U.S. – Dakota War of 1862, Part IV
On 19 August 1962, 100 Dakota warriors attacked the town of New Ulm, which lies at the confluence of the Minnesota and Cottonwood Rivers. Six settlers were killed, and five wounded from the gunfire unleashed from the bluffs behind the town. The residents had been warned of a potential attack, and had barricaded the town’s center.
On 20 August, 400 Dakota warriors attacked Fort Ridgely and its 210 soldiers. Private Mark Greer, Co.C, was the first casualty. By the end of the day, five soldiers were killed and fifteen wounded.
The next day, thunderstorms swept through the Minnesota River Valley, and the Dakota did not attack, although they did ambush a relief party that was sent from the Fort to New Ulm. When the rains subsided on the 22 August, the Dakota ranks had swelled to 800 warriors. The first attack was repelled, and several smaller attacks on the fort continued throughout the day. Another all out attack came in the evening hours, which was eventually repelled by setting the outer buildings on fire keep the Dakotas from making their way through the defenses.
Fort Ridgely remained in siege until the 27th, when Colonel Henry Sibley arrived with 1400 militia.
On 23 August Dakota warriors once again attacked New Ulm, this time in enough numbers to surround the town. By now over 1000 residents were barricaded in the town center, along with around 300 citizen soldiers. The defenders of the town started to burn down buildings outside of the town center. In all, 190 buildings were torched in order to create an open space without cover. By afternoon of the 24th, the Dakota had withdrawn, and on the 25th the residents of New Ulm left for Mankato under military escort.
The Frederick W. Kiesling house in New Ulm, MN. One of only three buildings to survive the Dakota attack in 1862. Today, it is the only wood-framed building of the war, to still be standing in its original location.