Battle of Birch Coulee

Dorothea Paul, about 1975

Birch Coulee: September 2

On September 2, 1862, a burial party of 170 men under the command of Maj. Joseph R. Brown was camped at Birch Coulee when they were surrounded and attacked by a group of 200 Dakota soldiers. Over the next 30 hours Brown’s forces lost 13 men and 90 horses, and more than 50 men were injured. There were two recorded Dakota deaths. The fighting finally ended on the morning of September 3rd, when Henry Sibley arrived with reinforcements and artillery.

United States Model 1841 percussion .54 caliber rifle. The model became known as the "Mississippi Rifle" when it was used by a regiment of Mississippians during the Mexican American War. This rifle was disabled by bullet strike to its barrel while in use at the Battle of Birch Coulee during the 1862 Dakota War. The rifle has a walnut stock and brass mountings as well as its original iron ramrod, browned iron barrel and brass patch box on the stock. Manufactured by the New Haven Armory in Connecticut, owned by Eli Whitney Blake.


This "Mississippi rifle" was used during the battle of Birch Coulee during which it was disabled by a bullet strike to its barrel. 

Robert Knowles Boyd, Battle of Birch Coulee: Ground Plan of the Corral, about 1926