1862 battlefield joins historic registry

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An 1862 battle location in southwest Minnesota has been added to the National Register of Historic Places as part of the effort to preserve the site.

The last fight of the U.S.- Dakota War took place in Yellow Medicine County near the Minnesota River on September 23, 1862. It’s known as the Wood Lake Battle. About 700 Dakota warriors took on twice as many soldiers commanded by Henry Sibley.

Wood Lake Battlefield Preservation Association President Tom Hosier says the group is working with others to develop the historical significance of the site.

“We’d like to have some pull-off parking so we’re not a traffic hazard,” says Hosier. “We would like to have trails, we would like to return part of the site to prairie grass.”

Hosier says the original prairie grass played a role in the battle since the Dakota leaders used it to cover their attackers.

The 54 acres of land is privately held, but the owners have signed an easement with the Civil War Preservation Trust to give the public access to the battle site. Hosier says he believes preserving the battle field will add to the public’s understanding of the 1862 war.

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