A Guidebook to The U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 in Minnesota Book




by Curtis A. Dahlin

The Redwood and Renville County Historical Societies are pleased to announce their sponsorship of a new book by Curtis Dahlin.  The book, titled A Guidebook to the U.S. – Dakota War of 1962 in Minnesota, is the first comprehensive guidebook on the subject.  It contains more than 250 color photographs, 31 maps, and GPS readings and physical directions to each site.  The 212-page guide is indexed for quick reference.

The Upper Minnesota River Valley was the epicenter of the war.  Some 400 of the 650 whites who were killed by the Dakota were within three miles of the Minnesota River.  Most of the 650 killed were settlers, with others being soldiers or militia.  Up to 100 Dakota warriors were killed, and 38 Dakota were subsequently hanged at Mankato on December 26, 1862.  The war and aftermath were the most significant and tragic events in Minnesota’s history.  It was the largest clash between whites and Indians since the nation was founded in 1776.  In addition, it was the largest battle for a fort (Ridgely), and the largest battle for a town (New Ulm).  The New Ulm City Cemetery has more gravestones of settlers and soldiers killed by the Indians than any other cemetery in the nation.

The book contains ratings for each site. They are three-star – Must See; two-star – Should See, and one-star – Could See.  Broad areas, such as the Lower Sioux Agency, are also given ratings.  There are eleven sites that have the three-star rating.  A brief summary of what can be seen at each site is provided, along with an “Especially Keep in Mind” feature.  There are many photos of both settlers’ and Dakota gravestones in the book.  This guidebook will lead to many sites, markers, and monuments pertaining to the conflict, including those in four adjacent states.  Interpretation of the events and their underlying causes and response to this tragedy is left to the traveler.


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