New Ulm Fort
New Ulm Fort (1862-1862) - The town of New Ulm in Brown County, Minnesota was fortified against attacking Sioux warriors during the Sioux War of 1862 and became a refuge for some 2,000 refugees. After two assaults by 650 Sioux warriors in August 1862 the town was evacuated.
See Sioux War of 1862 for background. The major fortified towns of the 1862 Sioux War were not officially named forts but were referred to as forts in their time.
In the afternoon of 19 Aug 1862, a small group of Sioux unsuccessfully attacked the town of New Ulm, whose forewarned citizens had hastily erected barricades. Brown County Sheriff Charles Roos and Jacob Nix, a citizen with military experience organized the defenses and established a militia. Barricades were established around six blocks on Minnesota Street and were later expanded after the first attack when reinforcements arrived. The reinforcements were small groups of militia from other towns
The first attack lasted several hours and left five settlers dead. The next day Judge Charles Flandrau (a militia Captain) was elected military commander of the defense of New Ulm. As word spread of the attack, more than 1,000 additional refugees fled from the countryside into New Ulm, doubling the already swollen population to 2,000 people, with only 300 armed to fight.
The Sioux then turned away from New Ulm to attack Fort Ridgely where the small garrison managed to drive them off with cannon fire. The Sioux then turned their attention back to New Ulm.
On the morning of 23 Aug 1862, some 650 Sioux warriors again attacked New Ulm. The town suffered 34 dead and 60 wounded during that day and the following night, with 140 town structures burned down.
After fending off another attack on August 25th, Charles Flandreau led an evacuation of the now about 2,000 refugees to Mankato and other small towns. The arrival of so many refugees overwhelmed these towns who had neither the supplies nor dwellings to manage such a hoard. It was said that the refugee procession from New Ulm was almost four miles long.
The U.S. Military quickly forms a response under Colonel Henry H. Sibley newly arrived at Fort Ridgely who defeated the Sioux at Wood Lake on 23 Sep 1862. With the end of hostilities, the settlers slowly returned to New Ulm.
Numerous monuments and displays around New Ulm commemorating the events including lists of the dead associated with various engagements in the battles. Several monuments are located adjacent to the Brown County Courthouse including the Defenders Monument in the median of Center Street just across from the Courthouse. This monument offers a detailed account of the battles that cover all four sides of the monument. Additional monuments at the entrance to the courthouse list the people killed in the battles.
Further downtown at the corner of Center St. and Broadway St. is the Brown County Historical Society outdoor exhibit that includes a painting depicting the battle in progress. Also at this site is a photo display of buildings that survived from that era to date. There are additional displays at the locations of the surviving buildings.
Visited: 11 Jul 2021