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Civil War Soldiers - Sibley

Sibley, Henry H., brigadier-general, U.S. Army, was born in Detroit, Mich., Feb. 20, 1811. He was graduated at Detroit Academy, took a special course in Greek and Latin and read law, but in 1829 became clerk to the sutler at Sault Ste. Marie. Soon afterward he took a local agency of John Jacob Astor's fur company, and, after being in 1832-34 a purchasing agent, he was given an interest in the company and took charge of its business in the territory north of Lake Pepin, extending to the British line and west to the head waters of the tributaries of the Missouri river. In 1834 he reached the mouth of the Minnesota river, on a trip for the company, and, establishing his headquarters at St. Peters (now Mendota), built the first stone house within the present limits of Minnesota. Two years afterward he was appointed by Gov. Chambers of Iowa, a justice of the peace. In 1848 he was elected a delegate from Wisconsin territory to Congress, and there secured the passage of a bill for the creation of Minnesota territory. He was re-elected to Congress for two terms; in 1857 took part in the constitutional convention and was elected to the territorial legislature; and on the admission of Minnesota as a state, in 1858, he was elected its first governor, as a Democrat. In 1862, at the time of the Sioux Indian outbreak, he organized and commanded the troops raised for the protection of the frontier settlers and was commissioned a brigadier-general. During this campaign he took about 2,000 Indian prisoners, tried more than 400 of them by court-martial, and on Dec. 26 executed thirty-eight at one time, only President Lincoln's direct orders preventing the execution of many more. Gen. Sibley was brevetted major-general, Nov. 29, 1865, was relieved of his command in Minnesota in Aug., 1866, and was detailed as a member of a commission to negotiate treaties with the Sioux and other hostiles along the upper Missouri river. In 1871 he served another term in the legislature, and afterward lived quietly in St. Paul. He was a regent of the state university, president of the state normal school board, and a member of the United States board of Indian commissioners. He died in St. Paul on Feb. 18, 1891.

Source: The Union Army: A History of Military Affairs in the Loyal States 1861-1865, Volume 8 Biographical, 1908

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