Fort Ridgely Ceremony to Honor Soldiers and Settlers 23 Aug 13

A ceremony will take place 3 p.m. Sunday at the Fort Ridgely Cemetery south of Fairfax to remember the soldiers and settlers who lost their lives in the U.S. Dakota War of 1862.

Estimates range from 600-800 killed in the Minnesota River Valley and vicinity during the six-week war. The Fort Ridgely event will focus on the soldiers and settlers. The 24 soldiers killed at the Battle of Redwood Ferry are buried in the fort’s cemetery.

The ceremony is under the auspices of the Civil War Commemorative Task Force. Speakers at the event include Secretary of State Mark Ritchie; Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Acton Township; Pat Gaarder of the Minnesota Historical Society; John Williamson, a descendent of missionaries who worked with the Dakota; Jan Klein, co-chair of Family and Friends of Dakota War Victims; John Grabko, representing the Fillmore County soldiers killed at Redwood Ferry; and John LaBatte, whose ancestors fought on both sides in the war. LaBatte also will lead a tour following the program.

“This is part of our continuing effort to highlight the people and events of the US-Dakota War, recognizing those who lost their lives,” Urdahl said.

The deaths of Little Crow and other Dakota were remembered at a similar July 6 observance in Hutchinson.