We continue on the trail from Fort Ridgely going to St. Peter and then LeSuer..as told by Catherine a fifteen year old girl who lived in the Minnesota River Valley during the Sioux Massacre.
Meanwhile the government was pressing men and teams into the service to take the refugees to safety. So one morning a string of teams drove to the front of quarters, loading on those that fled to the Fort for safety. There was a long string of teams under the escort of soldiers. We drove until sunset when we stopped for the night. Some barrels of hardtack were opened and distributed. The well, an old fashioned one where the water was drawn not far from the house where we stopped. With so many people, drawing water was naturally slow work with a bucket, but when they tried to drink this water it had a rank taste. Hair was discovered and the head of a woman was dipped up in the bucket. Now we were left without water and that hardtack was so hard that it could not be broken with a hammer or a stone. We had been traveling all day where the stench from the bodies of the dead animals that had died from over-eating unprotected green corn. Now and them we would pass a new mound where some unfortunate one had been murdered and the remains had been left in the sun. A few shovels of earth was thrown upon them to get them out of sight but the air was something fearful that night. We slept under the canopy of heaven, mother earth our bed. Morning dawned at last. Some more hardtack for breakfast and the journey resumed. Slow and weary we traveled on till we reached St. Peter. Here we were treated to hot soup that contained so much pepper we could hardly eat it. Then we were escorted to some unfinished buildings for shelter and without bedding of any kind. The next morning the men were informed that if they could go out of town and work in the harvest fields themselves and families would be provided with provisions, if not, the women and children would receive soup once a day. Father told them he could not do it as he had a large family and winter was near. He needed clothing and bedding so poor father had to go hungry some of the time.
We remained here several days as we had no means of getting away till one day a small steamboat loaded with wheat made it’s appearance and father made arrangements with captain for our transportation to St. Paul. Three more families went with us, Mr. Eune, his blind wife and children, Mr. Kumro’s family and Mr. and Mrs. Yess. Mrs. Yess had a bullet in her head received in the flight from the Indians. While on the boat we would lay for hours at a time on some sand bar in the middle of the river, the men carrying the wheat sacks first to the front and then to the rear to change the balast so we could work off the bar. The third day out the boat struck a snag and sprung a leak. This put the men on the pumps and for three days and nights we were without food and that while among supposed civilized people. They told us we should be satisfied for being on the boat. The banks of the river at this point were heavily timbered and run over with wild grape vines, making it an excellent place for the Indians to hide so men were put on guard every night which added greatly to their suffering. Finally father asked the Captain how far we were from LeSuer and on learning we were but four miles from there by land we received permission to land.
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