Monday, January 5, 2015

Fort Bellingham........... Have you visited there?

Have you ever visited the site of Fort Bellingham? This short-lived fort (1856-1860) was built by U.S. Army Captain George E. Pickett and Co. D of the 9th U.S. Infantry out of Fort Steilacoom. Construction began in August of 1856 on a bluff overlooking Bellingham Bay in Whatcom County in Washington. The purpose of the fort was to prevent attacks by Indians from Canada and the Russian territory on the bayside villages of Fairhaven, Sehome and Whatcom. The fort was abandoned in 1860.

Quoting from Wikipedia:  "In his report of December 1858 Inspector General Joseph K.F. Mansfield wrote, “The Barracks, storehouses & officers quarters, are within an enclosed square, of about 80 yards the side. The fort is made of pallisades set in the ground, loopholed for musketry and flanked by two Blockhouses two stories high, pierced for mountain howitzers and loopholed: and is provided with 3 gates ... All the buildings are one story. The buildings were wood framed. Barracks had a mess hall, & kitchen, & bakery attached, and was ample."
The fort was abandoned on 28 Apr 1860 and the troops were removed to American Camp by the steamer Massachusetts. Only traces of the fort remain today but the private house in Whatcom that housed Captain George E. Pickett and his Indian wife is preserved at 910 Bancroft Street. Fort Bellingham was located about 3 1/2 miles west of the Pickett house on a parcel now occupied by the greenhouses of Smith's Gardens off Marine Drive. The fort was largely dismantled and moved to American Camp on San Juan Island during the "Pig War". 
This U.S. Army Captain George E. Pickett was one and the same who led the famous Pickett's Charge at the Civil War battle at Gettysburg in 1863. 

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