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. A training facility for state forces during the Civil War, the fort came under direct attack twice during the U.S.-Dakota War in August 1862. The fort held, and it became a staging ground for punitive expeditions against the Dakota over the next three years.
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.
Morton, Minnesota | 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.
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