Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Let Them Eat Grass

A trader, Andrew J Myrick who is often considered to be the tender that started a Sioux uprising, was killed on August 18th 1862.

With the Civil War in full swing, payments that were supposed to be made by US Government to the Sioux Indians living in Minnesota, had not been made it to them in the spring of 1862. Andrew J Myrick was a trader who operated a store near the Minnesota River, and he worked at the Lower Sioux Agency. When the Santee Sioux came to the store on the agency on August 15th 1862, the Indian Agent Thomas Galbraith wouldn’t give them food since they didn’t have money. The Sioux made an appeal to Myrick, to give them food on credit, to which he said, "If they're hungry, let them eat grass, or their own dung.”

On August 17th 1862 the revolt began, leading to death of hundreds across southern Minnesota. Myrick was killed on the second day of the uprising during the Battle of Lower Sioux Agency. When Myrick’s body was found several days latter, it had grass stuffed in the mouth. The fighting that occurred through the summer got a great deal of National attention, even as some of the heaviest Union and Confederacy fighting was going on in the east. In response to the fighting in Minnesota President Abraham Lincoln appointed General John Pope to raise troops in Minnesota and stop the fighting. Minnesota Governor Alexander Ramsey appointed Colonel Henry Sibley with fourteen hundreds soldiers to do the same. The fighting continued until September 26th 1862.

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