On March 30, 1867, the United States diplomat, Secretary of State William H. Seward reached an agreement with Russian Minister to the United States Edouard de Stoeckl to purchase Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million dollars- 2 cents an acre.
In the words of diplomat Frederick W. Seward:
On the evening of Friday, March 29th, Seward was playing whist in his parlor with some of his family, when the Russian Minister was announced.
"I have a dispatch, Mr. Seward, from my government, by cable. The Emperor gives his consent to the cession. Tomorrow, if you like, I will come to the Department and we can enter upon the treaty."
Seward, with a smile of satisfaction pushed away the whist table, saying:
"Why wait till tomorrow, Mr. Stoeckl? Let us make the treaty tonight."
"But your Department is closed. You have no clerks, and my secretaries are scattered about the town," said Stoeckl.
"Never mind that," responded Seward. "If you can muster your legation together before midnight, you will find me awaiting you at the Department, which will be open and ready for business."
-Seward's Folly: A Son's View