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  M & S Library Number: 25722

    Mutiny Looming in Dakota Territory in 1862


    (CIVIL WAR--FORT RANDALL). (DAKOTA TERRITORY). (IOWA). WOLFE, CAPT. GEORGE H., et al. Capt. George H. Wolfe and Six Others, to Governor S. J. Kirkwood of Iowa, Regarding Potential Mutiny. Fort Randall, D.T. (Dakota Territory), February 12, 1862. Docketed "Officers at Ft. Randall Feb 12 1862 on State of Garrison Sent to Robt. Smith...& Returned to This Office from...Letter Office, July 25/62". 10 x 16 inches, blue sheet, folded in half. No cover. 4 pp. Previous wax seal. Ink slightly faded. $1,000.00


         A most interesting and revealing letter from Iowa officers stationed at Fort Randall in the Dakota Territory, complaining that they expected to be governed while there by a major of their own regiment and not someone appointed by the Governor of the Dakota Territory. As a result of the ensuing skirmish of communications an appropriate officer was sent out but was refused command by the existing officers and the fort almost ended up in a state of mutiny.            Capt. Wolfe and his fellow officers write: " A meeting of the Com'd Officers of the Bat was called and the subject thoroughly discussed. The unanimous conclusion was that it was an outrage to Iowa Troops, after marching near 600 miles, at the time of the year we did, to protect those who had no claim upon us: to be denied the privilege of having a commander from our own State...The only way we knew to defeat such a scheme was to obtain a Lt Colonel who would outrank him..."

         Samuel Jordan Kirkwood (1813?? 1894), the recipient of this letter, was best known as Iowa's Civil War Governor. A strong supporter of President Abraham Lincoln's policies during the American Civil War, he was active in raising and equipping dozens of regiments of infantry, as well as cavalry and artillery, for the Union Army.


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