An overview of how Minnesotans of diverse backgrounds—soldiers, women, African Americans, and Native Americans—served their country during the Civil War.
Excerpted from Creating Minnesota: A History from the Inside Out.
Minnesota responded to President Lincoln’s call to arms in 1861. Men picked up guns, bayonets, knapsacks (pens and paper, too). Immigrants, migrants from other states, and mixed-race Indian/white men joined the multiple Minnesota regiments. The 1st Minnesota distinguished itself at Gettysburg (1863); the 3rd met with less success and suffered Southern imprisonment. Women sewed uniforms and then took up plows and solitary motherhood. They made for the soldiers everything from sewing kits to bandages to socks. Low-grade, chronic fear permeated daily life. A second civil war between Dakota Indian people and white settlers broke out in the hungry summer of 1862 and ended with 1,000+ casualties and the expulsion from the state of Dakota people (guilty and innocent). Many settlers abandoned their lands in the face of this home-grown war; others stayed, their land titles secure; a few made the trip to Mankato in December 1862 to witness the hanging of the 38 Indian/mixed-blood men who had been convicted of capital crimes in the war. Minnesotans lived in the memories of its two civil wars for decades.
An MHS Express title