Books Relating to Dakota War

New: Captivity Among the Sioux, August 18 to September 26, 1862, by Urania S. White. The amazing true story told by a pioneer woman who was captured on August 18, 1872, and held until she was freed on September 26, 1862, at Camp Release, Minnesota. She brings to the reader the day-to-day life as a captive of a band of Dakota Sioux led by Little Crow during the Dakota war. This incredible 37-year-old mother of four, whose oldest son was killed at the onset of hostilities, a twelve-year-old son who was lost in the mayhem and had to suvive on his own, and her fourtenn-year-old daughter in the same camp, but not out of danger of being married off to a Sioux warrior, details her cultural insight as she fought to keep her youngest, a five-month-old son, from starving to death during their ordeal. Now available in paperback at for $8.95 and Kindle for $2.00. Type the title in the Amazon search area.

New: The Story of My Childhood Written for My Children, by Alice Mendenhall George. Her childhood memoir may invoke in the reader reflections of their own childhood. She recalls her early experiences with Indians and describes the Dakota War of 1862.  Now available in paperback at for $6.95. Type the title in the Amazon search area.

• Captured By The Indians: Reminiscences of Pioneer Life in Minnesota, by Minnie Buce CarriganCarrigan emigrated with her German parents to Fox Lake, Wisconsin in 1858. Two years later they helped to establish a German settlement at Middle Creek in Renville County, Minnesota, where they lived in relative comfort and peace among the Sioux [Dakota]. By 1862, the numbers of settlers had grown exponentially, and their Sioux neighbors began to display signs of hostility. On August 18, 1862, when Carrigan was only about seven years of age, her parents and two of her siblings were killed during the Sioux uprising. Carrigan was taken captive with a brother and sister and spent ten weeks among the Sioux before the U.S. army compelled the return of all captives. The brutal bloodletting of over 800 civilians during the Dakota War of 1862 was meant to drive out the white American settlements from Minnesota while the Union was preoccupied with more headline-grabbing battles like the Second Battle of Manassa and Antietam. The war took its toll between mid-August and late-September when Little Crow, the leader of the Dakota, surrundered his 269 captives at Camp Release. Minnie Buce Carrigan’s memoirs of living in the Minnesota River Valley are unlike the “Little House on the Prairie” series of children’s books written by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Minnie’s tales of the 6 weeks during her childhood spent as a captive of the Dakota are in no way a children’s story and probably a reason why so many have never head the story. Told matter-of-factly with no punches pulled, she spares no details in the harshness of a captive’s life.  Now available in paperback at

Lincoln’s Bishop - A President, A Priest, and the Fate of 300 Dakota Sioux Warriors: In the tradition of Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals comes Gustav Niebuhr's compelling history of Abraham Lincoln's decision in 1862 to spare the lives of 265 condemned Sioux men, and the Episcopal bishop who was his moral compass, helping guide the president's conscience. More than a century ago, during the formative years of the American nation, Protestant churches carried powerful moral authority, giving voice to values such as mercy and compassion, while boldly standing against injustice and immorality. Gustav Niebuhr travels back to this defining period, to explore Abraham Lincoln's decision to spare the lives of 265 Sioux men sentenced to die by a military tribunal in Minnesota for warfare against white settlers—while allowing the hanging of 38 others, the largest single execution on American soil. Popular opinion favored death or expulsion. Available at

• The Terrible Indian Wars of the West: A History from the Whitman Massacre to Wounded Knee, 1846-18: Expansion! The history of the United States might well be summed up in that single word. The Indian Wars of the American West were a continuation of the struggle that began with the arrival of the first Europeans, and escalated as they advanced across the Appalachians before American independence had been won. Written by Jerry Keenan and available at

The Sioux Uprising in Minnesota, 1862: Jacob Nix’s Eyewitness History: A new second edition of Jacob Nix’s eyewitness history of the 1862 Uprising, edited by Don Heinrich Tolzmann, has just been published by the Max Kade German-American Center at Indiana University/Purdue University-Indianapolis & the Indiana German Heritage Society. The original German-language work appeared in 1887, and the German/English translated edition appeared in 1994. This has long since been out of print, and due to demand has been re-published with a new introduction, and additional illustrations. The new introduction includes coverage of the 150th anniversary commemorations in Brown and Renville Counties, Minnesota. References to recent publications on the Uprising are also included. The price of the new edition is $15.00, and can be ordered by contacting Steven J. Schmidt at:

• Malice Toward None: Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War, the Homestead Act, and the Massacre - and Heartening Survival  of the Kochendorfers: This book by Daniel C. Munson is a story about the orphaned Kochendorfer siblings. Go to for more information. Also available at Available in paperback or Kindle.

The books below relating to the Dakota War can be purchased from historian Curt Dahlin. Mail orders along with a check made out to Curtis Dahlin should be sent to 2046 Lindy Avenue, Roseville, MN 55113. Email address for  inquiries is; phone 651-489-6381.

Calamity at Lake Shetek                                                                                     The Death of a Settlement

Curtis Dahlin's new 100-page book tells the story of the Dakota’s August 20, 1862, attack on this settlement, killing and wounding many, the taking of captives into Dakota Territory, and their improbable rescue by friendly Dakota who were called “The Fool Soldiers.”  The softcover book sells for $20.00 for Minnesota residents (including tax and $4.00 shipping) and $19.00 for non-Minnesota residents.  

Friends, Betrayal and Murders                                                                    The Massacre of the Paul Kietzmann Party

Curtis Dahlin's book covers one of the many tragic stories which took place during the Dakota Uprising of 1862 in Minnesota.  This story is important as it was the largest number of people killed in such a concentrated area in the Dakota Uprising.  In addition to the 27 who were killed, another 27 were taken captive. This 66-page book is softcover and retails for $19.00, including tax and postage, for Minnesota residents, or $18.00 for non-Minnesota.  

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Victims of the Dakota Uprising                                                              Killed, Wounded and Captured

This 300-page glued-binding soft-cover book, by Curtis Dahlin, lists the 650 victims who were killed, the 365 who were wounded and the about 350 who were taken captive.  About 4-6 lines per person, relating when and where these events took place. $32.10 Minnesota residents, $30.00 non-Minnesota, plus shipping of $5.00 via USPS Media Mail.

 In Memory Of . . . . 

A single page memorial to the approximately 650 victims who were killed by the Dakota, listing all their names on an 8 ½ x 11 laminated sheet; young victim Willie Everett is shown in the background. $5.35 Minnesota residents; $5.00 non-Minnesota residents, plus shipping of $2.00 via USPS First Class.

Gravestone book cover

The Dakota Uprising: A Pictorial History

Dakota Uprising Victims - Gravestones & Stories

These two books by Curtis Dahlin offer a vivid and intimate portrait of Minnesota's 'war within' during the period of the Civil War. Curtis Dahlin has put a face on the events of the Dakota Uprising, in fusing together hundreds of rare period photographs and an absorbing narrative, brings us a vivid and intimate portrait of Minnesota's 'war within' during the period of the Civil War. Curtis Dahlin, an independent historian specializing in the Dakota Uprising of 1862 in Minnesota, has spent thousands of hours and driven many thousands of miles researching and writing about the subject.

Northern Slave Black Dakota                                                                                                                             The Life and Times of Joseph Godfrey                                                            

 Most of the press attention given this book focuses on its new evidence about the long-term enslavement in Minnesota of Joseph Godfrey, the only non-Dakota man to fight on the Dakota side of the 1862 war. But most of the book is devoted to a re-telling of the Dakota War story from the unique perspective of Joseph Godfrey, a man who was neither white nor Dakota. The author, historian Walt Bachman, is a former Minnesota lawyer and the descendant of a Dakota War victim who was killed at Milford. Much of the book focuses on the post-war trials, during which Godfrey was both a defendant and a key prosecution witness. The book also carefully documents the widespread killings of women and children by Dakota warriors  and connects some of those killings with the trial records, in the process debunking the oft-repeated false assertion that the Dakotas "killed men and took women and children as captives.” See, for example:

Death of a Dream

One of our group, Paul Lundborg, has published his family story, which can be found on Amazon, called  Death of a Dream: One Family's Experience of the 1862 US/Dakota War:


Minnesota’s Heritage

Through the support of a Legacy Grant, this journal features well-documented research into new and little known sources about the Dakota Conflict and the Civil War. Minnesota's Heritage #7 is currently at the printers, and includes an article entitled "Forgotten Victims: Terror, Refuge, and Recovery" which provides more of the story. It should be mailed to subscribers the first week in February. The website gives you an opportunity to subscribe and purchase this and back issues. Go to:

DAKOTA DAWN                                                                                                                                   The Decisive First Week of the Sioux Uprising, August 17-24, 1862

[Hardcover] By Gregory Michno. In August of 1862, hundreds of Dakota warriors opened without warning a murderous rampage against settlers and soldiers in southern Minnesota. The vortex of the Dakota Uprising along the Minnesota River encompassed thousands of people in what was perhaps the greatest massacre of whites by Indians. Available at

The Leavenworth Rescue Expedition Revisited

By Gary Wiltscheck, this is an account of how a rescue party left the safety of New Ulm hoping to rescue families and neighbors along the Big Cottonwood River, only to return empty-handed and placing themselves in peril. The book opens by documenting the settlers' flight, including details of six wagon parties of refugees. It goes on to chronicle the rescue expedition itself, discussing the subsequent contribution of the refugees to the defense of New Ulm. Numerous maps and black & white photographs, with survivor accounts and quotations from newspapers of the time. Published by the Brown County Historical Society (BCHS), this book fits in with the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the U.S.-Dakota War. The author adds profiles of some of the Leavenworth Rescue members, and concludes with secondary and supporting information about the rescue. Available at and at

Montevideo 1860 to 1930                                                              Through Their Eyes and in Their Words

Written by Wayne Ostlie, Odell Bjerkness and Paul Ostlie, this book portrays over 200 of the most beautiful and interesting photographs of the town’s early years. Through these images - coupled with first-hand accounts obtained through historic newspapers, messages scrawled on the back of postcards, and other historical sources - the authors weave a rich tapestry that is an untold history of Montevideo over its first 60 years. Available at http://www.montevideohistory.orgView the slide show found under the Images of Montevideo tab to see rare photos taken at Camp Release at

Outbreak and Massacre by the Dakota Indians                                            in Minnesota in 1862

Marion P. Satterlee's Minute Account of the Outbreak, with Exact Locations, Names, Prisoners, Refugee, Indians, Etc. [Paperback] Don Heinrich Tolzmann (Editor). Available at

The Matter Lies Deeper

This book, published in 2004 by Elroy E. Ubl, is an ambitious undertaking of the author's efforts to find the burial locations of New Ulm pioneers. It is much more than that though as it includes a section on gravestone symbolism, cemetery listings, an extensive history of New Ulm, a section on the Sioux Uprising, a list of the National Historic Sites in the area, a genealogy section and much more. The book is 981 pages with over 2300 photos and 5000 burial listings. A must read for anyone interested in anything associated with New Ulm, Brown County. Available at

Historic Sites of the Conflict of 1862

The Renville County Historical Society has published a self-guided tour to the historic sites of the 1862 Conflict in the Renville County area. It includes old and new photos of each site along with directions and the historical significance of the site, the people involved, and personal stories told by survivors. Available at:

The Dakota Indian Internment at Fort Snelling                               1862-1864 

By Corinne L. Monjeau-Marz, this book is an actual, objective account of the camp and the experiences of its 1600 Dakota women, children and old men who lived there. Virulent disease swept the camp, killing hundreds. Led by missionaries, a religious revival occurred, with many becoming Christians and literate in their own language. 2005, paper, illus. $ 19.95 F-540. Available at Park Genealogical Books Click on Shop Online, then Minnesota Military to find this and other books.

A Thrilling Narrative of Indian Captivity Dispatches                         from the Dakota War

By Mary Butler Renville; edited by Carrie Reber Zeman and Kathryn Zabelle Derounian-Stodola; foreword by Gwen N. Westerman. Written by an Anglo woman, with the assistance of her Dakota husband, John Baptiste Renville, “A Thrilling Narrative. .“ was printed only once as a book in 1863 and has not been republished since. The work details the Renvilles’ experiences as “captives” among their Dakota kin in the Peace Party camp. This book will be available about May 1, 2012.  Click on this pdf file for ordering information: A Thrilling Narrative of Indian Captivity.pdf.

The War in Words                                                                                     Reading the Dakota Conflict through the Captivity Literature

By Kathryn Zabelle Derounian-Stodola, “The War in Words. . .“ is the first book to study the captivity and confinement narratives generated by a single American war as it traces the development and variety of the captivity narrative genre. Kathryn Zabelle Derounian-Stodola examines the complex 1862 Dakota Conflict (also called the Dakota War) by focusing on twenty-four of the dozens of narratives that European Americans and Native Americans wrote about it. This six-week war was the deadliest confrontation between whites and Dakotas in Minnesota’s history. Conducted at the same time as the Civil War, it is sometimes called Minnesota’s Civil War because it was—and continues to be—so divisive. Available at

German Pioneer Accounts of the Great Sioux Uprising of 1862

 Amazing eyewitness accounts written by two women who, as children, suffered and witnessed horrific experiences during this tragic period of our history. Mary Schwandt-Schmidt and Wilhelmina “Minnie” Bruce Carrigan lived to tell their stories, as well as those of their family, friends, and neighbors in Renville County, Minnesota. An immediate result of the uprising was the flight of nearly 40,000 people from their homes. This uprising resulted in the loss of at least 800 lives. The index provides a wealth of names of the pioneers in the area. The editor hails from Renville County, where his German immigrant great-grandparents settled after the Civil War. Editor: Don Heinrich Tolzmann  Available at this site:

Through Dakota Eyes                                                                             Narrative Accounts of the Minnesota Indian War of 1862

By Gary Clayton Anderson & Alan R. Woolworth, Editors. Available at the Minnesota Historical Society at this site:  This collection of thirty-six narratives presents the Dakota Indians' experiences during a conflict previously known chiefly from the viewpoints of non-Indians.

The New Ulm Pioneer and the Indians 1858 - 1862

Historian John LaBatte has released a new book called “The New Ulm Pioneer and the Indians, 1858-1862,”  which is a compilation of translations from the German-language newspaper, the “New Ulm Pioneer” from 1858 to 1862. This 44-page booklet features articles related to the Indians, reservations and Fort Ridgely. The book is available at the Brown County Historical Society, New Ulm, MN, at                                              

Six Weeks in the Sioux Tepees                                                                         A Narrative of Indian Captivity

By Sarah F. Wakefield. The Dakota War (1862) was a searing event in Minnesota history as well as a signal event in the lives of Dakota people. Sarah F. Wakefield was caught up in this revolt. A young doctor’s wife and the mother of two small children, Wakefield published her unusual account of the war and her captivity shortly after the hanging of thirty-eight Dakotas accused of participation in the "Sioux uprising." Among those hanged were Chaska (We-Chank-Wash-ta-don-pee), a Mdewakanton Dakota who had protected her and her children during the upheaval. In a distinctive and compelling voice, Wakefield blames the government for the war and then relates her and her family’s ordeal, as well as Chaska’s and his family’s help and ultimate sacrifice. Available at

Let Them Eat Grass                                                                                                                                                The 1862 Sioux Uprising in Minnesota

Written by John J. Koblas. The individual titles are: Volume 1: Smoke, Volume 2: Fire, and Volume 3: Ashes. While the books are out of print, most local libraries have them. To learn more, here is the website:  Kindle versions of the first two volumes are available at


Over the Earth I Come                                                                                      The Great Sioux Uprising of 1862

Written by Duane Schultz. A retelling of the Sioux uprising describes how in one week in August of 1862, the Sioux went on a rampage, leaving hundreds of settlers dead and turning forty thousand into refugees, and discusses the execution of thirty-eight of the Sioux who were involved. December 26, 1862. On the day after Christmas in Mankato, Minnesota, 38 Sioux Indians were hanged, by order of President Abraham Lincoln. It stands today as the largest mass execution in US history. In “Over the Earth I Come,” Schultz brilliantly retells one of American’s most violent and bloody events, the Great Sioux Uprising of 1862. It recounts a part of American history that should never be forgotten.”  Go to: for more information. Available at,, and Barnes and Nobel.

Eight Days in August

By Darla Cordes Gebhard and John Isch, this book is now available at the Brown County Historical Society and online. Purchase Price of $19.95 plus tax.Click here to order the book online.

The Dakota Trials

By John Isch, this book is 558 pages of unedited transcripts of the 1862-1864 trials of the Dakota Indians and now available at the Brown County Historical Society and on their online store. Purchase Price $29.95 plus tax.

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The Greater Mankato Convention and Visitors Bureau has this link that directs you to a U.S. Dakota Conflict Resources page that includes written work, videos, websites and news articles:


This is a family history book site which has a wealth of books on the Dakota War: Go to: Click on Shop Online,  then on Minnesota Military and/or Indians - Dakota to see the catalogue of books that Park Genealogical Books has to offer. There are selected Civil War/Dakota Conflict titles in Park Genealogical Books Catalog. Includes the series on claims (including care of the refugees, Dakota War pensions, and more).

Here’s one of interest:

Perspective on the Sioux War: Oscar Malmros, MN’s Adjutant General, and Thomas J. Galbraith, U.S. Sioux Indian   

Don Heinrich Tolzman has edited/translated four additional books on the                             Dakota War Experience. They are:

Berghold, Alexander. The Indians’ Revenge, or Days of Horror: Some Appalling Events in the History of the Sioux. Edited by Don Heinrich Tolzmann. (Roseville, MN: Edinborough Press, 2007).

Fritsche, L.A. Memories of the Battle of New Ulm: Personal Accounts of the Sioux Uprising: L.A. Fritische’s History of Brown County, Minnesota (1916). Edited by Don Heinrich Tolzmann. (Bowie, MD: Heritage Books, Inc., 2001).

Leonhart, Rudolf. Memories of New Ulm: My Experiences during the Indian Uprising in Minnesota, 1862. Translated and edited by Don Heinrich Tolzmann. (Roseville, MN: Edinborough Press, 2005).

Nix, Jacob. The Sioux Uprising in Minnesota: Jacob Nix’s Eyewitness History. Translated by Gretchen Steinhauser, Don Heinrich Tolzmann and Eberhard Reichmann. Edited by Don Heinrich Tolzmann. (Indianapolis: Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis & Indiana German Heritage Society, 1994).

•Below is a very thorough booklist as a PDF document, compiled by Terry Sveine while he was employed by the New Ulm Chamber of Commerce. While all books are not specific to the uprising, they do provide a wonderful list for any reader who has interest in New Ulm and the Brown County, MN area. We have only included those focusing on the Dakota War. Click on: Terry Sveine's Booklist.pdf  

Here is an extensive reading list suggested by the National Scenic Byway Minnesota River Valley website that pertains to the Dakota War:

Family and Friends of Dakota Uprising Victims: