Online Exhibits > Native American History Home > Case 12: The Dakota War of 1862 > Charlie Letter, 1862

 

Letter from Charlie to his sister, St. Paul, [Minnesota].  August 26, 1862.  Native American History Collection.

 

 

 

 

St Paul Aug 26/62


My dear Sister


It is now nearly four weeks since I left home, and I have not heard a word from there yet.  I have written to Sarah twice once from Toronto and once from this place, and I suppose you heard of me from her – if not why then this will be all the more welcome without doubt.  How are you all, and what is there in the way of news that would interest me?  Write to me please upon the receipt of this and tell me every thing you can think of.  I arrived here in six days after leaving home, and had a very pleasant and comfortable journey.  Clara is living here and I am staying with her at present.  She is very well and sends lots of love.  My health is very much better than it


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was and I begin to feel quite like my old self again.  I cough but very little – my night sweats have almost disappeared – my strength is improving and my appetite is quite astonishing, so I flatter myself I am getting well.  Are you not very glad?  I am for two reasons.  In the first place because it is such a grand thing to be well – to be strong and active and able to do what other men do.  Only an invalid can appreciate good health it is said, and I have been ill long enough to appreciate it to the fullest extent.  In the second place, when I am well I can return home, and I look forward to that time with a great deal of pleasure, for I do not believe I should ever be contented to live here.  I hope and expect to be well enough to return in six or eight weeks, but if I should not be, why then I suppose I shall have to make the best of it and spend the winter here, though the bare thought of so doing

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gives me the horrors in advance.  You have undoubtedly heard something of the Indian troubles in this state at the present time, but you can have no idea of the excitement here, or the panic which prevails in towns nearer the scene of the outbreak.  All along the frontier people are flying from their homes in the greatest haste and consternation, leaving every thing behind and thinking themselves lucky if they save their scalps.  I have seen men, women and children come in on the up river boats with hardly any clothing on – bare headed and bare footed – they having been overtaken by the panic in the night, and jumped out of bed and run for their lives, though in a great many cases there was no immediate cause for fear.  I sent Morris a paper a few days ago in which was published some of the details of the horrid affair – he may have shown it to you.  There will be a weekly paper out tomorrow with a full account up to this time, and if I can get some copies

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I will send you one.  Tell Morris that I saw a man from Garden city, last night, who knows Nelson and George and saw them on Saturday last – George at Mankato.  These places are very near the scene of some of the murders, and he is without doubt anxious to hear from them.  Large forces have gone up the river and I presume those places are out of danger by this time.  I saw this afternoon the Indian chief, Other-day, a friendly Sioux, who helped sixty-two persons to escape from the Upper Agentcy and by so doing saved their lives.  He is made quite a lion of here.  There appears to be but one wish in the public mind here at this time, and that is that the Indians may be exterminated or driven beyond the Missouri River – the former is preferred.  I am getting to the end of the sheet and so will close.  Do not fail to write to me as soon as you get this.  Give my best regards to John and tell him to send me a paper now and then.  With much love for yourself and all, I remain your good-for-nothing


Brother Charlie.