SITKA, Alaska –The U.S. Army began its long relationship with Alaska in 1867, right after the territory was purchased by America from Tsar Alexander II of Russia for $7.2 million – about two cents per acre.
After the purchase, American soldiers from the U.S. 9th Infantry sailed to what was then called New Archangel (now Sitka), the seat of Russian power in the territory. There, atop a local prominence now known as Castle Hill, the Americans watched as the Russians took down their flag. As the transfer was completed, the soldiers raised the flag of the United States over what was to become the 49th state.
Since that day the Army has played a key role in Alaska’s development. As in years past, this year on the 65th official Alaska Day ceremony in Sitka, the Army once again returned to help re-enact the historic transfer ceremony and bask in the friendship of the local population.
John M Pennell
Public Affairs Office