1862 Trial 138: Baptiste Campbell

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.

Baptiste Campbell’s is the twenty-first of forty-one trials in this series. 

Transcript: Trial 138 Baptiste Campbell

Page Images: #138 Baptiste Campbell


Whiting-Ruggles Summary December 5, 1862

No. 138. BAPTISTE CAMPBELL, a half breed.—Confessed that he was one of the party who murdered a man and woman, and that he shot first.—(See cases 115 and 175.)[1]


Trial Record October 1862

[Trial #138 – Baptiste Campbell]

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 Camp Release 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.

By order of the Colonel Commanding Military Expedition

(signed) S.H. Fowler

A.A.A. Genl

Head Qtrs. Camp Release Min. Oct. 15 1862

Order No. 65

I. The Military Commission of which Col. Wm Crooks 6th Regt Minn Vols is President will reconvene tomorrow at 10 Oclock AM or as soon thereafter as practicable and proceed with the business before it.

II.Lieut. Col. Wm R Marshall 7th Minn Vols being absent on duty Maj. Gen Bradley of the seventh is hereby detailed to fill the vacancy thus occasioned.

By order of Gen.l H.H. Sibley

S.W. Fowler Lieut Col. A.A.A. Gl

Camp Release opposite the mouth of the Chippewa River

October 16 1862

The Military Commission met pursuant to the above order-


Col. Crooks – 6th Reg. M. V.

Maj. Bradley, 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

October           1862

The Military Commission was duly sworn and Baptiste Campbell, a half Breed was arraigned in the following charge and specifications, viz

Charge and specification against Baptiste Campbell, a half Breed

Charge –Participation in the murders, outrages & robberies committed by the Sioux Indians on the Minnesota frontier

Specification –In that he the said Baptiste Campbell, a half Breed Indian did join with and participate in the murders robberies and outrages committed by the Sioux Tribe of Indians on the Minnesota frontier between the 18th day of August 1862 and the 28th day of September 1862 & particularly in the Battles at the Fort, New Ulm and Birch Coolie and Wood Lake and also having killed fired at a white man.

By order of Gen.l H.H. Sibley

S.W. Fowler Lieut Col.

A.A.A. Gl



Henry Milord

Baptiste Campbell states –

They ask (sic) us to go on the other side of the river and catch horses and cattle – that they couldn’t catch them.  We went over – Henry Milord, Auge, and some Indians.

Crow told us, “if you don’t help to kill some white men you shall be killed.”

I went to a house – saw a white man – by a marsh a long distance off.  I shot first.

None went around the hill.  Wouldn’t hurt a man if we hadn’t been pushed.

Antoine Frenier, sworn – I heard witness state that Milord, Auge, and Indian and himself went over the river to get cattle, saw a white man, and fired at him.

Muzze-bom-doo, sworn, says –

I know deft.  One morning all the Indians had left Red Wood except another Indian and I who went over the river to get oxen.  Saw the half breeds coming from nowheres.  Heard they had killed a white man and woman.  Milord was one – Deft. was one I saw coming home.  Don’t think he had a gun.

Prisoner states –

I had a wife and children at Crow’s Village.

[Frame 63]

Little Crow said I must kill all the white men I met. He told me if I didn’t do as he said he would find a way to kill me.

I went to the Big Woods in a war party.  Crow was along.  They followed them along the road.  He went to a little town and they had a fight.  The soldiers and Indians ran so fast there I couldn’t keep up with them.  Jo. Campbell was there and Narcisse Frenier – Louis La Belle.  We went above the town, crossed the river 3 or 4 miles above.  We heard the firing at the town.  After we heard the firing Crow asked us to go towards the town.  When we got within a mile and a half of the town saw Indians with a white woman as prisoner.  Crow said the whites were too many for us and we left.

And there upon the case being closed the Commission was cleared and proceeded with their finding and sentence.

The Military Commission after due deliberation on the foregoing, the evidence being closed and Commission was cleared and proceeded with the finding and sentence.

The Military Commission find the prisoner, the said Baptiste Campbell, a half-breed, as follows –

Guilty of the specification

Guilty of the charge,

And sentence him to be hung by the neck until he is dead.

                                    [signatures of Mil. Com.][2]


Riggs Synopsis December 1862

21. Baptiste Campbell is the son of Scott Campbell, who was for many years United States interpreter at Fort Snelling. He thinks that they ought to have had a new trial; says he did not speak advisedly before the military commission. He went over the Minnesota River with four others. They were sent over by Little Crow, and told to get all the cattle they could and kill every white man; if they did not the Soldiers’ Lodge would take care of them. They went over to a farm between Beaver creek and Birch Coulee, where they found a lot of cattle, which they attempted to drive. The cattle, however, ran away, and their attention was attracted to the owner. Campbell fired his gun first but did not hit the man. He says his statement before the commission was misunderstood. He said he was a good shot, and if he had fired at the man he should have killed him; he fired over him intentionally; he fired because he felt compelled to do so by the command of Little Crow. Campbell says that Little Crow compelled him and his brother, Joseph, to go out to Hutchinson. They tried to get away at the time of the attack on Captain Strout’s company, but were prevented. They were forced to go to the battle at Hutchinson. Little Crow told them if they did not kill white men, they would be killed, but he didn’t shoot any men there.[3]

[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.”

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

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