War over the Great Plains

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Christian Freeman

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  • It was the largest Indian war in American history.
  • The Sioux Uprising of 1862
  • The main battleground was the entire Minnesota River Valley in southern and central Minnesota. The uprising spread into the Dakota Territories and sent panic into Nebraska, Iowa and Wisconsin.
  • When the fighting ended, 500 settlers and 100 soldiers were dead. Over 200 people were killed the first morning.
  • Disease and battle wounds killed unknown numbers after the battlefields were silent.
  • The fighting was close and ferocious. In both battles at New Ulm, outnumbered farmers, settlers and shop keepers fought house to house, launched desperate counterattacks and burned down much of their own town to hold off the Dakota braves assaulting them from every direction.
  • This was one of the few engagements throughout all the Indian Wars of the 19th century where artillery could be brought to bear and used effectively.
  • The war never really ended. It just moved west and metastasized into a 30 year conflict that included Red Cloud's War (1866), the Little Bighorn (1876) and, finally, Wounded Knee (1890).
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