Near Morton in Renville County, Minnesota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
Two Men, One War
The story of Birch Coulee is told vividly by the men who fought here.
As you move along this trail, you will follow the stories of two men: Joseph Anderson, a captain in the U.S. Army, and Wamditanka (Big Eagle), a Mdewakanton chief.
Anderson, one of two U.S. commanders at Birch Coulee, led a mounted force called the Cullen Frontier Guards. Wamditanka was one of four Dakota leaders here. Their memories of the battle were published in the St. Paul Pioneer Press in 1894. Anderson wrote a letter to a fellow veteran that was reprinted in the newspaper, and Wamditanka was interviewed through an interpreter.
The Dakota Indians living in Minnesota in 1862 belonged to four bands: Mdewakanton, Wahpekute, Sisseton, and Wahpeton. The Dakota leaders who fought at Birch Coulee belonged to two of those bands. Wamditanka, Mankato (Blue Earth), and Zitkadaska (Gray Bird) were Mdewakanton leaders, while Hushasha (Red Legs) was a Wahpekute chief. Wamditanka recalled that the two Dakota men killed during the battle—a Wahpekute and a Sisseton—belonged to Hushasha's band.
Birch Coulee Battlefield
Erected by the Minnesota Historical Society
Marker series. This marker is included in the Minnesota Historical Society marker series.
Location. 44° 34.525′ N, 94° 58.583′ 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. Touch 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 (a few steps from this marker); "A Beautiful Place to Encamp" (within shouting distance of this marker); The Battle of Birch Coulee (within shouting distance of this marker); Battle Tactics (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Story of the Land (about 400 feet away); Minnesota's Civil War (about 400 feet away); The Battle Ends (about 500 feet away); After the Battle (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Morton.
More about this marker. photo caption:
Left to right: Joseph Anderson, 1863; Wamditanka, about 1863
Also see . . .
1. Battle of Birch Coulee. Wikipedia entry. (Submitted on January 24, 2014.)
2. Wambditanka (Big Eagle). The US-Dakota War of 1862. (Submitted on January 24, 2014.)
3. Big Eagle. Wikipedia entry. (Submitted on January 24, 2014.)
4. A Sioux story of the war. Chief Big Eagle's story of the Sioux outbreak of 1862. (Submitted on January 24, 2014.)
Additional keywords. U.S.-Dakota War of 1862
Categories. • Wars, US Indian •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on January 24, 2014, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 338 times since then and 30 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on January 24, 2014, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin.