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Blue & Gray Society
& Old Country Military & History Tours

Little Crow’s Rebellion and the 1862 Minnesota Massacres
12 - 20 July 2024

As the American Civil War increased in intensity the Lincoln Administration drew upon the different loyal states for additional regiments to man the war effort.  Minnesota had previously provided the 1st Minnesota to the cause and they would earn eternal fame at Gettysburg in 1863.  Now efforts were afoot to field and supply the 2nd Minnesota.  With state attention focused on bringing resources and manpower together for that purpose and uneasy treaty commitment was coming due.

An 1851 Treaty had committed the white man to provide regular welfare payments to support the Dakota Sioux tribes in Minnesota.  As the Indians came to claim their stipends, the treasure train had not yet arrived.  Indians unhappy with the delay rioted within the Sioux agency, destroying and looting Sutler shops who refused to provide credit in the absence of the government money train. The Indians then went on the warpath murdering settlers along the Minnesota River.  With more than 500 men, women and children slaughtered the United States Army set out in pursuit.  This tour is that war—as it progressed a familiar name Major General John Pope arises.  Following his defeat at Second Manassas, Pope has been replaced as commander of the Army of Virginia and now arrives in Minnesota to oversee the suppression of the Indian rebellion.

12 July - Day 1:

7 PM:  Check in to the headquarters hotel in Minneapolis.  Neil and I will meet you in the lobby and distribute readings and other information about the program. 

You should arrange dinner on your own. Your Hotel is included.

13 July - Day 2:
Bags out by 9 AM, mount up at 9:15 AM.

Our first stop at Historic Fort Snelling is driven by their schedule, this day they open at 10 AM.  They have a reconstructed fort and a superb National Park Service Visitors Center.  There are many important stories there and Snelling is a staging area for military operations in Minnesota.  The most significant connection may be the story of Dred Scott---the famous slave at the center of the infamous Dred Scott Decision of 1857.  We will depart at noon and make a stop for lunch. 
Afterwards we drive to Le Suer, the name should be familiar to you, it contains a famous packaging plant for vegetables which you see under that brand in grocery stores. One never knows where destiny lurks and we will drive past the home of Doctor William Mayo—founder of the internationally recognized Mayo Clinic now found throu
ghout the world. 
Heading on to St. Peter, you will visit the 1851 Treaty History Center Museum and the Traverse des Sioux State Historic Site. Our afternoon culminates as we reach Mankato. Here the aftermath of the uprising is played out with the execution of 38 death warrants in the largest mass execution in US history.  The state’s changing values are reflected in a change in interpretation that faults the marauding Indians and reframes them as victims of unrestrained white intrusion and subsequent oppression. Throughout the tours you will see alternate interpretative markers reflecting this theme. It makes for excellent discussion. 


Hotel, breakfast, and lunch are provided with dinner on your own.

14 July - Day 3:

Bags out at 8 with departure at 8:15 AM. 

Before getting deeply into the 1862 uprising, we will go to LaSalle the site where in 1876, the outlaws the Younger Brothers, of the James–Younger Gang, are captured following an attempted bank robbery in Northfield.   We arrive in New Ulm where the entire historic area is a part of a key battle in the Dakota Wars, streets were barricaded and buildings used in defense—we will walk the downtown, visit the Brown Country Historical Society, do a driving tour of the town and then will close at the Milford Massacre site.  Our day ends at Fort Ridgely a spot attacked twice during the Dakota War, here we will visit the Lower Sioux Agency where the uprising began and then the Redwood Ferry Crossing. The hostiles had taken over the trading post and waited in ambush for sutlers and settlers to cross into the Agency en route to where ever.  Once they crossed the river with their backs pinned against that river the unknowing arrivals were attacked. We will then overnight at Redwood Falls.  

Breakfast, lunch, dinner and hotel are included.

15 July - Day 4:

Bags out at 8 with departure at 8:15 AM.

As we move into the Minnesota countryside you will get some sense of the war.  Our first stop will be at the site of the “Battle” of Birch Coulee.  The walking trail, in summer growth, will show many of the features of prairie and Indian combat.  We will then move to a series of battle sites near and around Woodlake.  We move on to the other Indian agency known as the Upper Sioux Agency where again the nature of the relationship between the Federal government and the indigenous tribes is revealed.  Our day ends with a visit to Camp Release near Montevideo.  Here the Dakota War ended with the surrender of a large portion of the hostiles and who released 269 hostages, mostly women and children. We will continue on to Jamestown, ND where we overnight.


Breakfast, lunch, dinner and hotel are included.

16 July - Day 5:

Bags out at 8 AM and depart at 8:15 AM.

As the primary uprising had been suppressed the Indians who had not surrendered fled into the Dakotas where they were pursued. We start today with fights in 1863 between General Sibley and the Inkpaduta Sioux near Dawson. We then go to fights near Big Mound, Dead Buffalo Lake and Stony Lake. We finish the day in Mandan after visiting the North Dakota History Center in Bismarck.

Breakfast, lunch and lodging are included.

17 July - Day 6:

Leave your bags as we will be here two more nights. Depart at 8:30 AM.

Our first stop being the remarkable Fort Abraham Lincoln site where our primary reason for stopping is to see the On-A-Slant Indian Village which is on the Lewis and Clark Trail. We will visit the Fort Rice site where army expeditions in both 1863 and 1864 staged in their operations. From here we continue to Fort Yates where Sitting Bull was initially buried. We will, also see a monument to Sacajawea and finally the legendary Gall’s Grave at St. Elizabeth’s Episcopal Cemetery. We then head back to Mandan.


Breakfast, lunch and hotel are included.

18 July - Day 7:

We are excited about today as we made the decision to include all the sites that were important to the uprising—today is devoted to the sites that were too hard to do the first time we did this program—we added a day and so you will get to visit the Kildeer Battlefield, site of one of the first fights between Sitting Bull and American soldiers. We will then head to the Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site. At trip to Fort Mandan follows that—this important site is where Lewis and Clark spent the winter of 1804-1805. We will finish this day at Fort Clark where there are remains of an early Mandan Earthern village.


Breakfast, lunch, dinner and the hotel are included.

19 July - Day 8:

Bags out at 8 AM with a departure at 8:15 AM.

En route back to Minneapolis, we visit the well preserved Whitestone Hill –here General Sully defeated the Yanktonai and Hunkpatina Sioux in September 1863. We will also make stops at the Fort Ransom history site an 1867 to 1872 fort and Fort Abercrombie which was besieged by the Dakota Sioux for six weeks during the 1862 war. We will be ending the day at Alexandria, Minnesota.


Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included along with the room.

20 July - Day 9:

Today we return to where we started a week ago.

Our 8:15AM departure will bring us back to Minneapolis

Our first stop is at the Acton Monument near Grove City.  Perhaps no stop will better display the ambivalence two camps of historical interpretation have concerning the Dakota War.  A traditional monument notes the incident that started the Dakota War and involves 4 Lakota youth.  Nearby is the revisionist interpretation of the incident.  We will argue all the way home after stopping at the Acton battlefield where in September 1862 members of the 9th Minnesota encountered Little Crow and his warriors. In Hutchinson we will visit Little Crow’s marker a fitting finish to an interesting and rarely studied aspect of America’s Civil War and the interface between native Americans and the United States.  We should arrive at Minneapolis by 2 PM and flights home after 4 PM would work for people who fly in. A great trip that is truly a unique offering.

Breakfast and lunch are included.

About the tour:

Neil Mangum is one of the nation’s foremost historians and is an expert on frontier life. A retired National Park Service official, Neil served as Superintendent at the Little Big Horn National Battlefield as it transitioned from Custer National Battlefield.
Neil is author of
The Battle o
f the Rosebud: Prelude to the Little Big Horn
He has a following and most people on this trip will have travelled with him before which makes this event
even nicer.

Registration includes 8 nights lodging, 8 breakfasts, 8 lunches and 4 dinners, a map package, the academic program,
support of a professional historian, tour director, all admissions and transportation (excluding flights).

We will also provide snacks, bottled water and a limited selection of sodas.

Further reading:

Gary Clayton Anderson, Through Dakota Eyes:  Narrative Accounts of the Minnesota Indian War of 1862

Gregory Michno:  Dakota Dawn:  The Decisive First Week of the Sioux Uprising, August 17-24, 1862

John Cristgau:  Birch Coulie:  The Epic Battle of the Dakota War

Asa Wilder Daniels:  Reminiscences of the Little Crow Uprising      

Gary Clayton Anderson: Little Crow: Spokesman for the Sioux


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