On a summer day in 1862 the Redwood Ferry landing on the Minnesota River below this point was the scene of the first attack against military troops in one of America's most tragic Indian wars.seal of The Minnesota Historical Society, Instituted 1849Erected by the Minnesota Historical Society
Early in the morning of August 18, 1862, a large party of Dakota (Sioux) warriors, enraged by delayed annuity payments and near-starvation conditions on their reservation, attacked the nearby Lower Sioux Agency. Surviving agency employees crossed the river on the Redwood ferry and fled to Fort Ridgely some 13 miles downstream.
Discounting warnings of the Indian's strength and determination, the fort's commandant, John S. Marsh, set out toward the agency with interpreter Peter Quinn and 46 soldiers of the Fifth Minnesota Infantry. They found the Dakota waiting in ambush at the ferry. In the ensuing fight, Quinn and 23 soldiers were killed and Marsh was drowned while trying to escape by swimming across the river. The remaining men eventually made their way back to Fort Ridgely, which was itself attacked on August 20 and 22.
The war in the Minnesota River Valley claimed the lives of at least 450 whites and an unknown number of Dakota before it came to an end at Camp Release on September 26, 1862.