During the emergency of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, many local communities formed Militia Companies. Usually named for their geographic location or the officer who organized them, these were ad-hoc groups created for local defense serving only a few weeks before disbanding. Some of the companies did see significant fighting, notably at New Ulm and the battle at Birch Coulee, where a number of militiamen were killed or wounded.
Because of the ephemeral nature of their service and the disorganized situation in Minnesota during the Dakota War, these groups were poorly documented. Enlistment rolls were published in Minnesota in the Civil and Indian Wars based on the scant Adjutant General's records. In 1905 the state legislature authorized pension payments to those who " rendered active service, bore arms or otherwise rendered efficient aid" during the conflict. The resulting Indian War Pension Registers provide further information on individuals who served in the companies.
Minnesota in the Civil and Indian Wars, 1861-1865
Saint Paul, Minn.: Minnesota Historical Society Press, c2005.
MNHS call number: Reading Room E515 .M66 2005
Indian War Pension Registers, 1905-1937
Information provided: claim number, date filed, claimant’s name, address, service unit and rank, injury or health problem claimed, date the claim was allowed or date and reason it was rejected, rate [of monthly payment], Adjutant General certificate [payment authorization] number, age at time of application, usually a death date (written in later), and a narrative, sometimes lengthy, of proofs of service and/or health problems that were submitted in support of the claim.
MNHS call number: See the finding aid in the library (Adjutant General).
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