The Dakota War

The United States Army Versus the Sioux, 1862–1865

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About the Book

As the United States fought the Civil War in the early 1860s, the country’s western frontier was simultaneously the site of significant military campaigns that took the lives of both American and Sioux. The Dakota campaign, led by Commander Henry Hastings Sibley and Brigadier General Alfred Sully against the Sioux between 1863 and 1864 was greater in scope, intensity and bloodshed than almost all other Indian battles fought in the West but is often overlooked.
The Minnesota War of 1862 and the Dakota War of 1863–1865 were among the most significant U.S. victories in the Indian wars, but did not temper the passions of the Sioux to preserve their people and land or the desires of the whites to settle the frontier. The wars only incited the Teton Sioux to enter into a long-term resistance that would end only at Wounded Knee in 1890.

About the Author(s)

Micheal Clodfelter is an active member of Vietnam Veterans Against the War and the author of several books on military history. A researcher and consultant for the Dupuy Institute of Military History, he lives in Lawrence, Kansas.

Bibliographic Details

Micheal Clodfelter
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 279
Bibliographic Info: 28 photos, maps, appendices, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2006 [1998]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2726-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0408-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii

Introduction      1

Prologue      3

Part One: The Minnesota War, 1862

1. The Frontier Army      9

Indian Scouts and Allies      15

2. The Sioux Nation      17

The First Sioux War, 1854–55      19

Little Crow      20

3. Inkpaduta and the Spirit Lake Massacre      23

Spirit Lake      27

4. Little Crow and the Minnesota Massacre      35

General John Pope and the Department of the Northwest      45

Henry Hastings Sibley      49

The Defeat of the Santees      52

5. The Death of Little Crow      62

The Last Hangings      65

The Minnesota Toll      65

Part Two: The Dakota War, 1863–65

6. The Raiding Season, 1863      71

The Raiding Season in Dakota Territory      75

Winnebago Troubles      79

7. Into Dakota      80

8. The Sibley Brigade      88

The Battle of Big Mound      94

The Battle of Dead Buffalo Lake      101

The Battle of Stony Lake      104

The Push to the Missouri      106

Mackinaw Massacre      113

The Conclusion of the Campaign      114

9. The Battle of Whitestone Hill      118

General Alfred Sully      118

The March of the Sully Column      122

Whitestone Hill      125

The Conclusion of the Campaign      146

10. The Battle of Killdeer Mountain      155

Preparations      155

The Raiding Season, 1864      159

The Commencement of the Campaign      159

The March to Killdeer Mountain      163

Killdeer Mountain      166

11. The Battle of the Badlands      178

The Return March      187

12. The Siege of Fort Dilts      192

The Conclusion of the Campaign      197

13. The Last Dakota Campaign      202

Sand Creek and the Powder River Expedition      202

The Last Sioux Raid into Minnesota      206

The Sully Campaign of 1865      207

Results of the 1865 Campaigns      214

14. The Ride of Sam Brown      216

Results of the Campaigns of 1863–65      217

Epilogue      221

Appendix A: Non-hostile Fatalities      225

Appendix B: Whitestone Hill and Killdeer Mountain Today      227



Chapter Notes      233

Bibliography      249

Index      257

Book Reviews & Awards

“recommended…all-but-forgotten story of the West”—Choice; “detailed and well-documented…an important contribution”—The Journal of American History; “contains a detailed analysis of the politics, strategy, and tactics of the campaign”—C&RL News; “sure to please”—The Reviewers Consortium.