by a circuitous 
route, to dash towards the extreme left of the camp, 
evidently with a view to stampede the mules herded 
on the shore of the lake. 

This daring attempt was frustrated by the rapid mo 
tions of the companies of Mounted Rangers, command 
ed by Captains Wilson and Davy, who met the enemy 
and repulsed them with loss, while Maj. McLaren, 
with equal promptitude, threw out along an extended 
line, the six companies of the 6th regiment, under his 
immediate command, thus entirely securing that flank 
of the camp from further attacks. The savages, again 
foiled in their designs, fled with precipitation, leaving 
a number of their dead upon the prairie and the 
battle of Dead Buffalo lake was ended. 

On the 27th, I resumed the march, following the 
trail of the retreating Indians until I reached Stony 
lake, where the exhaustion of the animals required 
me to encamp, although grass was very scarce. 

The next day, the 28th, took place the greatest con- 



396 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

flict between our troops and the Indians, so far as num 
bers were concerned, which I have named the battle 
of "Stony Lake." Kegularly alternating each day, 
the 10th regiment, under Col. Baker, was in the 
advance and leading the column, as the train toiled up 
the long hill. As I passed Col. Baker, I directed him to 
deploy two companies of the 10th as skirmishers. Part 
of the wagons were still in the camp under the guard 
of the 7th regiment, when, as I reached the top of the 
ridge in advance of the 10th regiment, I perceived a 
large force of mounted Indians moving rapidly upon 
us. I immediately sent orders to the several com 
mands promptly to assume their positions, in accordance 
with the programme of the line of march ; but this 
was done, and the whole long train, completely guard 
ed at every point, by the vigilant and able command 
ers of the regiments, and of corps, before the order 
reached them. The 10th gallantly checked the ad 
vance of the enemy in front, the 6th and cavalry on 
the right, and the 7th and cavalry on the left, while 
the six-pounders and two sections of mountain howitz 
ers, under the efficient direction of their respective 
chiefs, poured as rapid and destructive fire from as 
many different points. The vast number of Indians 
enabled them to form two-thirds of a circle, five or 
six miles in extent, along the whole line of which 
they were seeking for some weak point upon which to 
precipitate themselves. The firing was incessant and 
rapid from each side, but so soon as I had completed 
the details of the designated order of march, and 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 397 

closed up the train, the column issued in line of battle 
upon the prairie, in the face of the immense force op 
posed to it, and I resumed my march without any 
delay. This proof of confidence in our own strength 
completely destroyed the hopes of the savages and com 
pleted their discomfiture. With yells of disappoint 
ment and rage, they fired a few parting volleys, and 
then retreated with all expedition. It was not possi 
ble, with our jaded horses, to overtake their fleet and 
comparatively fresh ponies. 

This was the last desperate effort of the combined 
Dakota bands, to prevent a farther advance, on our part, 
towards their families. It would be difficult to esti 
mate the number of warriors, but no cool and dispas 
sionate observer would probably have placed it at a 
less figure than from 2,200 to 2,500. No such concen 
tration of force has, so far as my information extends, 
ever been made by the savages of the American Con 
tinent. 

It is rendered certain, from information received from 
various sources, (including that obtained from the sav 
ages themselves, in their conversations with our half- 
breed scouts,) that the remnant of the bands who es 
caped with Little Crow, had successively joined the 
Sissitons, the Cut Heads, and finally the "Yank-ton- 
ais," the most powerful single band of the Dakotas, 
and together with all these, had formed one enormous 
camp, of nearly, or quite, ten thousand souls. 

To assert that the courage and discipline displayed 
by officers and men, in the successive engagements with 



S98 DAKOTA WAK WHOOP. 

this formidable and hitherto untried enemy, were sig 
nally displayed, would but ill express the admiration 
I feel for the perfect steadiness and the alacrity with, 
which they courted an encounter with the savage foe. 
No one, for a moment, seemed to doubt the result, 
however great the preponderance against us in numer 
ical force. These wild warriors of the plain had never 
been met in battle, by American troops, and they have 
ever boasted that no hostile army, however numerous, 
would dare to set foot upon the soil of which they 
claim to be the undisputed masters. Now that they have 
been thus met, and their utmost force defied, resisted, 
and utterly broken and routed, the lesson will be a 
valuable one, not only in its effect upon these par 
ticular bands, but upon all the tribes of the North 
west 

When we went into camp, on the banks of Apple 
river, a few mounted Indians could alone be seen. 
Early next morning, I dispatched Col. McPhail with 
the companies of the Mounted Hangers, and the two 
six-pounders, to harass and retard the retreat of the 
Indians across the Missouri river, and followed with 
the main column, as rapidly as possible ; we reached 
the woods, on the border of that stream, shortly after 
noon, on the 28th ; but the Indians had crossed their 
families, during the preceding night, and it took but a 
short time for the men to follow them, on their ponies. 
The hills, on the opposite side, were covered with the 
men, and they had probably formed the determination 
to oppose our passage of the river, both sides of which 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP 399 

were here covered with a dense growth of underbrush 
and timber, for a space of more than a mila 

I dispatched Col. Crooks, with his regiment, which 
was, in turn, in the advance, to clear the river of In 
dians, which he successfully accomplished, without loss, 
although fired upon, fiercely, from the opposite side. 
He reported to me that a large quantity of transporta 
tion, including carts, wagons, and other vehicles, had 
been left behind in the woods. 

I transmitted, through Mr. Beever, a volunteer Aid 
on my Staff, an order to Col. Crooks, to return to the 
main column, with his regiment, the object I had in 
view, in detaching him, being fully attained. The or 
der was received, and Mr. Beever was entrusted with 
a message, in return, containing information desired by 
me, when, on his way to headquarters, he unfortunately 
took the wrong trail, and was, the next day, found 
where he had been set upon and killed by an outlaying 
party of the enemy. His death occasioned much re 
gret to the command, for he was esteemed by all for 
his devotion to duty, and for his modest and gentle 
manly deportment 

A private of the 6th regiment, who had taken the 
same trail, was also shot to death with arrows, probably 
by the same party. 

There being no water to be found on the prairie, I 
proceeded down the Missouri to the nearest point on 
Apple river, opposite Burnt Boat Island, and made 
my camp. The following day, Col. Crooks, with a 
strong detachment of eleven companies of infantry and 



400 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

dismounted cavalry, and three guns, under the com 
mand of Capt Jones, was dispatched to destroy the 
property left in the woods, which was thoroughly per 
formed, with the aid of Lieut. Jones, and a portion of 
the Pioneer Corps. From one hundred and twenty to 
one hundred and fifty wagons arid carts were thus dis 
posed of During this time, the savages lay concealed 
in the grass, on the opposite side of the river, ex 
changing occasional volleys with our men. Some ex 
ecution was done upon them, by the long range arms of 
the infantry and cavalry, without injury to any one of 
my command. 

I waited two days in camp T hoping to open commu 
nication with General Sully, who, with his compara 
tively fresh mounted force, could easily have followed 
up and destroyed the enemy we had so persistently 
hunted. 

The long and rapid marches had very much debili 
tated the infantry, and as for the horses of the cavalry, 
and the mules employed in the transportation, they 
were utterly exhausted. 

Under the circumstances, I felt that this column had 
done everything possible, within the limits of human 
and animal endurance, and that a further pursuit would 
not only be useless, as the Indians could cross and re- 
cross the river in much less time than could my com 
mand, and thus evade me, but would necessarily be at 
tended with the loss of many valuable lives. 

For three successive evenings, I caused the cannon 
to be fired, and signal rockets sent up, but all these 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 401 

elicited no reply from General Sully, and I am appre 
hensive he has been detained by insurmountable obsta 
cles.* The point struck by me on the Missouri, is 
about forty miles, by land, below Fort Clark, in lati 
tude forty-six degrees forty-two minutes longitude, 
one hundred degrees thirty-five minutes. 

The military results of the expedition have been 
highly satisfactory. A march of nearly six hundred 
miles from St. Paul has been made, in a season of 
fierce heats and unprecedented drouth, when even the 
most experienced voyageurs predicted the impossibil 
ity of such a movement ; a vigilant and powerful, as 
well as confident, enemy was found, successively routed 
in three different engagements, with a loss of at least 
one hundred and fifty killed and wounded of his 
best and bravest warriors, and his beaten forces driven 
in confusion and dismay, with the sacrifice of vast 
quantities of subsistence, clothing, and means of trans 
portation, across the Missouri river, many, perhaps 
most of them, to perish miserably in their utter desti 
tution, during the coming fall and winter. 

These fierce warriors of the prairie have been taught 
by dear bought experience, that the long arm of the 
government can reach them in their most distant 
haunts, and punish them for their misdeeds ; that they 
are utterly powerless to resist the attacks of a disci- 



**While Gen. Sibley was pushing his forces to the South-west, General Sully 
was moving up the Missouri, in the opposite direction, to cut off the retreat of the 
fleeing foe ; and on the 4th of September, surprised four hundred of their lodges, 
fought and dispersed them with a loss of fifty men, and killing more than twice 
that number of the enemy, capturing provisions, furs, horses, and ammunition, 
and regaining a large amount of property, taken in the raid of the previous year. 

Qt 



402 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

plined force, and that but for the interposition of a 
mighty stream between us and them, the utter destruc 
tion of the great camp containing all their strength 
was certain. It would have been gratifying to us all, 
if the murdering remnant of the Meda-wakanton and 
Wak-paton bands could have been extirpated, root 
and branch, but as it is, the bodies of many of the 
most guilty have been left on the prairie, to be de 
voured by wolves and foxes. 

I am gratified to be able to state that the loss sus 
tained by my column in actual combat was very small. 
Four men of the cavalry were killed, and four wounded, 
one, I fear, fatally. One private of the same regiment 
was killed by lightning, during the first engagement, 
and Lieut Freeman of company "D" also of the 
Mounted Kangers, a valuable officer, was pierced to 
death by arrows, on the same day, by a party of hos 
tile Indians, while, without my knowledge, he was en 
gaged in hunting at a distance from the main column. 
The bodies of the dead were interred with funeral 
honors, and the graves secured from desecration by 
making them in the semblance of ordinary rifle pits. 

It would give me pleasure to designate by name all 
those of the splendid regiments and corps of my com 
mand who have signalized themselves by their gallant 
conduct, but as that would really embrace officers and 
men, I must content myself by bringing to the notice 
of the Major General commanding, such as came im 
mediately under my observation. 

I cannot speak too highly of Colonels Crooks and 
Baker, and Lieut Colonel Marshall, commanding re- 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 403 

spectively the 6th, 10th and 7th regiments, Minnesota 
Volunteers, and of Lieut. Colonels Averill and Jenni- 
son, and Majors McLaren and Bradley, and of the line 
officers and men of these regiments. They have de 
served well of their country and of their State. They 
were ever on hand to assist me in my labors, and 
active, zealous, and brave in the performance of duty. 

Of GoL McPhail, commanding the Mounted Ean- 
gers, and of Majors Parker and Hayes, and the com 
pany officers and men generally, I have the honor to 
state, that as the cavalry was necessarily more exposed 
and nearer the enemy than the other portions of the 
command, so they alike distinguished themselves by 
unwavering courage and splendid fighting qualities. 

The great destruction dealt out to the Indians is 
mostly attributable to this branch of the service, al 
though many were killed or disabled by the Artillery 
and Infantry also. 

Captain Jones and his officers and men were ever at 
their posts, and their pieces were served with much 
skill and effect 

To Captain Chase of the Pioneers and his invalua 
ble company, the expedition has been greatly indebted 
for service in the peculiar line for which they were de 
tailed. 

Captain Baxter's company H, of the 9th regiment, 
having been attached to the 10th regiment, as a part 
of its organization temporarily, upheld its high repu 
tation for efficiency, being the equal in that regard of 
any other company. 



404 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

The Surgical Department of the expedition was 
placed by me in charge of Surgeon Wharton, as Med 
ical Director, who has devoted himself zealously and 
efficiently to his duties. 

In his official report to these head-quarters, he ac 
cords due credit to the Surgeons and Assistants of the 
several regiments present with them. Of the mem 
bers of my own staff I can affirm that they have been 
equal to the discharge of the arduous duties imposed 
upon them. 

Captain Olin r my Assistant Adjutant General, has 
afforded me great assistance, and for their equal gal 
lantry and zeal may be mentioned Captains Pope and 
Atchinson, Lieutenants Pratt and Hawthorn, and Cap 
tain Fox, temporarily attached to my staff, his com 
pany having been left at Camp Atchinson. 

The Quartermaster of the expedition, Captain Corn 
ing, and Captain Kimball, Assistant Quartermaster, in 
charge of the pontoon train, have discharged their la 
borious duties faithfully and satisfactorily; and for 
Captain Forbes, Commissary of Subsistence, I can bear 
witness that but for his activity, attention, and busi 
ness capacity, the interests of the Government would 
have suffered much more than they did, by the mise 
rable state in which many of the packages containing 
subsistence stores, were found. 

Chief Guides, Major J. R Brown and Pierre Bot- 
tineau, have been of the greatest service by their ex 
perience and knowledge of the country ; and the In 
terpreter, Eev. Mr. Eiggs, has also rendered much as 
sistance in the management of the scouts. The scouts 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 405 

generally, including the Chiefs McLeod and Duly, have 
made themselves very useful to the expedition, and 
have proved themselves faithful, intrepid and intelli 
gent 

I have the honor to transmit herewith the reports of 
Colonels Crooks, Baker, and Lieut. Colonel Marshall, 
commanding respectively the 6th, 10th and 7th regi 
ments of Minnesota Volunteers, and of Colonel Mc- 
Phail, commanding 1st regiment Minnesota Mounted 
Rangers. 

I am, Major, very respectfully, 

Your obedient servant, 

H. H. SIBLEY, 
Brig. General Commanding. 



CHAPTER LXXIV. 

OFFICIAL REPORTOF BRIGADIER GENE 
RAL ALFRED SULLY. 

HEAD-QUARTERS INDIAN EXPEDITION, CAMP AT 1 
MOUTH OF LITTLE SHEYENNE RIVER, 

Sept. llth, 1863. ) 

MAJOR : The last report I had the honor to send 
you was from the mouth of the Little Sheyenne 
river, bearing date August 16, 1863 ; since which 
time my movements have been too rapid and the 
danger of sending any communication such that it 
has been impossible for me to do so. I therefore have 
the honor to report my movements from last report up 
to date. 

On the morning of the 19th, the steamer I was wait 
ing for with supplies finally arrived. She was imme 
diately unloaded, and all the baggage of the officers 
and men of the command was sent down by her to 
the depot at Ft. Pierre, together with every man 
who was in the least sick or not well mounted. By 
this I reduced my force considerably, and was enabled 
to transport, with the wretched mule that had been 
furnished me, about three days' rations and forage 
enough to keep these transportation animals alive, 
depending on grass I might find, to feed the cavalry 
and artillery horses. Luckily for me, I found the 
grazing north much better than I had dared to hope for. 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 407 

On the 20th, were visited by one of the most terrific 
rain and hail storms I have seen. This stampeded 
some of my animals and a few were lost they swam 
across the Missouri and it also destroyed a quantity 
of my rations in the wagons, thereby causing me some 
delay in the march ; but I succeeded in getting off the 
afternoon of the 21st, and marched up the Little 
Sheyenne about eleven miles, the road being very 
heavy. The next day we marched only seven miles, 
camping on a slough on the prairie without wood. 
The next day we marched in a north-westerly direction 
to the outlet of Swan lake. On the 24th, we march 
ed due north, eighteen miles, and encamped on a 
small creek, called Bois Cache. Here we came 
into the buffalo country, and I formed a hunting 
party for the command, which I had soon to disband, 
as they disabled more horses than buffalo. We con 
tinued our march north about twenty-two miles and 
reached a small stream called Bird Archie creek. 
This day the hunters succeeded in killing many buffalo, 
and reported that they saw Indians near the Missouri. 

Early on the morning of the 28th, I sent out a 
small scouting party, who captured two squaws and 
some children and brought them into me. These In 
dians reported that Gen. Sibley had had a fight near 
the head of Long lake, and that they were on their 
way to the Agency at Crow creek, but were lost, and 
were alone ; but the scouts found tracks of lodges 
going up the Missouri. I therefore immediately de 
tailed companaies F and K of the 2d Nebraska caval 
ry, under command of Captain La Boo, ordering them 



408 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

to go to the Missouri, and follow up the trail, with 
orders to capture some Indians if possible and bring 
them in, so that I might get information ; if they could 
not do that, to kill them and destroy the camps. I 
continued the- march with the rest of the command 
that day, passing through large herds of buffalo, and 
was obliged to make a march of thirty -five miles before 
I could reach water. The weather was very hot, and 
it was night before we reached camp on the Beaver 
river. 

On the 27th, I started late, having had some diffi 
culty in crossing the river, making a march of five 
miles still in a northerly direction, and encamped on 
another branch of the same river. Company K of the 
2d Nebraska joined me this day, having been separated 
from the other company. The next day we had to 
make some deviations to the west, on account of hills 
and sloughs, and made the outlet of Long lake, a 
march of about twenty miles. On the way we saw 
numerous signs of Indians in large numbers having 
been recently there, and found an old lame Indian 
concealed in the bushes, who was well known by many 
of the men of the command as having for some years 
resided near Sioux city. He had the reputation of 
being what is called a "good Indian." He stated that 
"his horse had been taken away from him and that he 
had been left there." He looked almost starved to 
death. He gave me the following details, which have 
since mostly turned out to be correct : he stated "Gen. 
Sibley had fought the Indians at the head of Long 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. \ 409 

lake, fifty miles north-east from me, some weeks ago ; 
that he followed them down to the mouth of Apple 
creek ; that the Indians attacked him on the way, and 
that there was some skirmishing. 

"At Apple creek, Sibley had another fight, and that 
in all the fights, about fifty-eight Indians were killed ; 
that Gen. Sibley fortified his camp at Apple creek, 
and after a while returned to James river ; that a few 
days after Gen. Sibley left, the Indians, who had their 
scouts out watching, recrossed the Missouri, and while 
doing so, discovered a Mackinaw boat on its way down. 
They attacked the boat, fought the entire day until 
sundown, sunk her, and killed all on board twenty- 
one men, three women and some children ; that before 
she was sunk, the fire from the boat killed ninety-one 
Indians, and wounded many more ; that a small war 
party followed Sibley some days, returned with the 
report that he had crossed the James river ; then some 
of the Indians went north ; the larger portion, however, 
went towards the head of Long lake ; and that he 
thought a portion of them were encamped on the Mis 
souri river west of me." 

The report was so much in keeping with the Indian 
mode of warfare, that though it came from an Indian, 
I was led to give it some consideration, particularly 
the part that stated the Indians, after watching Sibley's 
return, recrossed, when all danger was over, and went 
back to their old hunting grounds. Besides, the 
guides who were acquainted with the country, stated 
that "a large body of Indians could not live on the 



410 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

other side long, without going a great distance west ; 
that always at this season of the year the Indians 
camped on the Octeau, near the tributaries of the 
James, where the numerous lakes or springs kept the 
grass fresh ; here the buffalo were plenty, and the lakes 
and streams full of fish ; and that here they prepared 
their meat for the winter, moving to the Missouri 
where the fuel was plenty to winter." I therefore de 
termined to change my course towards the east, to 
move rapidly, and go as far as my rations would allow. 

I felt serious alarm for the safety of Capt. LaBoo, 
who had but fifty men with him, and who had already 
been out over two days without rations. I encamped 
here for the next day, and sent out four companies of 
the 2d Nebraska and of the 6th Iowa, under command 
of Major Pearman, 2d Nebraska, to hunt him up, 
and see if there were any Indians on the Missouri 
The next day, however, Capt. LaBoo's company re 
turned, having made a march of one hundred and 
eighty-seven miles, living upon what buffalo and game 
they could kill, scouring the country to my left, over 
taking the camp of ten lodges he was sent after, des 
troying them, but seeing no Indians. 

This same day, (29th,) I sent two companies of the 
6th Iowa to the mouth of Apple creek. They report-' 
ed, on their return, that they found the fortified camp 
of Gen. Sibley, his trail, and his return trail towards 
the east ; that they could see no signs of there having 
been any fight there, nor could they see the Mackinaw 
boat reported by the old Indian. This detachment was 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 411 

under command of Captain Cram, 6th Iowa. The bat 
talion of Major Pearman joined me before starting, 
having seen nothing, and, after a march of above nine 
ty miles, through a country with no wood whatever, 
but with good grass and plenty of lakes, of the most 
abominable water. On the 3d of September, we reach 
ed a lake, where, on the plains near by, were the re 
mains of a very large number of buffalo killed, some 
quite recently. Here I encamped, to wait the reports 
of the commands I had out, during the march, who, 
every day, discovered fresh signs of Indians, their 
lodge trails spread over the country, but all moving 
towards a point known to be a favorite haunt of the 
Indians. I had this day detailed one battalion of the 
6th Iowa, Maj. House commanding, and Mr. F. La 
Framboise, as guide, to keep ahead of me five miles, 
and, in case they saw a small band of Indians, to attack 
them, or take them prisoners. If they should find a 
large band, too large to successfully cope with, to watch 
the camp at a distance, and send back word to me, my 
intention being to leave my train under charge of a 
heavy guard, move up in the night time, so as to sur 
round them, and attack them at daybreak. But, for 
some reason, satisfactory to the guide, he bore off much 
to my left, and came upon the Indians, in an encamp 
ment of over four hundred lodges, some say six hun 
dred, in ravines, where they felt perfectly secure, being 
fully persuaded that I was still on my way up the Mis 
souri. This is what the Indian prisoners say. They 
also state that a war party followed me on my way up, 
in hopes of stampeding me ; but this they could not 



412 DAKOTA WAK WHOOP. 

do. I marched with great care, with an advance guard 
and flankers; the train in two lines, sixty paces 
apart ; the troops 011 each side ; in front and centre, 
myself, with one company and the battery ; all the loose 
stock was kept between the lines of wagons. In this 
way, I lost no animals on the campaign, except some 
few, about a dozen, that got out of camp at night. Nor 
did the Indians, during all the trip, ever attack me, or 
try to stampede me. 

Major House, according to my instructions, endeav 
ored to surround and keep in the Indians until word 
could be sent me ; but this was an impossibility with 
his 300 men, as the encampment was very large, mus 
tering at least 1,200 warriors. This is what the Indians 
say they had ; but I, as well as everybody in the com 
mand, say over 1,500. These Indians were partly San- 
tees from Minnesota, Cut-heads from the Coteau, Yank- 
tonais and Blackfeet, who belong on the other side of 
the Missouri; and, as I have since learned, Unkapa- 
pas, the same party who fought General Sibley, and 
destroyed the Mackinaw boat. Of this I have unmis 
takable proof, from letters and papers found in camp, 
and on the persons of some of the Indians, besides rel 
ics of the Minnesota massacre ; also from the fact that 
they told Mr. La Framboise, the guide, when he was 
surrounded by about 200 of them, that "they had 
fought Gen. Sibley, and they did not see why the whites 
wanted to come and fight them, unless they were tired 
of living, and wanted to die." Mr. La Framboise suc 
ceeded in getting away from them, after some difficulty, 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 413 

and ran his horse a distance of more than ten miles, to 
give me information, Major House, with his command, 
still remaining there. He reached me a little after four 
o'clock. I immediately turned out m y command. The 
horses, at the time, were out grazing. At the sound 
of the bugle, the men rushed, with a cheer, and in a 
very few minutes, saddled up and were in line. I left 
four companies, and all the men who were poorly 
mounted, in the camp, with orders to strike the tents 
and corral the wagons, and starting off with the 2d 
Nebraska on the right, the 6th Iowa on the left, one 
company of the 7th Iowa, and the battery in the cen 
tre, at a full gallop, we made the distance of over ten 
miles in much less than an hour. 

On reaching near the ground, I found that the enemy 
were leaving and carrying off what plunder they could. 
Many lodges, however, were still standing. I ordered 
Col. Furnas, 2d Nebraska, to push his horses to the 
utmost, so as to reach the camp, and assist Major House 
in keeping the Indians corraled. This order was obey 
ed with great alacrity, the regiment going over the 
plains at a full run. I was close upon the rear of the 
regiment with the 6th Iowa. The 2d Nebraska took 
the right of the camp, and was soon lost in a cloud of 
dust, over the hills. I ordered Col. Wilson, 6th Iowa, 
to take the left, while I, with the battery, one. company 
of the 7th Iowa, Capt. Millard, and two companies of 
the 6th Iowa, Major Ten Broeck commanding, charged 
through the centre of the encampment. I here found 
an Indian chief, by the name of Little Soldier, with 
some few of his people. This Indian has always had 



414 DAKOTA WAK WHOOP. 

the reputation of being a "good Indian," and friendly. 
I placed them under guard, and moved on. Shortly 
after, I met with the notorious chief, Big Head, and 
some of his men. They were dressed for a fight, but 
my men cut them off. These Indians, together with 
some of their warriors, mustering about thirty, together 
with squaws, children, ponies and dogs, gave them 
selves up, numbering over 120 human beings. About 
the same time, firing began, about a half a mile from 
me, ahead, and was kept up, becoming more and more 
brisk, until it was quite a respectable engagement. A 
report was brought to me, (which proved to be false,) 
that the Indians were driving back some of my com 
mand. I immediately took possession of the hillocks 
near by, forming line, and placing the battery in the 
centre, on a high knoll. At this time, night had about 
set in, but still the engagement was briskly kept up, 
and in the melee it was hard to distinguish my line 
from that of the enemy. The Indians made a very 
desperate resistance, but finally broke and fled, pursued 
in every direction by bodies of my troops. I would 
here state, that the troops, though mounted, were arm 
ed with rifles, and, according to my orders, most of 
them dismounted and fought afoot, until the enemy 
broke, when they re-mounted and went in pursuit. It 
is to be regretted that I could not have had an hour or 
two more of daylight, for I feel sure, if I had, I could 
have annihilated the enemy. As it was, I believe I 
can safely say, I gave them one of the most severe pun 
ishments that the Indians have ever received. After 
night set in, the engagement was of such a promiscu- 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 415 

ous nature, that it was hard to tell what results would 
happen ; I therefore ordered all the buglers to sound 
the "rally," and building large fires, remained under 
arms, during night, collecting together my troops. 

The next morning, early, (the 4th,) I established my 
camp on the battle field, the wagon train, under charge 
of Major Pearman, 2d Nebraska, having, in the night, 
been ordered to join me, and sent out strong scouting 
parties, in different directions, to scour the country, to 
overtake what Indians they could ; but in this they 
were not very successful, though some of them had 
some little skirmishes. They found the dead and 
wounded in all directions, some of them miles from the 
battle field ; also immense quantities of provisions, 
baggage, &c., where they had apparently cut loose their 
ponies from "travailles," and got off on them ; also 
numbers of ponies and dogs, harnessed to "travailles," 
running all over the prairie. One party that I sent 
out, went near to the James river, and found there, 
eleven dead Indians. The deserted camp of the In 
dians, together with the country all around, was cover 
ed with their plunder. I devoted this day, together 
with the following, (the 5th,) to destroying all this 
property, still scouring the country. I do not think I 
exaggerate in the least, when I say that I burned up 
over four or five hundred thousand pounds of dried 
buffalo meat, as one item, besides three hundred lodges 
and a very large quantity of property, of great value 
to the Indians. A very large number of ponies were 
found dead and wounded on the field ; besides a large 
number were captured. The prisoners (some 130) I 



416 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

take with me below, and shall report to you more spec 
ially in regard to them. 

The surgeon of the 2d Nebraska- regiment, Dr. 
Bowen, who has shown a great energy and desire to 
attend to his duties during the campaign, started out 
during the night of the engagement with a party of 
fifteen men, to go back to the old camp to procure am 
bulances. But as they did not return on the morning 
of the second day, I knew he was either lost or cap 
tured. (He returned about noon of the second day.) 
I therefore sent out small scouting parties in every 
direction to hunt them up. One of these fell into an 
ambuscade, by which four of the party were killed 
and the rest driven in. I immediately sent out five 
companies of the 2d Nebraska regiment, Colonel Fur- 
nas in command, who, after a long march, found the 
Indians had fled. They succeeded, however, in over 
taking three concealed in some tall grass, whom they 
killed. The fight has been so scattered, the dead In 
dians have been found in so many different places, 
that it is impossible for me to give an accurate report 
of the number killed of the enemy. I, however, think 
I am safe in reporting it at 100. (I report those that 
were left on the field and that my scouting parties 
found.) 

During the engagement, for some time, the 2d Ne 
braska, afoot and armed with rifles, and there are 
among them probably some of the best shots in the 
world, were engaged with the enemy at a distance not 
over sixty paces, pouring on them a murderous fire in 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 417 

a ravine where the enemy were posted. The slaugh 
ter, therefore, was immense. My officers and the 
guides I have with me think one hundred and fifty 
will not cover their loss. The Indian reports make it 
two hundred. That the General may know the exact 
locality of the battle-field, I would state that it was, as 
near as I could judge, fifteen miles west of James 
river, and about half way between the latitudes of 
Bonebut and headwaters of Elm river, as laid down 
on the government map. The fight took place near a 
hill called by the Indians White Stone Hill. 

In conclusion, I would state that the troops of my 
command conducted themselves well ; and though it 
was the first that nearly all of them had ever been in, 
they showed that they are of the right material, and 
that in time, with discipline, they will make worthy 
soldiers. It is to be regretted that we lost so many 
valuable lives as we did, but this could not be helped ; 
the Indians had formed a line of battle with good 
judgment, from which they could only be dislodged 
by a charge. I could not use my artillery without 
greatly endangering the lives of my own men ; if I 
could, I could have slaughtered them. 

I send you, accompanying, the reports of Colonel 
Wilson, 6th Iowa," and Colonel Furnas, 2d Nebraska, 
also official reports of killed and wounded, and take 
this occasion to thank both those officers for their good 
conduct and the cheerfulness with which they obeyed 
my orders on the occasion. Both of them had their 
horses shot in the action. I would also request per- 
R 



418 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

mission to state that the several members of my staff 
rendered me every possible assistance. 

On the morning of the 6th, I took up my line of 
march for Fort Pierre. If I could have remained in 
that section of country some two or three weeks, I 
might have accomplished more ; but I was satisfied by 
the reports of my scouts that the Indians had scat 
tered in all directions ; some toward the James river ; 
some, probably the Blackfeet, to recross the Missouri, 
and a part of them went north, where they say they 
have friends among the half-breeds of the north. My 
rations were barely sufficient with rapid marches to 
enable me to reach Fort Pierre. The animals, not only 
the teams I have already reported to you as worthless, 
but also the cavalry horses, showed the effect of rapid 
marching and being entirely without grain. 

I brought with me all the prisoners I had, and tried to 
question them to gain some information. The men re 
fused to say much, except that they are all "good In 
dians," and the other bad ones joined their camp with 
out their will. 

Their squaws, however, corroborate the report I 
have already given you in regard to the destruction of 
the people on board the Mackinaw boat and the fights 
with General Sibley, in which these Indians had a 
part. They also state that the Indians, after recross- 
ing to this side of the Missouri, sent a party to follow 
Sibley until he went to the James river, then returned 
to their camp on Long lake to procure a large quan 
tity of provisions and other articles they had "cached" 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 419 

there, and then came to the camp where I met 
them. 

After marching about one hundred and thirty miles 
we reached the mouth of the Little Sheyenne on the 
llth, where I found the steamboat I had ordered to be 
there on the 8th instant. It was lucky she was there, 
for without the grain she brought up I could not have 
brought my empty wagons back. For some miles 
north of Sheyenne and Pierre, the grass is about all 
gone. I placed my wounded on the boat, and as many 
empty wagons as she could carry. I am afraid the 
loss of horses and mules will be considered very great, 
but it could not be helped. When I found it impos 
sible for the rear guard to get an animal along, I had 
it killed, to prevent its falling into the hands of the 
enemy. 

Yery respectfully, your ob't serv't, 

ALR SULLY, 
Brigadier General Commanding. 

P. S. By actual count, the number of my prison 
ers is one hundred and fifty-six men thirty -twp, 
women and children one hundred and twenty-four. 
I would also beg leave to say that in the action, I had 
of my command between six hundred and seven hun 
dred men actually engaged. My killed number, as 
far as ascertained, twenty ; wounded, thirty-eight. 
Yery respectfully, your ob't serv't, 

ALR SULLY, 
Brigadier General Commanding. 



CHAPTER LXXV. 

THE TIE OF COMRADESHIP THE DEATH OF CHASKA. 

"Among most of the Indian tribes of the North- west 
there exists a tie or degree of relationship, when enter 
ed into by two or more persons in good faith, which is 
more binding than any other known to the savage race. 
It is considered by them far more sacred than the mat 
rimonial tie. It is the tie of comradeship 1 A man 
may, on any pretext whatever, throw away his wife 
and take another, if he chooses, but to his comrade he 
is firmly bound until death separates them. Nothing 
is considered more base or cowardly than to desert 
one's comrade in the hour of danger. 

"Most white persons residing in the Indian country 
endeavor to select some Indian who is possessed of cour 
age, intelligence and a good hunter, and who also can ex 
ert some influence over the band to which he belongs, for 
a comrade ; knowing that in whatever situation he may 
be placed, it is in the power of his Indian friend to 
materially assist him. 

"All Indian traders have comrades upon whom they 
rely to exert their influence to prevent the other In 
dians from trading their furs and skins with any one 
else, and to come up and pay their debts, which, as a 
general thing, they are not very prompt in doing. 
The Indian who stands in this relation to a trader, ex- 



DAKOTA WAB WHOOP. 421 

pects some valuable present from his 'ko-da' or friend, 
for his valuable service, and not unfrequently does he 
give in return the best he can aiford such as a horse, 
or his money when he receives his annuities, &c. But 
the circumstances of the two being taken into con 
sideration, the Indian generally has the best of the 
bargain, for he is poor, and though he returns present 
for present, his offerings of friendship are of so little 
value, generally, that at the end of the year he is 
greatly your debtor. This tie involves the most im 
plicit confidence in each other, and the idea of deceiv 
ing one's friend in any respect whatever, is held most 
dishonorable." 

A compact like the foregoing had long existed 
between Wa-kin-yan-ta-wa, (which means in English 
His Thunder,) or Chaska, as more familiarly known 
to the whites, and George H. Spencer ; and very val 
uable has the reader seen the practical workings of this 
tie to have been. The compact was formed in 1851 at 
Little Crow's Tillage, then located six miles below St. 
Paul, soon after their acquaintance commenced. 
Though an uncultivated Indian, he possessed much 
general intelligence, and was a young man of pleasing 
manners and address, rather good looking, with great 
energy and activity of mind. In 1857 he accompanied 
Little Crow and several of the Chiefs to Washington, 
to see their Great Father, relative to making a treaty 
for a portion of their Reservation. He was distinguish 
ed for bravery on the war path against the hereditary 
enemies of his tribe, and had taken the scalps of seven 
Chippewas, and also killed one of his own tribe, in re- 



422 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

venge for the death of a brother. For several years 
previous to the late outbreak, he had held the dignified 
position of "Head Soldier" to Little Crow. But when 
he refused to act in that capacity, or to join in the war 
against the whites, then the ire of his chief was raised 
against him. The tie of comradeship was stronger than 
the tie of chieftainship. He could break the tie of the 
latter but not of the former. 

When in 1860 his comrade built his trading house 
on the shores of Big Stone lake, Chaska, true to the 
existing relation, insisted on going with him, for, said 
he, "though you may risk yourself there, I will not 
risk you alone with those wild, strange Indians." So 
with wife and children he went, and remained till he 
deemed it safe to leave him. From such rare speci 
mens of manhood have the noble attributes ascribed 
to the Indian character been drawn. But such are 
isolated exceptions. The general rule the standard 
of estimate, appears in bloody boldness all through 
these pages. We love to present a contrast. Like a 
bright star in the rift of tempest-driven clouds, seems 
such an one amid the dark, evil plottings and evil 
workings of his own people. Though their lightnings 
should smite him, he was alike unmindful of persua 
sion or threats, when, in 1862, the horrid massacres 
commenced. We will not say that there was no leav 
ening influence, which produced this pacific state, nor 
will we say it was wholly unmixed with selfishness 
but we aver it was not the predominating idea. 

When his comrade was shot, we have seen how Chas 
ka, at the risk of his own life, true to the existing rela- 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. . 423 

tion, saved him, taking him to his own lodge, washing 
and dressing his wounds, and caring for him, with all 
the watchful love of a tender brother. We have seen 
him active in forming the friendly camp, and getting 
the prisoners into it We have seen him surrendering 
himself to General Sibley, for the crime of being an 
Indian, with a desire of being acquitted, before the 
world, of any complicity in the horrid massacres and 
war which followed. We have seen him avowing a 
readiness to comply with any terms which should ele 
vate him to the dignity of the white man's standard of 
man. 

"I am not pleased to see you in your blanket," said 
Gen. Sibley. 

"Then I will wear it no more." was the prompt re 
ply, pkkcrdft Libtifff 

From that day, save in name and skin, Chaska was, 
to all intents and purposes, a white man. In the ex 
pedition he was very valuable as a scout, and was a 
universal favorite. We have seen him, just before the 
first battle with the Sioux, saving the life of Mr. Brack- 
ett, and in the fight conducting himself with great brave 
ry. At the Missouri river, we hear him trying to per 
suade his friend to return to camp, urging, as a reason, 
I "do not like the way things look here, " a prophetic 
suggestion, for while they were yet speaking, came a 
shower of bullets from the woods and bushes of the 
opposite shore. Even then, Lieut Beever had received 
the fatal arrow shot, and the woods must have been 
full of the foa 

The journey westward was completed. The order 



424 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

for return had been read, and on the first of August, 
faces were turned homeward. Mr. Spencer says of it, 
"on the second, we rode along, talking pleasantly of the 
future, he telling me how he would like to be situated 
on a small piece of land near me, and congratulating 
himself that his trouble was over, and that he would 
soon be restored to the bosom of his family. Alas, for 
my friend ! he now sleeps tranquilly near the turbid 
waters of the Missouri, under the shadows of our in- 
trenchments. Savage though he was, he was a noble 
man !" 

On the evening of the second day after camp was 
formed, he went round to his friend's tent, where he 
knew he was always welcome, and supped with him. 
He spoke of having captured a pack of furs from the 
enemy, which he desired to have taken home in a 
wagon of the Commissary Department ; and for this 
purpose returned to the tent about nine o'clock in the 
evening, and then, in apparent health, went to his own 
quarters for the night. Immediately after he was ta 
ken ill, and sent for his comrade, who hastened to his 
bedside, to find him senseless dying. He talked 
wildly, and predicted a thunder storm, such as should 
shake the earth, and blind the people with its light, 
the day he should be put into the ground, and it was 
as he predicted. He never once recognized the friend 
whose life he had saved, and who, with weeping heart, 
stood by him till the last, and closed his eyes at 11 
o'clock the same evening, at the age of thirty-two. 
There were strong suspicions that poison, administered 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 425 

by some secret foe, was the cause of his death, but 
there was no time for investigation, and the following 
morning, August 3d, Mr. Spencer says, "we laid his 
body in a rifle pit, concealing it, as best we could, to 
prevent the enemy from finding it, and opening the 
grave. He leaves a wife and two interesting children, 
to mourn his untimely end," whom his friends and 
his country will not forget, for he was faithful among 
the faithless. 

Rt 



CHAPTER LXXVI. 

HOME AGAIN. 

Joy, such as only home lovers know, animated the 
hearts and enlivened the steps of the men. Their long, 
weary out-marches were ended, and all had left loved 
ones at home, whose hearts beat in unison with theirs 
to the return music. Every man in that long column 
had acted well his part, without which its history 
would be incomplete. Henceforth, more emphatically 
than ever, they are the sons of the State. A cautious 
and wise policy had been pursued, when a daring, 
dashing, reckless leadership would have brought irre 
trievable disaster to the expedition. Comparatively 
few casualties had occurred. God had evidently been 
with them, and nearly all were returning healthier, 
stronger, and wiser men than when they left. From 
nearly all hearts, devout thanksgiving arose, as the 
distance lessened between them and all held most 
dear. They had left their homes when June's fresh 
roses shed fragrance on their way, through summer's 
intensest heat had wandered through dry and parched 
regions, had met and driven the enemy, and now on 
the first flush of autumn's golden tints, return ; mak 
ing it, if not a complete, a great success. A halo of 
glory enshrouds these weary veterans of the prairies. 
The loud booming cannon announces their approach, 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 427 

and glad hearts bound with joy as they go forth to 
meet and welcome their return. A larger column of 
mothers, wives and children wait with open arms and 
hearts to receive them. .Only a few look in vain for 
those who had gone forth, in the full flush of man 
hood, so full of life, of courage, and hope I* Hearts 
big with sympathy bid them be comforted with the 
hope of reunion in immortal life. 

A halo of glory encircles the brow of the General 
commanding the expedition. High in the confidence 
of the nation, and better fitted for the work assigned 
him than any other man, erect in manhood's glory, 
he stands. Human greatness has been thrust upon 
Nature's nobleman, and fittingly he has worn it all. 

When a few hundred citizens around the region of 
St Anthony's Falls desired to be recognized as the 
Territory of Minnesota, no so fitting a person was 
found to represent their interests in Congress as Henry 
H. Sibley. When this vast territory emerged from its 
minority and took upon itself the privilege of State 
rights, its first elected Governor was Henry H. Sibley. 
Ketiring to private life, as a true citizen, he always 
served its interests; and when called by executive 
power to this most important military post, he accept 
ed the honor and girded on the armor. Promotion 
followed till he ranked among the higher military 
powers of the nation. Surrounded by all this halo of 
earthly glory, he draws near the spot where, in absence, 
memory has delighted to linger. But he is a man, 

*The entire column was decreased but seven. 



428 DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 

with the heart of a man, which has been sorely afflict 
ed since his presence was missed from the home 
circle. How freshly, now he nears that spot, now that 
the responsibilities and excitement of the campaign 
are over, come up the forms of those there left. 
And how, like a surging billow, sweeps over the 
soul the reminder of the fact that two of those forms 
will not bound to meet him ; two of those faces he will 
see no more there ! The tramp of the "pale horse" has 
been heard in his dwelling, and has carried away his 
angel Mary and his only son Frank of eleven years, to a 
land where brighter and perpetual sunshine falls, and 
where shadows will not come. And here, at his own do 
mestic hearth-stone, here, grateful for its remaining 
blessings ; here, listening to the love notes of those 
left to breathe them here, while he plans in more pub 
lic capacity, for the finale of the war till the last echo 
of the Dakotas' war-whoop shall have died on the ear, 
here, with the heart-mellowing influences of home 
loves, we leave him; with the prayer that he may 
receive the full fruition of the promise that "all things 
shall work together for good." 



CONCLUSION. 

Worth and merit form the only true basis for pref 
erment in political, military or civic life. It is a 
pleasure to record the names of those whose laurels 
worn, were won, as of one and another conspicuous in 
this book. 



DAKOTA WAR WHOOP. 429 

When the war-clouds rose on our national horizon, 
the first tender of troops was made by Governor Ram- 
Bey, and as by a stamp of the foot arose the MINNESO 
TA FIRST, led on to a world-wide renown by Colonel 
Gorman* and Stephen Miller, second in command. 
With tear-full hearts we pause to lay the wreath we 
have wrought on the honored graves of the immortal 
slain, and crave a benison on its remnant of veteran 
heroes. 

In response to the 300,000 call, Lieut. Col. Stephen 
Miller was placed in command of the SEVENTH, and in 
the home field, as on the Potomac, was deservedly 
popular. In October, 1863, Col. Stephen Miller was 
promoted to BRIGADIER GENERAL of volunteers, and 
the following month Brigadier General Stephen Mil 
ler was, by an overwhelming majority, elected GOV 
ERNOR OF MINNESOTA. 

* Since Brigadier General. 



D. D. MERRILL, 

Wholesale and Eetail Dealer in 



THIRD STREET, - - ST. PAUL, 
f. <*, 

NORTHWESTERN EXPRESS 

AND MINNESOTA STAGE COMPANY. 

MERCHANTS' HOTEL, 

CORNER THIRD AND JACKSON STS., 

ST, PAUL, MINNESOTA, 
J. J. SHAW, Proprietor. 



JOHN F. HA YENS, 

$0tttrf0v at 

CANTON, ST, LAWEEFOE 00,, N. T, 



AMERICAN HOUSE, 

Corner of Third and Fulton Sts., 

TROY, NEW-YORK. 
LUCIUS WRIGHT, ....... Proprietor. 











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