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Josiah Snelling: The First Commander of Fort Snelling: Primary Sources: Archives & Records

Primary Sources


Josiah Snelling Papers
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

Lawrence Taliaferro Papers
Taliaferro was a friend of Josiah Snelling and a U.S. Indian Agent to the Ojibwe and Dakota at the St. Peter's Agency near Fort Snelling. His papers describe relations between Indians and whites and detail other information pertaining to Indian tribes in the area.
MNHS call number: See the finding aid in the library (P1203). 
MNHS call number: M35 Microfilm Digital Finding Aid

Marion S. Hall and Family Papers
Marion Snelling Hall is the great-granddaughter of Josiah Snelling. Her papers (1807-1962) contain some personal correspondence and newspaper clippings, but there is also information about Fort Snelling and genealogical data on the Snelling, Howard, and Hunt families.
MNHS call number: See the finding aid in the library (P16). 

Genealogical Data on the Josiah Snelling Family
A letter from William B. Trask to J. Fletcher Williams (MHS) gives genealogical and biographical data on Josiah Snelling and the Snelling family (Aug. 23, 1875). Accompanied by an oversize chart, "Genealogy of the Snelling Family," which may have been prepared by Henry Hunt Snelling, tracing the descendants of William Snelling of Devon, England.
MNHS call number: P939: Snelling, Josiah & Oversized +939: Snelling, Josiah

Government Records

Letters Sent by the Secretary of War Relating to Military Affairs
These letters (1808-1830) either address military matters at Fort Snelling during the time of its establishment and construction or were sent to Josiah Snelling at some point during his military career.
MNHS call number: See the finding aid in the library (Microfilm M152). 

Order Books (1819-1828)
The collection (P695) contains an original order book with letters and orders regarding supplies at Fort Snelling, plus photographic copies of part of a garrison orderly book. The microfilm (M239) contains a complete copy of the garrison orderly book with orders issued by post commanders, notably Josiah Snelling and Josiah H. Vose. A few examples of these orders are courts martial, appointments, and commissions.
MNHS call number: See the finding aid in the library (P695). 
MNHS call number: See the finding aid in the library (Microfilm M239). 

Consolidated Correspondence File Relating to Fort Snelling (1819-1868)
Selected portions of the quartermaster general’s consolidated correspondence files for Fort Snelling, Joseph Snelling, and St. Louis, containing correspondence and returns concerned with the purchase and distribution of quartermaster’s and other stores for Fort Snelling, construction and repair of post facilities, and raising of crops and livestock. The papers include several detailed descriptions of the fort and its buildings and strategic potential. There is also information on the sale of reservation property to Franklin Steele (1850s and 1860s), the evacuation of the fort (1857), and its use by the State of Minnesota during the Civil War.
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid

Letters Received by the Office of the Adjutant General (1812-1821)
Selected letters, orders, and commissions, primarily for 1816-1821, dealing with recruitment, assignment, pay, promotion, leave, and other personnel matters of officers and enlisted man of the U.S. Army. Included are personnel records of the U.S. Fifth Infantry stationed at Fort Snelling (Minn.) and elsewhere.
MNHS call number: See the finding aid in the library (Microfilm M163).

Letters Sent by the Secretary of War Relating to Military Affairs (1808-1830)
Selected letters sent by the Secretary of War relating to all aspects of his military oversight responsibilities, including Indian affairs, fortifications, military reservations, military roads, military personnel, settlement of claims for services and property, and War Department funding. They were sent to state and federal officials, military personnel, and private persons and businesses. These reels cover the years during which Fort Snelling was being established and constructed, or contain letters sent to or relating to Colonel Josiah Snelling during other periods of his military career.
MNHS call number: See the fiding aid in the library (Microfilm M152).

Books & Other Publications

Memoirs of a Boyhood at Fort Snelling, by Henry Hunt Snelling. 
Minneapolis : Priv. Print., 1939.
MNHS call number: F612.H58 S665 1939


Topographical Sketch of Fort St. Anthony (Fort Snelling), 1823
[Saint Paul, Minn.] : Minnesota Historical Society Press, c1997.
MNHS call number: Digital Copy

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