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Old Fort Snelling 1819-1858   By: (1892-1938)

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First Page:

[Illustration: Book Cover]

OLD FORT SNELLING

From a painting by Captain Seth Eastman, reproduced in Mrs. Eastman's Dahcotah; or, Life and Legends of the Sioux around Fort Snelling

[Illustration: OLD FORT SNELLING]

OLD FORT SNELLING

1819 1858

BY MARCUS L. HANSEN

[Illustration: Publisher's Logo.]

PUBLISHED AT IOWA CITY IOWA IN 1918 BY THE STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF IOWA

THE TORCH PRESS CEDAR RAPIDS IOWA

EDITOR'S INTRODUCTION

The establishment in 1917 of a camp at Fort Snelling for the training of officers for the army has aroused curiosity in the history of Old Fort Snelling. Again as in the days of the pioneer settlement of the Northwest the Fort at the junction of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers has become an object of more than ordinary interest.

Old Fort Snelling was established in 1819 within the Missouri Territory on ground which later became a part of the Territory of Iowa. Not until 1849 was it included within Minnesota boundaries. Linked with the early annals of Missouri, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, and the Northwest, the history of Old Fort Snelling is the common heritage of many commonwealths in the Upper Mississippi Valley.

The period covered in this volume begins with the establishment of the Fort in 1819 and ends with the temporary abandonment of the site as a military post in 1858.

BENJ. F. SHAMBAUGH

OFFICE OF THE SUPERINTENDENT AND EDITOR THE STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF IOWA IOWA CITY IOWA

AUTHOR'S PREFACE

The position which the military post holds in western history is sometimes misunderstood. So often has a consideration of it been left to the novelist's pen that romantic glamour has obscured the permanent contribution made by many a lonely post to the development of the surrounding region. The western fort was more than a block house or a picket. Being the home of a handful of soldiers did not give it its real importance: it was an institution and should be studied as such. Old Fort Snelling is a type of the many remote military stations which were scattered throughout the West upon the upper waters of the rivers or at intermediate places on the interminable stretches of the westward trails.

This study of the history and influence of Old Fort Snelling was first undertaken at the suggestion of Dr. Louis Pelzer of the State University of Iowa, and was carried on under his supervision. The results of the investigation were accepted as a thesis in the Graduate College of the State University of Iowa in June, 1917. Upon the suggestion of Dr. Benj. F. Shambaugh, Superintendent of The State Historical Society of Iowa, the plan of the work was changed, its scope enlarged, many new sources of information were consulted, and the entire manuscript rewritten.

Connected with so many of the aspects of western history, Old Fort Snelling is pictured in accounts both numerous and varied. The reports of government officials, the relations of travellers and explorers, and the reminiscences of fur traders, pioneer settlers, and missionaries show the Fort as each author, looking at it from the angle of his particular interest, saw it. These published accounts are found in the Annual Reports of the Secretary of War, in the Annual Reports of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, and in the works of travellers and pioneers. Many of the most important sources are the briefer accounts printed in the Minnesota Historical Collections . The author's dependence upon these sources of information is evident upon every page of this volume.

But not alone from these sources, which are readily accessible, is this account of the Old Fort drawn. A half burned diary, the account books of the post sutler, letter books filled with correspondence dealing with matters which are often trivial, and statistical returns of men and equipment are sources which from their nature may never be printed. But in them reposes much of the material upon which this book is based. The examination of all the documents which offered any prospect of throwing light upon the subject was made possible for the author as Research Assistant in The State Historical Society of Iowa... Continue reading book >>




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