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in the Civil War
|Sixth Infantry. Cols., William Crooks, John T. Averill;
Lieut.-Cols., John T. Averill, Hiram P. Grant; Majs., Robert N. McLaren, Hiram S. Bailey.
This regiment was organized at Fort Snelling in the summer of 1862. Capt. A. D. Nelson was
first selected as colonel of the regiment, but as he was a West Pointer and had been in
the service 23 years, the conditions placing him under a civilian. Col. H. H. Sibley, was
not to his taste and he resigned, William Crooks being appointed in his stead. The
regiment was mustered in by companies. Four companies were ordered to Fort Ridgely on
receipt of the news of the Indian uprising and Lieut. -Col. Averill took command. Col.
Crooks went to St. Peter to complete the organization of the regiment. Such force as was
ready, including several companies of the 6th regiment and such civilians as would join,
was started for Fort Ridgely. Co. A was detached as a burial party, 2 volunteers from each
of the other companies assisting, together with a detachment of citizen cavalry. The
burial party went into camp at Birch Coolie and was attacked by 500 Indians about 4
o'clock next morning. The engagement was brisk until 10 o'clock, when the Indians ceased
faring. The attack was renewed and on the following morning Col. Sibley and Col. McPhaill
came to the rescue, using artillery with good effect in driving away the Indians.
Twenty-three were killed, 45 wounded, and all the horses (87) had been killed. The
regiment was in the battle at Wood Lake, part being in reserve to defend the rear of the
camp. Cos. A and F took position on a ridge overlooking a ravine in which many Indians
were concealed and assisted materially in driving the enemy from the field with heavy
loss. Cos. A, B, F and G were mustered in Oct. 1, C, Oct. 3, D Sept. 29, E, Oct. 5, H,
Nov. 20, I, Oct. 4, K, Oct. 10, all at Camp Release except H, which was mustered in at
Fort Snelling. A force of Indians opposed to Little Crow having surrendered, Cos. D and F
were detailed to guard them to Yellow Medicine and Co. G formed part of a detachment sent
out to scour the country. Later Cos. A, B, G, H and K were stationed at Fort Snelling; C,
F and I at Glencoe; D at Forest City and E at Kingston. In February A, G and K were sent
to Glencoe: B to Forest City; C, D, F and I to Fort Snelling; E to Clearwater and H to
Kingston. In April the regiment assembled at Camp Pope. In June it marched towards Devil's
Lake, reached Camp Atchison July 18, where a temporary camp was established and Cos. C and
G were left as guard, with the sick and feeble in their care. The remainder of the
regiment was in the engagements at Big Hills, Dak., Stony Lake and at the Missouri river
where the enemy's camp equipage was captured and destroyed. The regiment returned to Fort
Snelling Sept. 12, and was detached by companies for the winter of 1862- 63 to various
points. Cos. D, E, and H were designated to accompany an expedition to Fort Thompson,
where the captured Indians were to be located and supplies furnished. They reached the
fort Dec. 2 and the return trip was made on half rations in bitter cold weather, through
deep snow, the detachment reaching headquarters about Jan. 1, 1864. Capt. Whitney in
command, was court martialed on a charge of disobedience of orders, preferred by Gen.
Sully, because he declined to go into camp at Fort Randall, en route, but the captain was
acquitted, being under Gen. Sibley's command at the time. After long and persistent
efforts the regiment was ordered South. It left the state on June 14, 1863, and went to
Helena, Ark., after having been assigned to the 1st brigade, 1st division, 2nd army corps.
The reason for the change is not known, but it was a bitter disappointment to be compelled
to take up garrison duty after endeavoring for two years to get to the front. The results
of forcing a regiment from the extreme north to such a disease- producing climate and
keeping it there inactive was seen too late. The regiment landed June 23, 940 strong, and
on July 31, 17 officers and 445 men were on the sick list; a month later 14 officers and
487 men were sick; by the last of September 16 officers and 638 men reported sick; and
during these three months 54 died of disease. So the record continued, the regiment
diminishing in numbers as the ill were ordered north. At one time, for two weeks, but 26
men reported for duty, many being ill but not in hospital. Six hundred were sent north to
hospitals and in October the regiment was ordered to St. Louis, where it performed provost
guard duty from Nov. 11, 1864, to Jan. 29, 1865. It then was sent to New Orleans and in
March to Chalmette, where it was assigned to the 2nd brigade, 2nd division, 16th army
corps. It landed at Dauphin island on the 8th, was in sharp skirmishing about Fort
Blakely, and with its corps captured the fort on the 9th, receiving high commendations for
its conduct. It then moved to Montgomery, Ala., where it remained until July, and was
mustered out at Fort Snelling Aug. 19, 1865.
Regimental history taken from "The Union Army" by Federal Publishing
Company, 1908 - Volume 4