Upper Post: 1865-1897
Divisions and Departments
Minnesota and the War Department
During the 1870's, the Department of Dakota commanded one-fifth of the U.S. Army's strength, but still argued for more troops. Pointing out that the Army's soldiers were deployed to 20 different forts and camps, General William T. Sherman argued that to reinforce the Department of Dakota any further would require stripping the entire American seaboard. The completion of the railroad and telegraph network helped to alleviate some of the strain and eliminated the need for a large system of forts.
The Beginning of the Upper Post
As the U.S. Army began consolidating its small and scattered posts into larger, more centralized forts, Fort Snelling's end seemed near. appeared among those that might be closed. Instead, the newly appointed Secretary of War, Alexander Ramsey, from Minnesota, ensured its survival and expansion. As territories became states, the Division of Missouri began dismantling many of the Departments. By the end of the 19th century, the Department of Dakota relocated to Chicago, Illinois, where it assumed a purely administrative function. However, the Department had established Fort's Snelling's value to the U.S. Army.