ATTACK FROM THE NORTHEAST
You are standing where cannon fire stopped the Dakota assault on August 20, 1862. According to Tasina Wakanhdi (Lightning Blanket), who was involved in both attacks on the Fort, the warriors who made the first attack on Fort Ridgely were men from Wambdi Tanka's (Big Eagle), Pejutazanzan's (Medicine Bottle), Sakpedan's (Little Six), and Taoyateduta's (Little Crow) camps—about 400 men in all.
The plan of attack called for Pejutazanzan's men to give a signal of "three big shots," drawing the soldiers' attention to the north and allowing warriors hiding in the ravines on the east, west, and south sides of the fort to rush in. However, the warriors were delayed coming up the ravines, so Tasina Wakanhdi and others on the north were left exposed to cannon fire. Heavy artillery fire coming from the fort, coupled with a lack of powder and bullets, caused the warriors to withdraw to Taoyateduta's village to regroup.
"We Did Not Fight Like White Men"
Tasina Wakanhdi recalled:
While shooting we ran up to the buildings near the big stone one. As we were running in, we saw the man with the big guns whom we all knew and as we were the only ones in sight he shot into us.
We did not fight like white men, with one officer. We all shot as we pleased. We shot at the windows, mostly at the big stone building, as we thought many of the whites were in there.... During the shooting we tried to set fire to the buildings with fire arrows, but the buildings would not burn, so we had to get more powder and bullets.
Minnesota Historical Society