Q&A: What happened to the Dakota that did not take part in the War?

Q&A: What happened to the Dakota that did not take part in the War?

On November 7, 1862, the Dakota that had not been sentenced to death or imprisonment, were forced to march from the Lower Sioux Agency to Fort Snelling.  They numbered about 1,700, mostly women and children.  Upon reaching the town of Henderson, these Dakota were assaulted by the local population.  As Samuel Brown described it, “Men, women, and children armed with guns, knives, clubs and stones, rushed upon the Indians, as the train was passing by, and before the soldiers could interfere and stop them, succeeded in pulling many of the old men and women and even children from the wagons by the hair of the head, and beating them, and otherwise inflicting injury upon the helpless and miserable creatures.”  The attack resulted in the death of one Dakota baby.  A similar attack happened upon the Dakota being sent to a Mankato prison.  These men were shackled together and defenseless and the attacks resulted in the death of two Dakota prisoners.

MNHS Collections

The 1,700 Dakota reached Fort Snelling on November 14, and set up camp on the river flat below the Fort.  The Dakota were interned at the camp for the duration of the winter and they were forced to endure inhospitable conditions.  The Dakota were allotted meager rations and their shelter offered little protection from the cold.  Shortly after arriving, an epidemic of measles broke out for which they had no immunity.  It is estimated that somewhere between 102 and 300 Dakota died at the Fort Snelling internment camp.

Fort Snelling Internment Camp, MNHS Collections

In May, 1863, the surviving Dakota, along with about 2,000 Winnebago of Ho-Chunk Indians were put on a steamboat and sent to their new reservation in Crow Creek, South Dakota.

Read Samuel J. Brown’s description of the attack on the wagon train – page 25-26

See this blog post on YouTube


The U.S. – Dakota War of 1862:  Forced Marches and Imprisonment, http://usdakotawar.org/history/aftermath/forced-marches-imprisonment

John A. Haymond, The Infamous Dakota War Trials of 1862:  Revenge, Military Law, and the Judgement of History, (Jefferson, North Carolina:  McFarland and Company, Inc, 2016).


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