Contents and Arrangement

Ridings, William, Diary of Military Service in Minnesota and the Dakota Territory, 1867-1870

1 folder

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

Consists of a diary kept by William Ridings, a sergeant in the 10th United States Infantry Company I, during his military service in Minnesota and the Dakota Territory in the late 1860s. This diary provides a United States soldiers' perspective on army life in a time when the United States government was shifting its military focus from the American Civil War to concerted attempts to violently subdue the Sioux, Ojibwa (Chippewa), and Cree people and other Native Americans living on the Upper Great Plains. While most of the diary spans Ridings' time in Minnesota and the Dakota Territory, it begins with his training in Kentucky and ends with his later service in Texas. Ridings describes interactions with Sioux, Ojibwa, and Cree people; fur traders near Fort Abercrombie; and English and Dutch settlers on their way to the Oregon Territory. He also writes of the daily activities and travels of his company and frequently remarks on his fellow soldiers' regular problems with drunkenness.


Arranged alphabetically by the name of the creator, with unattributed materials at the end.

Collection History


AM 2021-45 Purchased from William Reese Company in 2021 .


The collection is open and will continue to grow.


No material was separated during processing.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Lisa Yankowitz during the summer and fall of 2010 . The finding aid was written by Lisa Yankowitz in January 2011 and is regularly updated with new acquisitions by Faith Charlton, Kelly Bolding, and Armando Suárez.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Ridings, William, Diary of Military Service in Minnesota and the Dakota Territory; General Manuscripts Miscellaneous Collection, C0140, Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

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Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (mss): Box B-001555