Battle of Birch
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
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.
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