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Sibley, the Sioux and Stony Lake


Another page was written in the story of Generals Sully and Sibley's Dakota expeditions on this date in 1863. In the wake of the battles of Big Mound and Dead Buffalo Lake, General Henry Hastings Sibley and his men were forced to camp in Burleigh County with exhausted animals on July 27.

In pursuit of the Sioux the next morning, Sibley and his 2,000 men found themselves in sight of the warriors on the hills around them. In a brief battle at Stony Lake west of present-day Driscoll, North Dakota, Sioux warriors attacked, looking for weak spots but finding none.

Sibley's men fired artillery at the warriors, scattering them. Unable to penetrate Sibley's forces or halt their march, the Sioux rode west over the Missouri River.

Neither side succeeded in its aims that day. The Sioux failed to halt Sibley, and Sibley didn't stop the Sioux from crossing the river. Sibley suffered no casualties, and the Sioux's were light.

Sibley's men continued west to the River, hoping to cut off any retreating warriors, but all Sibley could do was fire across the river at warriors taunting his forces.

Camping days later near Apple Creek to meet General Alfred Sully's men, two of Sibley's picket guards were killed in the night by Sioux warriors. These soldiers were interred under sod banks at the encampment of Camp Slaughter.

On August 1, General Sibley turned back to Minnesota, his campaign a failure. He had merely pestered the Dakota Sioux, and not even found the Mdewakanton Sioux who had played a part in the Minnesota uprising.

Sibley also failed to meet General Sully at the Missouri River. Sully and his soldiers were marching north from Fort Pierre, South Dakota, and later east toward Whitestone Hill, which would become the site of the bloodiest attack led by whites in eastern North Dakota.

Meanwhile, General Henry Hastings Sibley summed up the Battle of Stony Lake as "the greatest conflict between our troops and the Indians, so far as the numbers were concerned.”

Dakota Datebook written by Jack Dura


American Battlefield Protection Program. (n.d.). Stony lake. Retrieved from:

"http://www.nps.gov/abpp/battles/nd003.htm" http://www.nps.gov/abpp/battles/nd003.htm

North Dakota State Historical Society. (n.d.). Big mound, dead buffalo lake, and stony lake. Retrieved from: "http://ndstudies.gov/content/big-mound-dead-buffalo-lake-and-stony-lake" http://ndstudies.gov/content/big-mound-dead-buffalo-lake-and-stony-lake