“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Morton in Renville County, Minnesota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)

Battle Tactics

Battle Tactics Marker image. Click for full size.
By K. Linzmeier, September 25, 2013
1. Battle Tactics Marker
"It was concluded to surround the camp that night and attack it at daylight. We felt sure we could capture it."

After the Dakota scouts spotted Anderson's men crossing the prairie, they were sent "to follow the movements of the soldiers, creeping across the prairie like so many ants," Wamditanka said. When the scouts reported that the U.S. soldiers were camped near Birch Coulee, the Dakota forces planned their attack. About 200 men, led by Wamditanka, Mankato, Zitkadaska, and Hushasha, moved in to surround the camp.

The Best We Could

Wamditanka did not support the Dakota decision to fight a war that he felt was a lost cause. "I did not have a very large band—not more than thirty or forty fighting men," he said. "Most of them were not for the war at first.... I said to my men that I would lead them into the war and we would all act like brave Dakotas and do the best we could."

Minnesota Historical Society
Birch Coulee Battlefield

Erected by the Minnesota Historical Society.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Minnesota Historical Society marker series.
Battle Tactics Marker image. Click for full size.
By K. Linzmeier, September 25, 2013
2. Battle Tactics Marker
Birch Coulee Battlefield
Wamditanka's forces were to the left, the U.S. campsite was to the right. Other Dakota bands surrounded the campsite.
44° 34.546′ N, 94° 58.667′ W. Marker is near Morton, Minnesota, in Renville County. Marker can be reached from County Road 18 0.2 miles south of 690th Avenue (County Road 2), on the left when traveling south. Click for map. Marker is within Birch Coulee Battlefield/State Park. Marker is at or near this postal address: 68634 County Road 18, Morton MN 56270, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Wrong Place, Wrong Time (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); "A Beautiful Place to Encamp" (about 300 feet away); Two Men, One War (about 400 feet away); Dakota Positions (about 400 feet away); Battle Scars (about 400 feet away); “The Fight Was On” (about 500 feet away); The Prairie Factor (about 500 feet away); The Battle of Birch Coulee (about 600 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Morton.
More about this marker. captions:
Albert Colgrave, Moonlight View of the Camp, 2nd Night Out, 1862
Frank Mayer, Kangbr-madokah, 1851 Courtesy The Newberry Library
Regarding Battle Tactics. In 1862, the Minnesota Dakota, also known by the French term, “Sioux," waged war against the United States following two years of unfulfilled treaty obligations. A burial detail of
Battle Tactics Marker image. Click for full size.
By K. Linzmeier, September 25, 2013
3. Battle Tactics Marker
(in the distance, left side of trail)
Looking east towards the U.S. campsite. Wamditanka and Dakota soldiers were to the photographer's left. Mankato and Dakota soldiers were to the right of the trail (by the white post).
160 to 170 soldiers and civilians was dispatched from Fort Ridgely to bury the remains of settlers who had been killed in the early weeks of the war. During the first night out, the detail was surrounded by Dakota, who attacked at dawn.
Also see . . .
1. The Battle of Birch Coulee. Minnesota Historical Society. (Submitted on January 29, 2014.) 

2. July 1, 1894: Chief Big Eagle speaks. Star Tribune article, interview with Chief Big Eagle (Wamditanka). Birch Coulie. "Nearly all the Indians had double-barreled shotguns, and we loaded them with buckshot and large bullets... Both sides fought well. Owing to the white men's way of fighting they lost many men. Owing to the Indians' way of fighting they lost but few." (Submitted on January 29, 2014.) 
Additional keywords. U.S.-Dakota War of 1862
Categories. Wars, US Indian
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 248 times since then and 48 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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