Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




This thesis will tell the generally forgotten story of the Civil War era soldiers on the Minnesota-Dakota frontier who fought in the Great Sioux Uprising from 1862 to 1865. It will also compare the frontier soldiers’ campaign experience with the experiences of Bell Irvin Wiley’s Civil War ‘'Billy Yanks.”

This thesis covers enlistment procedures, food, clothing, shelter, discipline, disease, boredom, combat, the “galvanized” Yankees, the Dakota landscape, and the role of the cavalry. This story of the frontier soldiers’ expeditions against the Sioux on the northern plains is told using direct quotations from frontier soldiers’ diaries and manuscripts, along with United States government records, the Fort Rice publication. Frontier Scout, and various secondary sources.

Most frontier “Billy Yanks” enlisted to fight in the Civil War; instead, they pursued the Sioux Indians across Dakota Territory on expeditions with generals Henry H. Sibley and Alfred T. Sully. In general, the experiences of these frontier soldiers were remarkably similar to those of Civil War soldiers. Subtle differences did exist, but for the most part, frontier soldiers shared common bonds with other Civil War era fighting men, such as life at military posts, boredom, and disease.

However, frontier soldiers experienced a pronounced difference from their Civil War comrades in the combat and landscape they faceu, fighting Native Americans in the

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