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  • Writer's pictureGeorge Castrioti

September 23rd, 1862 – The Battle of Wood Lake

Conflict: Dakota War

Combatants: Americans vs. Sioux

Location: Minnesota (USA)

Outcome: American victory

In early September of 1862, starving and angry over unpaid annuities and broken promises from the federal government, Dakota warriors launched attacks on local Minnesota settlements and forts. Colonel Henry Hastings Sibley was in time dispatched with a hastily assembled force of about 1,500 soldiers to deal with the Dakota. In attempt to surprise Sibley's army, the Dakota staked out the American camp. An authorized foray for food by hungry Minnesota troops launched the battle prematurely when the men unwittingly drove wagons through the waiting Dakota. Once the troops had retreated back to the camp and the full force of Sibley's army was brought to bear, the Dakota suffered heavy losses and were forced to withdraw. It was the last battle of the Dakota War.

Battle of Wood Lake 1862 by Alonzo P Connolly

(Colonel Alonzo Putnam Connolly, CC BY-SA 3.0 US <>, via Wikimedia Commons)

Points of Interest:

  • The Dakota Sioux had travelled to Washington D.C. and received promises of food and money from Federal Congressmen. Promises that were rarely fulfilled.

  • The Sioux were further angered by the Indian agents installed by Congress who were pollical appointees and underpaid. These agents were often corrupt and cheated Sioux out of their already meager funds.

Henry Hastings Sibley by an unknown artist

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