About Alfred Sully
Alfred Sully (22 May 1821 - 27 April 1879), was a military officer during the American Civil War and during the Indian Wars on the frontier. He was also a noted painter.
Sully was the son of the portrait painter, Thomas Sully, of Pennsylvania. Alfred Sully graduated from West Point in 1841. During and after the American Civil War, Sully served in the Plains States and was widely regarded as an Indian fighter. Sully, like his father, was a watercolorist and oil painter. Between 1849 to 1853, he became chief quartermaster of the U.S. troops at Monterey, California, after California came under American jurisdiction. Then, Sully created a number of watercolor and some oil paintings reflecting the social life of Monterey during that period.
Sully headed US troops out of Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, in June 1861 as captain and occupied the city of St Joseph, Missouri, declaring martial law. Violent secessionist uprisings in the city during the early Civil War prompted Sully's occupation.
Sully was commissioned colonel of the 1st Minnesota Volunteer Infantry on February 3, 1862 and served in that rank until promoted to brigadier general on September 26, 1862.
Also during the Civil War years, the Indian Wars continued in the West. General Sully was sent to command cavalry troops and played an important role in the Indian Wars, becoming known as a successful leader. On September 3, 1863, at Whitestone Hill, Dakota Territory, as reprisal for the Dakota Conflict of 1862, his troops destroyed a village of some 500 tipis that lodged Yankton, Dakota, Hunkpapa Lakota, and Blackfeet. Warriors, along with women and children, were killed or captured. The troopers' casualties were small.
Stationed at Fort Randall, South Dakota during the Minnesota Sioux Uprising, aka the Dakota War of 1862, he met a young French-Indian girl of the Yankton Sioux tribe who reminded him of his young Mexican wife whom he had lost to cholera during an epidemic in California. This marriage made him the son-in-law of Saswe, aka François Deloria (Saswe being the Dakota pronunciation of François), a powerful Yankton medicine man and chief of the "Half-Breed band".
Sully's daughter, Mary Sully, was known as "Akicita Win" (Soldier Woman). She became the wife of Rev. Philip Joseph Deloria, an Episcopal priest, aka Tipi Sapa (Black Lodge), a leader of the Yankton/Nakota band of the Sioux Nation. Tipi Sapa is featured as one of the 98 Saints of the Ages at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. as the first Dakota Christian minister to his own people. Among their descendants are Vine Deloria, Jr. and Ella Deloria, noted Yankton Sioux scholars and writers.
Civil War Union Brigadier General. The son of noted 19th century portrait artist Thomas Sully, he graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York in 1841. His pre-Civil War career saw him serrved in the Seminole Wars, the Mexican War (where he was present at the landings at Vera Cruz), and on the American west frontier against the Cheyenne in the 1850's.
First stationed at the Washington, D.C. defenses at the beginning of the Civil War, the was appointed Colonel and commander of the 1st Minnesota Volunteer Infantry on March 1, 1862. He commanded the unit in the Peninsular Campaign, and commanded a brigade during subsequent Seven Days Battles. After again commanding his regiment at the September 17, 1862 Battle of Antietam, he was commissioned Brigadier General, US Volunteers on September 26, 1862. He commanded a II Corps brigade in the Army of the Potomac at the December 1862 Battle of Fredericksburg and just prior to the May 1863 Battle of Chancellorsville. A few days before Chancellorsville, he was removed from his brigade by division commander Major General John Gibbon for General Sully's inability to discipline mutinying soldiers from the 34th New York Infantry.
General Sully was sent to the District of Dakota to serve under General John Pope, and fought successful campaigns against hostile Sioux Indians in Minnesota. Brevetted Brigadier General and Major General, US Regular Army upon the conclusion of the Civil War, he would go on to serve as Lieutenant Colonel of the 3rd United States Infantry, and as Colonel and commander of the 21st United States Infantry after the war. He died in 1879 while in command of the United States Army post at Fort Vancouver in the Washington Territory. He was also a noted artist himself, often painting frontier scenes during his posting. (bio by: Russ Dodge)