Battles of Birch Coulee and Redwood Ferry, MN

Photos/Text courtesy of Lanny Witter, Rochester, MN
Webmaster for any use of the following  photos

Fort Ridgely, MN:
Battle of Wood Lake:

1. Battle of Birch Coulee: Wikipedia
2. NPS: Birch Coulee Battlefield Survey

4. Minnesota Historic Sites: Birch Coulee Battlefield
5. Explore Minnesota: Birch Coulee Battlefield

6. Battle of Redwood Ferry: Wikipedia
7. Lower Sioux Agency: Minnesota Historical Society
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Battle of Birch Coulee
The battle at Birch Coulee near Morton, MN occurred September 2-3, 1862. Col. Henry Hastings Sibley had sent 170 Army Volunteers to check the Redwood Agency and to bury the settlers killed by Indians. The unit stopped to camp at Birch Coulee not realizing Santee Sioux were close by. Indians were able to surround the camp and attack the unsuspecting troops. The siege lasted over 30 hours. Col. Sibley arrived with reinforcements from Fort Ridgely located 14 miles away and the Indians fled with few casualties. The soldiers lost 22 killed and 60 wounded.

Battle of Redwood Ferry
August 18, 1862 Captain Marsh who was in charge at Fort Ridgely learned that Indians had killed people at the Lower Sioux Agency. He immediately started toward the Lower Agency. He was warned along the way of the seriousness of the situation as he met refugees and found numerous dead. When Marsh arrived at the Redwood Ferry he was met by an ambush. Twenty-four men were lost including Captain Marsh who drowned in the river. Sergeant Bishop was able to lead fifteen survivors including five wounded men back to Fort Ridgely. One Indian was reported killed.


(2010) Enlarge Birch Coulee Memorial, Morton, MN
The Birch Coulee Monument honors the soldiers killed in the battle. This monument is in the town of Morton rather than on the battlefield a few miles away

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(2010) Enlarge Birch Coulee Memorial, Morton, MN

This monument located at Morton, MN honors the many Indians who provided assistance to the white settlers and protected them from harm



(2010) Enlarge The Lower Agency Ferry Crossing
This is the general location of the Redwood Ferry Crossing. The river and terrain no doubt have changed since the battle at this location
Battle of Redwood Ferry: Wikipedia

Lower Sioux Agency: Minnesota Historical Society

(2010) Enlarge Indian position at Birch Coulee
The soldiers were camped in the middle of this field. A ravine in the distance (east) provided shelter for the Indians and a knoll to the rear of this picture prevented the Indians from being spotted west of the camp


(2010) Enlarge Birch Coulee Battlefield
This knoll prevented the soldiers from seeing Indians approach from the west. The battlefield lies just over the knoll


(2010) Enlarge Soldiers position at Birch Coulee
This stake marks the area where soldiers were camped

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