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Alfred Sully
BG Alfred Sully.jpg
Brevet Brigadier General Alfred Sully
Born (1821-05-22)May 22, 1821
Died April 27, 1879(1879-04-27) (aged 57)
Place of birth Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Place of death Fort Vancouver, Washington Territory
Place of burial Laurel Hill Cemetery,
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Allegiance Flag of the United States (1837-1845).svg United States of America
Service/branch U.S. Army
Years of service 1841–1879
Rank Union army brig gen rank insignia Brevet Brigadier General
Indian War Commands:
Seminole War, Florida
Mexican-American War
Western Indian Campaigns (N. California & S. Oregon)
Northern Plains Indian Campaigns (Dakota & Nebraska Territories, Minnesota)
Civil War Command:
1st Minnesota Volunteers, Virginia Peninsula Campaign
Indian War Commands:
North Western Indian Expeditions (Arapaho, Sioux, and Cheyenne)
1867-77 Chaired Investigatory Commissions on Indian Wars
Nez Perce War
Installation Command
Commander, Fort Vancouver
Relations Son-in-law, Tipi Sapa (Black Lodge), a leader of the Yankton/Nakota band of the Great Sioux Nation
Descendant, Vine Deloria, Jr.

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.[1]


Our Camp at Cha inka pah River by Alfred Sully circa 1856

Our Camp at Cha-ink-pah River, watercolor, by Alfred Sully, c. 1856

Sully was the son of the portrait painter, Thomas Sully, of Pennsylvania.[2] 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 and Sihasapa Lakota. Warriors, along with women and children, were killed or captured. The troopers' casualties were small.[3]


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.[4] 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.[5] Among their descendants are Vine Deloria, Jr. and Ella Deloria,[6] noted Yankton Sioux scholars and writers.


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