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MARKER DATABASE
“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)
 

The Battle of Birch Coulee

Gray Bird

 
 
The Battle of Birch Coulee Marker image. Click for full size.
By K. Linzmeier, October 25, 2013
1. The Battle of Birch Coulee Marker
Inscription.
In the then tall grass in
the swale, about 800 feet
north, a body of Sioux
Indians under Gray Bird
attacked the whites.
Behind the hill 400 feet
to the east was the last
point of attack by the
Indians, whence they were
driven by the relief
forces into the river
bottom to the south.
Sept. 3, 1862.

 
Erected 1898 by the Minnesota Valley Historical Society.
 
Location. 44° 34.456′ N, 94° 58.341′ W. Marker is near Morton, Minnesota, in Renville County. Marker can be reached from 350th Street 0.2 miles south of 690th Avenue (County Road 2), on the left when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is 0.4 miles east of 350th Street at Birch Coulee Park, east of Birch Coulee Battlefield. The once upright marker is now laying flat on the ground. Marker is in this post office area: Morton MN 56270, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Minnesota's Civil War (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Story of the Land (about 700 feet away); a different marker also named The Battle of Birch Coulee (approx. 0.2 miles away); After the Battle
The Battle of Birch Coulee Marker image. Click for full size.
By K. Linzmeier, October 25, 2013
2. The Battle of Birch Coulee Marker
the marker is laying flat on the ground
(approx. 0.2 miles away); Two Men, One War (approx. 0.2 miles away); Wrong Place, Wrong Time (approx. 0.2 miles away); "A Beautiful Place to Encamp" (approx. ¼ mile away); The Battle Ends (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Morton.
 
More about this marker. 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.

The Minnesota Valley Historical Society was composed of citizens of Renville and Redwood counties, that contracted with the Peterson Granite Company of St. Paul, to identify and mark historic sites. "As time passes the exact sites of many or these memorable incidents are liable to be lost, and the society wisely concluded to locate and mark them now, while there are living witnesses and other competent authorities to designate them."
source: New Ulm Review; January 27, 1897
 
Regarding The Battle of Birch Coulee. It was determined to surround the camp that night and attack it at daylight the next morning. About 200 warriors were selected
The Battle of Birch Coulee Marker image. Click for full size.
By K. Linzmeier, October 25, 2013
3. The Battle of Birch Coulee Marker
looking north
for the undertaking. These were the bands of Red Legs, Gray Bird, Big Eagle, and Mankato, with perhaps some four other bands. The leaders were sub chiefs, with the exception of Gray Bird, who was the head soldier of Little Crow's Band.

The defenses of New Ulm, Fort Ridgely and Birch Coulie were as gallant episodes as any that are recorded in the military annals of the Republic, and yet the American historian commonly gives them but the briefest mention, or omits them entirely from his pages... 868 men, women, and children perished by actual count. Those killed whose remains were never found and the soldiers and citizens killed or mortally wounded in the hostile engagements with the Indians made the total death list number at least 950.
excerpts from: Monuments and Tablets Erected by the Minnesota Valley Historical Society 1902
 
Also see . . .
1. Birch Coulee Battlefield. Minnesota Historical Society. History. "The battle of Birch Coulee was fought on Sept. 2 and 3, 1862. On Sept. 1, a burial detail of 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 U.S.-Dakota War. At the end of their first day out, a flat, open piece of ground near Birch Coulee Creek was selected for the night’s camp. During the night,
Ravine near Marker image. Click for full size.
By K. Linzmeier, October 25, 2013
4. Ravine near Marker
the detail was surrounded by Dakota, who attacked at dawn. Badly outnumbered and highly exposed, the detail was under siege for nearly 36 hours." (Submitted on November 8, 2013.) 

2. Battle of Birch Coulee. Wikipedia entry. "Colonel Sibley could hear the sounds of the battle from Fort Ridgely, about sixteen miles away, so he sent out a relief party of 240 men. Colonel McPhail, heading up the relief party, thought he was almost completely surrounded by the Sioux and sent back for more reinforcements. Sibley returned with more reinforcements and an artillery brigade." (Submitted on November 8, 2013.) 

3. Birch Coulee Battlefield. Wikipedia entry. "Birch Coulee was the site of the Battle of Birch Coulee, one of the deadliest battles of the Dakota War of 1862." (Submitted on November 8, 2013.) 
 
Additional keywords. U.S.-Dakota War of 1862
 
Categories. Wars, US Indian
 
Birch Coulee Battlefield Sign image. Click for full size.
By K. Linzmeier, October 25, 2013
5. Birch Coulee Battlefield Sign
Historic Site
Minnesota Historical Society
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 8, 2013, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 279 times since then and 29 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on November 8, 2013, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin.
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