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July 29, 2013

Diary entry by Edward F Wright of the 7th Minnesota Infantry, Company H, participating in the Sibley Expedition against the Dakota Indians – July 29, 1863

Filed under: Civil War Daybook — Lori Williamson @ 9:00 am

Wednesday July 29th 1863.
Reville at two am[,] started at four oclk [.] crossed Rabbit river on a pontoon boat[.] the stream is narrow but deep[.] the teams forded it. Some cavalry and artillery came on ahead this morning. after marching 12 miles we came in sight of the Mo [Missouri] river. there is some timber along the bank which is low bottom land on this (Dakota) side, but on the opposite side (Nebraska side) it is high bluffs. when we came within three or four miles of the river we heard the artillery at work shelling the Indians in the woods and on the high bluffs in Nebraska[.] we could see hundreds of Indians lineing the bluff for two miles or more, watching our train as it advanced towards the river. The train halted about half a mile from the timber.
The 6th Reg advanced as skirmishers into the woods. The 7th & 10th remained to guard the train, which halted about 11 am and stayed still until about 3 pm when it was ordered to go into camp on the Apple river some five miles south of where we struck the Mo river. It was very hotwhile the train was halted and several men were sun struck there (I was all day on account of the […])
The Artillery, Cavalry & 6th Reg Infantry kept up considerable fireing across the river and the Indian returned the fire but  I have not heard that any of our men were injured. The Indians put up a white flag, and made signs that they wanted to surrender to us. our men stopped fireing and gathered together to receive them, but they had no sooner got together when the treacherous foe sent a heavy volley of bullets at them, which fortunately did not quite reach our boys, who returned the fire with some effect, as they wounded some of them, if they did not kill any. They left a large number of wagons carts and other things on this side of the river which they had not time to get across before we overtook them. they swam their ponies across the river and made kind of rafts to take their famlies over. Lieut Bever or Gen Sibley’s staff and a man in the 6th Reg were missing at night and it is known they were in the woods during the fight and it is feard they have been killed & scalped. A cannon was fired several times and rockets sent up as signals for them to know where the camp is, if they are alive.


See the complete diary.

*Learn more about the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, as well as its causes and consequences, by visiting this website or by viewing the exhibit at the Minnesota History Center.

Citation: July 29, 1863 Diary entry by Edward F. Wright. Edward F. Wright diary. Minnesota Historical Society. [RESERVE 149]
Pages 33-34

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