Lincoln and the Sioux Uprising Of 1862 (Paperback)
By Hank H. Cox
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Cumberland House Publishing (July 1, 2005)
Treaties, no matter how hard one or both parties may try, cannot
settle some wars. Wars involving a clash of culture where neither
side can retreat or convert fall into this category. The American
Civil War, World War II and the Indian Wars are classic examples of
this type of war. The Indian Wars involved two cultures that were
totally incompatible and neither side had the option of retreating.
Fighting was not between armies but between small family bands, with
the woman and children occupying the front lines and falling in
combat. Each side's idea of correct behavior in battle and
treatment of prisoners could not be comprehended by the other.
Hank Cox's book details the Minnesota Sioux Uprising of 1862. Four
warriors returning from a failed hunting trip, attack farms on the
way home. As usual, payments are late and/or diverted the Indians
are starving and despondent seeing a way of life disappear. Seeing
the majority of men fighting the Civil War, some Sioux leaders seize
the opportunity and turn murder into an uprising. The uprising is a
tale of murder, rape, plunder and revenge. The Sioux divide in war
and peace factions. The war faction is unable to keep men in the
field and mount a real military campaign to retake the area. What
follows are attacks on isolated farms, travelers and failures to
take cities and the local fort. In the end soldiers and militia
turn the tide, capture many of the Sioux and restore "order". What
follows is a series of military trials of Sioux for rape and
murder. Hundreds were sentenced to death by hanging and many others
were imprisoned. Lincoln's intervention reduced to executions to
39, the largest mass execution in American history.
The author writes well and the chapters dealing with the Sioux
Uprising are well done. His writing about the overall war and the
impact of uprising and questionable, over estimating the impact of
the uprising and making some questionable statements about the war
in the East. His coverage of Lincoln, the problems this caused him,
his preoccupation with the larger war and why he took such an
unpopular stand are very good.
Overall, this book is a good introduction to the Sioux Uprising of
1862, an enjoyable read but some conclusions need to be researched.