The Battle of New Ulm

August 19, 1862 in New Ulm, Minnesota

Union Forces Commanded by
Strength Killed Wounded Missing / Captured
± 70 6 5 ?
Confederate Forces Commanded by
Chief Little Crow
Strength Killed Wounded Missing / Captured
± ? ? ? ?
Conclusion: Indian Victory

In 1862, New Ulm was the largest settlement near the Sioux Reservation. New Ulm was established in the 1850's by German settlers and had close to 900 residents there.

On August 18, a group of men left town on 5 wagons and headed west to help recruit more men for the Union Army. They were 5 miles out of town, in Milford Township, they ran across an injured man. When they stopped to help him, a group of Sioux Indians ambushed the group and opened fire.

Several men were killed and wounded by the Indians. Being unarmed, 2 wagons road back to town to alert the townspeople of the attack, 2 wagons scattered the group of Indians, and the last wagon was loaded with the dead and wounded. Little Crow had failed to convince his warriors that Fort Ridgely was more important for them to attack than New Ulm. Bands of the Dakota Indians had begun attacking settlements and isolated farm families. His warriors started on their way to New Ulm during the night.

The town's militia was called out to defend the town in case of an Indian attack. Soon, people from the outlying areas came streaming into new Ulm for protection from the marauding Indians. Barricades were set up around approximately 3 blocks, where there were brick buildings that could be defended. Many women and children were packed into nearby buildings.

On August 19, by noon, only 42 men had been found sufficiently well armed to be assigned to the defense of the city. These men were organized into companies and assigned areas to guard. The unarmed men that gathered were put into "reserves." They had only pitchforks and other crude weapons. Also, an additional 28 armed men from the nearby town of St. Peter arrived shortly before the Indians attacked.

The first Indian assault on the town came at 3:00 P.M. , when 100 Indians dismounted on the bluff behind the town and began firing. The militiamen returned fire and kept the Indians at bay. Some men, led by Daniel G. Shillock, made a sally to a house outside the barricades and helped drive the Sioux back.

After 2 hours of fighting, a thunderstorm appeared over the area. This seemed to discourage the Indians and they began to retreat. The Indians appeared about ready to leave when Boardman and his men arrived from St. Peter in time to get in on the very last of the fighting and to occasion arguments from that day to this over who saved the town. After the rain receded, the whites managed to scatter away the remaining Dakota. There were a few houses burned, and some casualties, but no severe damage.

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