Battle of Burrard

August 13-20, 1884


Burrard Peninsula, Fraser Territory


Decisive Alaskan victory


United States of America



James Nansett†
Francis T. Cunningham†

Boris Anasenko
Yuri Sergeyev


85,250 strong, composed of Army of Oregon III, V, VII and X Corps and US 4th and 7th Cavalry (80,000 infantry, 5250 cavalry, 140 cannon)

93,430 Army of the Pacific's 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th Divisions (75,000 infantry, 18,400 cavalry, 121 cannon)

Casualties and Losses

58,000 casualties (29,512 killed, 27,414 wounded, 2,400 captured/missing)

11,500+ casualties (5,000+ killed, 6500+ wounded)


The Battle of Burrard is the name given to a violent seven-day battle between the United States' Army of Oregon against the Alaskan Empire's Army of the Pacific during the Alaskan War (Napoleon's World), occurring at the Burrard Peninsula in the delta of the Fraser River in the Fraser Territory (modern-day US state of Pacifica) from August 13th to August 20th, 1884.

It is regarded as the greatest military disaster in United States history and is the single greatest loss of life in United States history, with 29,742 killed in battle, at least 30,000 wounded and thousands more dying of starvation, injury or sickness in the following weeks. The 85,000 strong contingent of the Army of Oregon was scattered across the region, its top commanders all killed in the fighting and American morale irreparably damaged. The battle is regarded as being directly responsible for the electoral loss of the incumbent US President, Gregory Dunn, four months later, and is one of the single most significant episodes in American and world military history.

In Alaska, the battle elevated its top commanders to hero status, most notably future Premier Boris Anasenko, and is regarded as the high-water mark of Alaskan military prowess and to be the moment that inspired the nation and galvanized the slow mobilization for the war effort. Historians have passionately debated the political, cultural and historical impact of the batle, as well as the reasons for the surprising and total defeat of the Americans, who were better equipped and better trained than the Alaskans and had only a slightly smaller force. Burrard is the second-bloodiest battle in the 19th century behind the Battle of Petrograd.


Order of Battle

Aftermath and Legacy

Political Impact

Historical Significance

Arguments of Casualties

Historians, to this day, dispute the level of casualties at Burrard due to varying technicalities. While the Alaskan Army is believed to have suffered no more than 11,000 casualties at Burrard, many historians rate this number as much higher, due to irregularities in how the Alaskans kept track of deaths. Also, many historians doubt the astronomically high figures of American casualties, arguing that the likelihood of thirty thousand deaths in such a heavily-forested environment and with American soldiers so scattered is an unlikely number - due to the nature of the battle, many historians, most notably Robert Taylor, propose that missing soldiers were instead counted as dead by their commanders and comrades. However, many other military historians, especially Alaskans, argue that deaths from wounds or sickness in the following days may have been attributed to the battle itself, and that at least two thousand American soldiers drowned in the Fraser River during the final days of the battle.

Regardless, most historians agree upon the estimated range of 30-40,000 wounded for the American side, with as much as half of that number succumbing within the following two months. Taylor and others agreeing with his estimates believe that as few as 15,000 Americans perished at Burrard in direct action, and that the accepted figure of 29,000 deaths is inflated due to sickness, injury or missing soldiers. Regardless, Taylor does not deny that the first day of battle and the last two days were some of the most barbaric in the history of warfare and that the casualties suffered by the Americans between August 13th and the 20th were the most severe in the nation's history.

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