Monday, November 9, 2015

American Camp

My wife had to go to Seattle on business a couple years ago.  She suggested I come up for a three day weekend at the end of the trip.  I think she expected we'd do touristy things in Seattle.  Instead I suggested we go to San Juan Island to visit the Pig War.  I'm sure she thought I was crazy but she agreed so we got to spend one day on San Juan Island.

The Pig War is a very minor event in our history.  In 1859 there was an incident between an American and a British subject on the island.  A pig was rooting through the American's farm so the American shot it.  The pig belonged to an Irishman working for the Hudson's Bay Company.  The big problem was who owned the island.  The whole thing quickly escalated and through the summer the American and British armies had forces on the island.  The first American officer in command on the island was Captain George Pickett, who will later be famous for a certain attack at a Pennsylvania battlefield.  It seems that the various officers in the area were quite willing to fight but only if the other side fired first.  In the fall an agreement was reached that each side would keep 100 men on the island and the border dispute would be resolved diplomatically.  That part took 12 more years but eventually it was decided that the island would be American.

The two camps today are operated by the National Park Service. 

Our ferry brought us into Friday Harbour on the south end of the island nearer to American Camp so we went there first.

There is a small monument by the visitor center with Captain Pickett listed.  :)

There are a few buildings left in the American Camp.  I bet during the tourist season there are living historians here, or at least there should be, it would be a great spot for them.

There is a small earthern fort outside the compound.  This would have been used to fire on British ships (military or otherwise).

One of the officers stationed here is the guy who created Robert's Rules of Order, so there is a monument to him.  Perhaps one of the oddest reasons to place a monument but also kinda cool.

The distant shoreline is Washington.

And turning to the right one can see this shoreline which is Canada.

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