On September 30, 1904, the Headquarters, Field and Staff elements of the 3d Infantry Regiment left Camp Skagway, Alaska and arrived at nearby Fort William H. Seward, AK. Soldiers of the Old Guard became the first garrison troops at newly-completed Fort William H. Seward, current day site of Haines, AK.
The discovery of gold along the Alaska/Canada border brought thousands looking to find their fortunes. To help the Alaska territory cope with the sudden population boom, the U.S. Army built forts, roads and telegraph lines. The Army maintained 1,500 miles of telegraph lines connecting Juneau, Valdez and Sitka, with the Old Guard running lines all the way to Nome. One additional mission was to restrict commercial over-harvesting of the caribou population native to the region.
The Regiment left San Francisco aboard the US Army Transport “Buford” on July 1, 1904 and sailed to Skagway, arriving on July 7. Camp Skagway served as home base until September 1904, when Fort William H. Seward was completed and ready for garrison troops. The Regiment often worked broken up by companies and detachments. In addition to Fort William H. Seward and Camp Skagway, the men of the Old Guard were posted to Forts Liscum, Davis, Egbert, Gibbon, and St. Michael.