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U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 : Primary Sources: Archives & Records


People escaping from the US–Dakota War of 1862

The Battle of Birch Cooley: Report to the Adjutant General by Col. H.H. Sibley, Sept. 4, 1862
St. Paul, Minn.?: s.n., 1862?.
MNHS call number: E83.86 .S56

James M. Bowler and Family Papers
Archival collection and family memorabilia of Bowler, who settled in St. Anthony (Minneapolis) in 1858, and of his family, includes materials related to his Civil War service with the first and third Minnesota infantry regiments at Fort Snelling (1861) and in the western theater (1861-1865) with the Sibley expedition against the Dakota Indians (1863).
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid

Dakota Conflict of 1862 Manuscripts Collections
This compilation comprises a variety of small collections of letters, reminiscences, reports, diaries, and related materials dealing with Minnesota's Dakota Conflict and related activities of 1862-1865. They primarily detail the personal experiences of both white and Indian participants or witnesses, including raids and killings, construction of fortifications, hostages' experiences, the execution at Mankato of 38 Dakota Indians, and the subsequent Sibley and Sully punitive expeditions into western Minnesota and Dakota Territory. 
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid includes links to digitized versions of all items. 

Edward D. Neill and Family Papers
Neill's papers document his career. Included in the collection are documents by President Lincoln including Lincoln's December 6, 1862 letter ordering the execution and listing the names of 39 Indians
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid

Stephen R. Riggs and Family Papers
Letters, reminiscences, genealogical data, and miscellany of this Presbyterian missionary, his wife Mary Ann Longley Riggs, focusing on the Riggs' missionary service at Lake Harriet (now Minneapolis) and Lac Qui Parle, Minnesota (1837-1862), his work as an interpreter during the 1862 Dakota Conflict, and his subsequent activities as an author of Dakota-language teaching materials.
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid

Henry H. Sibley Papers
Correspondence, financial records, legal papers, speeches, and miscellany of Sibley, early Minnesota fur trader, entrepreneur, and governor. There is considerable data on the 1862 Dakota Conflict, on the 1863 punitive expedition led by Sibley, and on his subsequent service with several Indian affairs commissions and boards.
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid

Henry B. Whipple Papers
Personal papers, 1833-1934, of the first Protestant Episcopal bishop of Minnesota (1859-1901) and a reformer of the United States Indian service. The records provide information on ecclesiastical policy, Diocese of Minnesota matters, Indian missions, government relations with the Indians, and the Indian rights movement of the latter 19th century. He was particularly concerned about treatment of the Dakota and Ojibwe in Minnesota and about a humane response to the 1862 Dakota Conflict. 
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid

Government Records

Census of Dakota Indians Interned at Fort Snelling After the Dakota War in 1862
Report no. 156 in the Report of the U.S.Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1863. A census of the Indians under surveillance of the United States military during the winter following the 1862 Dakota War, together with an inventory of property. The list is divided by Indian band (e.g. Wabashaw's Band, Yellow Medicine's Band) and lists the Indian name of the head of families, the number of persons in each family, and the number of horses, oxen, wagons, and chains owned by each family. The families are mostly those of the condemned Indians in confinement near Davenport, Iowa.
MNHS call number: Digital copy of the list.

"The Sioux War," report by Adjutant General Oscar Malmros.
In Annual Report of the Adjutant General to the Governor of Minnesota, 1863., pp. 23-133.
St. Paul, Minn.: Wm. R. Marshall, State Printer, 1863.
This is a concise and factual summary of the conflict from a military perspective.
MNHS call number: UA 43 .M6

United States, Army, Military Commission Sioux War Trials, Trial Transcripts, 1862
Proceedings of the military commission that gathered evidence concerning the participation of Dakota and mixed descent Indians in the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862. Includes photostatic copies of handwritten U. S. Army military commission trial proceedings for cases 1-392 brought against the Dakota and mixed descent Indians, and photostatic copies of President Abraham Lincoln’s handwritten December 11, 1862 message to Congress with supporting documents. Also includes official copies (handwritten and typed transcripts) of the trial proceedings of the U.S. Army military commission for the 1863-1864 trials of Dakota prisoners: Medicine Bottle, Little Six, Wowinape, Toon-wan-wa-ki-ya, and David Faribault, Jr. These trial proceedings are not on the microfilm. In addition to the printed and handwritten copies of Presidential Message and supporting documents, and handwritten trial proceedings 1-392, the microfilm includes a copy of a handwritten document (January 12, 1863) from the Records of the War Department, Adjutant General’s Office, listing the names and penalties or acquittals of 326 Indians imprisoned in Mankato, Minnesota.
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid

Books & Other Publications

The Dakota Prisoner of War Letters = Dakota Kaŝkapi Okicize Wowapi, compiled by Clifford Canku and Michael Simon.
St. Paul, MN : Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2013.
MNHS call number: Reading Room E83.86 .C36 2013, also available for purchase


Oral Histories

US-Dakota War Oral History Collection
MNHS staff members collected dozens of stories from Dakota people throughout Minnesota, the Midwest and Canada as well as from settler descendants in southwestern Minnesota during 2011 and 2012. Full transcripts and audio versions as well as selected quotes are available on this website.

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