An 1833 sketch of Fort Snelling

Commanding Officers of Fort Snelling, 1819-1858

This is a compiled list of commanding officers of Fort Snelling from 1819-1858. Established in 1819, Fort Snelling is located at the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers, near St. Paul, Minnesota. Originally a remote U.S. western outpost, the fort lies in a naturally beautiful area close to the Falls of Minnehaha and Bridal Veil Falls, attracting many visitors annually. It occupies a strategic position at the rivers’ junction, atop a 300-feet high bluff. The site, chosen initially by Lieutenant Z.M. Pike in 1805 following negotiations with the Sioux, didn’t commence construction until 1820 under Colonel Snelling’s oversight, completing in 1822. Initially named Fort St. Anthony, it was renamed Fort Snelling in 1824. Evolving from log huts to modern barracks, the fort served as a military and cultural hub, notably during the Civil War and the 1862 Sioux outbreak, helping shape the surrounding regions, including what later became St. Paul.

Lt.-Col. Henry Leavenworth, Aug. 24, 1819, when the troops arrived, to Aug., 1820
Col. Josiah Snelling, 5th Infantry, Aug., 1820, to May, 1825
Capt. Thomas Hamilton, 5th Infantry, May to June, 1825
Lt.-Col. Willoughby Morgan, 5th Infantry, June to Dec, 1825
Col. Josiah Snelling, 5th Infantry, Dec, 1825, to Nov., 1827
Maj. J. H. Vose, 5th Infantry, Nov., 1827, to May 24, 1828
Lt.-Col. Zachary Taylor, 1st Infantry, May 24, 1828, to July 12, 1829
Capt. J. H. Gale, 1st Infantry, July 12, 1829, to May 28, 1831
Capt. W. R. Jouett, 1st Infantry, May 28, 1831, to Oct. 1, 1832
Lt. Jefferson Vail, 1st Infantry, Oct. 1, 1832, to May 30, 1833
Maj. John Bliss, 1st Infantry, May 30, 1833, to May 9, 1836
Lt.-Col. William Davenport, 1st Infantry, May 9, 1836, to July 15, 1837
Capt. Martin Scott, 5th Infantry, July 15 to Aug. 20, 1837
Capt. Joseph Plympton, 5th Infantry, Aug. 20, 1837, to Jan. 26, 1841
Capt. C. S. Sibley, 5th Infantry, Jan. 26 to Sept. 30, 1841
Capt. Seth Eastman, 1st Infantry, Sept. 30 to Nov. 22, 1841
Maj. Greenleaf Dearborn, 1st Infantry, Nov. 22, 1841, to June 8, 1843
Capt. Electus Backus, 1st Infantry, June 8 to Oct. 24, 1843
Lt.-Col. Henry Wilson, 1st Infantry, Oct. 24, 1843, to May 7, 1844
Capt. Electus Backus, 1st Infantry, May 7 to Aug. 21, 1844
Lt.-Col. Henry Wilson, 1st Infantry, Aug. 21 to Sept. 18, 1844
Capt Seth Eastman, 1st Infantry, Sept. 18 to Oct. 26, 1844
Capt. Electus Backus, 1st Infantry, Oct. 26, 1844, to Sept. 21, 1845
Maj. G. Dearborn, 1st Infantry, Sept. 21, 1845, to April 24, 1846
Capt. Seth Eastman, 1st Infantry, April 24 to May 14, 1846
Maj. J. B. Clark, 1st Infantry, May 14, 1846, to March 31, 1847
Capt. Seth Eastman, 1st Infantry, March 31, 1847, to Sept. 30, 1848
Capt. J. B. S. Todd, 6th Infantry, Sept. 30 to Nov. 16, 1848
Capt. Samuel Woods, 6th Infantry, Nov. 16, 1848, to June 21, 1849
Lt.-Col. Gustavus Loomis, 6th Infantry, June 21, 1849 to Feb. 22, 1850
Capt. Samuel Woods, 6th Infantry, Feb. 22 to May 20, 1850
Capt. James Monroe, 6th Infantry, May 20 to June 29, 1850
Lt. R. W. Kirkham, 6th Infantry, June 29 to Sept. 25, 1850
Lt. Thomas Hendrickson, 6th Infantry, Sept. 25, 1850, to May 31, 1851
Lt.-Col. Francis Lee, 6th Infantry, May 31, 1851, to May 4, 1853
Lt. W. T. Magruder, 1st Dragoons, May 4 to June 27, 1853
Lt.-Col. Francis Lee, 6th Infantry, June 27 to July 4, 1853
Capt. T. W. Sherman, 3rd Artillary, July 4 to October 19, 1853
Lt.-Col. Francis Lee, 6th Infantry, Oct. 19, 1853, to June 23, 1854
Capt. T. W. Sherman, 3rd Artillary, June 23 to Nov. 1, 1854
Lt. Joseph Stewart, 3rd Artillary, Nov. 1, 1854, to April 30, 1855
Capt. T. W. Sherman, 3rd Artillary, April 30 to Oct. 20, 1855
Col. E. B. Alexander, 10th Infantry, Oct. 20, 1855, to June 24, 1856
Lt.-Col. C. F. Smith, 10th Infantry, June 24 to July 13, 1856
Capt. T. W. Sherman, 3rd Artillary, July 13 to July 24, 1856
Maj. E. R. S. Canby, 10th Infantry, July 24 to Sept. 10, 1856
Capt. T. W. Sherman, 3rd Artillary, Sept. 10 to Sept. 23, 1856
Maj. E. R. S. Canby, 10th Infantry, Sept. 23 to Nov. 28, 1856
Lt.-Col. C. F. Smith, 10th Infantry, Nov. 28, 1856, to June 17, 1857
Capt. T. W. Sherman, 3rd Artillary, June 17 to June 29, 1857
Capt. J. G. Martin, A. Q. M., June 29 to July 31, 1857
Capt. Martin Burke, 2nd Artillary, July 31 to Oct. 7, 1857
Capt. H. C. Pratt, 2nd Artillary, Oct. 7, 1857, to May 27, 1858, when the troops were withdrawn.

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