less than 1 minute read

Dakota Conflict Trials: 1862

Largest Mass Execution In U.s. History

In Mankato, Minnesota, at 10 A.M. on the morning of December 26, soldiers led 38 prisoners (one person was reprieved between the date of Lincoln's order and the execution), wearing white muslin coverings and singing Dakota Sioux death songs, to gallows arranged on a circular scaffold. The warriors took the places assigned to them on the platform; ropes were placed around each neck. At the signal of three drumbeats, a single blow from an ax cut the rope that held the platform and 37 people fell to their deaths. One prisoner's rope broke and he consequently had to be rehung, prolonging whatever agony he may have felt before dying. A loud cheer went up from the thousands of spectators gathered to witness the event. The bodies were buried in a mass grave on the edge of town. Soon area physicians, including one named Mayo, arrived to collect cadavers for their medical research.

The hanging stands as the largest mass execution in American history.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1833 to 1882Dakota Conflict Trials: 1862 - Military Commission Appointed To Try Dakota Warriors, Were The Trials Fair?, President Lincoln Reviews The Dakota Cases