THE ADVOCATE 833 VOL. 75 PART 6 NOVEMBER 2017 In the meantime, Britain had dispatched naval Captain Geoffrey Hornby to China to take command of the Pacific Station. En route, he sailed to Vancouver Island with a body of marines, arriving just in time to be ordered to attack the U.S. garrison on San Juan Island. He stationed three war ships offshore from the American garrison and ordered it to surrender. Captain Pickett refused. “We’ll make a Bunker Hill of it!” he exclaimed, thereby gaining a national reputation. By August 1859 the American garrison had been boosted to 461 troops with 14 cannon. Hornby considered that it would be foolish to go to war over a pig—a sentiment shared by his commander, Admiral Robert L. Baynes—and did not attack. (Hornby, later promoted through the ranks to admiral of the fleet, was considered to be one of the most capable British naval officers of the 19th century; he was known for his moderation, temper and tact.) In the U.S., tensions between north and south were rising and the Americans did not need an international incident to complicate matters. In an attempt to defuse the situation, President James Buchanan sent General Winfield Scott to negotiate with Governor Douglas. Scott arrived in the San Juans in October 1859. Both sides agreed to a joint military occupation of San Juan Island until a settlement could be reached. The English camp was established on the north end of San Juan Island and the American camp was created on the south end. No shots were ever fired in anger in the Pig War. Indeed, as time wore on, the two military units developed an amicable mutual social life—no doubt aided by the copious amounts of alcohol available on the island. In April 1861 the Civil War broke out in the United States. Captain Pickett resigned his commission and headed home to Virginia where he joined the Confederate Army. At this point we start to move into the momentous category of events. Pickett, although he had finished last in his class at West View from East Point, Saturna Island, toward the United States. View overlooking East Point fog alarm building, Saturna Island, toward the United States.
Nov Advocate 2017
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