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Fort Snelling in the Expansionist Era, 1819–1858

The U.S. Army built Fort Snelling between 1820 and 1825 to protect American interests in the fur trade. It tasked the fort’s troops with deterring advances by the British in Canada, enforcing boundaries between the region’s American Indian nations, and preventing Euro-American immigrants from intruding on American Indian land. In these early years and until its temporary closure in 1858, Fort Snelling was a place where diverse people interacted and shaped the future state of Minnesota.

Black and white photograph of Japanese American soldiers at Fort Snelling, VJ Day, 1945.

Japanese American soldiers at Fort Snelling, VJ Day

Japanese American soldiers at Fort Snelling, VJ Day, 1945.

Black and white scan of a Military Intelligence Service Language School commencement program, 1945.

Military Intelligence Service Language School commencement program

This program was distributed at a commencement ceremony of the Military Intelligence Service Language School at Fort Snelling, 1945.

Black and white photograph of Nisei Women’s Army Corps (WAC) detachment at Fort Snelling, c.1945.

Women’s Army Corps, Fort Snelling

Nisei Women’s Army Corps (WAC) detachment at Fort Snelling, c.1945.

Black and white photograph of General Frank Merrill with Nisei interpreters, c.1945.

General Frank Merrill with Nisei interpreters

(L to R) Sergeant Herbert Miyasaki , General Frank Merrill, and Akiji Yoshimura, c.1945. Miyasaki and Yoshimura were graduates of the MISLS. Some of the most celebrated Nisei of the war fought with the 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional), better known as “Merrill’s Marauders.”

Black and white photograph of MISLS class at Fort Snelling, c.1944

MISLS class

MISLS class at Fort Snelling, c.1944

Black and white photograph of MISLS students in mess clothing, Fort Snelling, c.1944.

MISLS students in mess clothing, Fort Snelling

MISLS students in mess clothing, Fort Snelling, c.1944.

Black and white photograph of MISLS students Isami Osato and George Sakanari translating Japanese civil service regulations into English at Fort Snelling, c.1944.

Members of the Military Intelligence Language School at Fort Snelling

MISLS students Isami Osato and George Sakanari translate Japanese civil service regulations into English at Fort Snelling, c.1944.

Black and white photograph of soldiers and officers of the Language School, Camp Savage, c.1943.

Soldiers and officers of the Language School, Camp Savage

Soldiers and officers of the Language School, Camp Savage, c.1943.

Black and white photograph of translators at the Military Intelligence Service Language School at Fort Snelling, 1945.

Japanese translators at Fort Snelling

Translators at the Military Intelligence Service Language School at Fort Snelling, 1945.

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