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Battle of Fort Ridgely  

Other Names: None

Location: Nicollet County

Date(s): August 20-22, 1862

Commanders: 1st Lt. Timothy J. Sheehan [US]; Chief Little Crow [I]

Forces Engaged: Fort Ridgely Garrison and refugee civilians [US]; Santee Sioux [I]

Estimated Casualties: Total unknown (US 16; I unknown)

Description: In August 1862, the Santee Sioux of Minnesota under Chief Little Crow, angered by the failure of the Federal government to provide annuities and by the poor quality of rations, went on the offensive. They killed approximately 800 settlers and soldiers, took many prisoners, and caused extensive property damage throughout the Minnesota River Valley. Fort Ridgely, about twelve miles from the Lower Sioux Agency, became the refuge for white civilians. The forts commander, Capt. John S. Marsh, set out with most of his men for the Lower Sioux Agency. Before reaching the agency, a large Native American force surprised the soldiers, killed half of them, including Marsh, and pursued the survivors back to the fort. On August 20, about 400 Sioux attacked the fort but were repulsed. On the 22nd, 800 Sioux attacked the fort again, but the garrison and civilians held the fort.

Result(s): Union victory

Battle of Wood Lake   

Other Names: None

Location: Yellow Medicine County

Date(s): September 23, 1862

Commanders: Col. Henry Hastings Sibley [US]; Chief Little Crow [I]

Forces Engaged: Volunteer troops (about 1,500) [US]; Santee Sioux [I]

Estimated Casualties: Total unknown (US 37; I unknown)

Description: On September 19, 1862, Col. Henry Hastings Sibley set out from Fort Ridgely with 1,500 volunteers to put down the Santee uprising. As they neared Wood Lake on September 23, Sibleys men escaped an ambush by 700 warriors under Chief Little Crow and engaged them in a battle. Sibleys force won the day inflicting heavy casualties on the Sioux. For this action, Sibley received a promotion to brigadier general. Wood Lake was the first decisive defeat of the Sioux since the uprising began.

Result(s): Union victory