"Largest mass hanging in United States history"
38 Santee "Sioux" Indian men
Mankato, Minnesota, Dec. 16, 1862
303 Indian males were set to be hanged
What brought about the hanging of 38 Sioux Indians in
Minnesota December 26, 1862 was the failure "again" of the U.S.
Government to honor it's treaties with Indian Nations. Indians were not
given the money or food set forth to them for signing a treaty to turn
over more than a million acres of their land and be forced to live on a
Indian agents keep the treaty money and food that was to go to the
Indians, the food was sold to White settlers, food that was given to the
Indians was spoiled and not fit for a dog to eat. Indian hunting parties
went off the reservation land looking for food to feed their families,
one hunting group took eggs from a White settlers land and the rest is
Information below tells how President Lincoln and Minnesota Governor
Alexander Ramsey set out to exterminate Indians from their home land.
Authorities in Minnesota asked President Lincoln to order the immediate
execution of all 303 Indian males found guilty. Lincoln was concerned
with how this would play with the Europeans, whom he was afraid were
about to enter the war on the side of the South. He offered the
following compromise to the politicians of Minnesota: They would pare
the list of those to be hung down to 39. In return, Lincoln promised to
kill or remove every Indian from the state and provide Minnesota with 2
million dollars in federal funds. Remember, he only owed the Sioux 1.4
million for the land.
So, on December 26, 1862, the Great Emancipator ordered the largest mass
execution in American History, where the guilt of those to be executed
was entirely in doubt. Regardless of how Lincoln defenders seek to play
this, it was nothing more than murder to obtain the land of the Santee
Sioux and to appease his political cronies in Minnesota.
712-277-2235 Sioux City, Iowa
It is expected that Lincoln be removed from his position as “hero” and
relegated to a more appropriate position, to somewhere near the status
of “Columbus” and “Hitler.”
We demand that Abe Lincoln's dishonest and
shameful face be removed from the "occupied" and desecrated area called
“Mount Rushmore” immediately.
Abe Lincoln “honest” and “hero”
see online petition at
Text of Order to General Sibley, St. Paul Minnesota:
"Ordered that of the Indians and Half-breeds sentenced to be hanged by
the military commission, composed of Colonel Crooks, Lt. Colonel
Marshall, Captain Grant, Captain Bailey, and Lieutenant Olin, and lately
sitting in Minnesota, you cause to be executed on Friday the nineteenth
day of December, instant, the following names, to wit [39 names listed
by case number of record: cases 2, 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 19, 22,
24, 35, 67, 68, 69, 70, 96, 115, 121, 138, 155, 170, 175, 178, 210, 225,
254, 264, 279, 318, 327, 333, 342, 359, 373, 377, 382, 383].
The other condemned prisoners you will hold subject to further orders,
taking care that they neither escape, nor are subjected to any unlawful
President of the United States"
"On December 6 (1862) President Lincoln notified Sibley that he
should "cause to be executed" thirty-nine of the 303 convicted Santees,
Execution date was the 26th of December. At the last minute, one
Indian was given a reprieve. About ten o'clock the thirty-eight
condemned men were marched from the prison to the scaffold. They sang
the Sioux death song until soldiers pulled white caps over their
heads and placed nooses around their necks. At a signal from an
army officer, the control rope was cut and thirty-eight Santee
Sioux dangled lifeless in the air.
A spectator boasted that this was
"America's greatest" public execution."
Dec 27 1862 (Saturday)
SAINT PAUL, December 27, 1862. The PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I
have the honor to inform you that the thirty-eight Indians and
half-breeds ordered by you for execution were hung yesterday at Mankato
at 10 a.m. Everything went off quietly and the other prisoners are well
secured. Respectfully, H. H. SIBLEY, Brigadier-General.
"The Sioux Indians of Minnesota must be exterminated or driven forever
beyond the borders of the state."
Governor Alexander Ramsey
bounties were placed on the scalps of
which eventually reached $200
Governor Alexander Ramsey had declared on September 9, 1862 that "The
Sioux Indians of Minnesota must be exterminated or driven forever beyond
the borders of the state." The treatment of Dakota people, including the
hanging in Mankato and the forced removal of Dakota people from
Minnesota, were the first phases of Ramsey's plan.
His plan was further implemented when bounties were placed on the scalps
of Dakota people which eventually reached $200. Punitive expeditions
were then sent out over the next few years to hunt down those Dakota who
had not surrendered and to ensure they would not return. After 38 of the
condemned men were hanged the day after Christmas in 1862 in what
remains the largest mass hanging in United States history, the other
prisoners continued to suffer in the concentration camps through the
winter of 1862-63.
In late April of 1863 the remaining condemned men, along with the
survivors of the Fort Snelling concentration camp, were forcibly removed
from their beloved homeland in May of 1863. They were placed on boats
which transported the men from Mankato to Davenport, Iowa where they
were imprisoned for an additional three years. Those from Fort Snelling
were shipped down the Mississippi River to St. Louis and then up the
Missouri River to the Crow Creek Reservation in South Dakota.
The youngest person hanged in America was Hannah Ocuish who was 12 years
and nine months old and was described as a half breed Indian girl. She
was executed on December 20th 1786 for the murder of a 6 year old girl
whom she had beaten to death after an earlier argument.
A memorial to the memory of the dead now stands in downtown Mankato in
image to view larger size photo. A new window will open.
Thanks to UNA member Scott for pictures of the memorial.