Archived Story

Author shares history at HHH

Published 10:59am Thursday, August 30, 2012

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John Christgau, author of “Birch Coulee: The Epic Battle of the Dakota War,” visited the Hormel Historical Home for its Lunchbox History Series to talk about his new book Wednesday.

“It was my intention to write about the Dakota War someday,” Christgau said.

Christgau is a Minnesota native, and said Mower County is like a second home. However, he didn’t start learning about Minnesota’s history and the Dakota War until he was in San Francisco.

“I’m especially grateful to be invited here,” Christgau said. “It’s a thrilling story.”

Christgau talked about Robert K. Boyd at the event, calling him an eager young boy who wanted to join the Civil War. Boyd joined the Sixth Minnesota Volunteer Regiment at Fort Snelling, but ended up on burial detail, Christgau said, laying pioneers from the Dakota War to rest.

“Its a head on collision of two cultures,” Christgau said. “There were good and bad men on both sides, and I hope this book tells the story.”

Jean Korghage, who was at the event, said his great-grandfather, William Mirviah, was a 1st sergeant of the burial, and died in battle.

“Being related to something so important in U.S. and Mower County history is so intriguing,” Korghage said.

Christgau’s next book comes out in about a year and will center on Mower County’s history and Sergeant Francis Merchant, who led the Minnesota soldiers in the rescue.

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