Walz honors murderers whose executions were approved by President Lincoln

President Lincoln personally approved the executions of 38 Dakota who were involved in a war instigated by the natives that killed hundreds of Minnesotans. Gov. Walz says we need to honor those Dakota.

Gov. Tim Walz (Lorie Shaull/Flickr)

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz honored murderers whose executions were personally reviewed and approved by President Abraham Lincoln.

“159 years ago, 38 Dakota men were hung, and three years later, two chiefs were executed. Today, Minnesota reflects on a terrible chapter in our state’s history,” Walz wrote on Twitter Sunday. “We honor them by acknowledging our wrongdoings and recommitting ourselves to a more just and equitable state.”

Apparently, he believes that Minnesota was wrong to execute men convicted of murder who effectively started the U.S.-Dakota War.

On Aug. 17, 1862, four Dakota men fired on some white farmers, killing women and children in a dispute over the farmers’ chicken eggs in Acton Township near modern day Grove City, Minnesota. The four Dakota then retreated to their village where they convinced tribal leaders to go to war with the Minnesotans.

The next day, Dakota warriors attacked farms and settlements in the area. They killed hundreds of Minnesotans, taking hundreds more as prisoners, including women and children. The Milford Township was among the most affected areas, losing over 50 of its residents. A monument now stands to commemorate the innocent lives lost there.

The Milford Monument (Forgotten Minnesota)

The Dakota offensive continued, gaining steam and instigating the largest battle over a U.S. town since 1776 at New Ulm.

However, the war was short lived as the Dakota surrendered just a few weeks later on Sept. 26 to secure the safe release of POWs taken by the Americans.

After the war, a U.S. military commission tried many Dakota for war crimes, convicting 303 of rape and murder. However, the trials were shoddy and did not uphold proper legal standards. For this reason, Lincoln intervened.

Widely regarded Lincoln historian Harold Holzer told the Associated Press that the 16th president personally reviewed “every one of these capital cases.” After his review, the number of Dakota set to be executed was slashed from 303 to just 39 fighters whom the president believed there was sufficient evidence to bring punishment against. This number was later decreased to 38.

“After carefully reviewing the army trial records, the president authorized the execution of the thirty-seven Dakotas found guilty of murder and the two convicted of rape, thus sparing the lives of 264 condemned men,” notes the Center for Lincoln Studies at the University of Illinois.

Lincoln commuted the sentences of the other Dakota, ensuring that they would not face punishment for their alleged roles in the Dakota offensive. He did this despite heavy political pressure from his own party, per the AP.

Gov. Walz is not alone in spreading borderline misinformation about the execution of the 38 convicted murderers. For the last several anniversaries of the executions, left-wing pundits have chimed in to remind their audiences of the killings with no context explaining why they occurred.