The Military in Skagway and Dyea
In 1898, Alaska's Territorial Governor, John Brady, complained to Washington that "gamblers, thugs and lewd women" were coming up Lynn Canal and taking control of Skagway and Dyea. Washington was receiving complaints of boundary and customs violations in the White Pass area. At the end of February, 1898, soldiers of the 14th Infantry arrived in Skagway to maintain order. They remained in Alaska for 15 months. In May of 1899, they were relieved by Company L of the 24th Infantry, one of the U.S. Army's four black units. Aside from peacekeeping, Company L's principal duty in Skagway was to "show the flag," to maintain a government presence near the border. The black soldiers spent three years in the area. Their good discipline and appearance made a favorable impression on all with whom they came in contact. During the Gold Rush era, the Army opened 6 posts around Alaska to keep order among the gold seekers.
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