And so the four day long Battle of Sitka of 1804 came to an end.
The Sheet'ká Kiks.ádi were now in the process of executing a tactical retreat from this battlefield for three reasons. First, to keep their women and children from becoming slaves to the Russians. Second, to keep their warriors alive to fight another day. Third, to leave this battlefield with their honor intact.
Only the following day would tell if the Russians had the courage to end the battle in their favor by pursuing the Kiks.ádi into the deep woods.
When the song ended the people sat together in small groups comforting one another for a short time. Then they checked their packs and gear one last time, making sure no unnecessary items were included, for they were keenly aware that they were expected to live off the land on this march.
In spite of the emotion and excitement of the last few hours many managed to catch a few hours of sleep. When the first hint of daybreak appeared the sentries went silently from bedroll to bedroll shaking everyone awake. The people rose, quietly picked up their packs and moved up Kaasdaa Héen (Indian River). They moved fast for they were the able-bodied members of the clan.
One house group went up the Indian River valley to cross over the mountains to Katlian Bay as they had planned, but the rest of the people headed north along the coastal trail toward Halibut Point.
The people marched at a steady pace for they knew that a strong rear guard, composed of the best Kiks.ádi warriors, protected them from any sudden attack by the Anooshee. They also knew that sharp-eyed young lookouts were up on Harbor Mountain and Gavin Hill keeping an eye on the Russian ships. Fleet young runners stood by the lookouts, ready to run to warn the marchers if the Russian ships lifted anchor and began a search for the missing Tlingit people.
It is said that the rear guard action was so strong and effective that the Russians were convinced that the main body of the Sheet'ká Kwaan were still lurking in the woods somewhere behind Sheet'ká ready to do battle again.
Thus the people were free to march without fear of the Russian ships. By early evening they arrived in Gajaa Héen (Old Sitka) and joined the elders, women and children who waited for them there.