Surrender at Camp Release
The Surrender at Camp Release was the final act in the Dakota War of 1862. After the Battle of Wood Lake, Colonel Henry Hastings Sibley had considered pursuing the retreating Sioux, but he realized he did not have the resources for a vigorous pursuit. Moreover, he feared that doing so would have inspired the Indians to murder the settlers they were holding captive. At the same time, Chief Little Crow was losing some of his influence, and other chiefs had wanted to make peace and end the hostilities. Despite the peace, armed conflict eventually broke out again during the following year and it continued into 1865.
After the Battle of Wood Lake, a group of chiefs, including Wabasha, Red Iron, Taopi, Gabriel Renville, and others, sent prisoner Joseph Campbell as a messenger to let Sibley know that the captives were safe. On September 25, 1862, Colonel Sibley's troops left Lone Tree Lake and marched leisurely up about ten miles to the Hazelwood mission, near Granite Falls, Minnesota. The next morning, September 26, Sibley and his troops entered the Indian camp. Sibley wrote about the event, "The Indians and half-breeds assembled ... in considerable numbers, and I proceeded to give them very briefly my views of the late proceedings; my determination that the guilty parties should be pursued and overtaken, if possible, and I made a demand that all the captives should be delivered to me instantly, that I might take them to my camp." The Indians immediately released 91 white settlers and about 150 mixed-blood captives, and within the next few days, released the rest of the captives. The total number of captives was 107 whites and 162 mixed-bloods, for a grand total of 269.
The surrender ended with about 1200 Indians being taken into custody, with many more taken in as they later surrendered. Eventually, nearly two thousand Indians were captured. They were eventually tried within mass trials at the Camp Release headquarters.
Camp Release Township, Lac qui Parle County, Minnesota was organized in 1871, and named in commemoration of the incident. Camp Release State Monument near Montevideo, Minnesota was dedicated in 1894 as a memorial of the event.
- Warren Upham (1920). Minnesota Geographic Names: Their Origin and Historic Significance. Minnesota Historical Society. p. 289.
- Carley, Kenneth (1976). The Sioux Uprising of 1862 (Second ed.). Minnesota Historical Society. ISBN 0-87351-103-4.
- Clodfelter, Micheal D. (2006). The Dakota War: The United States Army Versus the Sioux, 1862-1865. McFarland Publishing. ISBN 0-7864-2726-4.