Saturday, June 30, 2012

Sioux Indian Massacres of 1862

By Adrian J. Ebell.

Court House of the military commission
Let us take one of the lines of railroad that, after crossing the rolling prairies of Wisconsin or the flat plains of Illinois, reach a ter­minus on the banks of the Mississippi - let it be the latter. After a ride over a track converging to a focus behind us from its unbroken straightness, we are puffed and steamed into Fulton. Don't be in a hurry to get on, for if the steam­boat agent told you that the packet would be up to-morrow morning, you may look for it about twelve hours later. First a shriek, next a dense black smoke, and then a floating island, loaded with men, women, children, horses, boxes, bar­rels, boats, coils of rope, piles of wood, bundles, and bandboxes, turns the bend of the river and glides to the edge of the warehouse. Be quick, and don't obstruct the gangway, lest you be jostled into the river by the porters. An­other shriek, a few puffs and groans, a huge splashing, and the leviathan is again in motion, steaming its way up the current until, passing prairies stretching away to the foot of the Black Hills, Indian mounds, timber-rafts, flat-boats, villages which expect to become cities, we at last reach St. Paul.


Here we are told that the payment of annui­ties to the Sioux Indians, due them three months ago, is soon to be made at the Upper Agency, on the Yellow Medicine River; and that for it thousands of Dahkotahs have collected from the little brick farm-houses the Government has built for them, from their sycamore-bark vil­lages, and from their far distant hunting-grounds. Long trains of them, with the poles and skin-coverings of their teepees, their furs, medicine-bags, and other portable effects, drawn by dogs or dragged along on a platform of two poles joined in the middle, one end resting on a band across the back of an ox or Indian pony, the other trailing upon the ground.


That we may be there during this payment we re-ship ourselves on a smaller boat, and again plow our journey up the tortuous meanderings of the River Minnesota, "Muddy Waters," until at length we reach Saint Peter.

Breakfast on the prarie
Two miles below, in an angular bend of the river, stands Traverse des Sioux, where, but four or five years past, the late treaty with the Dahkotahs was compacted, by which they relin­quished their lands on these borders and below to the Mississippi. Then it was but an Indian trading-post, now a flourishing town. Thence, for the Upper Agency, let us engage our seats in the weekly stage, or take a two-horse convey­ance for ourselves alone and journey on with but necessary stoppages at the "Prairie Hotel," "Traveler's Home," etc. On the road we pass numerous wagons heavily ladened, mainly with flour and other commodities for the annuity Indians, after the traders have cleared from one to five hundred percent on them. Yonder is Fort Ridgely, just across that wooded ravine. From here it appears almost impregna­ble; but how different on a nearer approach!

Another creek, three miles farther on: they call it the "Three-mile Creek." Notice it well, for we may have occasion to come here again. There are some large army wagons filled with soldiers approaching us from the other side. Let us ask that young lieutenant, with his pants tucked to the knees, in cavalry-boots and lug­ging his sword across his shoulder, whence they are.

Blandly we are informed that the hordes of Indians lately assembled at the Yellow Medicine Agency, growing impatient from the delay of their annuities, had evinced signs of dissatisfac­tion, and even threatened violence. For greater security, a company of volunteers stationed at Fort Ridgely had been sent for. On their ar­rival at the Agency a thousand Indian warriors, mounted on their ponies and several thousand more on foot, all painted, with their war cos­tumes, surrounded them, and declared that if a soldier advanced a step farther - if a gun was raised, or a match applied to a cannon, they would kill and scalp every white man they could lay their hands on. A volley and a charge would undoubtedly have cleared a space immediately around our troops: but they were outnumbered thirty to one; what should they do? Major Gal­braith, the Indian Agent, loth to permit such demonstrations to pass un-resisted, was urgent to give them at least one volley, or sufficient to dis­perse them; but the officers thought it useless to attempt to cope with such numbers.

Camp Lincoln
The Indians, seeing our soldiers unmoved, and apparently awaiting an attack, turned their attention to a more easy and less dangerous con­quest - the goods and flour in the warehouse. A few blows with tomahawks and hatchets soon shivering the fragile doors, in they went - the braves commencing to open boxes and barrels, while the squaws were adjusting their blankets to bear out the spoils. But before they had progressed far, a line of bristling bayonets being brought to bear upon them, they scattered as if a hornet's nest had been disturbed in their midst.

Major Galbraith, as soon as he could get them sufficiently quieted, addressing them through Antoine Freniere, the interpreter, explained as best he could the reasons of delay; and told them that he would then distribute their blank­ets, with which he desired them to return to their hunting-grounds and homes, as he would send a messenger after them as soon as the an­nuity moneys should come. Reluctantly, with ill-grace, they conceded; and taking each his blanket, with a dark scowl they turned again to their lodges.

Similar demonstrations had occurred before, and like them this was also supposed wholly to have blown over. There being then no longer any need at the Agency for military support, the company had been ordered to report back at Fort Ridgely.

Some eighteen miles farther and again an­other ravine, Birch Cooley, portions of it thick­ly wooded, and closely filled with birch and willow brush and tall reeds; admirably adapted for a camp ground, if easy access to wood and water are the desired requisites; but if security from surprise to the encamped is demanded one of the last places to be chosen. How this was subsequently illustrated we shall see in the course of our narrative.

In due time we again come to the river - the same Minnesota. After crossing a bottom of a couple of miles in width, amidst tall waving reeds and rushes, we arrive at the ferry oppo­site the Lower Indian Agency. On this side of the river, to our right, by the water's edge, is a Comfortable frame house with several stacks of wheat and hay around it, the abode of the ferry­man. On the farther side, a little above the crossing, is a mill. Safely over the ferry, we wind up a circuitous path to the level of the high table-land; to the Agency buildings, the warehouse, hotel for the Government employee's, small frame church, and traders' houses and stores, that form the nucleus of the Lower In­dian Agency.

Here we first see the Dahkotah or Sioux In­dians at home. Most of those from this vicinity, lately at the Yellow Medicine, have return­ed to their lodges. The "Bucks" are covered nearly from head to foot with their blankets, white, as but a few days ago they received them, or colored with their pigments in rude repre­sentations of heads, skulls, branches of trees, and the like. Their faces are painted, one half perhaps in zigzag stripes, while the other is speck­led as if from a recent attack of measles; or in broad belts around their eyes. They have bows and arrows and double-barreled shot-guns, some with two-thirds of their barrels cut off for con­venience in carrying under their blankets. They saunter around the stores and boarding-houses in groups, smoking their pipes of kinickinick, while the squaws - not infrequently - perform all the work except fighting and eating.

Camp Release
Government has expended large sums of mon­ey to encourage and assist them in the pursuits of civilization. In addition to the yearly an­nuities due each member of a lodge, a civiliza­tion fund provides them with medical attend­ance, builds and furnishes a house, and prepares and stocks a farm with necessary implements and cattle for every Indian who will consent to lay aside his blanket, cut his hair, put on the white man's clothes, and work; and besides pays him so much per yard for all the fence he may erect, for all the new land he may put un­der cultivation, and for every bushel of grain or potatoes he may raise in addition to the full ownership of the same. Yet, for all this, it has been with the greatest difficulty that a few have been persuaded to adopt the dress and the hab­its of the white man. The Indians look upon one of their number who cuts his hair, lays aside his blanket, changes his dress, and goes to work, as having sold his tribal birth-right.

Yet of the few who have been so persuaded, rarely have any gone back to their former hab­its. Their small brick houses, showing in every exterior mark and surrounding that they are not the cottages of Anglo-Americans, dot the prairies between here and the Yellow Medicine, and for miles around and beyond, even as far as Lac Qui Parle, near the sources of the Min­nesota. As we journey on we often find the in­herent Indian chivalry illustrated in the male members of a family lounging with tomahawks and kinickinick pipes round the fence corners, or by the road-sides, basking in the sunlight, while the squaws are chopping wood, hoeing corn or potatoes, or taking care of the cattle.

Another day's travel and we are at the Red Wood River, flowing quite a depth below the level of the prairie. Here its bed widens out into a broad basin sloping from either side in jagged descents, roughened with heaps of boul­ders and slabs of limestone. On the edge of the ravine is a little white plastered church; farther down its side a number of cypress bark Indian huts with as many teepees. Having ford­ed the crossing of the river, let us make a short stay about a mile beyond, at Mr. Reynolds's, who is employed here by the Government as a teacher to the Indians. Not far from his house are a number of wooden boxes, supported on high scaffolding, containing Indian bodies placed there to "dry up." Having here sufficiently refresh­ed ourselves, we journey on by Wood Lake; down the wide and beautiful Yellow Medicine ravine; across the clear, rippling stream; past the traders' store-houses, brick-yard, Government employees' boarding-house, corn-fields, and po­tato patches, to the edge of the farther table­lands; to the Upper Agency buildings - large stone houses, containing the Government stores and residences of the agent, physician, and others.

Dr. Williamson's house
Beyond us, five miles, through an Indian farm­ing district, similar to that through which we have already passed, is Dr. T. S. Williamson's Mission house at Pa-ju-ta Zee-zee. From 1835, first on the banks of the Mississippi, then at Traverse des Sioux, and since in his present position, he has been laboring to civilize and Christianize this people. Two miles farther, ad­joining Mr. Cunningham's Indian boarding-school, is the residence of the Rev. S. R. Riggs, who followed Dr. Williamson in this field of la­bor in the year 1837; first at Lac Qui Parle, where he and his family were burned out of house and home, and compelled to take refuge for a time in the church; and since in his pres­ent field of labor.
Such is a rough outline of the Yellow Medi­cine Agency up in the Indian Country in West­ern Minnesota, among the Dahkotahs, as it was just before the massacres of 1862. On the In­dian Reservation itself there were but few white inhabitants, and those almost without exception employed in trading or in some capacity by the Government, or engaged as missionaries and teachers.

From the very borders of the Reservation the provisions of the Homestead Bill had been tending rapidly to the occupation of all the choicest spots of land on those rich prairies. Little log-huts and frame cottages, made most likely in some other State and transported there in pieces ready to be set up on the spot, were almost continually in sight, increasing in num­bers as you approached St. Peter and Traverse des Sioux or Mankato. Corn and wheat fields, though but of recent commencement, were fre­quent and heavily ladened with their waving harvests, for never had Minnesota been blessed with so abundant a yield as in the fall of 1862. Mills had commenced to turn on the river banks. The inhabitants, mostly German, had come with strong arms and willing hearts to establish a home for themselves and theirs; and no place could be more promising. Through all this dis­trict the Indians still roamed at large. Stop where they would they found a welcome to food, drink, and lodgings, until it suited their conven­ience to depart. The Indians had been wronged, but not by the inhabitants: it had been by the traders. The kindness of the missionaries es­pecially could not have been exceeded; their houses were like Indian hotels. They came and went as if all belonged to them. If hungry, they would demand food; if tired, they would lay themselves down wherever they pleased; and leave without a word or look of thanks.

A few years ago a young warrior was arrested for murder, and placed under guard at the Upper or Yellow Medicine Agency. Watching his op­portunity, he made his escape, though fired upon and severely wounded. Faint from the loss of blood, he sat down by the roadside at Pa-ju-ta Zee-zee, opposite Dr. Williamson's. A crowd soon collected round him. The Doctor with a friend went prepared to see and dress his wound. He was but entering the crowd when his friend sud­denly screamed, "Look out for that knife!" Instantly turning, he saw behind him a squaw, a large butcher-knife in her hand, in the very act of plunging it into his back, when by friendly hands her arm had been stayed. The Doctor did not stop to inquire into it, but seeing, as he said, "that the danger was over," went on to the young man, examined and bound up his wound. It happened, however, that by imprudent ex­posure or some such cause the Indian died. Is a custom with them, if one of their tribe is killed, for the nearest of kin to avenge his death, by assassinating, not necessarily the author of it himself, but any one if he be but of the same family or race. The father of this Indian went forth with his gun, and concluding that Dr. Williamson would of all be least apt to make much resistance, selected him as the object of his vengeance. The Doctor was at work behind his house in the garden: the family seeing a suspi­cious-looking Indian, painted in his war stripes, prowling around behind the fence, apparently trying to get behind the Doctor, became solicit­ous for him to come in. To satisfy them he went in and sat in a rocking-chair in the front room, from which a door led out to the piazza, where were a couple of wooden benches. The Indian came round, and, with his gun under his blanket, sat down upon one of these. It is a matter of courtesy with them to always eat when invited. The Doctor's sister went out, and say­ing she thought he must be tired, asked him if he would not like something to eat. Speaking not a word, but merely shaking his head with a dark scowl, he refused. The Doctor, who had yet apprehended nothing, recognized in this a sure sign of hostility. If an Indian will not eat in your house, it is certain evidence he means to harm you. Presently he arose, came in, and sat by the door. The Doctor knew that if he evinced any feelings of alarm he would precipi­tate an attack. So he sat still unmoved, look­ing steadily at the Indian. Miss Williamson came in with a plate of food and urged him to eat. He was tired and hungry. There was a strife between revenge and hunger. He hesi­tated, glanced at the Doctor, then at his gun, then at the food, then suddenly took the plate and commenced eating: as he continued his countenance entirely changed, his eyes lost their wildness, and when satisfied, drawing his blanket around him, he got up and went away.

House of Chaska - a civilized Indian
Such was the character of these Indians, and yet among this people the missionaries were la­boring with a degree of success. Mr. Riggs had reduced their native dialect to a systematic written language, and, with the assistance of the other missionaries, made translations of the Bible and a number of miscellaneous books. Churches had been erected and established; schools had been commenced and successfully carried on; families taught the habits and ways of civilization; and their plaintive melodies kept to sacred words.

But every effort to ameliorate the condition and enlighten the minds of those Indians had powerful counter-currents to contend with. An Indian under the influence of whisky could scarcely have a rival in Pandemonium itself. The Government had prohibited its sale, or even transfer into the Reservation; but still it was frequently and abundantly bought and sold, both within and without the lines. For whis­ky there was nothing an Indian would not ex­change of all he possessed - his gun, his horse, or even his wife. Some writer, in describing a war council, puts in the mouth of his hero, "For an Indian cannot lie!" That certainly could not have been among the Sioux. Mr. Pond, one of the missionaries, in speaking of Little Crow, said, "He will tell ten lies in succession, and if detected in all of those, will tell an eleventh with such plausibility and earnestness that you will believe him." They were not entirely igno­rant of the extent and character of our country, and of what had been transpiring in it. Other-Day, Little Crow, and a few others had been sent more than once to Washington. Other-Day had brought back with him a "white wife." Most of the half-breeds and some Indians could speak and read both English and Dahkotah. Our war news, as it reached them through the papers, or floating along in gossip, would be taken up and passed on to be circulated among the lodges. The missionaries had all manner of questions put to them: Whether it was true that the South had burned all our large cities, New York, Boston, Philadelphia? Whether the Great Father had been killed or taken prisoner, our armies destroyed, and the enemy were coming to make slaves of all of us? This last was asked by an Indian who could both read and write English. A number of half-breeds and a few Indians had been enfranchised, and in the efforts of Minne­sota to fill up her quota for the first 300,000 a military ardor had been excited among them; a company organized containing nearly all the available force at the two Agencies. "There," said the Indians, "see how hard pressed the Great Father is for men; all the able-bodied whites are gone, and now they have to come to us for help and take our half-breeds."

You remember the account we received from the lieutenant of the late disturbance at the Upper Agency, and the feelings with which the Indians separated. An Indian is not prone quickly to forget. A distance below St. Peter, on the Minnesota, the bordering forests com­mence to widen and extend in either direction for over a hundred miles. This is the "Big Woods." On the borders of it stood many a settler's cabin, and in it, by the river side, a few villages. Thither the Indians were wont to go in quest of game and fish. On Saturday, the 16th of August, 1862, a party of ten Indians made an excursion to the Big Woods to exchange their furs for wagons. Disappointed in not affecting a trade they separated. Four going on farther got free access to "fire-water." Under its in­fluence the hatred that had been growing in their breasts, aggravated by their late disappoint­ment, broke out. They shot down three men by the road-side, buried their tomahawks in their quivering flesh, tore the scalps from off their heads before the life had left them, and binding the gory trophies to their girdles, re­turned in company with the other six, who had rejoined them, to Red Wood. There a council of their "soldiers' lodge" was convened, and the matter laid before them. Should the aggressors be delivered up, or would they all unite in an effort to drive the white man wholly from their borders, and redress their accumulated wrongs? Other than between these two they had no al­ternative.

Unable to agree they adjourned to the house of "Little Crow" - Tah-o-ya-tah-doo-ta. Crafty and cunning, though ambitious, he well knew the power and resources of the enemy, the flood of wrath they were proposing to turn upon them­selves, and the privileges they would forfeit. He laid these reasons before them, and endeavored to dissuade them from a general massacre. He himself had adopted our habits and modes of life; lived in a brick house, sat on chairs, slept in a bed, and drank whisky as often as he could get it; but still, if the young men were determ­ined to commence, he was willing and anxious to be their leader.

Indian camp taken by Colonel Sibley
A rumor was current among the Indians - with how much truth I cannot say - that in the spring of 1862 a "Big Man" passed through the country from the northwest toward St. Paul, claiming to be a British subject, and told them to rise and kill off all the whites in their midst; and promising that, when they attempted it, the people from British America would come down and help them. "Besides now," they said, "the men have all gone to the war; no one is left behind except old men, women, and chil­dren. We can easily kill them, and help our­selves to all the plunder we please." Debating the question but fanned the flame. The fury of the few was rapidly disseminating itself through­out them all. That night - Sabbath night it was - the gory scalps from Red Wood, combed and adorned, were danced around with savage songs and yells, and a war fete held to nerve them for the carnage of the morrow. The whites were apprehensive of no danger; in their several homes they lived with such security that even arms among them were not generally kept.

From the council - at midnight - the Indian warriors separated to paint and equip themselves. Then silently, in single file, their blankets drawn close around their guns and tomahawks, they took their way toward the Lower Agency. The signal for attack, after they had dispersed them­selves throughout the village, pre-concerted with Little Crow, was to be the discharge of a gun in a store by the flag-staff. As the morning dawned, clear and mild, they commenced entering the Agency. A half-breed meeting them inquired the reason of such a concourse. "Oh, nothing," they replied; "we are only about making an ex­cursion against the Chippeways:" and it ap­peared plausible, for Chippeway and Sioux were always at feud. Along the sides of the ware­house and stores, by the barns, behind the fences, each took his position, as he thought, to the great­est advantage. The inmates of the designated store were all astir. Seeing some Indians ap­proaching, and inferring that they might want to make some purchases, one of them unbolted the front door and was shot down on the spot. The signal had been given, and almost simul­taneously a thousand savage war-whoops rent the air. If massacre alone had then been their aim, not one from the Agency would scarce have escaped; but the horses in the barns, the plun­der in the stores, and the hopes of finding whis­ky, largely diverted the savages from their murderous work.

Not many of the whites had yet left their houses, or even their beds. Some of the sav­ages, having led out the horses, fired the barns. Others rushed for the stores and warehouse, shooting before them whomsoever they met, by the road-side, before the doom, or behind the counters. The shelves were soon emptied, with the assistance of the squaws, who had followed for the purposes of plunder, and the spoil carried away to be quarreled over among themselves. Barrels were rolled into the street, boxes tumbled out, and the buildings enveloped in flames. Then they burst into the mission chapel, board­ing-house, and other dwellings, tomahawk in hand. Some were hewed to pieces ere they had scarce left their beds; others received their death-wounds leaping from windows or endeav­oring to escape.

Indian camp at Red Wood
But who can tell the story of that hour? Of the massacre of helpless women and children, imploring mercy from those whom their own hands had fed, but whose blood-dripping hatch­ets the next moment crashed pitilessly through their flesh and bone - of the abominations too hellish to rehearse - of the cruelties, the tortures, the shrieks of agony, the death-groans, of that single hour? The few that escaped by any means heard enough, saw enough, felt enough to engage their utmost powers. Those that stayed behind never told their story. From house to house the torch soon followed the hatchet; the flames envel­oped alike the dead, dying, and wounded. Tired of butchery in detail the savages fired a dwelling, and in it burned alive a mother and her five children; a few of their charred bones were aft­erward found among the ashes. Some escaped through back doors, over fields, down the side of the bluff to the river. Those fortunate enough to get over by the ferry or otherwise hastened with utmost speed to the fort. Others hid among the bushes, in hollow logs or holes, behind stumps, or in the water. Maddened with un-resisted success - for not a shot, not a blow had yet been aimed at them - with fiendish yells the Indians followed or sought new victims among yet un­suspecting settlers. The ferry was taken pos­session of, the ferry-man's house, the neighbor­ing stacks, the mills, the piles of lumber, were set on fire. The ferry-man himself, tomahawked before his own door, was disemboweled, his head, hands, and feet chopped off and inserted in the cavity. They overtook a boy trying to escape. Tearing off every thread of clothing, they pricked and pierced him with their blunt-headed jave­lins, laughing at and mimicking his agony till death came to his relief. Narcis Gerrian, as they entered, leaped from the mill-window for the river; ere he had reached it of three shots they fired at him two pierced his breast. He swam across, almost drowned. Four days he went without food, and after dragging himself, more dead than alive, through woods and swamps, for sixty-five miles, was found by a party of refu­gees and carried to Henderson. Passing a stick through both ankles of a woman, they dragged her over the prairie, till from that alone, torn and mangled, she died.

Those that escaped spread the alarm. As they heard it the people fled precipitately, scarce knowing whither they went. After them the In­dians followed throughout the entire line of set­tlements, over a frontier of hundreds of miles, committing such barbarities as could scarce be exceeded if all hell were turned loose. Not far from the Agency a few families of settlers had congregated. The Indians overtook them. The first volley killed the few men among them. The defenseless, helpless women and children, hud­dled together in the wagons, bending down their heads, and drawing over them still closer their shawls. "Cut-Nose," while two others held the horses, leaped into a wagon that contained eleven, mostly children, and deliberately in cold blood tomahawked them all - cleft open the head of each, while the others, stupefied with horror, powerless with fright, as they heard the heavy, dull blows crash and tear through flesh and bones, awaited their turn. Taking an infant from its mother's arms, before her eyes, with a bolt from one of the wagons, they riveted it through its body to the fence, and left it there to die, writhing in agony. After holding for a while the mother before this agonizing spectacle, they chopped off her arms and legs and left her to bleed to death. Thus they butchered twen­ty-five within a quarter of an acre. Kicking the bodies out of the wagons they filled them with plunder from the burning houses, and sending them back pushed on for other adventures.

They overtook other parties, killed all the men and children, and led away the young women and girls captive for fates worse than death. One family of a son and daughter, and their parents, received the alarm. Before they had time to escape they heard the war-whoop, and saw dusky forms approach the door. The father fired a shot at them through the window. Before they had gone many yards the father, mo­ther, and son were killed. The daughter, seeing herself alone, fell likewise, and holding her breath feigned herself dead. The savages came up and commenced hacking and mutilating the bodies. Seizing the girl by her feet they began to drag her off. As she instantly made an effort to adjust herself, they took .her and sent her back with the others they had captured. Only those that might serve their base passions were saved, the rest were shot down and butchered or tortured to death by inches.

Indian pack-ox
As soon as the first refugees reached the fort and communicated the tidings, a handful of soldiers - a part of a company - were sent out under Captain Marsh "to quell the disturbance." Indians are fierce and brutal, but they are no less cunning. With utmost speed, in Government mule-wagons, they started for the Lower Agency. On the way they passed num­bers escaping from the scene of carnage: they saw mangled bodies, and the blazing or smol­dering ruins, but not an Indian. They neared the ferry and found it unoccupied. Leaving some twenty to hold it, the Captain with about forty of his men leaped upon a raft and com­menced crossing; yet not an Indian was seen. They had scarcely reached the middle of the stream when, with deafening yells, a raking vol­ley from all sides poured upon them; the water boiled with bullets. Among the first fell the Captain, backward into the river - not one es­caped from that raft. The twenty on the bank retreated, firing behind them as they went. Not half of their number reached the fort. The others who fell by the road-side were stripped of their arms and accoutrements, and hewed and hacked in pieces. The number of refugees at the fort hourly increased, bringing with them marks and incidents of horror the recital of which would fill volumes. Every available spot in and around the buildings was being occupied; the attention of every one was engrossed in pro­viding for the wounded as they were brought in. The stock of provisions in store was not large; the amount of ammunition small. No one ex­pected to feed such numbers, or to shoot, except at prairie chickens or a target. The entire force at Fort Ridgely, after the loss of Captain Marsh's company, comprised thirty soldiers, and eleven half-breeds with arms, and one twenty-five and another six-pound howitzer. Under the protec­tion of these not less than five hundred women and children, and men without arms or any means of defense, had assembled. Shortly be­fore the return of news from Captain Marsh, what should arrive at the Fort, on its way to the Yellow Medicine Agency, but the annuity money itself. The funds, without any investigation, had been taken to meet some claims of the traders, and then more had been hastily scraped together to avoid an outbreak - but too late.

With the escort that brought the payment money came Henry Balland. He had lived in
the Indian country for twenty-seven years, been constantly and intimately associated with them, and seen them in their furious as well as pacific moods. He had known for years that hatred against the whites was rankling in their hearts; but yet, even with all that he saw and heard around him, it seemed impossible for him to be­lieve that it amounted to more than a drunken frolic, in which some of the traders, and perhaps a few others, had been butchered. Soon the remnant from Captain Marsh's company rushed in with their tale of defeat and horror. While the ears of all were still tingling with it Jack Frazier, barely with his life, brought word that "Little Crow and his band were about to attack the fort." Incredulous still, Henry Bal­land determined to go out and see for himself whether there was really any cause for all this alarm. Leaving the fort, partly concealed by a clump of bushes, he had gone but a little distance when he heard from those behind him the cry, "Arm! Arm! The Indians are coming." He had scarce time to cast a glance around him when he heard the rapid clatter of horses' hoofs nearing him from all sides. The next moment, with war-whoops and yells, already flushed with victory, firing a volley of bullets over his head, they attacked the fort. His retreat was cut off. Toward him, right on to him, were galloping the Indians. Escape, even concealment for a moment more, seemed impossible. He fell flat upon his face among the bushes, and commenced worming his way toward the river. At any oth­er time every motion of his would have been readily seen; but then the savages were fully engaged with making the attack. In the fort, then under the command of Lieutenant Shelley, considering all the disadvantages the garrison labored under, admirable coolness and tact were evinced. The riflemen speedily took their po­sitions, as previously selected, at windows and loopholes, where ammunition and all else they needed was handed them.

Interior of Indian jail
The two howitzers were drawn out, and, guided by Sergeant Jones, commenced an effective action. The Indians have always had a great dread of those "big guns." Were it not for them the fort would certainly have been taken soon after the first attack; and even then, if the Indians in a body had made a vigorous charge, they would have swept the whole before them. The fort was like a pile of chaff, with a wind raging and tearing around it sufficiently strong to whirl it up and scatter it abroad in atoms - needing but the right direction of its power to affect that end. Besieging in Indian warfare was to them entirely a new tactic. Accustom­ed to fight scattered abroad over the prairies, among the thickets, they were unprepared to make a charge; had they been, Fort Ridgely today would have presented but a heap of ruins and blackened bones. As the shells commenced to burst among them they fell back to positions of greater security, behind the log-buildings, in the tall grass and bushes, and in holes, whence they continued their fire. Toward these the howitzers were directed. Several times Indians came within a hair's-breadth, of stumbling over Balland as he was cautiously trying to crawl off to a place of greater security. But now the ar­tillery commenced playing directly toward him, placing him thus in double danger. The Indians carried on the attack briskly; and though they had no artillery, they sent a hail-storm of bullets through the windows and among those managing the howitzers. How long the rapid­ly-thinning garrison might have been able to withstand them, and prevent the slaughter that would have inevitably followed their capitula­tion or defeat, I cannot say, had not Providence interposed in their behalf. A furious storm arose. Peal followed peal in unbroken succes­sion - the rain poured a sheet of water. With a yell of disappointment and defiance the Indians hastily scampered to the shelter of the woods, and behind trees, wrapping their blankets about their guns, bending over them, while the rain furiously beat around, labored to keep their locks and powder dry. The temporary respite was diligently improved by the garrison; the women and children, for greater protection, were laid flat on the floor behind stone-walls; hasty rations were distributed, and preparations made to receive another attack, by piling up boxes, barrels, and cord-wood, as a barricade, and throwing earth over them.

Balland was yet unable to retreat; between him and the fort still crouched groups of Indians awaiting a lull in the storm. Pulling himself forward prostrate, he reached the brow of a hill. He could see only a few yards before him. He got up on his feet, and had advanced but a few steps farther when, directly in front of him, in the very way he was going, not twenty feet dis­tant, were several Indians. At first he gave himself up as irretrievably lost. Another mo­ment showed him that, as the rain was beating from his direction, they were standing with their hacks toward him to receive it. Again he threw himself down, and made on all fours for the thickets; there entering the river, he waded downstream near the bank, up to his chin in water, for about a mile. The storm had abated. Again he heard the Indians renew their attack, but this time with less fury than before. It was near night; a few volleys were inter­changed with but little effect. Darkness en­shrouding them, the Indians repaired to a neigh­boring flat, and, after gormandizing on oxen they there killed, partly roasted or raw, spent most of the remaining night in wild orgies and dances round scalps they had taken - recounting the exploits of the day, and boasting of still greater ones on the morrow. Coming out of the river, Balland pulled some grass, and tying it around him, that he might appear as much as possible like a pile of hay, affected his escape.

Four more days the Indians besieged that fort. Gallantly the little garrison held out, fortifying and strengthening their position through the night, defending themselves through the day. The enemy made strenuous efforts to set the main buildings on fire, by shooting from their bows blazing arrows into the roofs. To prevent this the soldiers had, during the night, covered them with a layer of earth. But they could not hold out much longer. Their provi­sion was all gone; their ammunition nearly spent; and themselves almost fainting from ex­haustion. Their communications had been quite cut off. Whatever assistance and reinforce­ments might have been sent them from St. Pe­ter or elsewhere were entirely precluded. They had not even been able to send a messenger stating their condition, and asking for help, since the first battle on Monday afternoon. Be­ginning to despair of success, on Friday the In­dians made their most desperate charge. Had not the garrison fortified themselves to their ut­most with entrenchments and barricades, the savage flood would have overwhelmed them; but, with the invaluable support of the artillery, they held their ground. As the Indians com­menced to climb up the stables a shell was projected, which, bursting, enveloped them in flames. At sundown the savages returned to their camp, about a mile to the right of the road, between the fort and the Three-Mile Creek, and were soon busily engaged butchering cattle for their evening meal.

Not all engaged in the outbreak had taken an active part in the siege of Fort Ridgely. War-parties, slaughtering, plundering, and burning, rehearsing again the blood scenes of the Lower Agency, traversed the country around bearing destruction, death, and desolation before them. They attacked the farmer's house just beyond the bridge over the Three-Mile Creek. For a time he returned their fire through a window. After his wife and children had sunk beside him, pierced with bullets, he leaped from the house and ran. Before he had gone many yards he also fell; his oldest son ran in the op­posite direction, but was overtaken and toma­hawked by the road-side.

The family at Red Wood hearing of the ap­proach of the Indians, hastily fled, part in one wagon along the road, while the three girls and the hired man drove across the prairie toward Patterson's Rapids. A war-party meeting the former left them lying by the road-side, and drove off their wagon; then coming to the house and finding it deserted, they set it on fire and followed on the tracks of the rest. They over­took them near the river, killed the young man and one of the girls, and pierced another through her breast, and then took her and the other girl captive and drew lots between them how many should have each; the bleeding, fainting girl died from the successive abuse of sixteen.

Lieutenant Colonel W. R. Marshal
Antoine Freniere found a house in which seven children, the oldest a girl not over twelve, were huddled together in one bed; hearing his footsteps, they pulled the bed-clothes further over their heads and lay trembling. It was im­possible to take any of them along with him. Going into the cellar, and finding a pan of milk, he brought it and gave it to them, and promising to come again and remove them, was obliged to leave them there and go on. Afterward when others came there, they found that the Indians' hatchet had already done its work. Not far from the house lay killed, upon her back, a mo­ther, with her infant left crying upon her breast.

The dead, as well as the living, were outraged and mutilated by the savages. They killed a farmer in his house, and laying him on the table braced open his mouth with a stick, and left it filled with milk. They left another to be eaten by a hog, which they drove in and shut up in the same room; afterward nothing but his bones and the hog were found. They tore out the heart of another, and left it fastened on a stick stuck up beside him. The extent to which they car­ried these outrages depended upon the time they had for their execution and the mood in which they happened to be. If they had time to kill but few of a settlement, and burn but part of the houses, they seemed invariably to light upon the traders and those that had sold them whisky; for though they were passionately fond of "fire-water" they hated the men that had brought it among them.

During the Sabbath and Monday, when all this was going on at the Lower Agency and be­low, the people at the Yellow Medicine and the mission beyond were still in utmost security, un­apprehensive of the least danger. On that Sab­bath the missionaries held service and preached in the Dahkotah language as usual, and also celebrated the Lord's Supper. It was noticed that the Indians acted strangely. One old squaw blustered into Mr. Riggs's, and demanded a calf as payment for some depredations one of his hogs, she said, had committed in her potato-patch. On being refused, she went off mutter­ing that he might as well give it to her then, as she would have it any how pretty soon. Some Indians went into Dr. Williamson's barn and loosed and led away two of his horses. The Doctor called after them; but they only turned, laughed at him, and galloped off. Another couple would have taken away the remaining ones had not the Doctor met and prevented them. On his asking them why they treated him so, whether he had not always been kind to them, fed them, clothed them, and given them medi­cine whenever they were in need of it, they re­plied that they meant him no harm, but that someone would have the horses, and that they might have them as well as anyone else. The Indians immediately in this vicinity were not among the instigators of this outbreak. Most of them were farmers - some members of the mission churches. For these causes the Lower and the Blanket Indians looked down upon and despised them, and when they afterward came up among them, burned their houses, laid waste their fields, and compelled them to change the dress of the white man for the breech-cloth and blanket, and go with them in their war-parties and to their battles.

Sioux Indian attack on New Ulm, Minnesota
On that Monday, fearing no danger, we were scattered abroad from Dr. Williamson's house as the business or fancy of each suggested. Some were in the hay field, some hunting, swim­ming, fishing, or sketching. In the evening when we returned we found the family in great alarm. Vague rumors had reached them of trouble among the Indians; and though yet not fully substantiated, they had produced consider­able apprehension. Groups of the Farmer In­dians would collect round the door or in the house and talk over what they had heard that the Blanket Indians had done at the Lower Agency and around; how that they had killed all the settlers, besides a company of soldiers, and captured and completely burned down Fort Ridgely. Some of them watched with us, but when the dangers thickened around their places knew them no longer. Chaska, Paul, Ma-za­ku-ta-ma-ni, and Enos, however, were constant to the last, and did all in their power to assist us. Toward morning rumors came thicker and darker, that they had already commenced work at the Upper Agency, and would before long be down upon us. Some were for instant flight, others thought it only a "scare," and had no doubt that it would blow over shortly. Not one of us, even the most timid, had the least concep­tion of its extent and magnitude. As the day dawned the Indians around us grew bolder. The squaws went over the house taking and appro­priating whatever they fancied. Some of them brought out the sugar-barrel, and after helping themselves sufficiently, distributed it around. Others emptied the feather-beds on the floor, and passing their heads through the ticking wore them off as coats. We began to think it was time to leave. Having hastily unloaded a wag­on of hay, which had been driven in the night previous, led by Chaska to a fording of the river with which we were unacquainted, driving along a few head of cattle, all of us, except Doctor and Mrs. Williamson and the Doctor's sister, who had determined to stay behind a while longer, commenced our escape.

Having got the wagons and cattle across the river we left them in a flat of tall rushes in charge of the ladies, and went off in search of Mr. Riggs's party, who were hiding, we were told, in a thicket about a mile below. At last, after a good deal of fruitless search, Paul Ma-za-ku-ta­ma-ni led one of us to them on an island in the river. Some of the Indians had met a part of them just after they had left their houses, and ordering them out they drove off the wagon and left them to continue their journey on foot. Their remaining horses, after they had got to the island, the Indians had taken away, promis­ing to return them when they got ready, as it was by all means best, they said, for the mis­sionaries to stay there a few days, especially as they were entirely destitute of provisions, and the island was filled with mosquitoes. We ef­fected a junction with each other a few miles farther down, and continued our journey, num­bering in all forty, though with not half a dozen men, and almost entirely destitute of arms. By this time a war-party had reached the Yellow Medicine Agency, and commenced their work of destruction; others were hastening toward the mission houses. Convinced that it was no longer prudent to remain, Doctor and Mrs. Williamson, and his sister, in an ox cart, started aft­er us. Lorenzo (or Toon-wan-e-tay) and Chas­ka walked along with them for several miles, and when they saw a war-party approaching covered them up with a buffalo-robe, and driv­ing on the team replied to inquiries put them, that they had nothing but their own goods. A little incredulous, some of the Indians would have raised up the edge of the robe and looked under, but Lorenzo with his gun stepped between and threatened to shoot the first man that touched it. Leaving them, the war-party went on far­ther, and soon came across our tracks. "There," said they, " are the tracks of Dr. Williamson and Mr. Riggs; they can't be far distant, let us overtake and kill them!" On they came; in half an hour more they would have been up with us.

The same thunder-storm that was then pro­tecting the fort from destruction began to throw its shield around us. The rain completely ob­literated our tracks. Concluding that we had not enough plunder to make it worthwhile to overtake and kill us, especially as it was raining and they were hungry, the savages turned off and went to the Big Woods. They entered a house in which were two men, one of whom they killed with the first shot. The other, Richard Roe, received a bullet in the thigh; he turned and ran to the window, and was jumping from it when they stabbed him in the back with a butcher knife, and chased him until exhausted with loss of blood he fell, when thinking him dead, they hastened back to quarrel over the division of the spoils. He soon got up, and pushing on overtook us. We bound up his wounds the best we could, and laid him in one of the wagons wrapped up in a shawl. That night was spent in a cold drizzling rain. The next day we again journeyed on, scarce knowing whither; our main object being to keep out of sight and avoid meeting the Indians. From the distance over the prairies we saw some fig­ures approaching us. Few of the party evinced the least signs of alarm. One of our number rode up to them and soon returned, not with In­dians, but with three German refugees from the Yellow Medicine Agency. A war-party, they said, had killed a number there, pillaged the stores and burned most of the buildings they themselves with the utmost difficulty had es­caped. Our provisions were all gone; a small piece of raw pork was all we had left. Through­out the entire night again it rained. Heroical­ly did the women and children bear up under it; and, in fact, throughout the whole trip. It is easy for one to keep up courage when his blood is warm; but in a half freezing, drizzling rain, trickling drop by drop through the clothes, and seemingly to the very bones, lying in a puddle of mud and water, courage, if it exist, is truly a genuine article. Next morning we arose, and
performing our toilets, like a Newfoundland dog just out of a mill-pond, with a hearty shake to dry ourselves, strode or waddled toward a thicket some ten miles distant, where we hoped to col­lect a few sticks with which to cook our break­fast, which we drove along before us on the hoof; for not a mouthful else had we. First, however, several creeks had to be crossed - one, in particular, over which we had to lead the unhitched teams, for the mud was so soft that it was impossible for them to pull the wagons over; then, having transported across most of the women and children as best we could, we drew them by hand over reeds and grass bent down to prevent the wheels from cutting in. But when we got nearer we found a marsh full three miles in width, between us and our only chance for breakfast, save of raw flesh. A few of us walked over the floating sod, and brought over on our shoulders a supply of dry wood. Then we killed a calf, and at about three in the afternoon had our breakfast of partly roast­ed or smoked veal.

The next day was Friday - the day on which the Indians were making their most desperate and strenuous attack upon the fort. Uncon­scious of all this, nearly every one of us was eager to hasten directly to it, thinking that once there the danger would have all been passed. About noon we reached Birch Cooley, where Dr. Will­iamson, in his ox wagon, overtook us. One of our number strayed off a little distance, and en­countered a solitary Indian who would have fled; but the next moment he turned, and with his gun held at an angle as if he was approaching a partridge, tried to get around behind him. Each turned continually in a wider arc. What the Indian was after was to get to a place of security before he attacked him, until which he did not dare to shoot, lest missing his aim he might endanger himself. They kept turning until the Indian, finding that he could not get behind him, beckoning to him to leave, slipped behind a knoll and escaped. A few yards dis­tant, by a fence, lay tomahawked a mother and her three children. In a house within sight had been a sick woman. When the alarm reached them she was unable to leave her bed; her two sons carried her out on a straw mattress, and in a wagon had tried to escape. The Indians over­took them, killed the sons, and piling some brush around the mattress, burned the sick wo­man alive.

We then were in the greatest danger we had yet encountered. At that very time the plain around the fort was alive with Indians, and the battle was raging furiously. Toward sundown we started again, and pushed on rejoicing in the prospect of soon being in safety.

Prarie on fire
The contemporary occurrences at the fort I have already rehearsed; the charge, the burning of the stables, the retreat of the Indians to their camp, about a mile from the road we had just entered - the first one we had taken since we left the mission. Ere we had journeyed far in it, as night began to gather around us, on the brow of the opposite hill we saw two Indians. They rode along a little distance on their ponies par­allel with us, reconnoitring our train; then turned and galloped off to collect a party to follow us. Not far ahead was the Three-Mile Creek. Having been seen, we then expected to be attacked there. Drawing up our line in mili­tary order as far as possible, we marched on. Traces of massacre and butchery began to grow more frequent. The boy that had fled from the house by the Creek we found lying where he fell by the road-side. Moving him a little out of the way we passed on. Along the road were scat­tered parts and remnants of the plunder which the savages had taken - furniture, letters, papers, books, and pieces of clothing. Silently we ap­proached the house. Not a voice disturbed the stillness save the barking of the dogs—the sole survivors of all that had lived there. We passed on, and commenced descending to the bridge. Not a voice was heard save for necessary or­ders. We tightened our grasp on our weapons, with an inward vow that our arms should be powerless and our hearts still before harm befell the loved ones in our care. But we crossed un­touched.

At that moment we saw a rocket, then an­other, again another ascend from the fort. Entirely forgetful of their being signals of dis­tress, we felt confident that they were beacons to guide us on. One of us having gone in advance, entered the fort on his hands and knees; passed the blazing stables, the skulking Indians, and reached the garrison. Surprised at his exploit, they bade him immediately return, and if possi­ble prevent the rest from following, or even mak­ing the attempt, which they thought would lead to certain death. They told him of their ex­hausted condition, the length of the siege they had sustained, and the trembling multitude al­ready under their care. Still other rockets were sent up from the fort. Confident of safety ahead, all were advancing with light step, when he reached us and delivered his message from the garrison urging us to turn aside. Our warming hearts felt as if a load of frozen mercury was let down into them. Some were determined at least to make the effort. After having nearly reached a place, as we supposed, of safety, then, when we knew the blood-hounds to be on our very track, to turn right back again among them, was at the least discouraging. But we turned off, and went to the left. Within ten minutes, scarce a quarter of a mile from the road, we halted to consider which way we should go.

The two Indians that had seen and reconnoi­tred our party went with utmost haste and carried the news to their camp. Just then the "braves" were hungry, they were killing beef. As soon as possible they formed a party and fol­lowed us. As we were waiting to consider we heard a noise approaching up the road; we heard the dogs at the desolate house bark louder as they passed. But it was dark, and the glare of the burning stables blinded their eyes. They did not see us, but hastened on still further in quest of us. With as little noise as possible we journeyed on till we came to another creek. There, while seeking a fording place, we heard something strange in the bushes; then a pro­longed scream. Some were urgent to hasten even then for the fort, confident that Indians were in wait for us in the bush. Death in­evitable seemed to be lurking directly ahead. Others thought the noises we heard were but from foxes, or, at the worst, thinking we had but little to choose, urged an attempt to cross. Be­fore we had gone far on the other side our ex­hausted teams gave out. To advance, though yet in the very jaws of death, was impossible. We unhitched and let them graze. Then so tired and worn were all that they sank down upon the wet grass to rest. One of us, with his rifle on his shoulder, stood guard. We all knew that we had been followed. Toward daybreak is the time usually chosen for an Indian attack. As we neared it our danger again increased. Be­fore the first dawn of morning had lit the east we again were moving. Four of our number left us, and went toward New Ulm. They had scarce passed behind a knoll a mile distant when we heard four guns almost at once. Afterward the decayed bodies of those men were found there, where they fell.

That Saturday morning, August 23, after vigorously besieging the fort for five days, despairing of ultimate success in taking it - for they did not know of the helpless condition to which they had already reduced the garrison - the Indians commenced to transfer their main attack upon New Ulm. They left their camp­ing-ground by the road-side, where we had pass­ed them the night previous unharmed, though how I cannot say, for it was through the very courtyard of death – a few still remaining around the fort, to preclude the arrival of reinforce­ments that they might starve the garrison out. Early at daybreak the Indians, passing through the tall, dew-dripping grass, neared New Ulm. Not five miles beyond it our party was passing. We heard the rattle of their guns; we saw the smoke and flames, as they enveloped house aft­er house, in which the savages had first butcher­ed or tortured to death the inmates. Hastily the men, with what few arms they had, collect­ed together in the center of the village to defend to the last themselves and theirs. Fiercely throughout that day the battle raged. A few brick buildings in the main street parallel with the river, sheltering all that could get to them, enabled the inhabitants to return with consider­able effect the Indian fire. But all around they laid waste in blood and flames. The stores, the mills, the houses, the barns, the stacks of new­ly-gathered hay and grain, all sent up clouds of black smoke, and lit the sky with their glare throughout the next night. Even the brick houses would soon have been taken, had not, toward evening, Judge Flandrau from St. Pe­ter providentially arrived with reinforcements. With a company of horsemen he charged upon the savages, and, after a vigorous engagement, routed them and entered the village, but not un­til after carnage and destruction had complete­ly ruined it. Bringing together the gory, mu­tilated dead they could rescue from the flames, the surviving inhabitants buried them in the street, for yet the Indians lurked around. Even had they been able to go without and bury them, the insatiate devils would not have suffered them to rest, but have dug them up again, and scat­tered the bodies abroad in pieces. Putting the wounded in wagons, they made speedy prepara­tions to evacuate the village; and the next day, after seeing sights that would chill the strongest heart, stripped of all they had, exhausted, worn, and bleeding, the inhabitants in a long train of wagons started for St. Peter, leaving New Ulm, deserted and nearly destroyed, in possession of Judge Flandrau and his men, and, soon after, of a detachment of Colonel Sibley's troops.

By this place, within sight of it, while this battle was raging in its height, we passed. Farther on was the "Norwegian Grove." There, that night, another scene of blood was enacted. The inhabitants were all massacred, mangled, and mutilated, and their houses and barns re­duced to ashes. From this place, not two miles distant, we entered a house and slept through the remainder of the night. Those that had fled from that house not two hours before we en­tered it were already dead; but we then knew it not, and even had we, we were so completely exhausted that I doubt whether we would have done much otherwise. Beyond this, though not at once entirely safe, our danger lessened, and we soon separated, to St. Peter, St. Paul, or back again in the military expedition.

The entire country from Fort Ridgley, New Ulm, and the Norwegian Grove, almost to St. Paul, was completely panic-stricken. The set­tlers even far beyond the line of danger precip­itately left their homes, fled from ten to thirty miles according to the height of their excite­ment, and stopped in some deserted house, whose inhabitants in like excitement had aban­doned their homes; and so on, like the waves on the sea, each falling where the other had risen from. The rich harvests, even where the torch of the Indian had not touched them, were for the greater part lost merely from the want of timely care. Terribly destructive as the out­break had been, this thoughtless stampede caused yet greater loss of property. The streets of St. Peter and St. Paul were, in fact, glutted with the wagons and temporary shelter of refugees from even within ten miles around, while the massacre had not approached within a hundred miles of St. Paul.

While we had been making our escape from the Mission District another party, led by John Other-Day, had fled from the Yellow Medicine Agency, and by a more secluded route reached Henderson. On that memorable Monday, as soon as they there heard of the approaching storm, the whites and some of the half-breeds collected hastily in the Government warehouse. They had arms and ammunition in abundance; for three tons of powder and a large amount of lead were then in store, nearly all of which the Indians soon after appropriated. Sixty-two from the houses around collected together, but thinking it might soon blow over, determined at least for a time to make a stand. They filled a num­ber of barrels with water, to extinguish the flames in case of fire, loaded their guns, and, taking their several places on guard, concluded to wait and see what would come of it. About ten that evening, in the valley below, by the flag-staff, the Indians commenced breaking open the stores, killing those they met, and helping themselves to the spoils and plunder. The squaws again were busy receiving, distributing, and quarreling over the division of it. Seven times they shot at Garvie, and twice pierced him with bullets. He leaped from an up-stair win­dow, ran across a potato field by no means the smoothest, marking his tracks with his blood, and reached the warehouse.

Sioux Indian Little Crow
Other-Day and Fadden, disguising themselves in blankets, secretly entered the ravine to see the extent of the ruin. Soon returning, they reported that if they stayed there much longer they would all be massacred. With utmost speed they got together what wagons they had, and before day­break had deserted the warehouse, and, guided by Other-Day, were fleeing for their lives. As soon as they found this out the next day the In­dians started in quest of them; but fortunately, according to the information they had received, down the fort road, while Other-Day sagacious­ly had led the party in quite a different direc­tion, else with others around them their bones would also have bleached upon the prairie. They escaped in safety, though after great suf­ferings.

From Cedar City and about all the inhabit­ants collected, with a few of their portable effects, on Cedar Island, around which a lake of about a mile in width rendered them comparatively secure. Beyond the Yellow Medicine Agency, and the missions around it, were very few white inhabitants. Mr. Huggins had a mission station at Lac Qui Park; a few miles farther on, at Big Stone Lake, the head waters of the Min­nesota, five Germans from New Ulm were em­ployed in burning charcoal. These, I think, were all. The news had scarcely reached Mr. Hug­gins when it was confirmed by the presence of the savages. As he was attempting to talk with them they killed him before the eyes of his wife and children; then pillaged and burned his house, and led his family captive west of Lake Traverse toward the Red River. The first news the men at Big Stone Lake received of it was about daybreak by a volley which killed at once four of them. The remaining one, Anthony Menderfield, was pursued down the declivity to­ward the shore of the lake by three Indians, hurling their javelins and shooting at him with poisoned arrows. Through the brush, over the sharp rocks and boulders, barefoot, as he had risen from his bed, he ran headlong into the water, there not deep, but partly filled with tall reeds, wild rice, and floating vines. Among and under these he ducked and dove and dodged around to evade his pursuers, who in canoes searched for him till tired, but without success, on account of the mist and rain that obscured the atmosphere. Thence over the rough and sharp-cutting prairie grass, with his bare feet lacerated and bleeding, he made his escape by walking through the night to avoid being seen, and hiding through the day in hollow logs or tall grass.

I have given but the briefest outline of the late massacre in Minnesota, in which not less than a thousand men, women, and children were indiscriminately murdered and tortured to death, and barbarities of the most hellish magnitude committed. Massacre itself had been mercy if it could have purchased exemption from the re­volting circumstances with which it was accom­panied; the torture of unborn infants torn from their bleeding mothers, and cast upon their breast; rape and violence of even young girls till death closed the horrid scene of suffering and shame. "Nothing which the brutal lust and wanton cruelty of those savages could wreak upon their helpless and innocent victims was omitted from the category of their crimes. Help­lessness and innocence indeed, which move pity in any breast but theirs, seemed to inspire them only with a more fiendish rage." I have given but a small portion of it. Over a frontier of five hundred miles, from Fort Abercrombie on the Red River to Mankato on the Blue Earth, they carried the torch and the hatchet. The outraged inhabitants, driven from their homes, wandered over the prairies enduring hardships, trials, and sufferings second only to those immediately in­flicted by the Indians themselves.

One little boy not ten years of age - Burton Eastlick - alternately carried and led by the hand his younger brother of five, taking every precau­tion to avoid being seen, for eighty miles to Fort Ridgely, and safely arrived there with him, hav­ing accomplished a heroic deed of which any man might boast. A woman with her three children escaped from their home with barely their lives. The youngest, an infant, she car­ried in her arms; the other two little girls walk­ed and ran painfully along by her side through the tangled brush and brier-vines. They lived on wild plums and berries, and when those were gone by the frost, on grape tendrils and roots. They coverted like a brood of partridges, trem­bling, starving, nearly dead. The infant was taken home to Heaven. The mother laid its body under a plum bush; scraped together a heap of dried leaves and covered it; placed a few sticks over them to prevent the rude winds from blowing them away; then looking hastily around again fled with her remaining ones. It was seven weeks ere they were found and res­cued. Some of less nerve completely lost their mind by the first fright, and wandered about de­mented through the thickets till found.

Governor Alexander Ramsey, as soon as he received the first news from the Lower Agency and Red Wood, hastened from St. Paul to Fort Snelling, and ordered four companies of the Sixth Regiment, which had just been organ­ized, to march at once to the scene of disturb­ance, and Hon. H. H. Sibley - than whom, from his long residence among and intimate acquaint­ance with Indian character, no other could have been more fit - was designated to the command. Soon after seven other companies were sent on under Colonel Crooks with orders to report to Colonel Sibley. To this force were afterward added portions of the Seventh and Third regi­ments. In the meantime also companies of mounted citizens were organized throughout the State, and sent to different endangered points. Some of them did efficient service; others blus­tered about a while, and when the first excite­ment had died away  - when they might have been most useful - got tired of it, disbanded, and went home.

While the main body of troops were marching with utmost celerity up the Minnesota Valley to the immediate theatre of trouble, smaller de­tachments of a company or so were stationed in the most exposed localities. Some of these re­mained undisturbed; others had brisk engage­ments with the Indians, and were greatly har­assed by incursionary parties. Captain Strout's company, stationed at Cedar City, whence, as we have seen above, all the inhabitants had fled, was unexpectedly attacked by a hundred and fifty Indians. Gallantly they stood their ground for a time; but having been taken unawares, and overpowered by numbers, they, had to retreat to a place more securely fortified. They according­ly fell back to Hutchinson. An attack was made at the same time on Forest City, which had been fortified by its own and the neighbor­ing inhabitants - successfully they repulsed it, and drove the savages back. Falling back, they again attacked the company at Hutchinson, who this time drove them off. And so also in other small places the Indians kept up a series of guerrilla attacks with more or less effect. A detachment of mounted men under Lieutenant-Colonel M'Phail, sent forward by Colonel Sibley, reinforced Fort Ridgely, and enabled the host of nearly starved refugees to go to places of greater security and comfort. Colonel Sibley, with a force of fifteen hundred men, reached Fort Ridgely by the way of St. Peter on Thursday, August 28, but found not an Indian to oppose him, though the smoldering embers of the stables, sutler's stores, and other outbuildings still cast up lurid, flickering flames and dingy smoke-wreaths from their heaps of half-con­sumed ruins. The walls of the remaining wooden buildings were perforated like the top of a pepper-box with Indian bullets. The gar­rison were worn and emaciated - ghastly, reek­ing corpses, mangled, distorted, lay around on the prairies, already blackening with the touches of decay, making the air noisome with their vapors, or torn and fed on by hogs and prairie foxes. To bury these, and ascertain if possible the direction in which the Indians had gone, a detachment, consisting of Captain Grant's infantry and Captain Anderson's cavalry com­panies, were sent forward on Sunday morning, August 31, toward the Lower Agency. Through that day and the ensuing Monday they buried upward of two hundred bodies in every conceiva­ble state of mutilation, including several of the heroes of Captain Marsh's company; but the body of the gallant leader himself they did not find.

Sioux Indian Other-Day
That night they encamped at Birch Cooley, on the very plat in the angle of the ravine that has already been described. They pitched their tents, and around them kraaled the cavalry horses and the few baggage-wagons - brought in sufficient wood to feed the camp fires - ate from their knapsacks their rations of hard bread and bacon, and talking over the scenes they had that day witnessed, settled gradually into the stillness of the night As the glimmerings of the morn­ing began to flicker along the rim of the horizon, just as the officer of the guard was completing his round with a new relief, the sentinel, sta­tioned on the side facing toward the ravine, saw faintly in the distance, by the waving furrows of the tall grass, objects moving stealthily along in zigzag lines. At first he supposed them mere­ly cattle, but for greater assurance called back the officer and pointed them out to him. They both had but turned to look again when deafen­ing war-whoops from all around rent the air, and the very next instant a raking cross-fire poured in upon them. Most of the guard fell where they stood; the tents were riddled with holes; some sleeping in them received their death-shots before they had time to awake; ninety-one horses pierced with bullets lay in death-agonies on the ground: all this in less time than you can think it over. For a mo­ment the camp was thrown into utter confu­sion: if the Indians had then made a charge upon it, not one would have escaped to tell its story. But the panic was only for a moment. Crawling out of the tents on hands and knees, clutching their rifles; even the wounded ar­ranged themselves at the word of command along the edges, behind the prostrate bodies of horses, wagons, or whatever else would answer for a temporary barricade, two by two - one loading as he lay, then rising on one knee, or sufficient to take aim, firing and falling again to load, and the other, as he lay flat on his face, digging a trench with the point of his bayonet, and throwing off the loose earth with a tin cup.
Bullets whistled and glanced around, above, and across - a shower of lead. All that day, with­out intermission till night closed upon them, they fought; but the greatest harm was inflicted at the first attack. More were killed and wound­ed at that moment than throughout all the rest of the day. But even to the very last the bullets told upon our men. Many a one lay soaking with his blood the soil of the trench he had dug with his bayonet and tin cup. With yells and war-whoops the savages continued the attack till night.

Early in the forenoon the pickets around Col­onel Sibley's camp at the fort heard the firing at Birch Cooley, twenty-four miles distant; but owing to the reverberation from the knolls and bluffs they could only guess at its precise direction. Convinced, however, that Grant's detachment had been attacked, Sibley sent to their as­sistance a small force comprising two companies, a 6-pound howitzer, and a few mounted men under Lieutenant-Colonel M'Phail. After wan­dering about till near noon, misled by the uncertain bearing of the reports, they marched toward Birch Cooley. As soon as the Indians, through scouts, heard of their approach they hastened to meet and "annihilate" this new party of white men - leaving a sufficient number to sustain the battle around the camp, which they supposed to be nearly defenseless. But the afternoon was well-nigh gone; and "that big gun" made an open approach more dangerous than the attack upon Birch Cooley. They therefore concluded to satisfy themselves for that day with firing from a distance, sounding the war-whoop, and brandishing their hatchets and blankets, postponing the "annihilation" till the next day. The detachment seeing themselves still too few for the apparently fifteen hundred Indians that surrounded them, halted for the night where they were, and sent a messenger with the utmost speed to Colonel Sibley asking for still greater reinforcements. As soon as the messenger reached the fort, Colonel Sibley made instant preparations, and with the entire remaining part of his force took up the line of march early in the evening. He came up to the former reinforcement about midnight; bivouacked with them till morning on the open prairie, and with the earliest day pressed on together with them toward Birch Cooley. As the sun commenced to gild the sky we saw Indians running about as if in confusion in the distance, on every side of us, though quite out of range. They had desisted from an attack the evening previous with the in­tention of commencing it early in the morning. They knew nothing of the reinforcements that had arrived at the still hour of midnight; and when they saw the line stretch itself over double the length it had the night previous, they could not account for its sudden growth. "Oh! Oh!" they cried; "there are five miles of white men coming."

Sioux Indian squaws winnowing rice
Only enough staid round Birch Cooley to keep up a harassing fire. The rest stood in groups at a safe distance from our guns, shaking their blankets, and flashing back upon us the rays of the sun from their burnished weapons, and the little looking-glasses which they wore as ornaments; or ran about sounding the war-whoop, and firing at us. We were as yet un­certain as to the exact direction of Grant's de­tachment; we, however, advanced in battle line, answering the fire of the Indians as we went, though, from the distance, with but little effect. We soon came in sight of a group of conical tents across the ravine. At first they were sup­posed to be the Indian camp, and that we might capture them before they could be removed we hastily crossed over. But chilling in full sight of them we saw not the Indian camp as expect­ed, but that of Grant, though apparently with­out a living soul in it. Only slaughtered horses, dead men, and bare tents were visible; but as we neared the men arose from the trenches as from their graves. Some clapped their hands, laughed, and danced around with delight; oth­ers were mute with gratitude; for had not rein­forcements arrived that very day before night they would have been overpowered and every one tomahawked. The want of water alone would soon have made them powerless. After the first few moments of meeting and congratu­lation were over, we commenced administering to the sixty wounded as best we could; buried the dead in thirteen graves, side by side, though the Indians after we were gone exhumed and mutilated the bodies. Having rested and eat­en - for all, especially the almost starved heroes of Birch Cooley, were in great need of rest and food - we placed the wounded in wagons, on heaps of grass pulled from the prairie, struck the tents, and taking them and whatever else was worth saving, commenced our march back to the fort. Starting just before sunset, we reached the fort at about midnight.

Having supposed that nearly all the white men were away from the country at war, the Indians were greatly surprised when, the even­ing before the battle, they saw the force encamped at Birch Cooley. Still more amazed were they on Wednesday morning when they saw Colonel Sibley's force stretch its length along the prairie. It was the first effective check they had received; for though they had suffered com­paratively little from the battle itself, yet by the display of that "five miles of white men" their courage was damped, and their faith in ultimate success greatly shaken. Hastily they collected together at Yellow Medicine, bringing their fam­ilies and their teepees, their plunder, and prisoners. Having assembled a meeting of the sol­diers' lodge, they determined to send to us an embassy.

Accordingly about Sabbath noon, September 7, two half-breeds with a flag of truce rode into our camp in a buggy drawn by one of the very Government mules taken from the fort stables not fifty rods distant. Being led to head-quar­ters between a guard they presented to Colonel Sibley a note from Little Crow, signed with his mark, in which he said the braves were tired of the war, and wanted to make peace; that they had been driven into it by the fraud and duplic­ity of the traders, who had robbed them of nearly all they had and left them in a starving condition; that they had many prisoners, wo­men and children, and wanted to know on what terms they could make peace. Colonel Sibley sent word back to him "to send in the prisoners at once, and then he would talk to him like a man." But that was not in accordance with Little Crow's ideas of the matter, and so the prisoners came not. Several, however, escaping through the assistance of the Mission Indians, managed to reach us by one means or another.

Lorenzo Lawrence, who, as has been said, had with Chaska helped away Dr. Williamson, now again did a heroic deed by rescuing seven­teen others. The Indians were about breaking up their camp to move still farther off to Red Iron's village, when Lawrence, taking advantage of it, at midnight led through the bushes to the river side Mrs. De Camp and her children, and together with his own family escaped with them down the river in four canoes which he had pre­viously collected. On the way, likewise escap­ing among the bushes, almost starved, torn with briers and worn with fatigue, he found Mrs. Robideaux and her children, and taking them also on board reached us at the fort in safety with his precious charge. Simon, another of the Mission Indians, also affected the escape of several other women and children.

Our soldiers were impatient to press on in pursuit of the "Red Devils." Colonel Sibley was charged with negligence and remissness, if not something worse, for not following up the victory at Birch Cooley. This charge was made, not only by the people and the press, but also by his own men and officers. But let us consider the circumstances of the case. The force he had with him consisted mainly of undisciplined re­cruits enlisted to go South, just before the out­break, with the promise of being dismissed for a fortnight to settle up their business as soon as mustered in; in place of which, however, be­fore they had time to be supplied with uniforms, accoutrements, or arms, it became necessary to send them with utmost haste to stay the Indian massacre. Supplies and arms were sent on after them as rapidly as they could be collected to­gether; but the provisioning and equipment of three thousand men is not the work of a day. Had he by any means crippled this column or lessened its importance in the eyes of the Indians, the only barrier being washed away, the country below would have been deluged with a flood such as swept over the Lower Agency and around. Besides, in the clutches of those savages were over a hundred and fifty women and children. To rescue those there was not a man among us but would have faced any danger; but courage alone was insufficient. The Indians had them, and held them for some specific end. If we had made an attack upon and driven them, before they deserted their camp it was their intention to tomahawk every captive they had. This was not considered by those who were impatient with Sibley's seemingly dilatory movements. But subsequent events proved conclusively that he acted wisely as well as conscientiously in brav­ing these censures and carrying out his own plans.

Wild-Goose-Nest Lake
As soon, however, as we were supplied with "bread and bullets for ten days in advance" the Colonel issued marching orders. On the 18th of September, having crossed the river opposite the fort, we pushed on through the ruin and des­olation, and on the evening of the 22d reached Wood Lake, within sight of the blackened walls of the Yellow Medicine Agency buildings. The Indians in advance of us had set several bridges on fire; but, hastily repairing them, we crossed over. They had, however, so completely de­stroyed one just this side of the Yellow Medicine Ravine that more time was required for its reconstruction, and we were obliged to encamp next day by Wood Lake to rebuild it. Early in the morning of the 23d the pioneers were sent out to repair that bridge, but had scarcely com­menced when they were fired upon, and two of them killed. Being but partially armed, they im­mediately commenced a retreat toward the camp; but before they reached it the prairie in that di­rection and partly around was teeming with In­dians. From their hiding - places in the tall grass and hollows they suddenly arose, as if sprung from the ground. The troops were quickly drawn into line, and marching hither and thither at the word of command, were de­ployed along in broken ranks to fight each for himself in Indian style, and before one was fairly aware of it we were engaged in a battle.

The Indians firing at us lay in every direc­tion, with tufts of grass tied around their heads and waists to disguise their position, or ran along in zigzag lines, or galloped about on their ponies, pouring into our midst a hail-storm of bullets, that pierced our tents, plowed up the ground around us, and whizzed about our ears like mosquitoes on a summer evening. The battle raged till near noon, when the Indians congregating in considerable numbers in a ra­vine on our right, Lieutenant-Colonel Marshal was ordered to charge on them with the Sev­enth Regiment. Gallantly, on horseback, though amidst a pelting storm of bullets, he led the charge, routed them, drove them in confusion before him, and gained one of the most complete victories ever achieved in Indian warfare. If there had then been a body of cavalry to follow them up, the whole band might have been destroyed or taken; but with infantry alone - which was all we had - pursuit was wholly fu­tile. Nearly naked as they were, with but their guns and powder-flasks, the Indians easily dis­tanced us. But the back of the outbreak was broken; Little Crow lost nearly all his influ­ence, and the braves turned their attention to how they might secure their own safety, wheth­er by flight or otherwise.

The greater part of them, together with Little Crow himself, barely staying to take their fam­ilies, fled to Dahkotah Territory, and there separated in different directions; while a remain­ing part, together with the Mission Indians who had been trying to bring about such a result, separated themselves from the rest, and, taking the captives under their immediate protection, sent word to Colonel Sibley, under a flag of truce, to come on and take them as soon as pos­sible, for fear they might be attacked again by Little Crow and his party. In fact - whether for appearance, to carry out the end some of them had of thus working into pardon and favor, or from real apprehension - they fortified their camp that night with trenches.

Leaving Wood Lake we advanced, with skir­mishers deployed on either side of us and in front to guard against a surprise. We expected, espe­cially on entering the Yellow Medicine Ravine, to be again attacked; for no place was ever bet­ter adapted by nature for an ambuscade. They could have attacked us from the edge, and then retreated back, without being seen, as we enter­ed, down the declivity of the bluff, through the thickets and woods, across the stream, success­ively firing into us, and finally escaped up the farther side with scarce a scratch from us in return. But we were not molested; though it had been their intention to have made the at­tack at this place instead of at Wood Lake. But their movements were precipitated by a few of their young men firing into the pioneers. Thus their position was revealed; and as they had commenced they had no alternative but to carry it through then and there. Had they, accord­ing to their intention, waited till we were cross­ing, they would at the least have greatly crippled us.

The next day, the 26th, about noon, we came in sight of the Indian camp. As we neared it a flag of truce approached us, consisting of a bed-sheet which they had stolen, tied to the end of a pole, and carried along by a man on an Indian pony. Almost every teepee was also surmount­ed with a white flag. Along the edges of the camp a motley crowd of Indians, squaws, and children stood gazing at the strange display. The column was marched partly around them, and encamped on their right, near the river. Some whose families were held captive were permitted immediately to go over; and soon after Colonel Sibley and his staff, escorted by a body-guard, went to take formal possession of the Indian camp. The painted "bucks" their hands still reeking with the blood they had shed clustered around with abundant professions of friendship and amity, shaking violently by the hand every one of us they could get a chance at, and obsequiously grinning and grimacing in token of the great love they bore us proof of which only two days previous they had given at Wood Lake. Colonel Sibley told them, in substance, that those that were inno­cent had nothing to fear; but the guilty would all be punished, for even should they escape him they would certainly be taken by other parties out in quest of them; and as he had come into their camp mainly for that object, he demanded of them the immediate rendition of all the cap­tives they had. In reply several of them made speeches in Dahkotah, which were duly trans­lated by Mr. Riggs. Gesticulating in the wildest manner - you could almost have understood them by their motions alone - they protested their innocence, their friendship to the whites, and the efforts they had made to prevent those that had gone with Little Crow from doing what they had done, in which they themselves had taken no part. A few among them - as the Mission and some of the Farmer Indians - were indeed innocent, and had even themselves suf­fered a degree of persecution for not having as­sisted in the outbreak.

Soon after, from the teepees, they led out to us the captives. It was a joyful meeting. We brought them into our camp, and did all that was in the power of each to make them comfortable; for every heart was moved at the recit­al of what they had suffered, over which for the present, however, let us drop a veil. We were jubilant over the rescue; for a hundred and fifty helpless women and children had been snatched from the jaws of an earthly hell. We had, however, but little for them to eat, as al­ready the rations with which we left the fort had been stretched over five days beyond their in­tended time. As soon as circumstances would permit they were sent below to places of greater comfort.

A detailed company or two cut logs from the woods by the river and put up in the middle of our camp - Camp Release - a log jail or rather pen, about ten feet high, covered on the top with horizontal logs laid side by side, and bolted firm­ly together. When this was finished, Colonel Crooks was dispatched by night with an ade­quate force. Under the veil of darkness he si­lently surrounded the Indian camp, closed in upon it, and took all the men prisoners, except those who were absolutely free from suspicion, brought them in, and shut them up under a guard in that jail. Chains were then forged upon their ankles. Side by side the right foot of one was fastened to the left of another. A mili­tary commission was then convened for their trial. Burial-parties were sent out to inter the remnants of still unburied corpses. Companies and squads were dispatched in different direc­tions on foraging or exploring expeditions. Some returned with stories of thrilling adven­tures, hair-breadth escapes, or important inform­ation; others with potatoes and cabbages.

Soon the Indian camp - now containing few men, but mostly squaws and children - was moved under a guard, first to Yellow Medicine, and thence with others there added, to Red Wood, the Lower Agency, and ultimately to Fort Snelling. Lieutenant-Colonel Marshal, with a detachment of two hundred men, was sent on farther into Dahkotah Territory. The prairie grass, now rendered dry and brittle by the frost, commenced to burn, filling the air with smoke so as at times, in broad day, com­pletely to veil the sun from sight, or give it the appearance of a blood-red full moon, and pre­senting in the night a gorgeous view, surpass­ing all the fire-works of art. Cloud after cloud of spark-speckled smoke rolled up in volumes over each other; streaks, and streams, and lakes of red flames crackled over the grass and among and through the bushes; or, leaping with the wind as it lapped its length ahead, swept the prairie crop and left behind it a blackened plain.

Colonel Marshal crossed the Little Sioux and advanced a distance on the Coteau des Prairies - an elevated, undulating, sterile table-land, full two thousand feet above the level of the sea - presenting from the distance, as you approach it, the appearance of an unbroken mountain range, but gradually sloping up toward it. He ad­vanced in the direction of the James River. Being informed that by Wild-Goose-Nest Lake was encamped a part of Little Crow's band, which had for the most part dispersed, stealth­ily by night he surrounded them, and in the early morning captured the whole camp. The "braves" attempted to run, but finding themselves completely hemmed in, with Indian indif­ference surrendered. The squaws rather took it to heart - tore their hair, pounded their breasts, screamed, and throwing themselves on the ground, kicked in a most unladylike manner.

On the 21st of October a perfect simoon swept the prairies - dust and cinders darkened the atmosphere. The wind bent, broke, and .uprooted trees on the river sides; blew down tents upon our heads, and sent us around like a brood of chickens in a rain-storm; took up bar­rels and sent them from one end of the camp to the other. Through this storm - his men liter­ally black with ashes and dust - Colonel Marshal with his prize arrived back at Camp Release. The Indian men were imprisoned with the others in the jail; the squaws and children were sent on with those previously taken. Other captures at Lac Qui Parle, Yellow Medicine, and elsewhere, by parties sent out for the purpose, also were made at different times, and the prizes taken similarly disposed of. While at this camp Col­onel Sibley was promoted to a Brigadier-General­ship,

The weather began to grow colder. The frosts and prairie fires having swept away nearly all the forage, provender for the horses and cattle grew scarce. So on the 23d of October, having loaded the Indian prisoners, chained as they were, from twelve to fifteen in a wagon, the tents were struck and the expedition commenced a return march. A few weeks were spent at the Lower Agency, in Camp Sibley. The prisoners were incarcerated, as at Camp Release, in a jail built for the occasion. The Military Commis­sion held its session in a small log-house, spared from the Indian torch by accident, and there continued the trial of the four hundred prisoners we then had, not including those sent to Fort Snelling. This accomplished, we again resumed the line of march toward Mankato, passing on our way by New Ulm.

On the advance of a military force - the im­mediate danger being supposed over - most of the inhabitants that had fled, after the attack, had returned to their homes. Without doubt they had suffered provocation of the utmost de­gree in the loss of their property and the massa­cre of their friends and relations; but still the demonstration they made as we passed New Ulm, on Sabbath morning, was hardly to their credit.

As the command passed the village the entire population - men, women, and children - armed with pitch-forks, rakes, hoes, sticks, stones, brick­bats; knives, and guns, sallied out and attacked the prison wagons. They were perfectly furi­ous, the women danced about with aprons full of stones, and begged, Oh, for just one chance at those devils!" Some of them rushed up to the wagons and discharged their missiles. One woman pounded a chained Indian on the head till he fell backward out of the wagon. I regret to give such items, but I do so that a distinct line may be drawn between the condign punish­ment those Indians deserved and such revenge. A number of the men were put under arrest and the mob soon dispersed.


Crossing the Big Cottonwood River, we marched on and pitched our tents within a couple of miles of Mankato, on the bank of the Blue Earth River, in Camp Lincoln. The Mili­tary Commission, that had completed its trials at the Lower Agency, had condemned 303 of the Indians to be hung, and 18 to be imprisoned for life. These decisions, with detailed accounts of the trials, were sent on to Washington to be rati­fied by the President. In the mean time they were left in jail, squatted side by side, smoking their kinickinick pipes. Another mob again at­tacked the jail, but were dispersed by the prompt, decided action of Colonel Miller, who was then, from the absence of General Sibley, in command of the camp.

On the receipt of returns from Washington, ratifying for that time at least, the sentence of only thirty-eight of the condemned, immediate prep­arations were made for the execution. Not far from the jail a scaffold was built, so constructed that the entire platform on which the condemn­ed were to stand, each directly under his own halter, could be instantly dropped and the bod­ies left hanging in the air. With their charac­teristic indifference - it can scarcely be called stoicism - the Indians received their sentence, and soon commenced a war dance with as much freedom as their chains would permit.

The execution was appointed for Friday the 26th of December. An immense crowd of men, women, and children assembled from all the country round to see the spectacle. The scaf­fold was encircled by soldiers, through a double file of whom the victims were conducted. Their hands were tied, their heads covered with mus­lin caps; otherwise they were dressed in their native costume. Chanting their wailing death-song, they mounted the platform. The noose was adjusted to the neck of each; and at a sig­nal the one rope which held the platform was severed; the platform fell; and the doomed eight-and-thirty, clasped hand in hand, were launched into eternity. After a proper inter­val the bodies were cut down, carried away, and buried, in two rows, foot to foot, in a wide ditch among the willows on a sand-bar by the river­side. The other prisoners were kept in confine­ment to await their doom, whatever it might be. A force sufficient to protect them from violence was left with them. The remaining troops were stationed in winter-quarters at all the endangered points along the entire frontier.         

So also, in a degree at least, was it several years ago after the Spirit Lake massacre. A few were partially if at all punished, and the rest turned at large again with impunity. And so, of course, even at the very worst the Indians anticipated nothing more after their late raid. Let the guilty now, as before, again go unpun­ished, and in a few years our remissness will have to answer for another outbreak. Permit traders and lawless men again to rob and op­press them till their savage blood boils, and again our own will soak the frontier soil. Jus­tice and protection from wrongs and robbery, as well as punishment for theft and murder, are due to an Indian as well as to a white man. Teach them habits of civilization, not by pampering them in idleness and smoothing them over with promises of annuities, but by placing them in circumstances requiring them to work. Give them justice and equity, laws and a government to restrain and protect them, and another massacre will never again blot their history.

Thus I have given an account of the late Sioux massacre and war in as brief a compass as possi­ble. I have had to compress it greatly to bring it within the limits of a magazine article. Of items I have given but enough to show the general char­acter of the whole; I found it difficult to select from such a mass, seemingly all of equal interest. I have given nothing but what I saw myself, or received from those who saw it. I would gladly tender my thanks to Albert Colegrave, of St. Paul, now in Company G of the Sixth Regiment Minnesota Volunteers, for valuable assistance in preparing the sketches for this article; to Rev. Alfred L. Riggs for the Dahkotah tunes; to Mr. J. E. Whitney, also of St. Paul, for the portrait of Little Crow; and to other friends for assist­ance in collecting materials.

Harper’s New Monthly Magazine.  June 1863.
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