To the editor:
I have been following the to-and-fro letters in The Journal regarding what is currently labeled The U.S.-Dakota War of 1862. (have a list of 16 other labels from the past.) The exchange has been an interesting but seldom informative exercise in apologetics. Perhaps it is time for a few facts, specifically as they apply to New Ulm, Milford Township, and Brown County. They may be subject to some correction in the future, but are not subject to debate.
FACT # 1: The population of New Ulm in 1860 was 635; of Milford 485; of Brown County 2,339. In 1861 the number of Dakota annuity recipients on the Reservation was 6,500. Dakota outnumbered settlers about three to one.
FACT # 2: On Aug. 14, 1862 residents of New Ulm, Brown County wrote Governor Ramsey with their analysis of the difficult and unjust situation on the Reservation. Their letter implored Ramsey to speed payment of the annuities due the Indians, to investigate certain government agents, and to keep militia in Brown County.
FACT # 3: The Dakota attacked settlers of Milford Township by surprise the morning of Aug. 18, 1862. The Dakota attacked New Ulm Aug. 19 and again Aug. 23. Neither the settlers of Milford nor those of New Ulm attacked the Dakota.
FACT # 4: In their book "Eight Days in August," Darla Cordes Gebhard and John Isch detail the accounts of casualties in Brown County. They document the age, sex, date of death, place of death, and cause of death of 123 settlers. Of these 29 were female; 26 were children 15 or younger; and 10 were age 60 or older. (I spare the reader the often gruesome causes of death. See subject book for details.) Known Dakota casualties in Brown County were four.
I leave the interpretation of these facts to the reader.
George L. Glotzbach