Camp Release opposite
the mouth of Chippewa River, Minn.
September 28, 1862 --
The Military Commission met pursuant to the above order
|Col Brooks||6th Regt. to M.V.||Members|
|Lt. Col. Marshall||7th Regt. to M.V.|
|Capt. Grant||6th Regt. to M.V.|
|Capt. Bailey||6th Regt. to M.V.|
|Lt. Olin||3d Regt. to M.V.||Judge Advocate|
|Adjutant Heard||McPhail's Mounted
The Military Commission was then duly sworn and O-ta-kle, or Godfrey, a colored man connected with the a Sioux tribe of Indians was arraigned on the following charges and specifications.
Charge and specification against O-ta-kle, or Godfrey, a colored man connected with the a Sioux tribe of Indians---
- Charge -
- Murder -
Specification 1st. In this, that the said O-ta-kle, or Godfrey, a colored man, did, at or near New Ulm, Minnesota, on or about the 19th day of August, 1862, join a war party of the Sioux tribe of Indians against the citizens of the United States, and did with his own hand murder seven white men, women, and children (more or less), peaceable citizens of the United States.
Specification 2d. In this, that the said O-ta-kle, or Godfrey, a colored man, did, at various times and places between the 19th of August, 1862, and the 28th day of September, 1862, join and participate in the murders and massacre committed by the Sioux Indians on the Minnesota frontier.
|By order of Col. H. H. Sibley
Witnesses - Comd'g Mil. Expedition
David Faribault, Sen.
Bernard La Batte
On being asked whether he was guilty or not guilty, gave the following statement in broken English.
[Edited version of the Commission's Recorder, Isaac Heard:] The first time I heard of the trouble I was mowing hay. About noon an Indian was making hay near me. I went to help him, to change work; he was to lend me his oxen. I helped him lead some hay, and as we took it to his place we heard hallooing, and saw a man on horseback. with a gun across his legs before him. When he saw me he drew his gun up and cocked it. The Indian with me asked him 'What's the matter?' He looked strange. He wore a new hat -- a soft gray hat -- and had a new white leather ox or mule whip. He said all the white people had been killed at the agency. The Indian with me asked who did it, and he replied the Indians, and that they would soon be down that wy to kill the settlers toward New Ulm. He asked me which side I would take. He said I would have to go home and take off my clothes, and put on a breech-clout. I was afraid, because he held his gun as if he would kill me. I went to my house and told my wife to get ready, and we would try to get away. I told my wife about what the Indian told me. I told her we would try to get down the river. She told me we would be killed with the white people. We got something ready to take with use to eat, and started-- we got bout two hundred yards into the woods. (The old man, my wife's father, said he would fasten the house and follow after.) We heard some one halloo. It was the old man. He called to us to come back. I told my wife to go on, but her mother told her to stop. I told them to go ahead; but the old man called so much that they stopped and turned back. I followed them.
I found my squaw's uncle at the house. He scolded my wife and her mother for trying to get away; he said all the Indians had gone to the agency, and that they must go there. He said we would be killed if we went toward the white folks; that we would only be safe to go on and join the Indians. I still had my pants off and put on the breech-clout. I did so. The uncle said we must take a rope and catch a horse.
I started with him toward New Ulm, and we met a lot of Indians at the creek, about a mile from my house. They were all painted, and said I must be painted. They then painted me. I was afraid to refuse.
They asked me why I didn't have a gun, or knife, or some weapon. I told them I had no gun -- the old man had taken it away. One Indian hd a spear, a gun, and a little hatchet. He told me to take the hatchet, and that I must fight with the Indians, and do the same they did, or I would be killed. We started down the road. We saw two wagons with people in them coming toward us. The Indians consulted what to do, and decided for half of them to go up to a house off the road, on the right-hand side. They started, but I stopped, and they called me and told me I must come on. There was an old man, a boy and two young woman at the house -- Dutch people. The family's name was something like 'Masseybush.' The boy and two girls stood outside, near the kitchen door. Half of the Indians went to the house, half remained in the road. The Indians told me to tell the whites that there were Chippeways about, and that they (the Indians) were after them. I did not say any thing. The Indians asked for some water. The girls went into the house, and the Indians followed and talked in Sioux. One said to me, 'Here is a gun for you.' Dinner was on the table, and the Indians said, 'After we kill, them we will have dinner. They told me to watch the road, and when the teams came up to tell them. I turned to look, and just then I heard the Indians shoot; I looked, and two girls fell just outside the door. I did not go in the house; I started to go round the house. We were on the back side of it, when I heard the Indians on the road hallooing and shouting. They called me, and I went to the road and saw them killing white men. My brother-in-law told me that I must take care of a team that he was holding; that it was his. I saw two men killed that were with this wagon. I did not see who were killed in the other wagon. I saw one Indian stick his knife in the side of a man that was not yet dead; he cut his side open, and then cut him all to pieces. His name was Wakantonka (great spirit). Two of the Indians that killed people in the house have been convicted. Their names are Waki-ya-ni and Mah-hwa. There were about ten Indians at the house, and about the same number in the road. I got into the wagon and the Indians all got in. We turned and went toward New Ulm. When we got near to a house the Indians all got out and ran ahead of the wagons, and two or three went to each house, and in that way they killed all the people along the road. I staid in the wagon , and did not see the people killed. They killed the people of six or eight houses -- all until we got to the 'Travelers' Home.' There were other Indians killing people all through the settlement. We could see them and hear them all around. I was standing in the wagon, and could see three, or four, or five Indians at every house.
When we got near the 'Travelers' home' they told me to stop. I saw an old woman with two children -- one in each hand -- run away across the yard. One Indian, Maza-bom-doo, who was convicted, shot the old woman, and jumped over and kicked the children down with his feet. The old woman fell down as if dead. I turned away my head, and did not see whether the children were killed. After that I heard a shot behind the barn, but did not see who was shot. I supposed some one was killed. After that the Indians got in the wagon, and told me to start down the road. We started on, and got to a house where a man lived named Schling -- a German -- an old man. The Indians found a jug in the wagon, and were now almost drunk. They told me to jump out. I jumped out and started ahead, and the Indians called me to come back. They threw out a hatchet, and said I must go to the house and kill the people. Maza-bom-doo was ahead. He told me there were three guns there that he had left for some flour, and we must get them. I was afraid.
I went into the house. There was the old man, his wife and son, and a boy and another man. They were at dinner. The door stood open, and the Indians were right behind me, and pushed me in. I struck the old man on the shoulder with the flat of the hatchet, and then the Indians rushed in and commenced to shoot them. The old man, woman, and boy ran into the kitchen. The other man ran out some way, I did not see how; but when we went back to the road, about twenty steps, I saw him in the road dead. He was the man I struck in the house. I heard the Indians shoot back of the house, but did not see shat at. After we started to go to Red-Wood, one little Indian, who had pox marks in his face, and who was killed at Wood Lake, said he struck the boy with a knife, but didn't say if he killed him. He told this to the other Indians.
We saw coming up the road two wagons, one with a flag in it. The Indians were afraid, and we started back, and went past the 'Travelers' Home." We got to a bridge, and the Indians got out and laid down in the grass about the bridge. I went on up the road. The wagons, with the white men, came on up and stopped in the road, where there was a dead man, I think; then they sounded the bugle and started to cross the bridge, running their horses. The foremost wagon had one horse, of a gray color; three men were in it, and had the flag. Just as they came across the bridge, the indians raised up and shot. The three men fell out, and the team went on. The Indians ran and caught it. The other wagon had not got across the bridge. I heard them shoot at the men in it, but I did not see them. After the Indians brought the second wagon across the bridge, three Indians got in the wagon. After that all of them talked together, and said that it was late (the sun was nearly down), and that they must look after their wives and children that had started to go to Red-Wood. Many of these Indians lived on the lower end of the reservation. The two horse team that they had just taken was very much frightened, and they could not hold them. They told me I must take and hold them, and drive them. I took the team, and they all got in. We then had four teams. We started from there, and went on up. When we got to where the first people were killed, the Indians told me to drive up to the house. The two girls were lying dead. I saw one girl with her head cut off; the head was gone. One Indian, an old man, asked who cut the head off; he said it was too bad. The other Indians said they did not know. The girls' clothes were turned up. The old man put them down. He is now in prison; his name is Wazakoota; he is a good old man. While we stood there one wagon went to another house, and I heard a gun go off.
We started up the road, and stopped at a creek about a mile farther on. We waited for some of the Indians that were behind. While we were there we saw a house on fire. When the Indians came up they said that Wak-pa-doo-ta, my father-in-law, shot a woman, who was on a bed sick, through the window; and that an old man ran up stairs, and the Indians were afraid to go in the house; they thought he had a gun, and they set fire to the house and left it. We them started on from that creek, and went about seven miles to near a little lake (about a hundred yards from the road). We saw, far away, a wagon coming toward us. When it was only two miles away from us we saw it was a two-horse wagon, but the Indians didn't know if it was white people. When it came near they told me to go fast. The Indians whipped the horses and hurried them on. Two Indians were ahead of us on horseback. Pretty soon we came near, and the team that was coming toward us stopped and turned around and the Indians said it was white men, and they were trying to run away. The two on horseback then shot, and I saw a white man -- Patville -- fall back over his seat; and after that I saw three women and one man jump out of the wagon and run. Then those in the wagon with me jumped out and ran after the women. We got up to the wagon. Patville was not dead. The Indians threw him out, and a young Indian, sentenced to be hung, stuck a knife between his ribs, under the arm, and another one, who is with Little Crow, and beat his head all to pieces. The other Indians killed the other white man near the little lake, and brought back the three women -- Mattie Williams, Mary Anderson, and Mary Swan.
Patville's wagon was full of trunks. The Indians broke them open and took the things out; there were some goods in them (Patville was a sort of trader on the reservation). They put one win my wagon (Mary Swan) was caught by Masa-bom-doo. Tazoo had Mattie Williams. We then went on, and stopped at a creek about a mile ahead to water the horses. Then they called me to ask the woman that was wounded if she was badly hurt. She said 'Yes.' They told me to ask her to show the wound, and that they would do something for it. She showed the wound. The ball did not come out. She asked where we were going. I said I didn't know; that they came around on the prairie past Red-Wood. I told her I heard that all the whites at the agency were killed and the stores robbed. She said she wished they would drive fast, so she could have a doctor do something for her wound; she was afraid she would die. I said I was a prisoner too. She asked what would be done with them. I said I didn't know; perhaps we would all be killed. I said maybe the doctor was killed, if all the white people were. After that we started on, and got to the Red-Wood Agency about nine o'clock. It was dark. Then the Indians looked round, and did not see any people. We went on to Wacouta's house. He came out, and told me to tell the girl in my wagon to go into his house. I told the girl; but she was afraid, and said she thought the other women were somewhere else. I told her that Wacouta said they were in his house, and she had better go. Wacouta told her to go with him, and she got out and went with him. I then went on to Little Crow's village, where most all of the Indians had gone. I found my wife there. We staid some time there, and then started for the fort. They asked me to go to drive a team. After we got there they commenced to fight. The broke in the stable, and told me to go and take all the horses I could. I got a black mare, but an Indian took it away from me. They fought all day, and slept at night in the old stable under the hill. The next morning they fought only a little; it was raining. We then went back to Red-Wood. In about six days after all the Indians started, and said they would go to Mankato. They came down toward the fort on that side of the river, and crossed near the 'Travelers' Home.' When they got opposite the fort they stopped, and talked of trying to get in again, but did not. About noon they went on to New Ulm. I saw no white people on the road. I got to New Ulm about two hours after noon. They burned houses, and shot, and fought. They slept at New Ulm that night and the next day went back to Little Crow's village. (This was the last fight at New Ulm; Godfrey says he was not there at the first fight. He was then at Little Crow's village.) After a few days we went to Rice Creek; staid there a few days, and started again to come to Mankato. After crossing the Red-Wood we went up the hill, and saw wagons on the prairie on the other side of the river. After the Indians had all crossed the Red-Wood, half staid there all night, and half went over the Minnesota to where they saw the wagons. Those that staid back went over early the next morning. I went with them. We got there at sunrise. We heard shooting just before we got there. They were shooting all day. They killed all the horses. (This was the battle of Birch Coolie.) At night the Indians killed some cattle, and cooked and ate some meat. Some talked of trying to get into the camp, and some tried it all night. Others talked of watching till they should drive them out for want of water. Three Indians were killed that day -- so the Indians said,. I saw some wounded -- I should think five. In the morning some more talk was had about trying to get in. In the mean time we saw soldiers coming up, and half of the Indians started to try and stop them, and the other half staid to watch the camp at Birch Coolie. They went down to try and stop the soldiers, and afterward came back and said 'twas no use -- that they couldn't stop them. Some wanted to try and get the whites into Birch Coolie, but others thought they had better go back. They fired some shots, and then started back. The Sissetons got to us while we were there the second day, about two or three hours before the Indians all left. The Indians left a little before sundown. The crossed the river at the old crossing, and went up to the site of Reynolds's house, the other side of the Red-Wood, and camped. They started about midnight to go to Rice Creek. Got there about sunrise. Staid there several days.
While we were at Birch Coolie Little Crow was at the Big Woods. He got back to Rice Creek two days after we did. We went from Rice Creek to Yellow Medicine; staid there about two weeks. While there ten or twenty stared every day to see if soldiers were coming. When they reported that soldiers were on the way, we moved out camp to where Mr. Riggs lived; then up to Rid Iron's village; the to a little way from where the friendly camp was. After the scouts reported that soldiers had crossed the Red-Wood, Little Crow made a speech, and said that all must fight; that it would be the last fight, and the all must do the best they could. Scouts reported about midnight that soldiers were camped at Rice Creek. In the morning we all started down to Yellow Medicine; got there a little before sundown. Some were there earlier. We staid at Yellow Medicine all night. Some wanted to begin the attack in the night, but others thought 'twas best to wait till morning. In the morning the fight began. After the fight, went back to get all to go with him, but they would not. Little Crow started away in the night. I didn't see him go. I never was out at any of the war parties except once at New Ulm (the last fight), once at the fort, at Birch Coolie, and Wood Lake. They thought that the Winnebagoes would commence at Mankato and attack the lower settlements.
Mary Woodbury testified that she saw him two or three days after the outbreak at Little Crow's village with a breech clout on, and his legs and face painted for a war party, and that he started with one for New Ulm; that he appeared very happy and contented with the Indians; was whooping around and yelling, and apparently as fierce as any of them. When they came back there was a Wahpeton, named Hunka, who told witness that the negro was the bravest of all; that he led them into a house and clubbed the inmates with a hatchet; and that she was standing in the prisoner's tent door, and heard the Indians ask him how many he had killed, and he said only seven; and that she saw him, once when he started off, have a gun, a knife and a hatchet.
Mary Swan and Mattie Williams testified that when the war party took them captive, though the prisoner was not armed, he appeared to be as much in favor of the outrages as any of the Indians, and made no intimation to the contrary in a conversation the witnesses had with him.
La Batte knew nothing about him.
David Faribault, Sen., a half-breed, testified as to his boast of killing seven with a tomahawk, and some more -- children; but these, he said, didn't amount to any thing, and he wouldn't count them. Witness saw him at the fort and at New Ulm, fighting and acting like the Indians. and he never told him (Faribault) that he was forced into the outbreak.
And therefore, the court found the prisoner guilty on the charge, and second specification, and not guilty on the first specification, and sentenced him to be hung by the neck until he is dead - ( a mitigation of the sentence to imprisonment for ten years is recommended).
We hereby certify that the foregoing are the minutes of the proceeding and testimony in the annexed charges, under order No, 55 by Col. H. H. Sibley.