I am for continuing the war, and am opposed to the delivery of the prisoners. I have no confidence that the whites will stand by any agreement they make if we give them up. Ever since we treated with them their agents and traders have robbed and cheated us. Some of our people have been shot, some hung; others placed upon floating ice and drowned; and many have been starved in their prisons. It was not the intention of the nation to kill any of the whites until after the four men returned from Acton and told what they had done. When they did this, all the young men became excited, and commenced the massacre. The older ones would have prevented it if they could, but since the treaties they have lost all their influence. We may regret what has happened but the matter has gone too far to be remedied. We have got to die. Let us, then, kill as many of the whites as possible, and let the prisoners die with us.
(Heard, History of Sioux War, 151-52)
The horrible massacres of women and children and the outrageous abuse of female prisoners, still alive, call for punishment beyond human power to inflict. There will be no peace in this region by virtue of treaties and Indian faith. It is my purpose utterly to exterminate the Sioux if I have the power to do so and even if it requires a campaign lasting the whole of next year. Destroy everything belonging to them and force them out to the plains, unless, as I suggest, you can capture them. They are to be treated as maniacs or wild beasts, and by no means as people with whom treaties or compromises can be made.
(Letter to Sibley, Sept. 28,1862)
[T]here is a broad distinction be[t]ween the guilt of men who went through the country committing fiendish violence, massacreing [sic] women & babes with the spirit of demons & the guilt of timid men who received a share of the plunder or who under threat of death engaged in some one battle where hundreds were engaged.
(Letter to Editor of Republican Pioneer, Nov., 1862)
Their Great Father at Washington, after carefully reading what the witnesses testified to in their several trials, has come to the conclusion that they have each been guilty of wantonly and wickedly murdering his white children. And for this reason he has directed that they each be hanged by the neck until they are dead, on next Friday; and that order will be carried into effect on that day, at ten o'clock in the forenoon.
The good ministers are here, both Catholic and Protestant, from amongst whom each one can select a spiritual adviser, who will be permitted to commune with them constantly during the few days that they are yet to live:
Say to them now that they have so sinned against their fellow men, that there is no hope for clemency except in the mercy of God, through the merits of the blessed Redeemer and that I earnestly exhort them to apply to that, as their only remaining source of comfort and consolation.
(Rev. Riggs, reading address prepared by Col. Miller)
[T]ell our friends that we are being removed from this world over the same path they must shortly travel. We go first, but many of our friends may follow us in a very short time. I expect to go direct to the abode of the Great Spirit, and to be happy when I get there; but we are told that the road is long and the distance great; therefore, as I am slow in my movements, it will probably take me a long time to reach the end of the journey, and I should not be surprised if some of the young, active men we will leave behind us will pass me on the road before I reach the place of my destination.
(Dec. 24, 1862)
You have deceived me. You told me that if we followed the advice of General Sibley, and gave ourselves up to the whites, all would be well; no innocent man would be injured. I have not killed, wounded or injured a white man, or any white persons. I have not participated in the plunder of their property; and yet to-day I am set apart for execution, and must die in a few days, while men who are guilty will remain in prison. My wife is your daughter, my children are your grandchildren. I leave them all in your care and under your protection. Do not let them suffer; and when my children are grown up, let them know that their father died because he followed the advice of his chief, and without having the blood of a white man to answer for to the Great Spirit.
(Letter to Chief Wabasha)
[I] am satisfied in my own mind from the slight evidence on which these are condemned that there are many others in that prison house who ought not to be there, and that the honor of our Government and the welfare of the people of Minnesota as well as that of the Indians requires a new trial before unprejudiced judges. I doubt whether the whole state of Minnesota can furnish 12 men competent to sit as jurors in their trial. . . . From our Governor down to the lowest rabble there is a general belief that all the prisoners are guilty, and demand that whether guilty or not they be put to death as a sacrifice to the souls of our murdered fellow citizens.
(Letter to Rev. Riggs, Nov. 24, 1862)
[I]t should be borne in mind that the Military Commission appointed by me were instructed only to satisfy themselves of the voluntary participation of the individual on trial, in the murders or massacres committed, either by voluntary participation of the individual on trial, in the murders or massacres committed, either by his voluntary concession or by other evidence and then to proceed no further. The degree of guilt was not one of the objects to be attained, and indeed it would have been impossible to devote as much time in eliciting details in each of so many hundred cases, as would have been required while the expedition was in the field. Every man who was condemned was sufficiently proven to be a voluntary participant, and no doubt exists in my mind that at least seven-eighths of those sentenced to be hung have been guilty of the most flagrant outrages and many of them concerned in the violation of white women and the murder of children.
(Letter to Asst. Sec. of Interior, Dec. 19, 1862)
I have a very high regard for all the gentlemen who composed the military commission. I count them individually among my personal friends. But they were trying Indians; and my sense of right would lead me to give Indians as fair and full a trial as white men. This was the difference between us.
(Letter to St. Paul Pioneer)
I have to review all the proceedings, and decide the fate of each individual. This power of life, and death, is an awful thing to exercise, and when I think of more than three hundred human beings are subject to that power, lodged in my hands, it makes me shudder. Still duty must be performed, and judgment visited upon the guilty.
(Oct. 17, 1862)
The excitement of the Indians knew no bounds when they realized they were in the power of the soldiers and the scene was terrifying to behold, fear and despair completely carried them away and the impression gained an everlasting hold on his [my] youthful mind. It was repeatedly told us we were all to be executed and the insults of the soldiers who spoke the Indian tongue seemed a convincing fact that all were to be put to death immediately. This cruel order was constantly in our minds until the verdict of our trial was given us through an interpreter, some months later.
After the surrender the Indians were loaded into old Red River carts and started for the Lower Agency and Manatee. The carts were small, drawn by an ox, and it was with difficulty for any more than four persons to occupy the box. In the cart I was forced to occupy were two Indiana men and my sixteen year old brother. We were bound securely and on our journey resembled a load of animals on their way to market. We traveled slow meeting now and then a white person who never failed to give us a look of revenge as we jolted along in our cramped condition.
As we came near New Ulm my brother told me the driver was . . . afraid to go through New Ulm, my heart leaped into my mouth and I crouched down beside my brother completely overcome with fear. In a short time we reached the outskirts of the town and the long looked for verdict--- death, seemed at hand. Women were running about, men waving their arms and shouting at the top of their voices, convinced the driver the citizens of that village were wild for the thirst of blood, so he turned the vehicle in an effort to escape the angry mob but not until too late, they were upon us. We were pounded to a jelly, my arms, feet, and head resembled raw beef steak. How I escaped alive has always been a mystery to me. My brother was killed and when I realized he was dead I felt the only person in the world to look after me was gone and I wished at the time they had killed me.
We reached Mankato late that evening and the trial conviction and sentences are merely a matter of history. I can truthfully say the experienced photographed on my youthful mind can never be defaced by time.
(Morton Enterprise, Jan. 29, 1909)
In his youth, the author had read with very much interest the novels of Cooper. Especially The Last of the Mohicans aroused in him enthusiasm for the Redskins. But, unfortunately, novels have always been playing on the imagination instead of dwelling on truth and reality. Had Cooper known the real nature of the Indian, he would perhaps have preferred to put a bullet through his brain rather than writing such crazy nonsense about the red bloodhounds. No one can imagine dirtier dogs than the Indians with whom I have come in contact; they were not the last of the Mohicans, a tribe of Indians I have never seen, but tribes of Redskins in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Dakota, Idaho, Montana, and other northwestern sections which I got to know a little better. Treacherous of character, proud, and cold of bearing in response to the honest friendliness of the white men, yet begging when hungry and humbly receiving the desired gift and with a "Ho! Ho!", shaking the hand of his benefactor and then cowardly shoot him at the first opportunity, these are just about the main characteristics of our red brothers.
The Redskins hate the palefaces and their hatred has been glowing for centuries ever since the first white man appeared on this continent. And one should not believe that the present generation of Indians has forgotten, or does not know, that the entire, specious territory of the U.S. once belonged to their ancestors and that their hunting grounds were alive and filled with all kinds of game. The savage knows this as well as we know it, and this is the reason for his unforgivable hatred of the paleface, a hatred which only waits for an opportunity to destroy the latter.
One should not, of course, have provoked the Indians with injustices, but they also should not have made the inhabitants of an entire region pay for the wrongs committed by specific individuals by murdering, burning, and scorching the earth, and attacking settlers, destroying everything -- men and women, old people and children -- which came before their rifles and bows and arrows. Then, of course, there suddenly appeared the fanatics who immediately took up the cause of the captured red murderers after the defeat of the uprising. The following momentous words from the Bible should have been cast before these crazy, hypocritical puritans: An eye for an eye! A tooth for a tooth! That means: Immediately after the capture of the red scoundrels, one should not have wasted any time in shooting or hanging every one who took part in the horrible crimes which occurred in the summer of 1862 in Minnesota. (The Sioux Uprising in Minnesota: Jacob Nix's Eyewitness History)