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Theodore Schwan recalls the execution of Sakpedan and Wakanozhanzhan

Among the prisoners confined in the guard house were two Sioux Indians who, with others to the number of some thirty eight, had been convicted by a military commission…instituted by Gen. Sibley of violations of the laws and usages of civilized warfare….[Their execution] order was the first of the kind that had ever come to us. We had been accustomed to shooting our enemies but had had no experience in hanging any one. Among our men not one was willing to act as executioner, and the Major was for a time in a quandary how to proceed. However, the difficulty was soon overcome, for word came that among the Minnesota volunteers several, whose families had been sufferers from the Indian Massacre of 1862, were anxious to tie the knot….The cortege, headed by a band playing the funeral march and consisting of all the troops at the Post, proceeded from the interior of the fort to the scaffold that had been erected on the outside and there formed a “hollow square”….There was no hitch and everything passed off satisfactorily.

Source: MHS manuscript collections, Levi Longfellow papers, 1865-1926, ID Number: 1733342



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