1862 Trial 5: Wy-a-tah-to-wah

For an overview of this series publishing the trial records of the 38 Dakota men executed at Mankato Minnesota on December 26, 1862, see the first post.

Wyatahtowah’s is the third of forty trials in this series.

Transcript: Trial 5 Wy-a-tah-to-wah

Page Images: #5 Wy-a-teh-to-wah


Whiting-Ruggles Summary December 5, 1862

No. 5. WY-A-TAH-TO-WAH.—Confesses to have participated in the murder of Mr. Francis Patville, and to have been engaged in three battles.[1]


Trial Record September 1862

[Frame 67 – Trial #5 – Wy-A-Teh-To-Wah]

Proceedings of a Military Commission convened at Camp Release opposite the Mouth of Chippewa River by virtue of the following order

Order No. 55                           viz:

Head Quarters CampRelease

September 28th 1862

A Military Commission composed of Colonel Wm Crooks of the 6th Reg., Lieut. Col. Marshall of the 7th Regiment, Captains Grant & Bailey of the 6th Reg. And Lieut. Olin of the 3rd Reg. Will convene at some convenient point in camp at 10 o’clock this morning to try summarily the Mulatto, and Indians, or mixed bloods, now prisoners, or who may be brought before them, by direction of the Col. Commanding and pass judgment upon them, if found guilty of murder or other outrages upon the Whites, during the present State of hostilities of the Indians, the proceedings of the Commission to be returned to these Head Quarters immediately after their conclusion, for the consideration of the Col. Commanding.

The Commission will be governed in their proceedings, by Military Law and usage.

(Signed) H. H. Sibley

Colonel Commanding

CampRelease opposite the

Mouth of Chippewa River, Minn.

Sept. 28 1862

The Military Commission met pursuant to the above order-


Col. Crooks – 6th Reg. M. V.

Lt. Col. Marshall, 7th Regt. M.V.     Members

Capt. Grant, 6th Regt. M.V.

Capt. Bailey, 6th Regt. M. V.

Lt. Olin – 3rd Regt. M. V., Judge Advocate

Adjutant Heard – McPhail’s Mounted Rangers – Recorder

[Frame 68]

The Military Commission was then duly sworn and Te-he-hde-hdo-ne-che Wy-a-tah-to-wa, a Sioux Indian, was arraigned on the following charges and specifications.

Charges and specifications against Wy-a-tah-to-wa, a Sioux Indian. Charge murder Specification in this that the said Wy-a-tah-to-wa, a Sioux Indian that on or about the 18th day of August 1862, kill, or by his participation cause to be killed, a white man named Francis Patoille, a citizen of the United States – This between Fort Ridgely and New Ulm, Minnesota.

By order of Co. H.H. Sibley

Com’d’g. Mil. Expedition

S. H. Fowler

Lt.Col 8th

A.A.A. G’l.


Miss Williams

Miss Swan

[Frame 69]

and thereupon in answer thereto the prisoner made the following statement –

It was never my intention to kill any one, but what I did was done under the influence of evil spirits – This outbreak was commenced by three Indians of different bands, and I was led into it by force by them –  It was never my intention to do anything bad, but what I did, was done under the influence of evil spirits – My chief told me to stay here, and the Government would deal fairly by me.

Wabashaw is my chief – Have seen Patoille often – know when he was killed.  I was present.  There was a lot of Indians coming from below and I was with them.

I saw the Indians fire at Patoille.

I shot at him but don’t know whether I hit him, or not.  I was near when I shot at him.  A good many shot.  I aimed at the crowd when Patoille was shot – I shot at the crowd when they were in the wagon.

3 of the Indians are arrested and 3 were killed – The Negro was of the party.

I never saw the Negro man kill any whites – I have been in 3 fights – at New Ulm – Birch Coolie and WoodLake – I fired 2 shots at New Ulm – 4 at Birch Coolie – 2 shots at WoodLake.


I have a bad gun – I always kept a good ways off –

Don’t know that the Negro killed anybody.  I was wounded at the battle of New Ulm in the breast.

The past seems to me like a dream.

The powers above made my eyes dark – Wa-pe-du-ta  – Muz-ze-bomidu – Waka-han-du-yai – Ptan-Doo-ta and Godfrey were of the party.

Mattie Williams being present in court was then called as a witness and duly sworn, testified as follows:

I do not recognize the deft. as one of the Patoille murderers-

The testimony being closed, the Commission was then cleared and proceeded to their finding and sentence.

The Military Commission after due deliberation upon the foregoing find the prisoner as follows –

Guilty on the specification.

Guilty on the charge and do thereupon sentence him, the said Wy-a-tah-tow–a, to be hanged by the neck until he is dead.

[Signed, members of Mil. Comm.]

[Note on wrapper] Confessed to having been in three battles and firing his gun does not know that he killed anyone –and no proof but his own confession was of the party that murdered Mr Patoile[2]


Riggs Synopsis December 1862

3. Wy a tah taw a (His people) says he was at the attack on Captain Marsh’s company, and also at New Ulm. He and another Indian shot at the same time. He does not know whether he or the other Indian killed the white man. –He was wounded in following up another white man. He was at the battle of Birch Coolie, where he fired his gun four times. He fired twice at Wood Lake.[3]

Transcriptions by Walt Bachman and Carrie Reber Zeman. Page images provided by John Isch.

[1]Whiting-Ruggles Report to Abraham Lincoln December 5, 1862.

[2] Dakota Trials Records. Microfilm and holograph records in Center for Legislative Archives, U.S. Senate Records, National Archives. Transcription by Walt Bachman. See corresponding digitations of microfilm by John Isch.

[3] Mankato Independent December 26, 1862, “Confessions of the Condemned” p. 2. Editorial introduction reads: “Rev. S. R. Riggs has kindly prepared for us the following synopsis of conversations held with each one of the condemned prisoners, wherein is contained much interesting information.”

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