This Week in the American Civil War: August 13-19, 1862

Information courtesy of the

Minnesota Civil War Commemoration Task Force

( and “Minnesota Civil War 150” on Facebook)


Major Highlights for the Week

Wednesday August 13, 1862

The steamers George Peabody and West Point collided in the Potomac River with the loss of 73 lives, many of them convalescent soldiers of Federal Major General Ambrose Burnside’s Corps.

In a letter to William P. Dole, U.S. Commissioner on Indian Affairs, U.S. Indian Agent Charles Mix wrote the following concerning the late annuity payments to Dakota Indians in Minnesota: “…there is no doubt but that the Gold is at this time on the way to St. Paul by Express. Every effort was made that could be thought of to get the Gold for the object desired and the efforts in the end appear from present appearances to have been successful.” The late annuity payment to the Dakota Indians was finally on its way.

Thursday August 14, 1862

Two army corps of Major General George B. McClellan’s Army of the Potomac, the Third and Fifth, moved from Harrison’s Landing to Aquia Creek, Virginia. Union cavalry covered the rear of the Army of the Potomac from Harrison’s Landing to Williamsburg, Virginia.

Friday August 15, 1862

A skirmish occurred at Clarendon, Arkansas and a Federal expedition from Fredericksburg to Port Royal, Virginia. 

Saturday August 16, 1862

The Federal Army of the Potomac under Major General George B. McClellan completed the evacuation of Harrison’s Landing as its troops moved north to Aquia Creek and Alexandria, Virginia to aid Major General John Pope against General Robert E. Lee’s Confederate Army of Northern Virginia which advanced from Gordonsville, Virginia. The Confederate Army of Kentucky under Major General Edmund Kirby Smith crossed the Cumberland Mountains into Kentucky from Tennessee.

Treaty payments to the Dakota Indians arrived at Fort Snelling, Minnesota.

Sunday August 17, 1862

     Six Dakota Indians, embittered by late annuity payments and dubious trading practices by traders, killed five settlers at the Robinson Jones house and the Howard Baker home in Acton, Minnesota. Fifty-nine year old Jesse Branham, Sr., volunteered to ride 100 miles in 24 hours to deliver a letter to Governor Alexander Ramsey requesting support.

During a war council that night, Taoyateduta (Little Crow) attempted to talk down the war talk, but the Dakota warriors were adamant. Little Crow agreed to lead them during the attacks in an attempt to drive the white settlers out.

Monday August 18, 1862

Little Crow led a group that attacked the Lower Sioux (Redwood) Agency. Andrew Myrick, who is believed to have said “Let them eat grass!” during the uproar over the extension of credit to the Dakota while they waited for the late annuity payment, was among the first killed. He tried to escape through a second-floor window at the agency. His body was later found with grass stuffed into his mouth. Warriors burned buildings at the Lower Sioux Agency which provided enough of a delay for people to escape across the river at Redwood Ferry.

Governor Alexander Ramsey dispatched the 5th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment Company C to quell the uprising. They were defeated at the Battle of Redwood Ferry and lost 24 soldiers including John Marsh, their captain, in battle.

Throughout the day, Dakota war parties killed a large number of settlers while numerous settlements including Milford Township, Leavenworth Township and the town of Sacred Heart were surrounded and burned.

Tuesday August 19, 1862

Six settlers were killed and five wounded as the U.S.-Dakota War escalated for the second day. The town of New Ulm, located at the confluence of the Minnesota and Cottonwood rivers, was attacked by 100 Dakota warriors firing on the city from a bluff behind the town. More than a thousand settlers were barricaded on New Ulm’s main street while three-hundred citizen-soldiers returned fire. The battle ended when an approaching thunderstorm discouraged the Dakota Indians from continuing their attack.

Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of August 13-19, 1862 

1st Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Moved from Harrison’s Landing to Alexandria, Virginia on August 16 as part of McClellan’s retreat from the Peninsula.

2nd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – In camp at Winchester, Tennessee. Marched to Pelham Gap, Tennessee on August 19.

3rd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – At Murfreesboro, Tennessee after receiving their parole.

4th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – At Jacinto, Mississippi for garrison duty.

5th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Companies B, C and D remained in Minnesota and Dakota Territory on garrison duty while the remaining companies were moved to Tuscumbia, Mississippi. Company B fought in the Battle of Redwood Ferry, August 18.

7th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry –   Organized at Camp Release, Fort Snelling and St. Peter, Minnesota beginning August 16.

8th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On frontier duty at various points in Minnesota: Anoka, Princeton, Monticello, Kingston, Manannah, Paynesville, Fort Ripley, Sauk Center, Pomme de Terre, Alexandria and Fort Abercrombie until May 1864.

9th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Organized at Camp Release, Hutchinson, St. Peter, Fort Snelling, Glencoe and Fort Ridgely, Minnesota beginning August 15.

10th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Organized at Garden City, Winnebago Agency, Fort Snelling and St. Paul, Minnesota beginning August 12.

Brackett’s Battalion of Minnesota Cavalry – On duty at Humboldt, Tenn., scouting and protecting the railroad.

1st Minnesota Light Artillery Battery – On garrison duty at Corinth, Miss.

2nd Independent Battery, Minnesota Light Artillery – March through Alabama en route to Nashville, Tennessee.

2nd United States Sharpshooters, Company A – Participated in Major General John Pope’s campaign in Northern Virginia with the Army of Virginia.

About civilwarweek

Member - Minnesota Civil War Commemoration Task Force, Civil War reenactor and historian since 1993, holds Bachelor's Degree in History from Concordia University-St. Paul, currently pursuing Master's Degree in History at St. Cloud State University and is author of the forthcoming book, "Muskets and Memories: A Modern Man's Journey through the Civil War."
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