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Date: Thu, 28 Jun 2007 21:42:50 -0700 (PDT)
From:"Steven Ulmen" <>  View Contact Details  View Contact Details   Add Mobile Alert
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Subject: Sioux execution text - Harpers Weekly
ON page 37 we give an illustration of THE EXECUTION OF THIRTY-EIGHT INDIAN MURDERERS (see above), which took place at Mankato, Minnesota, on 26th ult. We are indebted to Mr. Herman, of St. Peter, for the sketch we have reproduced. The St. Paul Press says:
The gallows stood upon the high street close in front of the levee. It is estimated that not less than four thousand people, exclusive of the military, were in attendance. The gallows was erected in the form of a diamond, twenty-four feet on each angle, sufficient to execute ten on each side. A square was formed around the gallows by the military, and the citizens occupied the sand bar on the river. The ceremony was brief, and the whole number of savages were sent at the same moment before the Great Spirit to answer for their inhuman barbarities.
Upon leaving the stone building the condemned set up the death-dance and kept it up on the platform.
While the soldiers were at work upon the gallows a stranger came up to one of them who was planking the platform, and asked the privilege of "driving one nail." He wanted to drive it in a place where it would be of service. The soldier handed him his hammer and a nail, and told him where to drive. The man drove the nail home into a plank of the platform, thanked the soldier, said he was satisfied, and left.
William J. Duly, who had half his family massacred at Lake Shack, was assigned by Colonel Miller the duty of cutting the rope. Another man offered five dollars for the privilege.
At precisely 10 o'clock the condemned were marshaled in a procession, and headed by Captain Medfield, marched out into the street, and directly across through files of soldiers to the scaffold, which had been erected in front, and were delivered to the Officer of the Day, Captain Burt. They went eagerly and cheerfully, even crowding and jostling each other to be ahead, just like a lot of hungry boarders rushing to dinner in a hotel. The soldiers who were on guard in their quarters stacked arms and followed them, and they in turn were followed by the clergy, reporters, etc.
As they commenced the ascent of the scaffold, the death-song was again started, and when they had all gone up, the noise they made was truly hideous. It seemed as if pandemonium had broken loose. It had a wonderful effect in keeping up their courage. One young fellow who had been given a cigar by one of the reporters, just before marching from their quarters, was smoking it on the stand, puffing away very coolly during the intervals of the hideous "Hi-yi-yi," "Hi-yi-yi," and even after the cap was drawn over his face, he managed to get it over his mouth and smoke. Another was smoking his pipe. The noose having been promptly adjusted over the necks of each, by Captain Libby, all was ready for the fatal signal.
The scene at this juncture was one of awful interest. A painful and breathless suspense held the vast crowd which had assembled from all quarters to witness the execution.
Three slow, measured, and distinct beats on the drum by Major Brown, who had bean announced as signal officer, and the rope was cut by Mr. Duly, the scaffold fell, and thirty-seven lifeless bodies were left dangling between heaven and earth. One of the ropes was broken, and the body of Rattling Runner fell to the ground. The neck had probably been broken, as but little signs of life were observed, but he was immediately hung up again. While the signal-beat was being given numbers were seen to clasp the hands of their neighbors, which in several instances continued to be clasped till the bodies were cut down.
As the platform fell there was one, not loud, but prolonged cheer from the soldiery and citizens who were spectators, and then all were quiet and earnest witnesses of the scene. For so many there was but little suffering; the necks of all, or nearly all, were evidently dislocated by the fall, and the after-struggle was slight. The scaffold fell at a quarter past ten o'clock, and in twenty minutes the bodies had all been examined by Sugeons Le Boutillier, Sheardown, Finch, Clark, and others, and life pronounced extinct.
The bodies were then cut down, placed in four army wagons, and attended by Company K. as a burial party, and under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Marshall, were taken to the grave prepared for them, among the willows on the sand-bar, nearly in front of the town.

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