Battles of New Ulm Article

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Battles of New Ulm
Part of the Dakota War of 1862
The Siege of New Ulm Minn.jpg
The Siege of New Ulm, Minnesota on August 19, 1862
DateAugust 19, 1862 and August 23, 1862
44°18′48″N 94°27′41″W / 44.31333°N 94.46139°W / 44.31333; -94.46139
BATTLES OF NEW ULM Latitude and Longitude:

44°18′48″N 94°27′41″W / 44.31333°N 94.46139°W / 44.31333; -94.46139
Result Santee Sioux defeat: Attacks repulsed; city temporarily evacuated following day.
  United States Santee Sioux
Commanders and leaders
Col. Charles Eugene Flandrau, Captain Jacob Nix, Sheriff Charles Roos Chiefs Little Crow, Mankato, Wapasha III and Big Eagle
20–55 (first battle) 300 (second battle) (approx. 2,000 unarmed elderly, women, and children) 100 (first battle),
650 (second battle)
Casualties and losses
5 killed and 6 wounded (first battle)
34 (second battle)
{Note Flandrau reported casualties as 10 killed and 50 wounded}

The Battles of New Ulm were two battles in August of the Dakota War of 1862. The settlement of New Ulm, Minnesota, had 900 settlers around the time and was the largest settlement near the Sioux reservation. After the Battle of Fort Ridgely, the town was seen as a tempting target for a Sioux attack. The topography of the town also presented an advantage for the Sioux, since the land rises some 200 feet out of the Minnesota River valley in two large steps (terraces), with wooded area to provide cover for an attack.


Anton Gag's 1904 painting "Attack on New Ulm"

In 1851, the Santee Sioux Indians of Minnesota had been forced to cede to the government their hunting ground of 24,000,000 acres (97,000 km2). In 1852, they were corralled into a reservation on the Minnesota River. In 1858, they were swindled of half that land. In August 1862, when the government failed to pay the $1.4 million compensation provided by treaty, and its agents and politicians stole most of the supplies that the treaty granted, the Indians rebelled. When Chief Little Crow complained that despite stacks of provisions in clear sight, supposedly theirs by treaty, his people had nothing to eat, the government agent responded, "So far as I'm concerned ... let them eat grass or their own dung". Minnesota political leaders, led by Governor Alexander Ramsey, in league with commercial interests, advocated expelling all Indians from Minnesota. [1]

First Battle of New Ulm

On August 18, 1862, Dakota warriors began attacking civilians without discretion to age or gender in Milford, killing 54 people and wounding many more. At the same time a recruiting party for Civil War volunteers left New Ulm, but was ambushed in Milford Township. The survivors raced back to town and warned the settlers of an impending attack. At first Sheriff Charles Roos assumed that only a few drunk Dakota were responsible and rushed with men to control the situation. After finding mutilated corpses and being fired upon, he realized that the attacks were much more serious. He then returned to New Ulm and wrote to Governor Alexander Ramsey for immediate aid. Franz Czeigowitz, a former Austrian soldier, had already organized about 50 poorly armed citizens into a defensive militia. At that time they only had 12 rifles, the rest being armed with shotguns and other poor quality firearms or farm tools. Roos soon turned over command to Jacob Nix, a veteran of revolutionary fighting in the 1848 rebellions in Europe. The townspeople prepared for the attack by erecting barricades on the streets and packing the women and children into three available brick buildings. The first attack came on August 19, with about 100 Sioux warriors firing on the city from the bluff behind the town. Under the command of Jacob Nix a small number of civilians returned the fire as best as they could. Later in the day, a thunderstorm discouraged the Indians from continuing their attack, and there were no chiefs present to give orders. The first battle ended with six settlers killed (including eleven year old Emily Pauli) and five wounded (including Nix who lost a finger). [2]

Second Battle of New Ulm

After the first attack, Charles Eugene Flandrau reached the city as part of a detachment from St. Peter and Le Sueur. Dr. Asa W. Daniels, Dr. Otis Ayer, and Dr. William Worrall Mayo (father of William James Mayo and Charles Horace Mayo) were also part of the group. Dr. Mayo and Dr. William R. McMahan of Mankato set up a hospital in the Dacotah House and Drs. Ayer and Daniels set up a hospital in a store across the street. This undoubtedly helped in the treatment of the wounded.

Flandrau's forces were bolstered by about a hundred men from Mankato, two companies from Le Sueur, and militias from Brown County, Nicollet County, St. Peter, Lafayette, and New Ulm. In all, Flandrau had about three hundred citizen-soldiers under his command, but most were poorly armed. Meanwhile, more than a thousand settlers were barricaded on New Ulm's main street. On Saturday, August 23, around 9:30 in the morning, the Sioux began their second attack on the city after burning many of the homes in the surrounding area. The New Ulm defenders attempted to form a defensive picket line several blocks west of town. The Dakota advanced in u-shape/ bullhorn formation, holding their fire until the defenders shot first. The defenders quickly retreated in disorder to the barricades in the town center. The Sioux were superior in numbers, and were able to encircle the entire town. Captain William B. Dodd, second in command, was killed near the log blacksmith shop while leading soldiers beyond one of the barricades of the city in an attempt to link up with a supposed reinforcement column which actually was a body of fully clothed Dakota successfully attempting to appear as militia. [3]

At the climax of the second battle a large body of Dakota used the terrain to mask a large movement below the lower terrace to enter buildings flanking the barricades and thereby give devastating enfilade fire. Realizing the seriousness of the situation, Flandrau and Nix lead a charge out of the barricades down Minnesota Street and swept away the advancing Dakota. After nightfall, Flandrau ordered that the rest of the buildings outside of the barricades to be burned. In all, 190 structures within the city were destroyed, leaving only 49 residences for 2,500 people. The next morning, August 24, the Indians reappeared, fired some harmless long-range shots, and then withdrew. Flandrau convened with his officers later that day and decided to evacuate the city (despite objections by Nix and others), due to a shortage of ammunition and food and epidemics of disease. The following morning, August 25, 2000 people, including 153 wagons and a large number of refugees, left the city and headed to Mankato, about 30 miles to the east. The procession was escorted by about 150 troops and made it through to Mankato safely.

William Watts Folwell, a Minnesota historian, remarked, "This was no sham battle, no trivial affair, but an heroic defense of a beleaguered town against a much superior force."[ attribution needed]

Flandrau's forces at New Ulm

(Note several other units were under Flandrau's command {Captain H.W.Holley's Company of "Winnebago Guards"; Captain C.I. Post Company of "Fillmore County Volunteer Mounted Infantry"; Captain N.P. Colburn Company of Fillmore County Volunteer Militia; Captain C.F. Buck's Company of "Winona Rangers"; Captain D.L. Davis "Goodhue County Rangers"} served under his command at the Southern Frontier.

  • Captain Flandrau's Company:
    • Killed: Lt William Ladd; Privates: Max Heach; Jerry Quane {?} {Indistinct writing};
    • Wounded:Privates: Ed Andrews; W.C. Estlar; Wm Langharst; George Moser;
    • Sick: Private: H.Harm
  • Captain Bierbaur's Mankato Company:
    • Killed: Privates: N.E. Houghton; Wm Nicolson;
    • Wounded: Privates:Geo Andrews; F.M. Andrews; Patrick Burns;John Fassat; Adam Freundler
  • 1st Battalion Brown County Militia: {Company B under Captain Ignatz Reinartz Company served at New Ulm Sept 15 to Oct 15, 1862; Lt. Charles Wagner Company C "Irregular State Militia" of New Ulm served from Sept 15 to Oct 10, 1862. Private John Armstrong killed by Indians}:
  • Captain Charles Roos Company "A":
    • Wounded: Privates: John Peller; Louis Schmitz
  • Captain Louis Buggert's Company {Brown County Militia}:
  • Captain A.M Bean's Company {Nicollet County}:
  • Captain William Dellaughter's Company "Le Sueur Tigers No 1":
    • Killed: 1st Lt. A. M. Edwards; Private: William Luskey; Luke Smithson {Wounded and died}
    • Wounded: Private: John Smith
  • Captain A.E. Saunders's Company "Le Sueur Tigers No 2":
    • Killed: 5th Sergeant Wm Maloney; Privates: M. Aherin; Wm Kulp;
    • Wounded: Captain A.E Saunders {Severely}; 4th Corporal Thomas Howard {Slightly in hip};
  • Lt. William Huey's Company "St Peter {Nicollet County} Guards:
  • Captain Sidel Depolder's "Lafayette Company"
  • Captain John Belm's Company of 11th Regiment/3rd Brigade/Minnesota Militia:
    • Killed: Privates: Jacob Castor; Eagland; Julis Kirchstein; Malbeans Mayer; John C. Michaels; August Roepke; Leopold Senzke;
    • Died of Wounds: Privates: G.W.Otto Barth; Adolph Stumple {Died in St Paul};
    • Wounded: Privates: L. Fay; R.Fischer; Julius Guething; William Guething; George Guetlich;Hess; Hansmann; Herriman; de:Daniel Schillock; August Westphal;

In August 1862, the following units relieved New Ulm:

  • Captain Joseph Anderson Company of Mounted Men "The Cullen Guard"
  • Captain E/St. Julian Cox Company of "The Frontier Avengers"

September 1862: 1st Battalion Brown County Militia:

  • Captain Ignatz Reinartz Company "B" served at New Ulm Sept 15 to Oct 15, 1862;
  • Lt. Charles Wagner Company C "Irregular State Militia" of New Ulm served from Sept 15 to Oct 10, 1862. Casualty: Private John Armstrong killed by Indians. [4]


  1. ^ Kaplan, Fred (2008). Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer. Harper Collins. p. 342. ISBN  978-0-06-077334-2.
  2. ^ Tolzmann
  3. ^ Tolzmann
  4. ^ see [1] it was estimated that 5 people were killed every 10 minutes


  • Carley, Kenneth (1976). The Sioux Uprising of 1862 (Second ed.). Minnesota Historical Society. ISBN  0-87351-103-4.
  • Lass, William E. (1998) [1977]. Minnesota: A History (2nd ed.). New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company. ISBN  0-393-04628-1.
  • Kaplan, Fred (2008). Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer. Harper Collins. p. 342. ISBN  978-0-06-077334-2.
  • Tolzmann, edited by Don Heinrich (2007). Memories of the Battle of New Ulm : Personal Accounts of the Sioux Uprising [in] L.A. Fritsche's History of Brown County, Minnesota (1916). Bowie, Md.: Heritage Books. ISBN  978-0-7884-1863-1.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list ( link)

External links