We continue on with Catherine’s memories of 1862..
Now let me state the condition of the war was in at that point. Most of the soldiers having been called out, the Fort had been left with as few men as possible, there being not more than 25 men at the Fort that evening, as Captain Marsh had left that morning with 40 men, for the Agency. By reading the narrative of the Fifth Minnesota in the Civil and Indian Wars, you will get a more correct account of the Battle of Redwood, as it was then called, although it was the Lower Sioux Agency.
Mr. J. C. Dickinson was one of the party that took my uncle’s oxen, but when Mr. Dickinson reached the Fairbault home they took the oxen off and put on the latter’s horses as Mr. Faribault felt secure, he being married to a squaw, but in reality was no safer than the whites. Mr. Dickinson’s brother was missing, so he went out with the burial party in search of his brother, and was killed in the Battle of Birch Coolie. Captain Marsh with his party on the Minnesota River were all ambushed, and all but thirteen were killed, the remainder having been wounded, arrived at the Fort some ten days later. About 40 young men from the Upper and Lower Sioux Agency, had been enlisted to go south and had started for St. Peter the Friday before to be mustered into service. A messenger was sent to St. Peter, and also the entire regiment of Renville Rangers under the Command of Lieut. Sheehan, who took charge of the affairs at the Fort. The same day the money for the annuity of the Indians arrived at the Fort, amounting to $71,000.00. On Tuesday morning about 10:00 o’clock a small bank of Indians attacked the Fort, fighting for about an hour after which they beat a retreat. Meanwhile a young man, who had been sick, by the name of Rickey, about 19 years old, died in the quarters, with his loved ones about him making the end as comfortable as possible.
On Wednesday at 8:00 PM the 2oth, of August, the Indians appeared in great numbers and commenced a fierce battle. The Fort is situated on the edge of the prairie about a half a mile from the Minnesota River a timbered bottom intervening and a wooded ravine running up out of the bottom around the two sides of the Fort within about twenty rods of the buildings affording shelter for the enemy on three sides within easy rifle or musket range. The men were instantly formed in line of battle by order of Lieut. Sheehan. Two men, Mark M. Grear of Company C. and Wm. Goode of Company B. fell at first fire, after which the men broke for shelter of the buildings fired upon the enemy. Robert Baker, a citizen, who had escaped from the Lower Sioux Agency, was shot through the head and instantly killed while standing at a window in the quarters. The forces at the Fort at this time were the remnant of Company B. 5th Regiment. M.V. Culver’s 30 men, about 50 men of Company C. The Renville Rangers under the command of Lieut. Gorman Sargent Jones of the regular army, a brave and skillful man, took charge of the artillery of which they was in the Fort, six pieces of which three were used, two six pounders and one twenty four pound field piece. One of the guns was placed in charge of a citizen named J.C. Whipple, who had seen service in the Mexican War and in the United States Navy. One in charge of Sargent McGrew of Company C. the other in charge of Sargent Jones in person. The number of Indians that were engaged was estimated at five hundred warriors, lead by Little Crow. To render the position of the beleaguered garrison more critical, the magazine was some twenty rods outside of the main works on the open prairie. Only a small portion of ammunition had been removed inside. Men were at once detailed to take the ammunition to the Fort, which duty they performed, working all the afternoon with Indian bullets raining across the open space over which they had to pass, until the last ounce was safely within the barracks.
To be continued…
Events for July
Thursday and Friday July 26 and 27 Root Beer Floats for $2 on Main Street in front of Eco Water during Crazy Days.
Sunday July 29 Civil War Sunday from 1 to 4 on the front lawn of the museum weather permitting, will be held inside if it rains. Meet and talk to Union Soldiers. Find out what they carried and learn about their lives. Biscuits, Lemonade and Root Beer Floats will be for sale.
Monday July 30 Program by Dean Urdahl “The Dakota Conflict” Meeting at 7 PM Program begins at 7:30 PM