Posted By: granny
On This Day in HIstory - 26th Dec 2018 11:36am
26th December 1862
Largest Mass Hanging in US History
One of the 39 condemned prisoners was granted a reprieve.:252–259 The Army executed the 38 remaining prisoners by hanging on December 26, 1862, in Mankato, Minnesota. It remains the largest mass execution in American history.
The mass execution was performed publicly on a single scaffold platform. After regimental surgeons pronounced the prisoners dead, they were buried en masse in a trench in the sand of the riverbank. Before they were buried, an unknown person nicknamed "Dr. Sheardown" possibly removed some of the prisoners' skin. Small boxes purportedly containing the skin later were sold in Mankato.
At least two Sioux leaders, Little Six and Medicine Bottle, escaped to Canada. They were captured, drugged, and returned to the United States. They were hanged at Fort Snelling in 1865.
Because of the high demand for cadavers for anatomical study, several doctors wanted to obtain the bodies after the execution. The grave was reopened in the night and the bodies were distributed among the doctors, a practice common in the era. William Worrall Mayo received the body of Maȟpiya Akan Nažiŋ (Stands on Clouds), also known as "Cut Nose".
Mayo brought the body of Maȟpiya Akan Nažiŋ to Le Sueur, Minnesota, where he dissected it in the presence of medical colleagues.:77–78 Afterward, he had the skeleton cleaned, dried and varnished. Mayo kept it in an iron kettle in his home office. His sons received their first lessons in osteology based on this skeleton.:167 In the late 20th century, the identifiable remains of Maȟpiya Akan Nažiŋ and other Indians were returned by the Mayo Clinic to a Dakota tribe for reburial per the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.