June 23, 2010

General Thomas M. Anderson in Skagway, Alaska 1897.

(Click image to enlarge)
U.S. Army General Thomas McArthur Anderson

On February 25, 1897, 100 soldiers of the 14th Army Infantry under the command of then Colonel Thomas M. Anderson arrived in Skagway to establish a post. In addition to being available to supply stampeders with relief should it be needed and control in case of large-scale civil unrest, the US Army was there to keep peace with Canada as there was a border location dispute never resolved until the time of the gold rush. Canada claimed Skagway and Dyea were in Canada and the U.S. disagreed. For a time both nations had standing armies located in the camp. Canada eventually backed down and drew the line at the summits of the White and Chilkoot passes. The American Army headquarters was later moved to Dyea as a better strategic location. Federal law, then as now, stated that the military could not be called out to Skagway unless the need for martial law was imminent. As far as protecting the miners against Soapy and his grifters the Army was useless. There are diary accounts of trail travelers seeing the shell and pea men swindle their victims as U.S. soldiers watched and did nothing. They were legally prohibited from doing so.

With the blowing up of the battleship Maine in Cuban waters on February 15, 1898 Anderson requested and received a transfer back to the states. In three months time he was promoted to brigadier general and joined the forces against Spain in the Spanish-American War.

For a complete biography of Anderson see:










Thomas M. Anderson: p. 442










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