August 17 - 1862 - The Dakota War Begins
The Dakota tribe, under the leadership of a chief named Little Crow, had signed treaties with the United States Government that allowed them to receive payments for land and buy good and supplies from government agents. By 1862, during the Civil Warthe U.S. was not keeping up with the payments and the Dakota could not buy food during a famine. So when four Dakota men attacked and killed 5 white settlers, Little Crow agreed to go to war. Initially, the Dakota were strikingly successful. They managed to attack certain military outposts and drive settlers off of Dakota land. Then President Abraham Lincoln sent General John Pope, fresh off a disastrous defeat at the Second Battle of Bull Run, to command troops in Minnesota to end the violence. Almost instantly, the Dakota were defeated at the Battle of Wood Lake. Most Dakota surrendered, although Little Crow fled to Canada. In November of 1862, 300 Dakota men were charged and convicted of muder, rape, or both, and were sentenced to death. In the end, Abraham Lincoln would pardon all but 38 of the men, who would be executed on the day after Christmas in the largest mass execution in American history.