Alaska History Footnotes: Jefferson Davis
An irregular series of historical footnotes that were overlooked in your Alaska history class.
Jefferson Davis, and not the one you are thinking of, either, fought on the Union side in the Civil War. He murdered his commanding officer, Maj. Gen. William “Bull” Nelson, but never faced charges. He was responsible for the Tragedy at Ebenezer Creek, during Sherman’s March to the Sea. He was a racist, regarding both the recently freed Africa-American slaves and American Indians as subhuman.
And he was the first Governor of Alaska. More correctly, He was the first commander of the Department of Alaska, from March 18, 1868, to June 1, 1870. The start of what the late Ernest Gruening, in his history of Alaska, the Era of Complete Neglect. During this time, he ordered Russian residents of Sitka to leave their homes, as he maintained that they were needed for Americans. And it was General Davis who ordered the bombardment of three Native villages by the U.S.S. Saginaw.
What better solution to the problem of a racist, homicidal general than to ship him off to Alaska?