Near Fairfax in Nicollet County, Minnesota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
Attack from the Northeast
You are standing where cannon fire stopped the Dakota assault on August 20, 1862. According to Tasina Wakanhdi (Lightning Blanket), who was involved in both attacks on the Fort, the warriors who made the first attack on Fort Ridgely were men from Wambdi Tanka's (Big Eagle), Pejutazanzan's (Medicine Bottle), Sakpedan's (Little Six), and Taoyateduta's (Little Crow) camps—about 400 men in all.
The plan of attack called for Pejutazanzan's men to give a signal of "three big shots," drawing the soldiers' attention to the north and allowing warriors hiding in the ravines on the east, west, and south sides of the fort to rush in. However, the warriors were delayed coming up the ravines, so Tasina Wakanhdi and others on the north were left exposed to cannon fire. Heavy artillery fire coming from the fort, coupled with a lack of powder and bullets, caused the warriors to withdraw to Taoyateduta's village to regroup.
Tasina Wakanhdi recalled:
While shooting we ran up to the buildings near the big stone one. As we were running in, we saw the man with the big guns whom we all knew and as we were the only ones in sight he shot into us.
We did not fight like white men, with one officer. We all shot as we pleased. We shot at the
Erected by the Minnesota Historical Society.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Minnesota Historical Society marker series.
Location. 44° 27.206′ N, 94° 44.012′ W. Marker is near Fairfax, Minnesota, in Nicollet County. Marker can be reached from County Highway 30 1.1 miles west of State Highway 4, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is in Fort Ridgely State Park; fee area – a Minnesota state park vehicle permit is required. Marker is at or near this postal address: 72404 County State Aid Highway 30, Fairfax MN 55332, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Bakehouse (a few steps from this marker); Garrison Life Was Like Clockwork (within shouting distance of this marker); Stone Barracks (within shouting distance of this marker); Camp Women Who Lived in the Barracks? (within shouting distance of this marker); Log Buildings (within shouting distance of this marker); Officers' Quarters—A (within shouting distance of this marker); Officers' Latrines (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Fairfax.
More about this marker. The big stone building mentioned on the marker was the enormous two-story granite barracks for the soldiers. caption: David Geister, Attack from the Northeast, Wednesday, August 20, 1862, 2005
Also see . . .
1. Battle Summary: Fort Ridgely. National Park Service. "In August 1862, the Santee Sioux of Minnesota under Chief Little Crow... killed approximately 800 settlers and soldiers, took many prisoners, and caused extensive property damage throughout the Minnesota River Valley... On August 20, about 400 Sioux attacked the fort but were repulsed. On the 22nd, 800 Sioux attacked the fort again..." (Submitted on February 12, 2014.)
2. Minnesota in the Civil and Indian Wars 1861-1865. The Sioux Indian War. Official reports and correspondence. Battle of Fort Ridgley. Report of First Lieut. Timothy J. Sheehan. "The engagement lasted until dusk, when the Indians, finding that they could not effect a lodgment, which was prevented in a great measure by the superior fire of the artillery, under the immediate charge of Ordnance Sergt. J. Jones, U. S. Army, which compelled them to evacuate the ravines by which the post is surrounded, withdrew their forces..." (Submitted on February 12, 2014.)
3. Battle of Fort Ridgely. Wikipedia entry. "On a sunny August 20, Lt. Timothy J. Sheehan, Company C, commanded Fort Ridgely [the fort's captain and 23 soldiers were killed in an ambush on August 18th]. First Lt. Culver, Company B, was commissary and quartermaster. Eight men were wounded or assigned hospital duty. The Fort was trying to adjust to all the new volunteers that had arrived. Suddenly, a reported 400 Indians attacked the ill-prepared post." (Submitted on February 12, 2014.)
Additional keywords. U.S.-Dakota War of 1862
Categories. • Forts, Castles • Wars, US Indian •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on February 12, 2014, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 297 times since then and 20 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on February 12, 2014, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin.