The Civil War Connections Blog

Mass Murder and Mutilation in Minnesota

Hey there folks, and welcome back to the good ol’ blog! Today’s tidbit about me is: I bite my nails out of habit, and as a result I have a hard time opening things like Swiss Army Knives and Key Chain Rings. On the plus side… actually, there is no plus side. I bite my nails, and its detrimental.

The worst part is, I always have a supply of fingernails on hand, so I can only TRY to hold on while temptation nibbles away at me.


Fair warning, this post starts out rather grim. 150 years ago this past weekend, horrible things were done to the innocent settlers of frontier Minnesota. In my post last Friday, I covered the murder of several townspeople and the resulting decision by the Dakota to just go ahead and kill ALL the local American settlers since they were mad at the American government anyway. Last Saturday, on August 18th, the Dakota descended on hundreds of peaceful single-family farms and undefended homesteads. They then did the most awful things imaginable to everyone they came across, including rape, mutilation, dismemberment, looting/home burning, and finally (after performing the aforementioned actions) murder. They even did their murder in horrible ways, such as “nailing to door” or “impaling on fence.” In one day, around 400 innocent civilians were horrifically snuffed out in the cruelest ways possible.

Wow, that was a depressing paragraph. Be glad we live in the safe, comfy modern world! Here are some mood-liftingly cute animals!


August 18th saw the worst of the mass murders. Afterwards, the Dakota chief in charge of the attacks – Chief Little Crow – decided to refocus the Dakota’s efforts from wiping out settler families to attacking local US military forces. After all, the US military could actually defend itself and was therefore more of a threat than farmer families. Up through today Little Crow began attacking the settlement of New Ulm, and gathering reinforcements to attack the nearby Fort Ridgley as well. All in all, it was a very sad weekend for America 150 years ago.

August 18th saw perhaps the largest mass-murder of American civilians by enemy combatants until 9/11.


In lighter news, Great Britain was hard at work building more ironclads! According to a Scientific American article that you can read HERE, six brand-new solid-iron ironclads were under construction. Back on May 10th I posted a blog about the obsolescence of all wooden fighting ships brought on by the clash between the USS Monitor and CSS Virginia: by today, the British had gotten their modernization efforts well under way! Ships like the HMS Achilles would soon join the British fleet, continuing the naval arms race that began at the Battle of Hampton Roads.

“I’m the HMS Achilles, and I had more square footage of sail and more armament changes than any ship in the history of the British Navy!”


But what about the US navy? Well, I sadly don’t mention the Western Theatre as much as I should, so today I’ll touch on the ironclad situation in the Mississippi River. When the Civil War started, the US Navy built a handful of ironclad gunboats of the “City” class on the Mississippi River, and they remained in use for pretty much the entire Civil War! These gunboats were instrumental in battles all along the Mississippi River, including the fighting at Vicksburg and Forts Henry and Donelson. These gunboats were not well suited for navigating non-river bodies of water, but they proved indispensable for taking out Confederate gun emplacements, forts and small boats.  Click these links HERE and HERE for more information!

“I’m the USS Cairo, and I was the first armored warship sunk by an electronic mine like the ones from the June 19th Mine Crafting post!”


Well that’s about all, folks. Tune in next time for coverage of the 1862 Northern Virginia Campaign! And don’t ever start biting your nails – there’s no force on earth powerful enough to stop you, except for your own will power. My own, sadly, is too weak to be effective.