As the United States fought the Civil War in the early 1860s, the country's western frontier was simultaneously the site of significant military campaigns that took the lives of both American and Sioux. The Dakota campaign, led by Commander Henry Hastings Sibley and Brigadier General Alfred Sully against the Sioux between 1863 and 1864 was greater in scope, intensity and bloodshed than almost all other Indian battles fought in the West but is often overlooked. The Minnesota War of 1862 and the Dakota War of 1863-1865 were among the most significant U.S. victories in the Indian wars, but did not temper the passions of the Sioux to preserve their people and land or the desires of the whites to settle the frontier. The wars only incited the Teton Sioux to enter into a long-term resistance that would end only at Wounded Knee in 1890.
Micheal Clodfelter is an active member of Vietnam Veterans Against the War and the author of several books on military history. A researcher and consultant for the Dupuy Institute of Military History, he lives in Lawrence, Kansas.