The story of Birch Coulee is told vividly by the men who fought here.Minnesota Historical Society
As you move along this trail, you will follow the stories of two men: Joseph Anderson, a captain in the U.S. Army, and Wamditanka (Big Eagle), a Mdewakanton chief.
Anderson, one of two U.S. commanders at Birch Coulee, led a mounted force called the Cullen Frontier Guards. Wamditanka was one of four Dakota leaders here. Their memories of the battle were published in the St. Paul Pioneer Press in 1894. Anderson wrote a letter to a fellow veteran that was reprinted in the newspaper, and Wamditanka was interviewed through an interpreter.
The Dakota Indians living in Minnesota in 1862 belonged to four bands: Mdewakanton, Wahpekute, Sisseton, and Wahpeton. The Dakota leaders who fought at Birch Coulee belonged to two of those bands. Wamditanka, Mankato (Blue Earth), and Zitkadaska (Gray Bird) were Mdewakanton leaders, while Hushasha (Red Legs) was a Wahpekute chief. Wamditanka recalled that the two Dakota men killed during the battle—a Wahpekute and a Sisseton—belonged to Hushasha's band.
Birch Coulee Battlefield