Sioux Uprising (1862) | Wisconsin Historical Society

Historical Essay

Sioux Uprising (1862)

Sioux Uprising (1862) | Wisconsin Historical Society
Dictionary of Wisconsin History.


In late August 1862, angered by white incursions and the failure of the U.S. government to honor treaties, a coalition of Sioux bands in Minnesota attacked settlers southwest of the modern Twin Cities. Known as the Sioux Uprising, warriors of these bands attacked New Ulm and nearby villages, killing more than 100 settlers in the first week. When news of the Sioux Uprising reached Wisconsin, settlers from Lacrosse to Lake Michigan reacted with hysteria that many residents never forgot. "From all directions and in all conditions, men, women, and children came pouring into Milwaukee by every possible means of conveyance. And all were mortally panic stricken, all filled with the tales of the most horrible outrages... Reputable men, convulsed with fright, rushed up and down the street, relating scenes of which they claimed to have been eye witnesses... Hartland was burned;... Oconomowoc lay in ashes; all the good people of Pewaukee had been murdered... It was as though an overwhelming invasion had taken place from a populous country of maniacs... The more horrible and extravagant the incoming reports were, the more eagerly the apprehensive populace seized upon them as true." In the end, there was no violence in Wisconsin. In Minnesota, however, more than 500 whites and 60 Indians died in a month of fighting.

Minnesota State University, Mankato:

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