On the Sioux Trail: Camp Release

U.S. – Dakota War of 1862, Part VIII

Camp Release Monument
Camp Release Monument

After the Battle of Wood Lake, a group of Dakota chiefs released prisoner Joseph Campbell, with instructions to tell Colonel Henry Sibley that the remainder of the captives were safe. Sibley & his troops would meet with the Dakota Peace Party on September 26, at what is now known as Camp Release.

269 captives of the Dakota, 107 white settlers and 162 mixed-bloods, were handed over to Sibley’s troops.

Camp Release marker

Many of those released had been held captive for close to six weeks, and a large number of them owed their lives to Dakota Indians who were not in support of the war, and who went out of the way to keep the captives safe. Mary Schwandt was one of these captives. The Schwandt family had all been killed in a raid on 18 August, while Mary was away from the family farm. She was taken captive later that day by a warrior from the Lower Sioux Reservation. Snana, a 23 year old Dakota woman, arranged for Mary to be released to her, and for the remainder of the war, Snana kept her safe from harm. Often Mary dressed in Dakota clothing in order to not attract unwanted attention. Both women wrote memoirs of the events after the war.

Camp Release

1200 Dakota Indians were taken into custody at Camp Release. Eventually, 2000 were captured or surrendered, and they faced mass trials at the Camp Release facilities.

About icefogger

Just a basic, down to Earth, laid back type of guy here, who loves the outdoors, the indoors, jazz on the turntable, a fire in the woodstove, the northern lights blazing across the sky, and the company of good friends. View all posts by icefogger

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