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Battle of Whitestone Hill 1864

What is the story behind this tragic event? In the various books I've seen, there are differing tales given. In Utley's Frontiersmen in Blue, if I recall correctly, he claims the fight was between Sully's men and Inkpaduta's 3000 followers, yet elsewhere, I've read that the only Indians there were Yanktons and Yanktonai who had nothing to do with events in Minnesota - though they may well have sheltered some of their Dakota kin. Worse than that, there seems to be a case for the battle as unjustified: "In November, 1863, Sam Brown, a 19-year-old interpreter at Crow Creek, wrote to his father regarding the Whitestone Battle: "I hope you will not believe all that is said of 'Sully's Successful Expedition,' against the Sioux. I don't think he aught to brag of it at all, because it was, what no decent man would have done, he pitched into their camp and just slaughtered them, worse a great deal than what Indians did in 1862, he killed very few men and took no hostile ones prisoners...and now he returns saying that we need fear no more, for he has 'wiped out all hostile Indians from Dakota.' If he had killed men instead of women and children, then it would have been a success, and the worse of it, they had no hostile intention whatever, the Nebraska 2nd pitched into them without orders, while the Iowa 6th were shaking hands with them on one side, the soldiers even shot their own men." (www.emily.net/~schiller/whitston.html)

Perhaps the strangest thing is that in terms of loss of life and the sheer size of the fight, it's barely known beyond serious historians.
—Grahame Wood

As far as I know by now General Sibley came upon a camp of 3.500 indians under Yanktonais leaders Two Bears, Little Soldier and Big Head and Hunkpapa leader Black Moon. The Yanktonais were friendly to the goverment and didn´t want to fight. I don´t know if the presence of Inkpaduta and his Wahpekute was a reason, but a battle was joined and about 150 indians, mostly women and children, were killed.

Possibly Inkpaduta was rated as a guest in this camp, but I don´t think it is reasonable to state that all inhabitants were "Inkpaduta´s followers" because this is contrasting leadership behaviour of the Sioux in general. Surely he lead his own Wahpekute band. Dietmar Schulte-Möhring

I know Whitestone, my great, great, great grandmother Mary Big Moccasin was shot at the age of nine. Inkpaduta was not in the camp of my people. the camp was an hunting camp with NO Yankton in it. They were Ihunktonwan (Yanktonais) with some refugee from Minnesota. Inkpaduta left one of his wives and two children at the camp and he travel further west.

Sully attacked my people who were peaceful and had nothing to do with the uprising in Minnesota. It was an massacre with the killing of mostly women and children because the men were out hunting. The women were preparing buffalo hide and meat. They took many people as prisoner of war to Crow Creek were many of our people died from starvation. Sully ran our people across North Dakota. he burned all the teepees, food and everything that belong to us.

The remains of our people were left upon the field and forgot until a farmers were picking up bones for their fires, finally figured out these were human bones. Then they asked what happened at this site. They burned up my people bones to keep warm.

We say there was 360 murdered at Whitestone. — Ladonna

Reading through Sully's report, the 2d Nebraska does seem to have done the most damage as this excerpt shows:

During the engagement, for some time, the Second Nebraska, afoot and armed with rifles (and there are among them probably some of the best shots in the world), were engaged with the enemy at a distance not over 60 paces, pouring on them a murderous fire in the ravine where the enemy were posted. The slaughter, therefore, must have been immense. My officers and the guides I have with me think 150 will not cover their loss. The Indian reports make it over 200. That the general may know the exact locality of the battle-field, I would state that it was, as near as I could judge, about 15 miles west of James River, and about half-way between the latitudes of Bone Bute and headwaters of Elm River, as laid down on the Government map. The fight took place near a hill called by the Indians White Stone Hill.

Sully reported about 100 other bodies found on the plains and near the village-he doesn't specify whether they were male or female, adult or child. — Billy Markland

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