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The account of Orlando McFall
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Orlando McFall was a private in Co. C. of the 5th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment. This account is his own, in his own hand, and reporduced here direct from photocopies of the original documents. Please remember that as this is taken from original text, it DOES CONTAIN references and language that may be considered inappropriate in 2006. I do not endorse these references, mentalities, or conclusions but simply offer this account for public consumption and study. This is one side of a very complex event, and I encourage anyone who reads it to seek out other points of view. This was a war in which EVERYONE LOST on some level, and it should not be forgotten.

For more of the 5th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry, see our Company website.

(Transcripted by A. Jones, 2006. Direct, but with suggestions for unintelligible language and conjecture for incongruities.)



Narrative of the Sioux Indian Massacre on 1862.



On August 18-1862 word came to Fort Ridgely that the Sioux Indians had broken out and were killing all of the inhabitants on The Minnesota River. Captain Marsh of co B 5th MVI started immediately with 59 men from Fort Ridgely for the lower agency, the scene of the Trouble. Captain Marsh unknowingly ran his 50 men into an ambuscade as they approached the River and halted The Indians opened fire and one half the men dropped dead in their tracks. Captain Marsh instantly gave the order for every man to take care of himself. Then Capt Marsh shouted for every man to follow him. Every man sprang for the willows and alder brush which skirted the River on the Eastern bank with Capt-Marsh is the lead. After following for about 8 mild(miles?) Capt-Marsh concluded that the safest-plan was to cross The

River to the west bank. Capt-Marsh was the first-to enter the water. when about half way across he went down to-rise no more his Sword and Revolver weighted him down.



When Corporal John Breman saw the Captains peril he sprang to his assistance. he dove and got hold of The Captain. The Capt. grappled with Brenman They both lay on the bottom. Bressman got his feet against the Captain and with one tremendous Capt. Poor Brave John Bressmon(there are several spellings of this fellows name listed) gave his lifes Blood in defense of his Country at Nashville Tenn. in 1864.



On June 10 or 12-1862 Co C 5th Regt Minn Vol Infty Recvd orders for one half The Company to proceed to Fort Ridgely and there await orders from Capt-Marsh. We arrived at our-destination about June 29th laid over one day and rested up. The recvd orders Capt-Marsh to proceed to the Yellow Medicine agency there to guard Government Property during the annuity payments to The Indians by the Govt. 5o men of Co B-5th Regt Minn Vol Infty accompanied us to the agency. We arrived at the agency on July the 2nd . We remained at the agency until Aug 13th. Meantime The Indians were counted and Registered Preparatory to drawing their money and trinkets. a few days later they drew their guns ammunition Blankets and so forth, But no money payment. The Indians would not receive Paper money in payment. The Government has much trouble in procuring the gold (consequently the delay). The money payment was not made for some years afterwards. The Paymasters arrived at Fort Ridgely on the morning of August 18th, the day of the outbreak with 70000 in gold. Major Galbrath(Galbraith) told The Indians from day to day that the money was on the way there and they were liable to get paid any day. Finally they began to doubt his word and called him a liar. Finally they began to grow morose and ugly and their daily visits to our camp began to lessen. Those that did show themselves had on their WarePaint(war paint)-and Feathers.



On the evening of Aug the 9th, The Indians sent a messenger to our camp and notified The Commander Lieut T.J. Sheehan, that they were coming down to our Camp on the following morning to hav(e) a Buffalow(buffalo) dance and to Salute the Soldiers. Of course it was all taken in good faith by us, as they had done the same thing many times before. About 8-o-clock am on the morning of the 10th of August The Indians began to assemble on the rise of ground about 60 or 70 Rods to the west of us. about 600 of them were mounted on their Ponies. They formed in line of battle and made a fine display. They were 2 Ranks deep same as regulars cavalry. Most of the Soldiers stood and watched the Performance, totally unaware of the Terrible ordeal through which they were to pass in a very few minutes. When the red demons were all in readiness There went up one of the most Earsplitting and blood curdling yells Ever heard, and with the yell a dash was made for our camp. The center of their line struck our camp and the two ends swung around and we were Trapped. forty deep all around us. The order was given by Lieut Sheehan to fall in, every man sprang for his gun and was in line in one minute. Then the order came to load came to load. We loaded in double quick time. When we brought our guns into position to cap them there was scene that chilled the blood in every Soldiers heart and even now, though 47 years has passed since that awful sight, it sends a chill to my heart whenever I think of it. Now the mounted Indians were all armed with guns shotguns and rifles. Most of the pedestrians were armed with bows and arrows. as we capped our guns the Red Devals(Devils) cocked their guns and took dead aime(aim) at their helpless vicktems(victims). Lieutenant Sheehans face looked like a dead mans but his head was level when he gave the command to order arms. We dropped our guns with the butts resting on the ground and the Indians recovered their guns, an act which gave us great relief.



During all the time the Indians had bin(been) gathering around the Government Warehouse. They had all ready effected an entrance and were carrying out the provisions. The distance between the warehouse and our Camp was some 25-rods. This space was pasted solid with red skins, while standing in line the Indians kept crowding up around us until we had barely room to stand. Their impudence knew no bounds. They would push and jostle us around and slap us in the face, trying to break out line and get us scattered. Our courage had somewhat returned by this time, and we sullenly maintained our line. Lieutenant Sheehan at this juncture ordered Sergeant James McGrew Co B to run out the two small cannons which warehoused in a tent. 2nd Lieutenant J.P. Gear of Co B had charge of the cannons. They were aimed towards the warehouse. The Indians immediately fell back and opened up a space about 30 feet wide clear to the warehouse; Then Lieut Sheehan called for 25 volunteers to go to the warehouse. The call was responded to promptly as the first 25 men at the head of the line lept forward. These men headed by Sheehan, started for the warehouse. Just as soon as we stepped in front of the cannon the devils closed the opening. The front file were ordered to charge bayonets. This order proved effectual, as the reds opened up just space enough for us to crowd through. Then about 100 of indians along the line cocked their guns and would put them square against our heads-and they were in no wise particular about giving us some painful thumps. There was not one man of those volunteers but that expected that his brains would be blown skyward at any time Well, we finally reached the warehouse which was full of Indians carrying out stuff. Here were 4 of the volunteers placed at the door with crossed bayonets. The battalion went to work cleaning out the warehouse, a job that was accomplished in short order. The Indians inside had no arms so we had them at our will the same as they had us a few moments before. We clubbed them with our muskets and there was prostrated Indians laying in all directions. Lots of them staggered for the door holding their heads as though they ached (I was one of the volunteers).



When the warehouse was cleared out the Indians made a break for our camp to kill the soldiers who remained there. A half-breed by the name of antone, Major Galbraiths interpreter, mounted a large box and began shouting in the Souix tongue that Major Galbraith wanted to hold a council with them. Finally the head leaders began to shout to their braves. After a while they began to draw off from the Camp and saunter up towards the warehouse. The Cheaf(Chief) men about 30 in number formed a circle with Major Galbraith and his Interpreter in the center. The council lasted for 2 hours but-the agent accomplished nothing. The Indians told the agent that their wives and children were starving and that they would have all the provisions in the warehouse, other wise they would kill every white man on the agency before sun set. Major Galbraith granted their demands, and the Soldiers went to work and helped them load every thing in the warehouse onto their Red River Carts and Tug Poles and they left for their camp which was located 2 miles west of the agency. We could see their camp plainly from the agency. It was estimated that there were fully 5000 Reds in this raid.



Some miscreant went in the Indian Camp on the night of the 11th and told the Indians that there was 2000 Soldiers on their way from Fort Ridgely and were going to kill all the Indians to be found around the Agency; they also came to our camp and reported that the Indians had been reenforced and were coming down to the agency in the morning to clear out all the Soldiers to be found. Well the upshot of the thing was that we were on duty all night and expected to be pounced on any moment through the night-and have our throats cut or burned alive at the stake. Finally the long looked for break of day came and our eyes naturally turned westward in the direction of the Indian Camp. And to our great surprise there was not a visage of the camp to be seen. They had taken fright from the report of the night before, broke camp in the night-and skedaddled westward. We were on the watch out all day the 12th but did not see the sign of an Indian. On the afternoon of the 12th a detachment of Soldiers arrived at the agency from Fort Ridgely with rations and supplies. We remained at the agency until the afternoon of the 13th and at about 1 o'clock PM we took up our line of march for Fort Ridgely. There was nothing of incident happened on our way down from the agency, only it was simply impossible to meet an Indian face to face wherever we were likely to meet them normally. When we did percept them, they would tour away and around us. The time occupied on the march from the agency to the

Fort was a little less than 2 days. We arrived at the Fort on the evening of the 15th of August. Co. B; 50 men were now at their own post, the 50 men of Co. C laid over on the 16th to rest up.



Sunday August 17th we took up our line of march for our own Post, Fort Ripley. Sunday Aug 17 we marched 22 miles due East from the Fort on the old Government Road. We camped on the night of the 17th in a grove situated at the junction of the Government road and a road running due north to New Ulm and Glencow(Glencoe). We took an early start on the morning of the 18th and marched 20 miles to New Auburn, and about one half mile north of the town we came to a restful camping place. And Tim, as we used to call him, put it to a vote of the men whither we should camp there or go on further. The vote was unanimous to pitch camp right there. So we all went to work putting things in ship shape.This done we turned our attention to preparing something to satisfy the inner man. We got water from a small stream nearby to make coffee, had the bacon frying and some of the boys were preparing potatoes to fry. And our supper was well under way when someone of the Boys

happened to look to the southwest and saw a cloud of dust in the air. There emerged from that cloud of dust a gadded and almost lifeless horse. His rider was James McClane, a member of the Co B 5 Minn Vol Infty from Fort Ridgely, bearing a dispatch to Captain(Not his rank that this point, but a reference to the Lt. being in charge of the group-I.E. calling someone Boss or Chief ) Sheehan notifying him of the outbreak, and the killing of half of Co. B and for him to return with his command to the Fort as quickly as a merciful God would permit him to as the Indians had gone on the war path and had killed half of Co B and were killing all the inhabitants on the Minnesota River. As Captain Sheehan instantly read the dispatch we could see from the expression on his face that the importance of it was something unusual. When he had finished he gave the order for the med to fall in. In half a moment every man took his place in line. Then Capt. Sheehan in a husky voice read the dispatch to us aloud as stated heretofore. Capt Sheehan then gave orders for us to get ready to retrace our steps as soon as possible. Every man was alive now. No one tired. No one was hungry, we threw our supper out on the ground and proceeded to get out guns out, which the Captain had permitted us to pack away in the gun boxes in the wagon rather than carry them on our shoulders. Our camp equippage and knapsacks were all dumped into the wagon box in a miscellaneous heap. In just 12 minutes from the time that dispatch was read to us we were on our way backward march. In a few minutes we were in the village of New Auburn. There we confiscated two teams that belonged to a farmer. One of the wagons was loaded with wheat in bundles. The man with the wheat said we couldn't have his team because he had to get to stack that load of wheat right away. The Captain told him we could stack his wheat for him and ordered a dozen of the Boys to unload it. We took hold of the rack on one side and dumped it in the road. The wheat man refused to go with his team, the other one(the other farmer and his team) went and stopped long enough to feed the horse after reaching the Fort and then started for home with both teams. He got down into the ravine to the creek about a hundred rods from the Fort and was killed by Indians, who confiscated his horses. We stopped at the grove about 11 oclock PM where we had camped on the night of the 17th and got a lunch, the first we had had since the early morning, excepting the few hardtack we munched while on the march. As soon as our hunger was some what appeased, we were up and off. Talk about forced marches, this one was certainly forced to the limit-almost a double quick. The mules and horses were on the trot more than on half the time to keep up with us. When we were within 9 or 10 miles of the Fort we began to meet refugees fleeing for their lives. We remained with them for about half an hour, listening to their terrible accounts of horror and bloodshed. Some of them were severely wounded. They begged of Capt Sheehan not to go any further for the Indians had taken the Fort, and all the settlers were killed that we were going to certain death. After Capt Sheehan had given these poor distressed victims some advice as to which way to steer to safety, we again took up our line of march.



By this time time some of the Boys began to get very much fatigued, and were allowed to get on the wagons, where they remained but a short time as the jolt of the wagons was worse than marching. The weary Boys soon rallied and seemed as good as ever. We were now within 6 or 7 miles of the Fort and were fast approaching the danger line. Feelers were thrown out on either side to avoid a surprise. Finally in the gray dawn of the morning the scouts got a glimpse of the Fort and the Stars and Stripes waving at the mast head. The sighting of the Fort was soon communicated to the Captain, and by him to the Boys in line. This was glad tidings to the weary band of lifesavers, but there were no shouts of joy. Too well we knew of the terrible danger that still confronted us. The deep ravine that we must cross before reaching the Fort. The ravine was half a mile wide and on both side brush and willows. The eye could not penetrate into these jungles at first. Well we are now on the brink of the ravine, getting ready to cross over to the Fort. Capt Sheehan arranged us in Indian File or one rank with 25 men in front, and 25 men in the rear with the teams. When all was in readiness the order forward double

quick march was given by our Commander and the last grand dash to the rescue began. The teamsters had to lash their horses into a gallop to keep us with the men in front as out of the way of the men in the rear. We all had our guns in readiness for instant use. It took us about 6 minutes to cross that ravine and ascend to level ground on the other side. There we were met by an escort from Co. B who escorted us into the Parade Ground inside the Fort where we saluted the remnant of Company B who were drawn up in line in front of us. This was a most joyful meeting and extremely sorrowful too. Less than 24 hours before we had bade the Boys of Co-B a jolly good bye and were jubilant and happy over the prospect of soon being ordered South to fight out Countries Battles. Most of the men killed at the Red Wood agency were the same men with whom we had spent the summer. It was the morning of the 19th of August that we arrived back at the Fort, weary, hungry and foot sore. Who could wonder at our plight We had what might be called one square meal in 24 hours, we had marched from the crossing of the 18th 20 miles to New Auburn and from the evening of the 18th 20 miles back to our starting place in the morning. In the latter part-of the night we made the 22 miles from the grave to the fort, making in all 62 miles without rest. Now take 20 miles from the 62 and there is 42 miles left the distance we made on the road back to the fort.10 hours and 40 minutes, taking 34 out for the one hour we stopped-over half hour we at the grove and half hour where we met the Refugees and you have 9 hours and 40 minutes. The exact time it took us to make that 42 miles. I am satisfied that the detours we had to take to get around some of the big slews lengthened the distance. All of 3 miles making the real distance we marched 45 miles. I don't think this march ever has been equaled on the American Continent by infantry troops. I have ben told that Sheehan has taken the pains to investigate the matter, and there was nothing found amongst the records of the war department that beat it. Now that I have told all about what we have endured up to the time, now I have to add 6 more days and 6 more nights to the Hell borne torture before the end of our endurance is reached. The balance of the narrative I shall devote to the bravery and heroism of the Boys who done the fighting. There was not one of the Boys in Blue that could claim any more laurels or credits for bravery than any other. They were heroes, but we didnt all have a chance to display it. I shall make special mention of those entitled to it. On the day of the 19th of August our time was employed in making preparations for what we knew must come; our time was used in throwing up rude breastworks and piling up cordwood at the entrances between the buildings. The Fort had no stockade, nothing but the bare buildings with entrances at each corner and one in the center between each corner. These rude works proved of great value on the following day. On the morning of the 20th of August we began to realize our expectations as the country was alive with Indians and every Soldier was on his metal. Captain Sheehan(this designation may also be more in reference to his later rank, but this is conjecture)with a squad of some 20 men made a detour of the Fort. We went down the wagon road into the ravine and around the East side of the Fort to the bank of the Minnesota River then along the South for the side of the Fort and onto the Prairie west of the Fort. The grounds on the west side of the Fort was high and descended towards the Fort. We were making for this high ground to see what there was beyond when BANG BANG BANG The balls(The shots)had opened(come)from the East side of the Fort. The Reconnoitering party about faced and ran with a race horse speed for weren't in it, and we beat him back to the Fort. Little Crow-and Little Six, the two leading Chiefs were laying behind this rise of ground waiting for the signal from the East side. They were in hot pursuit of us when we entered the Fort. The reception they received when they got in range sent them flying down over the bank into the Minnesota bottoms. The combined forces of Little Crow and Little Six was said to be 500. The forces of old Medicine Bottle were on the northern end, and the Chief on the Eastern bank, whose name I have forgotten, together numbered a further 500-bringing the total of 1000 to our 200. Making the odds 6 to 1. When we entered the Fort every Soldier made for shelter from the bullets of the Indians. The Indian forces on the east were sweeping the Parade ground like a hale storm. The squad I was with made a dash for the stone quarters and went into the 2nd story and took up positions on the north side. We did not stop to shove the windows up but beat them out with the butts of our muskets. Pandemonium and hell now reigned. Three hundred women and children had taken refuge in the stone buildings and about 200 of them were in the room with us. Well, I want to try to describe the scenes that were enacted in that room, but I would make a miserable failure of it. There was singing and praying and crying and screaming and about 50 children covering their ears. The room we were in there was 3 men to each window, making 42 men in that room. 2 Men would load and one did the firing. The firing man would lay on the floor and pop up over the window sill and let fly, sometimes at random and lines up at a Red skin. After awhile the women and children were made to lay down on the floor as some of them had already been wounded by flying bullets. They were awful hard to manage. Well, who could blame them Some of them had lost their husbands and children, some of them their fathers and mothers-and I don't think there was a single one in that room but that had lost some of their friends, and some bore wounds they had received from the Indians while making their escape. The fight was now raging furiously. The savages were getting desperate, you could hear Little Crow and the other Chiefs urging their braves to charge but could not prevail on them to do it. The Batteries stationed at each corner of the Fort held them in check. The battery at the south west corner of the fort was in charge of Sergeant J Jones a veteran of the Mexican War and a member of the regular army who had been left at the fort in charge of the ordinance. When the regulars went South Sergeant James McGrew of Co. B 5th who had taken on gunnery lessons from Sergeant Jones during the time Co B was stationed at the fort had charge of the battery at the north west corner. A man by the name of Whipple, an ex-Mexican War Soldier had charge of the one at the north east corner and the whole being under the immediate control of Sergeant John Jones. These batteries kept up a continuous roar shelling the woods on the bottom lands. Some of the batteries were using grape and cannister scouring the brush and tall grass. Sargt Jones had a half breed as one of his gunners who was of great service to Jones, he understood the Souix language and kept the Sergeant posted regarding orders given by the Chiefs to their braves. About 4 OCLOCK this half breed approached Sargt Jones and told him that Little Crow and Little Six were concentrating their braves just over the bank of the Minnesota River to make a charge into the fort about 30 rods from the corner where Jones' battery was stationed. Sergeant Jones quickly ran out a 24 pound Brass Cannon he took a 24 lb shell an inserted a short fuse into the powder and rammed the shell home. He sighted the cannon in the direction indicated by the half breed and pulled the lanyard. There was a smothered report from the gun but it done the work. In 20 minutes from the firing of this gun there wasn't an Indian to be seen. The firing ceased and the red hellions were fleeing for their lives westward. This ended the fight of the 2oth of August 1862.



I never knew just how many Reds this shot killed but reports had it that there was 27 killed. One thing I do know is that the Boys went down on the bottoms about 70 rods from the Fort next day and found 16 dead braves covered up with brush and 2 more covered up under about four inches of earth. It was thought that some of the Indians came back and took their dead and secreted them away later. The yell that went up from that gang when the shell burst among them was a signal for them to retreat. Had the Indians succeeded in making that charge as they had planned from the South East, East, and North East they would have certainly taken the Fort and our fighting days would have been over-and the Fort would have been in ashes ere the sun set. This man Jones was one of the heroes of Fort Ridgely on that day and was complimented by Capt. Sheehan and all the rest of the garrison for his bravery and level headedness through the day. A braver man never lived. The casualties that day August 20th was as follows: Company C, One killed and three wounded. The one killed was Mark M. Greer of whom I shall speak of further on. The wounded was Frank Blackmer, shot through the face-his double teeth all knocked out and his tongue cut 3/4 off. He recovered and became one of Minnesotas most famous Physicians and Surgeons. Dennis Porter received five buck shot-3 in the breast and 2 in the leg. He never laid down his gun, but fought throughout the day and never received any medical aid. He went South with the Company but was captured by bushwhackers in the rear at Vicksburg and murdered. Milo Henney was shot through the fleshy part of his arm with an ounce ball (likely the bullet of a large caliber trade musket, such as the Brown Bess). Wounded of Co. B William Road-shot square in the forehead with an ounce ball but recovered. He dropped dead in the street in Minneapolis in 1893 from the effects of the wound. M.A. Gill wounded in the leg. Munday(some of these names may actually be shorthand for long or unfamiliar names)wounded in shoulder. A Ruferage wounded in the hip. K.J. Spornitz wounded in the leg. There was about 30 citizens in the Fort that done good effective work and fought bravely-all the rest were a curse and a hindrance and still some of them are drawing a pension from the State for bravery. I have never heard of a single on of the boys in blue who faced the terrible onslaught ever getting a red cent. There was a bill passed by the legislature that was intended to help us a little but the world wide lamented Governor John A Johnson put his stamp of condemnation on it. On the morning of the 21st of August we were all ready for another all days fight. The Indians put in an early appearance but to our surprise they were all on the opposite side of the River. They were on their way to New Elm(Ulm) and we were left alone that day only for the skulking bands who were trying to pick some of us off, but there were no casualties for the day. About 10-o-clock AM we began to hear firing in the direction of New Elm(Ulm). The day was clear and nice. The winds in the South. As the day wore on the tumult and roar increased until it seemed like rolling distant thunder. We well knew what the people of New Ulm were under-going, but we could render them no assistance.



About 6-o-clock PM the Indians began to put in an appearance on the bluffs across the river. They were on their way back from New Ulm to their camp after suffering a galling defeat at New Ulm. They would flaunt their blankets at us from across the River. We would beckon to them and invite them over by signals. We didn't have to give them any invitation. On the morning of the 22nd Little Crow put in an appearance bright and early with his one thousand braves of the 20th reenforced by 600 more. As we watched the approach of those demons of hell through our swollen eyes our hearts sank low within us. Although the most of us hadn't had a wink of sleep for 108 hours, we were just as wide awake and active as though we had had our usual amount of sleep. When the fight of the 22nd opened, the Indians done their fighting under different tactics from what they did on the 20th. The fatalities on the 22nd were very meager on our side, with the only one who came near getting killed was Captain Sheehan while running across the Parade ground. A bullet tore its way through his coat and vest across his breast and made a red mark on the skin. The Indians naturally supposed that they had us as their mercy now, they having cut off our supplies on the day of the 20th. They had destroyed the tank at the spring which flowed from the bank of the River and poisoned the water. We knew nothing of this until the morning of the 21st when we formed to open lines to guard the water wagon to and from the spring. The teamsters returned and reported the matter. Then 2 lines were formed to the spring on the north side of the Fort and things were found in the same condition. The report was made to Captain Sheehan. He called 12 citizens and they went to work digging a well on the Parade ground. They dug the well large enough for 6 men to work in, while the other 6 men pulled dirt hand over hand with buckets and ropes. The well was completed about 2-30 AM on the morning of 22nd, so they(the Dakota)foiled in their purpose. Most of the fighting was done from long range and from treetops. The Indians were very loathe to show themselves. The lesson taught them on the 20th had an effect. About 11-0-clock AM the firing from the Fort began to diminish. The Indians seemed to become somewhat interested about the situation and began to try to spy out what the matter was. Had they known what we knew they would of been generally elated. Our supply of ammunition had ran alarmingly low before it was discovered. There was some 2000 or 3000 rounds of cartridges on hand but the caliber was too large for our guns. The situation was critical beyond measure. Immediately men were at work casting bullets. There was about a dozen noble brave women who joined in the work of making cartridges and God knows there never was a nobler band of heroines lived than those women were. Before any of the new ammunition was ready for use we were forced to the extremity of cutting up inch round iron into slugs about 3/4 of an inch long to take the place of bullets. The ammunition for the cannon was getting frightfully low and things began to looking very blue. The fight continued until 6-0-clock when the Indians drew off and gave us a little rest. But they did not quit the scene by any means. About 7-30-o-clock they again commenced by shooting burning arrows onto the dry roofs of the buildings. These burning arrows were arranged with a sling tied about 4 inches up on the shaft and a piece of bark tied to the other end of the thing just enough to lay on the rood when the arrow stuck into the shingles. There was about 15 men sent onto the attic with hammers, axes and clubs and any other thing they could get, and hammered the roof in all directions until morning. The pounding loosed the arrows and they slid to the ground. By the time the men got onto the attic there was one place that had ignited and burned a hole about as large as a bushel. When the Indians saw this there went up one of those blood freezing-hair standing on end-infernal yells that I imagine I can hear now as I write. When the fire was extinguished you could hear their growling and grumbling grunts of disappointment. All the of the Indians were not engaged in trying to burn the Fort-others were carrying on a war dance low down in the ravine. They were dancing around campfires and some of the Boys declared they could see scalps of their victims dangling from the tops of poles. Oh what a night of terror, the Devil with all the imps of hell couldnt have beaten it. Well about 4-0-clock they withdrew-without having accomplished anything by day or night-and went to their camp at Little Crows Village. At about 9-o-clock on the morning of the 23rd some one seen waving a white rag or flag of truce just above the hilltop to the west of us. Upon investigation it was found to be a half-breed from Little Crows Camp with a dispatch from Little Crow to the Commander of the Post-the man bearing the truce was immediately ushered into the presence of Capt-Sheehan to whom he presented Little Crows message. The message said, as I remember it;



Little Crows Village, August 23rd 1862-to the commander of the Post at Fort Ridgely. Sir, I will give you just six hours to lay down your arms and surrender and exit to a place of safety. Otherwise, I will fall upon you with the combined forces of the whole Sioux Nations and would leave not a single man to tell the tale.





Signed, Little Crow



Captain Sheehans reply follows and was sent back with the truce flag bearing half-breed:



Fort Ridgely Aug 23rd 1862



Little Crow



Your communication received and read with contempt. Come on with the combined forces of the whole Sioux Nation. We are ready for you.



Signed, Timothy J. Sheehan



Capt. Commanding



Early on the morning of the 23rd we went to work and stripped the roofs of the stone buildings-quarters and commissary-and with narrow boards from end to end about 3 foot apart took the dirt from the well and covered the roofs some 2 inches deep all over to guard against fire. This done we settled down to await the coming of the whole Sioux Nation-the flag of truce had dirt been seen from the roof where we were working. We waited all day and not a single Indian was seen nor on the following day. Sergeant Jones was ever on the alert-nothing escaped his eyes. About 4-o-clock PM on the 24th there appeared a dark line on the Eastern horizon. What could it be, was the question asked by everyone. Sergeant Jones kept his field glass leveled on the dark line, and he changed the focus of his glass from time to time. Finally he turned towards the anxious waiting crowd of heroes and shouted THANK GOD BOYS, it's white men! The joy of that hour can never be told by the tongue or words. Sergeant Jones was as brave a man as the good Lord ever but he was not ashamed for others to see his emotion he went around shaking hands with all the Boys with great tears welling up in his eyes and flowing down his cheeks. The Soldier Boys cried and laughed all in the same breath, we hugged one another, slapped one another on the back and all other kinds of antics to express their joy. Boys whom I doubt think ever uttered a prayer since the little Lay Me down to sleep prayer-now prayed earnestly and sincerely to the loving God of us all, thanking Him for our deliverance. When the receiving Party reached the opposite side of the ravine Sargt Jones fired a salute of welcome. It proved to be Col. McFale, the commander of the 250 men who had been gathered up in St. Paul, Minneapolis and Stillwater; and along the Minnesota River and sent to our relief. As soon as they entered the Fort the poor weary half dead long besieged garrison was relieved. The first thing sought was sleep and sleep. They did lots of them dropped on the bare ground, while walking across it and lay in the burning sun. The new comers tenderly took them in their arms and laid them away in the shade just like dead men. Some of us slept for 20 hours in one position and when we got up we were nearer dead than when we lay down. Up to this time we had been without sleep since the fighting at the Fort had begun, but now it was at an end and Little Crows threat never materialized.



Nobody ever knew the number of the Indians killed in the two days fight-as the red took most of their dead from the field and buried or secreted them in some other way. Sargt. Jones'; wife and two small children had a very narrow escape. She lived with her husband in a little black house at the South East corner of the Fort. She went out of the front door with her two children just as two burly bucks( Indians) entered. She ran through the back door for the Parade ground with a child under each arm where she was met by two Soldiers who took the children and hurried them and their mother to the stone commissary building, where they remained through all the siege. The young people now live in St. Paul.



Could the people of this great State of Minnesota have known John Jones as did the men who fought with him at Fort Ridgely they would erect a monument to his memory that would eclipse the one at Bunker Hill. I would have it stand on the very ground where he operated that battery on the 20th and 22nd of August 1862. I would have his name inscribed in well rounded letters of gold studded with diamonds, together with a history of his brave deeds so that the generations unborn yet -for a hundred years might read and learn of what kind of men lived in 1862 and fought at the siege of Fort Ridgely. John Jones was the hero and savior of Fort Ridgely and no other man dead of alive has a valid right to the honors.



C.A. Rose was another of the Boys who showed great cool headedness bravery. Although only 17 years of age he was assigned to the duty of keeping the garrison supplied with ammunition. This was very dangerous position to fill, and he filled this position during the two days of fighting and was never known to waver from his duty. This is the boy who covered himself with glory at the battle of Nashville on the 16 of December 1864. Joe Underwood Co B-5 Minn Vol was regimental color bearer, he was mortally wounded and called to the Boys to save the flag. Sergeant C.A Rose sprang to the Stars and Stripes, seized them and started for the rebel ramparts and never stopped until he had planted them square on top of the Rebel Breastworks. The Regiment followed him, scaling the works and routed the enemy and took many prisoners. Charles A. Rose is now custodian of State documents, his office is at the new capitol.



Mark M Greer of Co. C 5th Regt MVI was one of the jolly boys of the Company always ready for a frolic, never missing an opportunity to get the laughs on somebody, always bright and cheerful. On the evening of the 19th of August when we commenced to retrace our steps back to the Fort, a sudden change came over Mark. The change was so marked that every body noticed it. Some of the Boys asked Mark if he was sick, and he said he was not when pressed for an answer as to what the matter was he simply said I shall never see Fort Ridgely again. Some of the Boys suggested that Mark was a little faint hearted, but his answer was Boys, don't accuse me of that. I shall stand shoulder to shoulder with you while I last. Please remember what I say, I shall never see our own Post again. After the fight of the 20th had been in progress about as hour I had occasion to go down into the mess room. There was Mark pacing up and down between the long lines of tables. I says to him, For the sake of heaven Mark, what are you doing here? Said he, I blew the tube(barrel)out of my gun, and am getting it fixed and as soon as it is done I will be with you. But McFall, I think my stay with you will be short. I tried to sheer him up but to no purpose. I shook hands with him and slapped him on the shoulder and said, Mark the way things look here now I don't think there's a soul of us that will live to see the sun go down. As I turned to go, Mark said quietly-Good bye Mcfall-and I returned to my post. Within 10 minutes Charley Rose came to me and said that Mark Greer was dead.



The survivors of Captain Marshes men who went to Redwood on the morning of the out break were from one to three days making their way back to the Fort. They traveled by night and kept secreted through the day. Capt. Marshs remains were recovered by the burial party some two weeks after the out break and buried on the River Bank near where they were found. Burton Southerlain of Co B was wounded through the breast with an ounce ball and was out 48 hours before reaching the Fort. He recovered and went South with the Company and served his whole time. J.W. Decamp left his wife and children at Redwood(this comment doesn't seem to connect, but is included as in the original-it may be the authors way of suggesting the assumption of the death of Decamp's family), an employee of the Government who had charge of the sawmill at Redwood. Left his house at noon of the 17th for St. Peter to get supplies for the mill and was another victim of the red hellions. He went out with the burial party. He was at Birch Cooley and received an ounce ball square in the forehead. He was taken to the Fort and lived 36 hours never having lost his senses. About half an hour before he died Mrs. Mueller(wife of the Post Surgeon)raised him up and gave him some water. When she laid him back on the pillow, he looked up into her face and said-Well, Mrs. Mueller the red devils have got all I possess on Earth now but my life-and I guess they have got that now too. He died in half and hour, about 4-30 PM and we buried him that night about 9-o-clock AM the next morning. There was an object sighted out on the prairie and as it neared the Fort Sargt Jones lowered his glass and said it was a woman with some children. Two scouts were sent to her relief with blankets to cover her nakedness. It proved to be Mrs. Decamp with her 3 children. The escape of this woman and children was due to a half breed whom Mrs. Decamp employed to work in the saw mill. When this man saw Mrs. Decamp and the children taken prisoners he joined the Indians for the sole purpose of effecting their escape, which he did. He was one of the witnesses who helped to condemn the thirty eight who were hanged at Mankato.



Now I want to make a comment or two on what I have heard and seen at some of the old Soldier gatherings that are quite common all over the country. I have heard the questions asked by people who have come into existence since the day of 1861 and 1865, What is it that seems to bring these old Soldiers so solidly together in heart and soul and why do they all seem like twin brothers? Now can anyone read this poorly composed and poorly written article and still ask that question? I think not. The End



Orlando McFall

Co C 5th Minnesota Vol Infantry