OCTOBER 1, 1804

BATTLE OF SITKA BEGINS—TLINGIT HOLD OFF RUSSIANS AND NATIVE ALLIES

In 1802, the Tlingit raided the Russian American Company (RAC) settlement in Sitka, driving the Russians from Southeast Alaska.  Expecting the RAC and manager Alexander Baranov to return, the Tlingit, under war chief K’alyáan, constructed a fort.  On September 28, 1804, Baranov’s force of Russians, Aleuts, and Alutiiq returned.  Three days later, they attacked but were repulsed and Baranov was shot in the chest.  Without reinforcements and gunpowder, the Tlingit negotiated while their clans escaped in what is called “The Survival March.”  They took over an abandoned fort on Chichagof Island from which they prevented any trade with the Russians.  Americans then established Trader’s Bay and sold firearms to the Tlingit.  Starting in 1807, Baranov regularly requested the Tlingit to return and end the blockade.  Not until 1822 did they return, but they warned the Russians that they now hunted in the surrounding mountains at their peril.  

Source:  Herb Hope, "The Kiks.ádi Survival March of 1804," in Anóoshi Lingít Aaní Ká/Russians in Tlingit America: The Battles of Sitka, 1802 and 1804, ed. Nora Marks Dauenhauer et al. (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2008), 273-285.  Retrieved 7/15/2019, https://www.nps.gov/sitk/learn/historyculture/battle1804.htm
Engraving:  Capt Yuri Lisyansky (1773-1837), engraved by I. Clark, 3/1/1814.  Published by John Booth, Duke Street, Portland Place, London, 1 March 1814.  Public Domain in the US:  Pre-1/1/1925.  Public Domain elsewhere where copyright term is author’s life plus 100 years or less.    

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