For several decades before the 1862 war broke out, Christian missionaries had lived among Dakota communities trying to convince them to adopt Christianity. Some of these missionaries also operated schools and taught many Dakota to read and write in their own language as well as in Dakota. When the war broke out many missionaries fled eastward, including Reverend Stephen Riggs and his family. After the war the Riggs family worked to help Dakota people, including those men imprisoned after the Military Commission. The following are excerpts from letters by Stephen and his daughter, Martha, written after the end of the war.