The Bombardment of Wrangell, 1869
The US Army fired bombs from Fort Wrangell into the adjacent village of Ḵaachx̱an.áak’w after a Tlingit man named Shx’atoo shot and killed a white trader outside the fort. Shx’atoo was acting according to Tlingit law after learning that soldiers killed his two sons following an altercation at the fort. Shx’atoo fled into the forest, and when village leaders refused to turn him over, the Army responded by firing artillery on the village. Villagers then fired their rifles at soldiers in the fort. After two days of shelling during which houses were damaged or destroyed, Shx’atoo surrendered to avoid further bloodshed. Shx’atoo was tried, convicted, and hanged for murder. During the trial, Shx’atoo responded that he was acting according to Tlingit law and that he would explain this to the trader in the other world; that he did not single him out but would have killed any other white man who had been present. On the next day, he put on his regalia, danced, and sang his song before lunging off the platform with the rope around his neck, instead of falling passively to his death.