Memories of the Dakota Sioux War, 1862: Two Eyewitness Accounts of the Uprising in Southwest Minnesota----Recollections of the Sioux Massacre by Oscar Garrett Wall & Reminiscences of the Little Crow Uprising by Asa W. Daniels
The Indian War fought during the American Civil War
The Dakota Sioux War (also known as the Little Crow Uprising and Little Crow's War, named after the Sioux leader) raged briefly from August to December, 1862 along the Minnesota River. The native Americans had suffered the indignities and privations of broken treaties and promises which inevitably led to violence. It is recognised that Indian Agents were guilty of violations of the law including frauds. Farms and settlements were attacked, most notably at the Redwood Agency, Milford, Leavenworth and Sacred Heart. Fort Ridgely and the township of New Ulm were assaulted and military forces suffered a significant defeat at The Battle of Birch Coulee. Attacks on stagecoach stations, forts and settlements spread into Northern Minnesota before the Sioux were eventually defeated. Hundreds of settlers and soldiers had been killed. Reprisals were brutal including the mass execution of thirty-eight Sioux warriors. This book contains two accounts of those turbulent times. The second very short account has been included in this Leonaur edition since it was considered unlikely to be republished individually.
Leonaur editions are newly typeset and are not facsimiles; each title is available in softcover and hardback with dustjacket.
At that moment that terrible blood-curdling war-whoop of the Sioux, that no white man has ever succeeded in imitating, was sounded. At the same time White Dog discharged his gun and jumped back off the log. I felt a sharp pain in my side and back, and began to sink down. I first thought one of the boys had accidentally hit me with the butt of his gun. Then I heard a general discharge of guns and a chorus of yells, and saw two or three other boys fall.
I put my hand to my side and found a bullet-hole through me. I then tried to get up, but to do so was obliged to take my cartridge-belt off. While lying on the bank of the river many balls struck near me and threw sand in my face. I at last succeeded in getting up. I started back along the road we had just come in over. The grass seemed to be full of Indians as I ran back. I ran into the ferryman’s house. While in there the balls pattered through the house and the window. The building was deserted, and I saw it would not do to stay there, so I ran out and across the road to the barn.
Here I found Comrade John Parks, lying badly wounded. I tried to help him up, but he could not stand. As I could do him no good, I ran on into the brush and tall grass. I saw three of our boys standing with their backs to a tree, each facing a different direction, and shooting as fast as they could load their guns. I ran toward them, intending to take the other quarter of the tree, thinking it possible that four of us might be able to make a stand, but just as I reached the tree the last one of them fell. I looked in the direction from which I thought the balls had come, and saw an Indian in the act of reloading his gun. I took a quick aim and fired, and had the satisfaction of seeing him fall. I then loaded my gun from the ammunition of Corporal Joseph Bette, and once more started for the brush.
As I ran, Comrade Edwin F. Cole came into the path in front of me. I told him to run faster. He said, “I cannot; I am wounded.” I asked him where, and he held out his left hand, which appeared to be shattered. Lifting his left hand turned him into a path to the left I took the path to the right. Just then I heard a racket in front I dropped down and began crawling into the grass. My feet were still in the path, when Ezekiel Rose, our fifer, ran over my feet with two Indians in hot pursuit, but by some means Rose escaped. I then concluded to hide. I crawled under some wild morning-glory vines and reached back and straightened up the grass. Just then I heard Comrade Cole cry out as if in great pain, and heard two Indians laugh and call him a squaw. He continued to beg, so I concluded they were torturing him in some way.
At first, I thought to get up and try to help him. Then reason came to me, and I knew I could not save him, even if I gave my life for him. While these thoughts were running through my head, I heard the most sickening sound imaginable. It was a blow with a tomahawk, and poor Cole was no more. Had I made a move in his defence it would have only added one more to that awful slaughter. The Indians then lit their pipes and sat down to smoke. I could distinctly smell their “kinikanic.” They could not have been more than ten or twelve feet from me. They soon left, and all became quiet. . . . .
The battle at the ferry began at about 1:30 o’clock p. m., and lasted about 20 minutes. There were 22 killed outright, and 5 were wounded who escaped and reached Fort Ridgely between that time and 2 o’clock a. m. of the 20th. . . . .I lay concealed in the grass from near 2 o’clock p. m. until dark. It was a very warm day (August 18th) and I suffered from thirst. I could hear an Indian boy or squaw occasionally, not far away, and knew it was not safe to show myself. When it grew dark, I attempted to get up, but was so stiff and sore it was all I could do to rise, and I was obliged to leave my gun in the grass. I started toward a small lake to get a drink, but I was so sore and the ground was so uneven I moved with great effort. My feet would catch in some vine or root and cause me to stumble and almost fall, and every jar caused me great pain. I was obliged to go very slow, and feel my way carefully.
I at last succeeded in reaching the lake. After quenching my thirst, I concluded to lie down and wait for daylight before attempting to go farther. The mosquitoes were very troublesome all night. At times I think I must have lost my reason. I could not sleep much, and would rouse up and find myself talking to Jack Fauver of our company, who drove the ambulance, but who of course was miles away, if alive. I would thank him for coming after me, or ask him not to go and leave me. Then again, I would keep still and think I was hiding from the Indians.
Morning came at last, and as soon as it was light enough, I once more got up by the aid of a tree and started for Fort Ridgely. which was still twelve miles distant; I dared not go out into the open road, or show myself in the open grass land, but kept in the brush. It was very slow, and hard work to get along, so about the middle of the afternoon I ventured out into the wild meadow, there having been no signs of Indians, and was getting along better; but on looking around I saw four Indians. I was first attracted to them by the tinkling of little bells on their ponies. They were on the road on the hill, about a quarter of a mile away. They had just passed a thicket, and come in sight of the open space I had entered. I dropped into the grass, which was waist-high, and at once ran to the lake, which was only a few yards distant.