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Fort Snelling: Primary Sources: Archives & Records

Manuscripts

 
Fort Snelling Papers, 1814-1938
Copies of materials relating to the history of Fort Snelling, selected from records in the National Archives, the Library of Congress, and other repositories.  Records include correspondence, reports and subject files from the War Department, U.S. Army, General Accounting Office, General Land Office and the U. S. House of Representatives.
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid
 
Lawrence Taliaferro Papers, 1813-1868
Correspondence, journals, order books, financial records, an autobiography, and miscellany, the bulk of which document Taliaferro’s career as U.S. Indian agent to the Ojibwe and Dakota at the St. Peters Agency near Fort Snelling in present-day Minnesota, 1820-1839. Taliaferro’s journals make reference to most of the prominent Ojibwe and Dakota Indians, Indian traders, explorers, military officers, and missionaries active in Minnesota during that time. 
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid

Jacob J. Brown papers, 1791, 1812-1828 [microfilm]
Copies of letters, reports, and memoranda to and from Brown, commander of the U.S. army on the Niagara frontier during the War of 1812, pertaining to the war and its aftermath and to other military matters.  Several items (1818-1819) relate to the establishment of Fort Snelling, including letters of Secretary of War John C. Calhoun justifying additional military posts on the Mississippi and Missouri rivers and instructing Brown to establish a post on the mouth of the Minnesota River; Brown’s orders carrying out these instructions; and discussions of the location of the post, including recommendations of Stephen H. Long as reflected in extracts from his journal and letters.
MNHS call number: See the finding aid in the library (M420).
 
Josiah Snelling papers, 1779-1828 [microfilm]
Photocopied letters written by Josiah Snelling, military commissions and related documents from his service in the Massachusetts militia (1803-1808) and the United States infantry (1809-1820), documents relating to the Connecticut state militia during the Revolutionary War, and a journal kept by Colonel Snelling as commandant at Fort Snelling.
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid

Pioneers of the Upper Mississippiby Chase Mellen.
A biographical sketch of Major Nathan Clark, United States 5th Infantry, and his wife Charlotte Ann Seymour Clark. The Clarks were among the first people stationed at Fort Snelling, Minnesota Territory. Includes information on life at Fort Snelling in the 1820s.
MNHS call number: See the finding aid in the library (P939: Clark, Nathan and Charlotte Ann Seymour Clark).

Henry H. Sibley papers, 1815-1932
Correspondence, financial records, legal papers, speeches, and miscellany of this early Minnesota fur trader, entrepreneur, and governor.  Besides extensive information on the fur trades, the collection includes accounts and correspondence from Sibley’s position as co-sutler at Fort Snelling (1836-1839) and from his various investments in lumbering, river transportation, railroads, and land. 
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid

Franklin Steele papers, 1813-1880
Primarily correspondence and financial records of this pioneer Minnesota lumberman and entrepreneur. Correspondence with Richard Chute, Henry M. Rice, John H. Stevens, Henry T. Welles, and others relates to local politics in Minnesota, to financial affairs of the St. Anthony Falls Water Power Company and the Mississippi Bridge Company, to the sale of land belonging to the Fort Snelling reservation (1857-1873). The volumes are largely financial records of Steele’s business as sutler at Fort Snelling (1840-1865) and of his other interests.
MNHS call number: See the finding aid in the library (A/.S814).

N
athan S. Jarvis letters, 1833-1852
Jarvis, a U.S. Army surgeon, describes his journey (1833) from Baltimore, Maryland, to Fort Snelling (Minn.) via horse-railroad and steamboat; physical facilities, daily life, recreation, visitors, and Dakota and Ojibwe Indians at the fort (1833-1836).  Originals: New York Academy of Medicine Library; New York, NY.
MNHS call number: See the finding aid in the library (A/-J38).

Zachary Taylor letters, 1828-1831
Copies of five letters written by Taylor from Fort Snelling (Minn.) or Fort Crawford (Prairie du Chien, Wis.), describing Fort Snelling, explaining the need for recruits, and noting the arrival of new soldiers. A sixth letter from New Orleans (1831, original) discusses his transfer to that city.  
MNHS call number: See the finding aid in the library (A/-T247).
 
U.S. Army, 28th Infantry Regiment, Summary Court records, 1906
Completed form reports recording charges, judgments, and sentences for minor infractions filed against enlisted men in Summary Court. Although most of the reports emanate from Fort Snelling (Minn.), there are also some from Fort Benjamin Harrison and Camp Monroe, both in Indiana. Typical charges include failure to report for roll call or duty, absence without leave, sick call violations, drunkenness, fighting, and smoking.
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid

U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps, Fort Snelling building records, c.1905-c1969
Record books (4 v.) detailing the construction of, and repairs and additions to, the buildings located on the Fort Snelling military post. The major portion of each volume consists of one-page descriptions of each building (undated and 1905), with a photograph of the structure and details on the interior. Each individual sheet also includes a list of repairs and additions (1922-ca.1969). 
MNHS call number: See the finding aid in the library (United States. Army. Quartermaster Corps. Fort Snelling (Minn.) building records). 

Lawrence Fuller, Fort Snelling research materials, 1860-1974
Correspondence , photographs news clippings, book and magazine articles, maps, and printed matter related to the history and operation of the U.S. Army post and historic site at Fort Snelling (Minn.). The material was compiled by a Minneapolis newspaper reporter. The bulk of the material consists of photographs and news clippings related to Fort Snelling’s operation as a recruiting and training station between the two world wars and during World War II (1924-1946). 
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid

Government Records

 
 
Minnesota Territorial Archives: Territorial Governor
  • Records of Territorial Governor Alexander Ramsey
    Subject files and correspondence of territorial governor Ramsey, also including territorial officers' appointments and commissions, petitions, proclamations, and reports from territorial officers. Letters received and sent address the following topics: the administration of justice, construction of public buildings, concerns of federal civilian agencies, Fort Snelling, Indian and military affairs, the Legislative Assembly, and other territorial affairs. 
    MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid
     
  • Records of Territorial Governor Willis Gorman
    Subject files and correspondence of territorial governor Gorman. A large proportion relates to territorial officers' appointments and commissions. Letters received and sent address the following topics: concerns of federal civilian agencies, military and Indian affairs in general, including Fort Snelling, the 1855 treaty with the Winnebago Indians, land sales, the Minnesota and Northwestern Railroad Company, and other territorial affairs.
    MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid
     
  • Records of Territorial Governor Samuel Medary
     Subject files and correspondence of territorial governor Medary, including territorial officers' appointments and commissions, petitions, and requests from other states for return of fugitives. Letters received and sent address the following topics: concerns of federal civilian agencies, Indian and military affairs, including Fort Snelling,  and other territorial affairs.
    MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid 
Minnesota. Office of the Adjutant General.  Annual and biennial reports, 1860-1924.
Annual and biennial report of the Adjutant General contains extensive information on military events involving Minnesotans.  Each report contains a statement from the Adjutant General, followed by many pages of appendices containing rosters, muster rolls, supply, and ordnance lists, casualty lists general and special orders, and statistics concerning pensions, arrears in pay and other claims.  Those of the Civil War years, 1862 - 1866 may include information relevant to Fort Snelling, the rendezvous point for recruiting Minnesota regiments.  
MNHS call number: See the finding aid in the library (Adjutant General, Annual and Biannual Reports).

Search for Primary Sources at MNHS

Gale Family Library • Minnesota Historical Society • 345 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55102-1906 • 651-259-3300
Currently open by appointment only.