02 June 2014

The Battle of Sitka

 From the Anchorage Daily News, here's something you probably didn't know (images found at the links provided):

Aside from a few inter-tribal skirmishes, the Second Battle of Sitka in 1804 is likely the last time Tlingit battle gear was used in combat.

Warfare changed rapidly after contact between Alaska Natives and Europeans. Armor could sometimes deflect a musket ball, but the better weapons shattered it. Heavier layers improved a warrior's odds but slowed him down.

By the time of the Battle of Sitka, the Tlingits were using guns to repel the Russians. Firepower determined the outcome. The Russians had cannons and the besieged Indians' dwindling supply of gunpowder was a key factor when Tlingit leader Katlian -- who owned several guns himself -- decided to organize an evacuation of the defenders to a safe location.

Russian leader Alexander Baranof also wore armor, a vest of chain mail right out of the Middle Ages. He may have been the last person on Earth to wear such antique protection into battle.

... Much of the old Tlingit armor, of no further use to its owners insofar as fighting was concerned, was brought out for special occasions well into the 20th century.


Mjolnir said...

Very cool! :)

Rev. Paul said...

I'm glad you liked it. :)

JMD said...

Bet it was heavy.

Rev. Paul said...

I suspect it was, JMD - but I also bet they were tougher than we are, and could wear it longer.

Brigid said...

I need to brush up on my Alaska history. That was fascinating!

Rev. Paul said...

Brigid, you just made my day. :)

OldAFSarge said...

What Brigid said.

Great story, time to put on my researcher's hat!

(Now where did I put that...)

Old NFO said...

Neat piece (and history lesson), thanks!

Rev. Paul said...

Sarge, I'm guessing your hat's not far away.

NFO, you're welcome.