Background and PlanningThe rise of the new rebel state in the interior was met with differing strategies. Originally, the accepted strategy was to surround the forces, and grdually drive them into the interior. most of the generals believed that one hard winter would be enough to drive the rebels into submission. To their surprise, the Free Alaskans not only lasted through the winter, but were able to cpture a strategic strip of territory that allowed Northern Alaskans to receive supplies. It was not known until later that the first winter had claimed many lives, but at the moment, the military in the interior seemed unshakable. Border skirmishes intensified, as the Free Alaskans raided border towns for supplies, and were raided by US-backed forces in revenge. The Rebels were certainly not backing down, so it was clear that the war had to be ended before they gained any more strength, so a simple plan was devised. The Free Alaskans had a weak spot around the Alaskan Range. US-backed forces would exploit it, and drive forth to the rebel capital. A small force would also move over the border in the east, which would make a feint at recapturing the strip that once linked north and south Alaska. Hopefully, the rebel generals would not recognize which was an invasion, and which was the feint before it was too late.
On June 15, The Alaskan State forces crossed over the border at both places. Free Alaskan generals dispached forces to intercept the western group, before they could make it far over the Range. unknown to the rebels, the western group was setting an ambush that could draw them into pitched battle indefinitley. the second group went over the Range, but was not aimed toward the capital, to make it look like a skirmish force. As the western forces became locked in a small battle of attrition, it became clear that it was a feint. By then, the eastern force had already moved into what used to be Denali National Park. From there, they made it into the town of Healy, but were repelled by rebel forces. After securing the town on the 7th of August, the Denali Regiment, under the command of William Cote, made their stand. Ten days later, on the 17th, they were relieved by elements of the Central Regiment, and began their counterattack. By the 23rd, the Alaskan State forces were back over the range, and the attack had failed.
The Battle of Denali was not significant in a tactical sense, but such a sound victory greatly improved the morale of the young nation, as well as lowered the morale of people living in the Alaskan State. Such morale would be needed when the Alaskans began their Valdez Campaign, a few months later. One of the most immediate effects of the campaign was the adoption of the Battle Flag of the Denali Regiment as an unofficial national flag.