NOVEMBER 5, 1862


Over 300 Santee Sioux found guilty of raping and murdering settlers as part of the “Minnesota Uprising,” were sentenced to hang after receiving 5-minute court-martial trials.  As settlers invaded Santee territory, the government forced the Santee onto smaller reservations. There they were mistreated by corrupt federal Indian agents and, by July 1862, forced to the brink of starvation.  When agents refused to distribute food because they had not received their kickback payments, the Santee attacked.  Killing settlers and taking hostages, they routed the U.S. Army at Birch Coulee.  However, the Army defeated the Santee on September 23, at Wood Lake, recovering hostages and forcing the Santee to surrender.  The trials ignored the injustices suffered by the Santee.  However, President Abraham Lincoln commuted all but 39 of the death sentences.  One Indian was granted a last-minute reprieve.  The other 38 were hanged on December 26.

Source:  “This Day in History, November 5:  300 Santee Sioux sentenced to hang in Minnesota,” History, 11/16/2009.  Retrieved 7/18/2019,
Lithograph:  W.H. Childs, 1863.  Public Domain in the US:  Pre-1/1/1925.  Public Domain elsewhere where copyright term is author’s life plus 70 years or less.

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