Two Men, One War

Two Men, One War (HM1CSW)

Location: Morton, MN 56270 Renville County
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Country: United States of America
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N 44° 34.525', W 94° 58.583'

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The story of Birch Coulee is told vividly by the men who fought here.

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.

Combined Forces

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.

Minnesota Historical Society
Birch Coulee Battlefield
Placed ByThe Minnesota Historical Society
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, October 25th, 2014 at 9:43pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)15T E 343084 N 4937686
Decimal Degrees44.57541667, -94.97638333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 44° 34.525', W 94° 58.583'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds44° 34' 31.50" N, 94° 58' 34.98" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)507
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 34747-34999 Co Hwy 2, Morton MN 56270, US
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