On September 26, 1862, 91 whites and about 150 mixed-blood captives, some of whom had been prisoners of the Dakota Indians for more than a month, were returned to Colonel Henry H. Sibley's military camp, later joyfully known as Camp Release. In the next few days, additional captives were freed, bringing the total to 107 whites and 162 mixed-bloods - 269 in all.seal of Minnesota Department of Transportation
When the 1862 U.S.-Dakota conflict moved into its final weeks in mid-September, attention on both sides had focused on the captives, mostly women and children, held by the Dakota. Sibley, heading a largely volunteer army, demanded that the captives be released before peace negotiations could begin. But the Dakota warriors led by Little Crow moved up the Minnesota River Valley, still holding their prisoners.
Many Dakota who had not supported the war took great risks to help keep the captives alive. By late September, Dakota peace factions led by Wabasha, Taopi, Red Iron, Mazomani, Standing Buffalo, and others were camped only half a mile from the war faction near the mouth of the Chippewa River. While Little Crow's men were fighting the battle of Wood Lake, the peace supporters took control of the captives, expecting to have to fight the returning war party if it were victorious against Sibley's army. But Little Crow's men did not win at Wood Lake. The war leaders and many of their followers fled Minnesota, and the Dakota peace group sent a message to Sibley to arrange the prisoner release three days later. Many of the peace faction who surrendered to Sibley's army at Camp Release were among the Dakota exiled from Minnesota the following year.
seal of The Minnesota Historical Society, Instituted 1849
Erected by the Minnesota Historical Society