One of the fiercest battles of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, the fight at Birch Coulee erupted when Dakota forces ambushed an encampment of Minnesota state troops and civilians on the morning of September 2, 1862. Dakota forces laid siege to the camp for thirty-six hours before relief arrived from Fort Ridgely. Although the camp was not overrun, twenty men and ninety horses were killed on the U.S. side, while Dakota losses are unknown.
West St. Paul, Minnesota | Fort Snelling was headquarters and a supply base for the military Department of Dakota, which extended from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains. Regulars from Fort Snelling served in the Indian campaigns and in the Spanish-American War of 1898.
Fairfax, Minnesota | A Federal military fort, Fort Ridgely was established in 1853 to provide a military presence along the upper Minnesota River, between the line of settlement and the Dakota (Sioux) reservation system further upriver.
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