The 1862 Dakota War, It Was The Largest Indian War In American History - Mass Hangings, Death and Injustice
This is the only picture known to exist that was actually taken during the war
The 1862 Dakota War is often called Minnesota’s Other Civil War. Most people have never heard of it and that includes a lot of Minnesotans. Fought in the same time period as the Civil War battles of Second Manassas and Antietam in that horrific late summer of 1862, it couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Union and Abraham Lincoln. The uprising spread into the Dakota Territories and sent panic into Nebraska, Iowa and Wisconsin.
There were a number of factors which contributed to the Dakota Uprising in 1862. Life was changing for the Dakota as both fur-bearing and game animals, upon which they depended, were getting scarce. It is likely that the Dakota had expected that they would be able to live off the proceeds from selling their land to the U.S. government, via the treaties of 1851 and 1858, but it was not working out that way. The crops had been poor in 1861 and the winter of 1861-1862 had been difficult, so in 1862, some of the Dakota were hungry. Indian Agent Thomas Galbraith initially refused to distribute food to the Dakota, as he wanted to do that at the same time as he distributed the annual annuity, which had not yet arrived. The late annuity was also a point of contention.
When the fighting ended, 500 settlers and 100 soldiers were dead. Over 200 people were killed the first morning - as many as Custer lost at the Little Bighorn.
In early December, 303 Sioux prisoners were convicted of murder and rape by military tribunals and sentenced to death. Some trials lasted less than 5 minutes. No one explained the proceedings to the defendants, nor were the Sioux represented by defense attorneys. Pres. Abraham Lincoln personally reviewed the trial records to distinguish between those who had engaged in warfare against the U.S., versus those who had committed crimes of rape and murder against civilians.
The Army executed the 38 remaining prisoners by hanging on December 26, 1862, in Manako Minnesota, It remains the largest mass execution in American History. ..Although it is believed that the majority of the Dakota helped protect the settlers and even hid them from the warriors during the month-long massacre….
After the conflict, Minnesota’s Dakota Indians were expelled from the state. It was one of the most heartbreaking results of the 1862 war. When the Dakota were defeated, the federal government rounded up the survivors. Most were sent to Crow Creek, S.D., where disease and starvation killed many. There’s still a reservation there, and times are still hard.