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The July 28, 1864 Battle of Killdeer Mountain


During the summer of 1864, the Americans resumed their military campaign against the Anishinabe Nation of western North Dakota and Montana. According to historians, the Americans had goals of defeating the Anishinabe Nation and establishing forts in their territory. Major General John Pope ordered a force of over 2,500 American soldiers to force their way into the west of North Dakota (Dunn County, North Dakota where a great many Anishinabe people from Minnesota and eastern North Dakota fled to join with civilized Anishinabek already living in that location) to war upon the Anishinabe people, and another large force of American soldiers under the command of another officer, to commence to establishing forts in North Dakota and South Dakota. One was Fort Rice which is a little south of present day Bismarck, North Dakota. On the 28th of July 1864, Brigadier General Alfred Sully made an approach near an Anishinabe fortified civilized village located near the Little Missouri River, or near or on the present day Fort Berthold Reservation.



He reported that the village had up to 6,000 soldiers. That indicates that the Anishinabe poulation of western North Dakota, was well over 30,000 and this fortified civilized Anishinabe city, was the largest one in western North Dakota. Before the Americans commenced to attack the village, they attempted to negotiate with Anishinabe ogimak first. However, an event occurred before this battle which actually led to this indecisive battle. A white invader who was a topographical engineer was killed by 3 Anishinabe soldiers. American soldiers captured the 3 Anishinabe soldiers who killed the white man who was tresspassing on Anishinabe land and executed them then beheaded them and had their heads placed on poles to further entice the already enraged Anishinabek into fighting them. Negotiations, as all would expect, ended in failure, which led Brigadier General Sully to order his 2,500 soldiers to attack the Anishinabe stronghold.



According to historians the American army eventually forced the Anishinabe soldiers to abandon their positions and flee for safety, which broke the Anishinabe resistance. However, that is not true. The white invaders attacked a civilized Anishinabe city and were repelled. Anishinabe soldiers were brave enough to leave the safety of their fortified city and battle the white invaders. Once they left their fortified city, they gave battle and drove the white invaders who knew they were outnumbered, away from their city. American casualties in the battle were 15 killed and wounded. Anishinabe casualties were 31 killed and wounded. The Americans had forced their way into Anishinabe controlled western North Dakota, but the war was not over. They soon established forts to station their soldiers. Their goal was to protect the white invaders who were using the Missouri River to invade eastern Montana.





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