Pig-ett’s Charge: George Pickett’s Pre-Civil War Service in a Porcine-Provoked Conflict

By David A. Carrino
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2023, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in The Charger as two parts in February 2023 and March 2023.

As most fans of science fiction know, Star Trek was a television series that appeared in several iterations and was set in the future. In the original Star Trek series, one of the episodes featured a character named Dr. Richard Daystrom. Daystrom was a brilliant computer scientist who, at the young age of 24, invented the duotronic elements that were essential for the functioning of Federation starships. In spite of his revolutionary invention and the fame that came with it, 20 years after his invention Daystrom had become a terribly despondent person, because he felt that he had come to be known for only that one accomplishment. Even though he was the recipient of widespread acclaim for his invention, Daystrom was deeply unhappy and spoke of how he had spent the 20 years since his invention “groping to prove the things I’d done before were not accidents” and of giving “seminars and lectures to rows of fools who couldn’t begin to understand my systems.” He was anguished because he thought that others saw him as “the boy wonder” who had developed a phenomenal invention, but had not contributed anything else since then. Here was someone who had done something that revolutionized his society, yet he was miserable because that was the only thing he was known for. The lesson of the fictional Dr. Daystrom is that while association with a historic event of immense magnitude can bestow on someone a place in history, that historic event, specifically because of its immense magnitude, can become the only thing that that person is known for.

The Civil War figure who arguably more than anyone else is known for just one thing is George E. Pickett. Not that Pickett had an extensive list of accomplishments during his life, but even if he did, the event that bears his name is of such historic magnitude that Pickett could not help but be known for only that. Nevertheless, Pickett did some things before Pickett’s Charge that are of enough significance that history has made note of them. Best known of these happened near the end of the Mexican-American War when the U.S. army under Winfield Scott was advancing on Mexico City. One of the last strongholds for the Mexican army was Chapultepec Castle, located just outside the Mexican capital. During the U.S. attack on Chapultepec, the troops storming the fort included George Pickett, who had graduated from West Point just a year earlier, last in the Class of 1846, a class that included such Civil War figures as Stonewall Jackson, George McClellan, Darius Couch, and Cadmus Wilcox. As the U.S. troops were assaulting the ramparts of Chapultepec, James Longstreet, Pickett’s future corps commander in the Civil War, was carrying the American flag. A bullet struck Longstreet, and as he fell Pickett grabbed the flag and continued to rush forward with the flag in his grasp until he saw a flagpole, ripped down the Mexican flag, and hoisted the American flag up the flagpole, all while under fire. Pickett’s heroic exploit was reported in newspapers throughout the U.S., but this event is not well known today because it has been supplanted in Pickett’s legacy by a different assault, one that took place on July 3, 1863 in a small town in southern Pennsylvania.

In addition to Pickett’s valiant deed at Chapultepec, there is another very intriguing and even lesser known event in U.S. military history in which Pickett played a prominent role. But this event, like Chapultepec, has been largely lost to the historical consciousness about Pickett due to the overriding glare of Pickett’s Charge. This other event, which took place in the time between the Mexican-American War and the Civil War, is a war that never happened, but in spite of never happening is still called a war. This non-war that is called a war occurred, strangely enough, because of a pig, and, hence, it is called the Pig War. The Pig War is one of the most incongruous events in U.S. military history in light of the fact that a pig on a small island in the Pacific Northwest caused an international confrontation between the United States and the British Empire and brought to the site of the confrontation a contingent from the U.S. Army, a contingent from the Royal Navy, the commanding general of the U.S. Army, the Royal Navy’s commander in chief of the Pacific Ocean, and eventually even involved Kaiser Wilhelm I of Germany. In fact, a 1966 tourist guide describing this event said of it that “Gilbert and Sullivan might well have used the plot for one of their famous light operas.” Moreover, some of the U.S. officers who played a role in this event later served in the American Civil War including George Pickett, after whom is named arguably the most well-known incident of the Civil War. But before Pickett’s legacy was defined by the assault that is named after him, he was, for a time, both the commanding officer of U.S. forces that faced elements of the Royal Navy and also the sole individual from the U.S. who negotiated with representatives of the British Empire during an international confrontation that was ignited all because of a pig.

Prelude: James Buchanan’s flawed treaty

The Pig War grew out of a boundary dispute between the U.S. and Britain regarding the San Juan Islands, which are a group of islands that lie between the present-day state of Washington and Vancouver Island (which was known as Vancouver’s Island at that time). The incident that brought on the confrontation took place on one of the largest of the islands, San Juan Island, from which the island group takes its name. Spain was the first European country to explore the San Juan Islands, which were explored by a Spanish expedition in 1791, and this is when the islands and the surrounding waters were given the names that they still have. In 1792 the area was explored by the Royal Navy’s George Vancouver, after whom Vancouver Island is named. Americans, including the Lewis and Clark Expedition, ventured into the Pacific Northwest in the late 1700s and early 1800s, but the first extensive U.S. exploration of the San Juan Islands happened in 1841 as part of a long U.S. Navy global expedition from 1838 to 1842. This expedition was led by Charles Wilkes, who, in 1861 as commander of the USS San Jacinto, gained notoriety when he seized the British ship RMS Trent, then removed Confederate envoys James Mason and John Slidell from the British vessel, and thereby precipitated the international incident known as the Trent Affair.

The San Juan Islands

In 1818, between the time of Vancouver’s expedition and Wilkes’ expedition, the U.S. and Great Britain, as a means of improving relations after the War of 1812, negotiated an agreement to establish the boundary between the U.S. and British North America (i.e., present-day Canada). This agreement, the Convention of 1818, set the boundary along the 49th parallel of north latitude from Lake of the Woods in the present-day state of Minnesota to the Rocky Mountains (then known as the Stony Mountains). Both parties were forced to relinquish territory as a result of this agreement, but both parties benefited from the agreement because their boundary was established westward to the Rocky Mountains, although for the time being the boundary west of the Rocky Mountains was not set. Not surprisingly, a disagreement arose over that westernmost boundary as more settlers moved into the Pacific Northwest, and competition for the region’s land and resources ensued. As part of the Convention of 1818, Britain and the U.S. were given joint control of the Pacific Northwest and free navigation there. Beginning in the 1820s, the British Hudson’s Bay Company built trading posts in the region for fur trading with the indigenous people. American settlers began to move into this region in significant number in the 1840s after the Wilkes expedition explored the area. In light of its expansionist goals, the U.S. was intent on building settlements in the area as a way of beginning the process of absorbing the region into the U.S. This resulted in competition between the U.S. and Britain.

Some elected U.S. officials insisted that the entire Pacific Northwest belonged to the U.S. as far north as the southern border of Russian Alaska, that is, 54 degrees, 40 minutes north latitude, hence the slogan “fifty-four forty or fight.” Britain, of course, thought otherwise, and some British officials wanted the border as far south as the Columbia River at the border of present-day Oregon and Washington. To resolve the dispute, the two countries negotiated a treaty known as the Oregon Treaty. Negotiating on behalf of the U.S. was James Buchanan, the secretary of state under James K. Polk, and negotiating on behalf of Britain was its minister to the U.S., Richard Packenham. The treaty, which was signed on June 15, 1846, set the Pacific Northwest’s boundary between the U.S. and British territories by simply extending the border along the 49th parallel all the way to the west coast of the mainland and thence southward through the channel that separates the mainland from Vancouver Island and finally westward to the Pacific Ocean through the Strait of Juan de Fuca, which is south of the San Juan Islands. While this seems like an obvious and straightforward resolution, the Oregon Treaty had a serious flaw, which is not unexpected for an endeavor that involved James Buchanan and his shortcomings. Moreover, the flaw in the treaty later caused a critical problem for Buchanan during his presidency, and it happened at a most inopportune time, because Buchanan was already dealing with a more severe problem, namely the sectional crisis that was pushing the country toward civil war.

The flaw in the Oregon Treaty was the San Juan Islands. Like the proverbial fly lying in the ointment, the San Juan Islands lie in the channel between the mainland and Vancouver Island. As such, a single channel does not separate the mainland from Vancouver Island. Rather, there are two main channels: Haro Strait, which is west of the San Juan Islands and separates the islands from Vancouver Island, and Rosario Strait, which is east of the San Juan Islands and separates the islands from the mainland. The Oregon Treaty did not specify which channel comprises the boundary and, hence, which party of the treaty has ownership of the San Juan Islands. It may be that the treaty’s negotiators did not know about the San Juan Islands, which seems unlikely since the islands’ existence had been recorded by both British and American explorers. Perhaps the negotiators were aware of the islands and, in the interest of resolving the situation quickly, they figuratively put foot to can and decided that possession of some small, remote islands inhabited by only a very small number of their countries’ citizens could be, as the saying goes, kicked down the road and settled at a future date. Whatever the reason for this flaw, it is difficult to understand why a treaty that was intended to establish the border between two countries’ territories failed to address some islands that lie exactly on that border. As a result, the vague language regarding the San Juan Islands led, 13 years later, to a confrontation between Britain and the U.S. over possession of the islands, and a pig played a leading role in the incident that ignited this confrontation.

The contrasting boundaries that were not made clear in the Oregon Treaty

The incident: tubers, tempers, and turmoil

In the years after the signing of the Oregon Treaty in 1846, both the U.S. and Britain continued to intensify their holds on the Pacific Northwest. Since 1825 Britain’s Hudson’s Bay Company had had its Pacific Northwest headquarters at the site of present-day Vancouver, Washington. After the signing of the Oregon Treaty, the company moved its headquarters to Vancouver Island in order to locate it further away from an anticipated influx of American settlers. Many of the company’s officials were greatly upset with the treaty, because they felt that Britain had given up too much on the mainland. Among these displeased officials was James Douglas, the company official who made the decision to move the headquarters to Vancouver Island. Douglas was determined that the Hudson’s Bay Company would not relinquish its claim to the San Juan Islands. In 1851, he shifted from an official of the company to an official of the British government when he was appointed governor of the British colony that comprised that area.

James Douglas

James Douglas was quite an interesting person. Douglas was an imposing man who had a commanding presence. He was born in 1803 in present-day Guyana to a father of Scottish ethnicity and a free Barbadian mother of Afro-Scottish ethnicity. His mixed racial ethnicity was not an impediment to his rise in British industry. At the age of 15 he began to work in the fur trade in North America, and this was his profession for his entire working career prior to becoming a government official. His profession required that he negotiate with people of different ethnicities, including Russian, Mexican, American, and indigenous people. Perhaps his own mixed racial ethnicity helped him to become adept at this, and he rose to be a high-ranking official in the Hudson’s Bay Company, eventually in the Pacific Northwest. Ultimately, he was appointed governor of the British colony in which he had served with the Hudson’s Bay Company, and he remained there as governor until his retirement in 1864. There was no one who would more fiercely protect British interests in that region than James Douglas.

In 1851, the same year that Douglas was appointed governor, the Hudson’s Bay Company set up a salmon curing station on San Juan Island. Two years after that, as a means of further securing Britain’s hold on the island, the company, at Douglas’ direction, established a sheep farm on San Juan Island. The company transported almost 1,400 sheep to the island, as well as other livestock and crop seed to make the farm self-sufficient, and placed the operation under the management of a man named Charles Griffin, who worked as an agent for the company. Griffin chose a site for the farm on the southwestern shore of San Juan Island, and the farm came to be called Belle Vue Sheep Farm. In just six years, the number of sheep increased to 4,500, and the operation produced a great deal of wool and became quite profitable.

Belle Vue Sheep Farm

Meanwhile, the U.S., after the signing of the Oregon Treaty, was not neglecting to advance its interests in the region, including on San Juan Island. In 1848 the U.S. designated the Pacific Northwest as Oregon territory, which was a clear sign that the U.S. intended to assimilate that region as new states sometime in the future. Oregon territory was split in 1853 into a northern portion, which was designated Washington territory, and a southern portion, which retained its designation as Oregon territory. This was further evidence of the intention of the U.S. to fully incorporate this land into the nation. In fact, part of this region was incorporated into the U.S. on Valentine’s Day of 1859 when the state of Oregon was admitted to the U.S. As more American settlers moved into the Pacific Northwest, and the region from a U.S. perspective became more developed, tensions grew between Britain and the U.S.

Charles Griffin

In early 1854, a U.S. customs collector went to San Juan Island and demanded that the Hudson’s Bay Company pay duties on the property and animals which the company had in its possession, because the customs collector insisted that the farm was operating on U.S. land. The customs collector even went so far as to declare that, in his view, the animals on Belle Vue Farm had been smuggled into U.S. territory. In response, the farm’s manager, Charles Griffin, threatened to have the customs collector arrested. The following year, 1855, a sheriff from Washington territory went to San Juan Island and demanded that county taxes be paid, because the territorial government had designated the San Juan Islands a county in Washington territory. Griffin, naturally, refused, and the sheriff told him that he intended to auction Belle Vue Farm in order to raise money for the taxes. Not long after, the sheriff returned at night with a group of men, and they removed some rams from the farm, held a nighttime auction, and then loaded the rams into some small boats. By this time, Griffin and other farm workers appeared, but the Americans brandished guns and left for the mainland. Griffin reported this to Governor James Douglas, which only hardened Douglas’ resolve to keep San Juan Island a British possession.

Reports of these incidents reached the respective governments and drew a response from each of them. U.S. Secretary of State William Marcy wrote a letter to Governor Isaac Stevens of Washington territory directing him to stop inflaming an already volatile situation until this border dispute was resolved. Perhaps Marcy, who was the secretary of state under Franklin Pierce, should have also indicated in his letter to Stevens that the issue regarding possession of San Juan Island should have been resolved in the treaty that was negotiated by Pierce’s successor, James Buchanan. To try to correct the flaw in the treaty that Buchanan helped craft, the U.S. and Britain agreed to a joint boundary commission in 1856 to resolve the question of the exact border in the channel separating Vancouver Island from the mainland. The U.S. delegation for the commission was led by Archibald Campbell, while Royal Navy Captain James Prevost headed the British delegation. Beginning in June 1857, the commission met on and off for two years and failed to resolve the issue. Of all the San Juan Islands, the British were adamant that any agreement must include the stipulation that San Juan Island be declared a British possession because of its proximity to Vancouver Island, and therefore its strategic importance relative to Vancouver Island. The Americans were equally insistent that the boundary was along Haro Strait, the channel that lies to the west of all of the San Juan Islands, which would make all of the islands, including San Juan Island, U.S. possessions.

The contentiousness of the negotiations is clear from the messages that were written by Campbell and Prevost. At one point Campbell wrote to the secretary of state that Prevost had “a blind adherence to a tortured interpretation of the meaning of the words of the treaty” and that “this perverted reading of the treaty has been his infallible guide throughout my connection with him.” Campbell wrote further that he believed that even if someone “should rise from the dead” and tell Prevost that his interpretation of the treaty is incorrect, Prevost would not accept it. In a message to Prevost, Campbell accused Prevost of entering into the negotiations with instructions from his government to agree only to the British position without considering any evidence or discussions during the negotiations. For his part, Prevost protested in a message to Campbell, “I cannot recognize your pretensions to catechize me thereupon, and, therefore, I decline to return you either a positive or negative answer to your queries…Notwithstanding the apparent air of moderation with which you have clothed your words, there pervades your whole communication a vein of assumption, and an attempt at intimidation, by exciting apprehension of evil, not well calculated to produce the effect you profess so ardently to desire.” With negotiators like that, it is no surprise that there was no resolution of the border dispute.

The wording in the Oregon Treaty specifically states that the boundary runs “along the 49th parallel of north latitude to the middle of the channel which separates the continent from Vancouver’s Island, and thence southerly through the middle of the said channel, and of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, to the Pacific Ocean.” At one point during the negotiations, Prevost made a proposal which most closely adheres to the wording in the treaty, namely that the border should run through San Juan Channel, the channel that separates San Juan Island from the other main islands in the group. This proposed border most closely approximates “the middle of the channel which separates the continent from Vancouver’s Island.” This proposal would have given San Juan Island to the British and all of the other main islands to the U.S., but the Americans rejected this proposal. Consequently, the commission was unable to come to an agreement and failed to resolve the border issue for the San Juan Islands.

This tense situation was made even worse by the discovery of gold in 1856 near the Fraser River in present-day British Columbia. This led to what is known as the Fraser River gold rush. British authorities, fearing a massive influx of American gold-seekers, tried to keep the discovery secret, but news leaked in 1857. By the following year, prospectors began to arrive in the area until, by the fall of that year, tens of thousands of Americans, many from California, were seeking their fortunes in the Fraser River region. As is typical with such endeavors, most of the prospectors did not see their dreams realized and departed to seek a livelihood elsewhere. For some of these Americans, “elsewhere” was San Juan Island. Present estimates vary, but by 1859 approximately 20 Americans from the Fraser River gold rush had settled on San Juan Island. Not surprisingly, this angered British Governor James Douglas, who considered the Americans unwanted squatters in British territory. Years earlier Douglas had written to a colleague, “An American population will never willingly submit to British domination…and the consequence will be the accession of a new State to the Union.” Clearly, Douglas foresaw that, in light of the unresolved ambiguity regarding the boundary between Vancouver Island and the mainland, the trickle of frustrated American gold-seekers to San Juan Island was but a portent of a wave of American settlers that would make retaining the island tenuous for Britain. However, before that wave could happen, something occurred that brought the volatile situation to a head. This is because the Fraser River gold rush led to a certain person settling on San Juan Island, and that person soon became the catalyst for a confrontation between Britain and the U.S.

One of the Americans who settled on San Juan Island was Lyman Cutlar. Very little is known about Cutlar, other than that he settled on San Juan Island after the Fraser River gold rush and that he set up a farm on the island. To make matters worse, Cutlar chose a site for his farm that was near Belle Vue Sheep Farm, the Hudson’s Bay Company operation that by 1859 had become very profitable. While the diversity of crops that Cutlar grew on his farm is not known, it is known that he planted potatoes. This is known because a pig from Belle Vue Farm rooted in Cutlar’s potato patch, and this led to a serious incident. It was the practice of Charles Griffin, the manager of Belle Vue Farm, to allow his animals to roam freely, and Cutlar repeatedly chased Belle Vue Farm pigs out of his potato patch, which was not completely fenced. Reputedly, Cutlar had complained to Griffin about this, but Griffin responded that nothing would be done, because, in Griffin’s opinion, Cutlar was trespassing on British territory. On June 15, 1859, Cutlar again saw a pig rooting in his potato patch, and Cutlar evidently had had enough. Cutlar, presumably incensed at seeing a pig once more eating the potatoes, grabbed his shotgun, stormed after the pig, and shot and killed it. Ironically, Cutlar killed the pig exactly 13 years to the day after the signing of the Oregon Treaty, the treaty that had the flaw which caused the boundary dispute that led to Cutlar killing the pig.

Accounts vary regarding precisely what happened in the aftermath of the killing of the pig, but what is known is that Cutlar wanted to compensate Griffin. Perhaps the sight of the dead pig shook Cutlar out of his rage and brought him to the realization of what he had done. Whatever the reason, Cutlar went to Griffin, informed the farm’s manager that he had killed one of his pigs, and offered to pay for the dead animal. Griffin, however, was indignant and angrily replied that the pig was worth $100, but Cutlar refused to pay such a large amount for a pig that Cutlar later insisted was not worth even $10. A short time later, two Hudson’s Bay Company officials, one of whom was the son-in-law of Governor Douglas, confronted Cutlar and threatened to have him arrested and tried. Because the British saw the Americans on San Juan Island as squatters on British soil, they were not at all inclined to take lightly the destruction of Hudson’s Bay Company property. In their view, the killing of the pig by a person who should not even have been allowed to live on San Juan Island was sufficient reason to assert, once and for all, British claims to the island, no matter what means were necessary to enforce that. Hence, the killing of the pig turned out to be the first shot of the Pig War.

As events played out, except for the pig that Lyman Cutlar shot, no other creature, human or otherwise, was a casualty in the Pig War. This has led to the seemingly obligatory joke in many accounts of the Pig War that the pig was the only casualty. But in the aftermath of Cutlar’s actions, it did not seem that this would be so. As the situation worsened, an American soldier stationed in the region wrote in his journal that “it is feared a collision will occur.” One significant reason that bloodshed was a possibility was the officer in overall command of U.S. forces in the region. That officer had a dangerous proclivity for rashness and was ardently anti-British. In addition, the junior officer who was in direct command of U.S. troops on the scene proved to be overly zealous in protecting U.S. interests. That junior officer later became very well known, not for what he did in the Pig War, but for a different military action. Four years and 18 days after Lyman Cutlar shot the pig, that junior officer charged into history in the most iconic military action of the Civil War.

Confrontation: “a squabble about a pig”

Because of the already strong tensions regarding San Juan Island, the killing of the pig by Lyman Cutlar set in motion a series of events that led to a confrontation between Britain and the U.S. If Cutlar was the catalyst for this confrontation, its driving force was William Harney. It is hard to imagine a combination of traits more unfit to handle the situation than those possessed by William Harney. At the time of the killing of the pig, Harney was the U.S. Army’s departmental commander in the Pacific Northwest. Harney, 58 years of age and a career army officer, was irascible, vulgar, impetuous, staunchly anti-British, reviled by many who served under him, and had a troublesome tendency to ignore the chain of command. Because of his connections, the ambitious Harney was able to rise through the ranks and escape the consequences of his atrocious actions. While Harney’s bravery was indisputable, so was his reputation for mistreating subordinates. For example, Harney once became enraged at two enlisted men who refused to dig a latrine. He beat one of the enlisted men so severely that the man spent a week in the infirmary. Harney had the other enlisted man do hard labor for nearly a month, all while wearing a spiked collar and a ball and chain. Moreover, Harney did not limit his cruel treatment to Homo sapiens. When Harney was stationed at a military post, he saw a dog rooting in the post’s vegetable patch, and he responded by brutally beating the dog. The Harney anecdote about the dog suggests that Harney may have reacted exactly as Cutlar did to the pig’s intrusion into Cutlar’s potato patch.

William Harney

Harney’s despicable character is further revealed by the fact that he harbored racist feelings toward Native Americans and oversaw the commission of atrocities against them. In one such episode, Harney had his men go into a Seminole camp and hang eight Native American men. While Harney was cheering during the execution, the wives and children of the hanged men were forced to watch. In another incident, Harney had his men surround a Native American village of 250 people. The tribal leaders, under a white flag, met with Harney, who refused to come to any agreement with those leaders. Just after the tribal leaders returned to the village, Harney, whose troops were positioned to block any escape, ordered an attack, and the Native Americans were massacred. After the massacre, Harney ordered that the dead be left unburied so that their remains would be eaten by animals. Harney reputedly later said in response to criticism of his actions, “I have come to kill Indians, and believe it is right and honorable to use any means under God’s heaven to kill Indians.”

In the Mexican-American War, Harney was placed in command of a unit of troops, but he went across the Rio Grande River on his own authority and occupied a town in Mexico. In so doing, Harney endangered the men under his command by entering enemy territory without support. The situation worsened when Mexican forces attacked Harney’s unit and Harney’s men performed poorly. Harney was removed from command, court-martialed, and convicted of disobedience. But just like when he had previously been court-martialed, he suffered no serious consequences because of his connections. In the more recent court-martial, Harney, a Tennessean, was helped by the connections between his family and the family of President James K. Polk. After Harney was transferred to the army that was under the command of Winfield Scott, Scott had some run-ins with Harney for similarly rash actions that Harney undertook, and Harney’s recklessness caused Scott to doubt Harney’s judgement.

Late in the war, Harney was directed to take charge of executing some prisoners. The prisoners were members of a truly unusual unit: the San Patricio Battalion (sometimes called the San Patricio Brigade). This unit consisted primarily of Irish immigrants to the U.S. who disagreed with the decision by the U.S. to make war against Mexico, an opinion which they shared with then-Congressman Abraham Lincoln (who called the war “from beginning to end, the sheerest deception”) and Ulysses Grant (who, in his Memoirs, called the war “one of the most unjust ever waged”). The San Patricio Battalion included Americans of other ethnicities in addition to Irish, but their unifying characteristic was their opposition to the war against Mexico, and most were deserters who formed a unit that fought against U.S. forces, specifically the army led by Winfield Scott.

The plaque in Mexico City honoring the San Patricio Battalion

The San Patricio Battalion fought courageously in a number of battles and eventually was among the Mexican forces fighting near Mexico City. At the Battle of Churubusco, the Mexican forces were overwhelmed, and about 80 members of the San Patricio Battalion were forced to surrender. All of them were tried as deserters in hurried mass trials. In what amounted to summary judgements, around 50 were sentenced to death. William Harney was tasked with executing the majority of these men, and he did so in a carefully orchestrated and cruel way. Harney had the captured men stand on wagons under a gallows with their hands tied and with nooses around their necks while they watched the Battle of Chapultepec. The men had to stand for hours while the battle took place. This included one man whose legs had been amputated, about whom Harney reputedly said, “Bring the damned son of a bitch out! My order was to hang 30 and by God, I’ll do it.” As the U.S. flag was raised over the castle, the convicted men were hung. Harney then left the corpses hanging on the gallows as a warning to Mexicans not to resist the Americans. To this day, there is a plaque honoring the San Patricio Battalion in San Jacinto Plaza in Mexico City.

As if all of those episodes from Harney’s life were not enough to establish his questionable character, there is also an appalling incident that occurred in 1834, when Harney was a 33-year-old major. This hateful act demonstrates Harney’s vicious racist feelings toward African Americans. Harney had been assigned to St. Louis, and he and his wife planned to live in the house of Harney’s in-laws while the in-laws were out of the country. When Harney arrived at the house, a slave there, a woman named Hannah, was unable to locate the keys. Harney became so enraged that he beat Hannah with a rawhide strap. The beating continued for three days until Hannah, the mother of an eight-year-old child, died. This and the other incidents show that William Harney was an odious person and an unfit officer. But due to unfortunate timing, this same William Harney was the U.S. military commander in the region where Lyman Cutlar touched off a serious confrontation with Britain.

Harney, who happened to be near San Juan Island on an inspection tour at the time that Cutlar shot the pig, went to the island and met with the American settlers who were living there. Harney suggested to the settlers that they submit a petition for military protection, ostensibly to protect them from Native Americans, but in reality to justify a U.S. military presence to oppose the British. Once the petition was written and signed, Harney, without waiting for or even requesting proper authorization, ordered U.S. troops into disputed territory. The troops that Harney sent to San Juan Island consisted of a company of infantry, company D of the 9th U.S. infantry under the command of Captain George Pickett. Pickett and his men landed on San Juan Island on July 27, 1859 and set up camp. Current accounts vary, but Pickett’s unit numbered around 65 men with three cannon.

Pickett and his men were on hand in the Pacific Northwest prior to the Pig War crisis because the U.S. had established a military presence there to protect settlers from raids by Native Americans, mostly originating from Russian Alaska. This military presence was initially implemented and overseen by General John Wool, who was Harney’s predecessor as commander in the Pacific Northwest. During the Civil War, Wool, who fought in the War of 1812 and the Mexican-American War, commanded the Union forces that dealt with the New York City draft riots of 1863. Pickett’s unit was sent to the Pacific Northwest in late 1855 as part of a larger force stationed throughout the area. During his time after being sent to the Pacific Northwest, Pickett met a Native American woman named Sâkis Tiigang, which translates as “Mist Lying Down” or simply “Morning Mist.” It is not certain, but Pickett may have taken Morning Mist as his second wife, or perhaps she was simply his concubine, which was not unusual for members of the army in such regions of the country. Whatever their relationship, Pickett fathered a child with Morning Mist, a son who was born on December 31, 1857 and was named James Pickett. Morning Mist died within a year of James’ birth, and when George Pickett left the Pacific Northwest in 1861 to serve in the Confederate army, he left James with a couple who raised him. James never saw his father again and only once saw any other member of the Pickett family, James’ half-brother, whom James met as an adult, but the meeting was not cordial. It is thought that the Pickett family did not accept James because of his Native American ancestry. James, who at a young age showed talent for drawing, died at the age of 31 after working his adult life as an artist for a newspaper in the Pacific Northwest.

Geoffrey Phipps Hornby

When George Pickett and his men set up camp on San Juan Island, they did so near the Hudson’s Bay Company’s Belle Vue Farm. The camp that Pickett and his men set up came to be called American Camp. Pickett also posted an order, although he had absolutely no authorization to do so. Pickett’s order included the confrontational statement, “This being United States’ territory, no laws other than those of the United States, nor Courts, except such as are held by virtue of said laws, will be recognized or allowed on this island.” Perhaps Pickett chose his camp’s location and issued his order as a way of intimidating the British. But James Douglas, the British governor of the region, was not intimidated. He was infuriated. Douglas dispatched the British warship HMS Tribune to San Juan Island. The Tribune was a 31-gun warship commanded by Geoffrey Phipps Hornby, who was the maternal grandson of British Revolutionary War General John Burgoyne and who, years later, entertained Ulysses Grant when Grant visited Gibraltar. The Tribune was soon joined by two other Royal Navy warships: the HMS Plumper, commanded by George Richards, and the HMS Satellite, commanded by James Prevost, the person who in 1857 headed the British delegation for the unsuccessful boundary commission. The British naval force was under the overall command of Hornby. In total, the British naval force had 62 cannon to Pickett’s three and outnumbered Pickett in men by more than 15 to 1.

R. Lambert Baynes

Initially Douglas wanted the Royal Navy to land marines on the island and remove the Americans. But Douglas was persuaded by the naval officers not to precipitate an armed clash at that time. Moreover, unlike William Harney, Hornby was reluctant to escalate an already tense situation until his superior, R. Lambert Baynes, the Royal Navy’s commander in chief of the Pacific Ocean, was apprised of the situation. While Hornby was waiting for that to happen, he arranged a meeting with Pickett. At the meeting, Hornby urged Pickett to remove the U.S. troops from San Juan Island and told Pickett that the Royal Navy had been ordered by Governor Douglas to land marines to bring this about. Pickett refused to remove his troops from the island and insisted that he was acting on orders from his government, although this was not true, because Harney’s message about the situation did not arrive in the U.S. capital until a month later due to the long distance and also because Harney did not even send a message to the War Department until more than a week after issuing the order to Pickett. Hornby then showed Pickett a letter sent by Douglas to Harney in which Douglas protested the landing of U.S. troops on the island, but Pickett replied that he was required to follow the orders of his superior officer, not the dictates of a British governor. Pickett also made clear that he would resist any attempt by the British military to occupy San Juan Island. At that, the meeting ended.

The third American Camp

Hornby remained on his ship for a while near American Camp and then returned to Vancouver Island, where he had to deal with a very irate James Douglas, who was thoroughly dissatisfied that nothing was being done to remove the U.S. military from San Juan Island. In contrast, Pickett’s superior, Harney, was pleased when he read Pickett’s report, because Pickett had not backed down against the British. However, the report made Harney worried about the very large disparity between the U.S. and British forces. In the meantime, Hornby’s superior, Admiral Baynes, who had fought in the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812, arrived at Vancouver Island aboard his ship, the HMS Ganges, and met with Douglas, but Baynes proved to be no more inclined to escalate the situation than Hornby was. When Baynes was initially informed of the situation, he reputedly uttered a response that sounds stereotypically British, “Tut, tut, no, no, the damn fools.” At his meeting with Douglas, Baynes agreed with Hornby’s decision not to escalate the situation. To drive home this point, Baynes declared emphatically that he was not about to “involve two great nations in a war over a squabble about a pig.”

Baynes’ sarcastic comment intimated that Douglas was overreacting to the pig incident. But the killing of the pig was merely an effect of a larger and serious problem, namely the boundary dispute, which, if left unresolved, could lead to casualties involving individuals who were higher on the evolutionary scale than a pig. The perceived seriousness of the situation from the British perspective is evident in a statement by William Fitzwilliam (Viscount Milton), a British nobleman and explorer, who asserted, “On a just and equitable solution of the so-called San Juan Water Boundary Question depends the future…of the entire British possessions in North America.” Thus, although Baynes had calmed the situation for now, with U.S. troops still on San Juan Island, the situation remained tense. Nevertheless, Baynes was unwilling to initiate military action without consulting with the British government in London, and Baynes made this clear to Douglas. Accordingly, Baynes sent messages to the appropriate officials and awaited responses before taking any further action.

Unlike Baynes, William Harney did not await instructions from his superiors before taking further action. In response to Pickett’s report, in which Pickett made clear the disparity in U.S. and British forces on San Juan Island, Harney ordered more U.S. troops to the island, an action that could very well obliterate the temporary calm that Baynes and Hornby had brought to the tense situation. Harney also issued orders that any British attempt to land its troops on the island was to be resisted. To reinforce Pickett, Harney sent three more companies, totaling over 170 men, under the command of Silas Casey. Casey, who was 52 years old at the time of the Pig War, had fought in the Mexican-American War and was wounded during the Battle of Chapultepec, the battle in which Pickett distinguished himself. Casey’s most significant moment in the Civil War came after the Battle of Seven Pines when George McClellan blamed Casey for the Union defeat. In that battle, Casey was in command of a division that was very inexperienced and was the smallest division in the Army of the Potomac. McClellan positioned Casey’s division in a vulnerable and unsupported position with its flanks exposed. When the Confederates launched their attack, it was Casey’s division that took the brunt of it, and the division was unable to hold its position. McClellan later claimed that Casey’s division performed poorly and did not offer sufficient resistance, which thereby caused the Union collapse. In reality, Casey’s men, and Casey himself, fought hard and bravely before their position became untenable. McClellan’s accusations resulted in Casey no longer serving in a prominent role during the Civil War. (An article assessing the performance of Silas Casey and his division at the Battle of Seven Pines is on the internet: Brigadier General Silas Casey at the Battle of Seven Pines.) Casey later was on the board that convicted Fitz John Porter for Porter’s actions at the Second Battle of Bull Run. Following the Civil War, Silas Casey’s son, Thomas Lincoln Casey, supervised the completion of the Washington Monument.

After Casey and the reinforcements arrived on San Juan Island, Casey, as the ranking officer, assumed command of the U.S. troops on the island. Casey was a more experienced and competent officer than Pickett, and he set about improving the dispositions of the U.S. force. Even with the reinforcements that accompanied him, Casey was concerned that the U.S. force was not adequate, so he requested more troops, which the bellicose Harney was only too willing to provide. By the end of August 1859, the U.S. force exceeded 450 men and was supported by 22 cannon. Casey also moved American Camp from the relatively exposed position that Pickett had chosen and relocated it further from the shore and near the crest of a ridge. In addition, Casey directed that a redoubt be built, in which some of the guns were positioned such that they could fire on the harbor below. Construction of the redoubt was supervised by a young engineer officer, Henry Martyn Robert, who graduated from West Point only two years earlier, fourth in the Class of 1857, a class that included E.P. Alexander and Marcus Reno, both of whom had roles in momentous events in American military history. At the Battle of Gettysburg, Alexander’s message to James Longstreet about a shortage of artillery ammunition led to Longstreet issuing the order for Pickett to launch his attack. Reno was a senior officer under George Armstrong Custer at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Henry Martyn Robert, E.P. Alexander’s and Marcus Reno’s West Point classmate, also made an important contribution that was of much more significance than the redoubt he built on San Juan Island, but that important contribution was not of a military nature. During the Civil War, Robert was stationed in New Bedford, Massachusetts, where he once had to chair a local church meeting. The meeting quickly grew unruly, and Robert was unable to control the proceedings. From then on into the 1870s Robert collected information about conducting meetings and made notes about his experiences doing so. In 1876 Robert compiled his notes into a book, published at his own expense, that he titled Pocket Manual of Rules of Order for Deliberative Assemblies, which is more commonly known as Robert’s Rules of Order.

Word of events on San Juan Island finally reached the capitals of the U.S. and Britain in early September 1859. When President James Buchanan first became aware of the situation, it was not due to a message from William Harney. Lord Lyons, the British minister to the U.S., sent a message to Buchanan asking for an explanation regarding the aggressive military action by the U.S. on San Juan Island. Lyons, two years later, found himself in a similar position when he asked Abraham Lincoln and William Seward for an explanation for an aggressive military action by the U.S., this time at sea when two Confederate envoys were removed from a British vessel. It was probably difficult for Buchanan to provide an explanation to Lyons for the U.S. military’s actions on San Juan Island, since Buchanan had not yet been informed of those actions by the person who ordered them. At the time, Buchanan certainly did not need an international crisis on his hands, because he was already dealing with a serious sectional crisis that intensified a month later at Harpers Ferry. But whether Buchanan wanted it or not, the San Juan Island situation was thrust upon him.

A battery in American Camp

Harney’s message to Buchanan arrived soon after the message from Lyons. Buchanan sent a reply to Harney in which he told Harney that he “was not prepared to learn that you had ordered military possession to be taken of the Island of San Juan.” Buchanan also indicated in his reply that he believed that Haro Strait was “the true boundary between Great Britain and the United States, under the Treaty of June 15, 1846.” Perhaps Buchanan should have made this clear 13 years earlier when he helped to negotiate that treaty. Buchanan then rebuked Harney for the decision to send troops to San Juan Island by stating that he “had not anticipated that so decided a step would have been resorted to without instructions.” In addition, a message was sent to Lord Lyons to assure him that Harney had acted on his own and not in response to orders from the U.S. government.

To resolve the San Juan Island crisis, Buchanan decided to send someone to the trouble zone to negotiate with the British, and that someone was Winfield Scott. While Scott may seem an odd choice for this responsibility, there were good reasons to entrust him with this task. In the 1830s, Scott had successfully defused border issues with the British in western New York state and in Maine. Moreover, Scott was the commanding general of the U.S. Army, which meant that his authority superseded all others in the army (although, as events played out, this did not matter to William Harney). On the other hand, Scott was 73 years old, terribly overweight, and not in the best of health. The trip to the Pacific Northwest was an arduous month-long journey, which included a trek across the Isthmus of Panama. In spite of this, Old Fuss and Feathers made it to his destination, and he was not at all pleased with the performance of his subordinates prior to his arrival. Scott wrote afterward that the only reason there had not been “a collision of arms” was “due to the forbearance of the British authorities.” Scott also wrote, “I found both Brigadier General Harney and Captain Pickett proud of their conquest of the island, and quite jealous of any interference therewith on the part of higher authority.”

Winfield Scott

During his stay at the San Juan Islands, Scott did not come ashore at any time. Negotiating by mail with Governor Douglas and Admiral Baynes while remaining aboard ship, Scott was able to reach an agreement that remained in place until the governments of both countries were able to come to a final resolution about the boundary between Vancouver Island and the mainland. Scott’s agreement stipulated that both countries would maintain a small military presence on San Juan Island, the British would keep only one warship in the area, and neither side would enforce civil authority over citizens of the other country. To further mollify Douglas, Scott agreed to replace Pickett, whose confrontational order and hostile attitude had angered Douglas. With that, Scott’s work was done, and he made the return journey, having successfully defused another border issue with Britain.

But not everyone was pleased with Scott’s agreement. The territorial government was unhappy with the stipulation that it did not have jurisdiction over British citizens on San Juan Island. U.S. citizens living in the region were upset about what local newspapers called the “recent deserting of our rights to the island.” And Douglas and Baynes were not enthusiastic about stationing British troops on the island. At least for the time being, the situation had been calmed. But it was unclear if everyone who was directly affected by Scott’s agreement would allow that calm to persist until a final resolution of the boundary issue.

Resolution: the Teutonic arbitration team

Lewis Cass Hunt

After Admiral Baynes received word from the British government in London concurring with Winfield Scott’s agreement, the British dispatched a force of about 90 men to San Juan Island, and they set up their camp, which came to be known as English Camp, on the northern part of the island. This British force was under the command of Captain George Bazalgette. The U.S. force on the island remained in American Camp, which was on the southern part of the island. The U.S. force was reduced to about 90 men and placed under the command of Lewis Cass Hunt, whose company had come to the island as part of the reinforcements brought by Silas Casey. Hunt graduated in the West Point Class of 1847, the class following George Pickett’s class. Unlike Pickett, Hunt did not finish at the bottom of his class, but he was close, sixth from the bottom. The bottom of the Class of 1847 was occupied by one of Pickett’s Gettysburg comrades, Henry Heth, who was also Pickett’s cousin. The West Point Class of 1847 also included A.P. Hill, Ambrose Burnside, and a future Army of the Potomac division and corps commander named Charles Griffin, coincidentally the same name as the manager of Belle Vue Farm. Lewis Hunt saw combat for the Union army in the Civil War and rose to the rank of brigadier general, but he did not have a prominent role in the war. Perhaps what is most noteworthy about Lewis Hunt is that he was the younger brother of Henry Hunt, the Army of the Potomac’s chief of artillery, whose guns played an important role at the Battle of Gettysburg in devastating the assault led by the man whom Lewis Hunt was replacing on San Juan Island. Two letters written by Lewis Hunt while he was in command on San Juan Island demonstrate the low regard he had for his commander, William Harney. In just two letters, Lewis Hunt used all of the following to refer to Harney: silly stupid Commander Harney; foolish and indeed disreputable; a dull animal; reckless, stupid old goose; our unscrupulous department commander.

English Camp

Lewis Hunt’s opinion of Harney was evidently shared by Winfield Scott, because during Scott’s return trip from San Juan Island, he sent a letter to Harney in which Scott chastised Harney over his handling of the San Juan Island situation. Scott also made the truly unusual suggestion to Harney that he relinquish his command in the Pacific Northwest. Harney did not do this, and furthermore, six months later, in April 1860, Harney countermanded the commanding general of the U.S. Army and restored Pickett to command on San Juan Island. The territorial government and the American settlers in the Pacific Northwest were pleased with this move, because they had approved of Pickett’s handling of the situation when Pickett was in command on the island. However, Scott had a far less favorable reaction to Harney’s decision to countermand the order. Scott had had problems with Harney during the Mexican-American War, and when Scott learned that Harney had restored Pickett to command, it was the breaking point for Scott. This time Scott did not merely suggest to Harney that he relinquish his departmental command. This time Scott decided that he no longer wanted to deal with the insubordinate Harney, and he had Harney removed. Scott wrote to the secretary of war that it was unwise to leave the troops in the Pacific Northwest “subject to the ignorance, passion, and caprice, of the present headquarters of that Department.” Harney was relieved of command and ordered “to repair to Washington City without delay.” Pickett, however, was left in command on San Juan Island. As for Harney, by the beginning of the Civil War, he was again in command of a military department, but because of uncertainty about his loyalty, he was removed and then served in some administrative positions. When Harney realized that he would not receive a field command, he retired from the army in 1863, which brought an end to his turbulent and troubling military career.

With Harney gone as department commander in the Pacific Northwest, the joint U.S.-British military occupation on San Juan Island was not only peaceful, but downright friendly. The U.S. and British troops frequently fraternized and even shared holiday celebrations. As the joint occupation dragged on, the new British commander, William Delacombe, who replaced George Bazalgette in 1867, had a Victorian house built in which he and his family lived, and he also had a formal garden built. At the time that Scott and the British negotiated their agreement, no one expected the joint occupation to go on as long as it did. But the American Civil War intervened, and this conflict, not surprisingly, became a higher priority for the U.S. government than a border dispute involving some islands in the Pacific Northwest. When the sectional crisis in the U.S. erupted into civil war, U.S. officers who had taken part in the Pig War, such as George Pickett, Silas Casey, Lewis Hunt, and Henry Robert, left the Pacific Northwest to participate in something much bloodier and tragic. After the Civil War, the U.S. and Britain revisited the border issue. In 1871, the two countries signed a treaty, the Treaty of Washington, which addressed a number of issues, including the Pig War boundary dispute. The Treaty of Washington also addressed claims by the U.S. for financial losses suffered during the Civil War due to British-built commerce raiders, such as the CSS Alabama.

British officers in English Camp
Kaiser Wilhelm I

To settle the boundary dispute, the Treaty of Washington stipulated that the issue would be submitted for arbitration, with Kaiser Wilhelm I named as arbitrator. The terms of the arbitration required that the arbitrator choose only between the two boundaries that each country recognized, namely Haro Strait (U.S.) and Rosario Strait (Britain). The treaty did not permit a compromise boundary, such as San Juan Channel, which would give San Juan Island to the British and the other main islands in the group to the U.S. The case for Britain was presented by James Prevost, the Royal Navy captain who led the British delegation for the boundary commission of 1857 and who also was the commander of one of the three British warships that James Douglas sent to San Juan Island in 1859 at the height of the confrontation. The case for the U.S. was presented by George Bancroft. At the time, Bancroft was the U.S. minister to Germany, which, because of his familiarity with German officials, may have given him an advantage. Over ten years earlier, when Abraham Lincoln was elected president for the first time, Bancroft was not at all sanguine that the incoming president was up to the task of handling the dire situation in which the country found itself. Bancroft called Lincoln “ignorant,” “without brains,” and “a man who is incompetent.” Evidently Lincoln’s superb performance during the Civil War changed Bancroft’s opinion, because in 1866, on the first birthdate of Abraham Lincoln after his assassination, Bancroft, at the invitation of both houses of Congress, delivered an address to Congress in commemoration of Lincoln. In that 1866 address to Congress, Bancroft wisely did not use any of the words to describe Lincoln that he had used at the time of Lincoln’s election to the presidency. Interestingly, Bancroft was Congress’ second choice to give the address. Congress first invited Edwin Stanton, but Stanton declined. (Bancroft’s February 12, 1866 address to Congress, In Memoriam of Abraham Lincoln, can be downloaded as a PDF.)

The possible boundaries (blue: the boundary favored by the U.S.; red: the boundary favored by Britain; green: a compromise boundary)

To help in rendering a decision on the boundary dispute, Kaiser Wilhelm appointed a commission of three men to analyze the issue. The three men, Heinrich Kiepert, Levin Goldschmidt, and Ferdinand Grimm, had expertise in geography and commerce. The commissioners met in Geneva, Switzerland to study the issue and come to a decision. The commissioners must have enjoyed their sojourn in Geneva, because it took them a year to make their decision, and even after all that time, it was a split decision. Goldschmidt decided in favor of a compromise border between San Juan Island and the rest of the island group, in spite of the fact that a compromise border was not permitted by the terms of the Treaty of Washington. The other two commissioners decided in favor of Haro Strait, the border claimed by the U.S. On October 21, 1872, Kaiser Wilhelm made the final decision in accordance with the majority opinion of the commissioners and thereby placed the boundary along Haro Strait, which gave all of the San Juan Islands to the U.S. Thanks to the kaiser, when U.S. tourists visit the San Juan Islands, it is not necessary for those tourists to leave the country. This is useful, because the San Juan Islands have become a popular destination for orca whale watching.

Before the end of November 1872, just over a month after the kaiser’s ruling, the British troops left San Juan Island. However, their camp, English Camp, remains to this day on the island and is now part of the National Park System. Moreover, the Union Jack is regularly raised over English Camp, which makes it one of the only places in the U.S. without diplomatic status where the flag of a foreign nation is raised by employees of the U.S. government over U.S. soil. The last of the U.S. troops on San Juan Island left in July 1874, but American Camp likewise remains as part of the National Park System. English Camp and American Camp stand as a memorial to a war that never was, but nevertheless is called a war.

English Camp as it appears today

During the time between the Pig War and the final resolution of the boundary dispute, some of the U.S. officers who played prominent roles in the Pig War took part in the most cataclysmic event in U.S. history. Those officers made places for themselves in history primarily because of what they did during that cataclysmic event. This is especially so for George Pickett. Much happened to Pickett between the time that he was ordered by William Harney to go to San Juan Island in 1859 and the time that the crisis was finally resolved in 1872, and one of those things that happened to Pickett became what he is known for. Just as Dr. Richard Daystrom in the original Star Trek was known for only one thing, George Pickett is known almost exclusively for the assault that he led at Gettysburg. But there are other historical events on Pickett’s record, and one of those happened on the other side of the country from Pickett’s most well-known deed. When Pickett was waiting to lead his men across a field in southern Pennsylvania on a hot July day in 1863, he almost certainly was not thinking about a small island in the Pacific Northwest where he had stood up to a Royal Navy captain during an international incident that could have drawn the U.S. into a war before the nation had a chance to engage in the civil war that now found Pickett about to lead a doomed attack that has, for the most part, become Pickett’s sole legacy. But whenever Civil War enthusiasts visit the site of that attack, and whenever they talk about that iconic event, they should remember that before there was the George Pickett who led troops in Pickett’s Charge, there was the George Pickett who led troops during an international confrontation that was set off because of a pig.

Author’s note: I am indebted to my grandson, AJ Fernandez, for making me aware of the Pig War, which provided the inspiration for this article. AJ, who was 12 years old when he told me about the Pig War, was already quite interested in history at that time. He very well may someday be a member of a Civil War roundtable.

A number of sources were used for this article. The most useful sources are as follows. (Click on any of the book titles to purchase from Amazon. Part of the proceeds from any book purchased from Amazon through the CCWRT website is returned to the CCWRT to support its education and preservation programs.)

History of the State of Washington by Edmond S. Meany (1909)

Images of America: The Pig War by Mike Vouri (2008)

General George E. Pickett in Life and Legend by Lesley J. Gordon (1998)

Pig War Letters: A Romantic Lieutenant’s Account of the San Juan Crisis by Keith A. Murray (published in Columbia: The Magazine of Northwest History, Fall 1987)

From Imbroglio to Pig War: The San Juan Island Dispute, 1853-1871, in History and Memory by Gordon Robert Lyall (published in BC Studies: The British Columbian Quarterly, Summer 2015)

The Pig and the Postwar Dream: The San Juan Island Dispute, 1853-1872, in History and Memory by Gordon Robert Lyall (2013)

The Pig War: Who Ate the Pig? A presentation by Mike Vouri (2021)

San Juan Island Pig War, Part 1 by Kit Oldham (2004)

San Juan Island Pig War, Part 2 by Kit Oldham (2004)

The San Juan Island’s “Pig War” by Michael D. Haydock (2001)

The Pig War (National Park Service article and articles accessed via links in this article)

The Pig War by Taylor C. Noakes (2021)

Of Pork and Politics: Washington in the Pig War by Erich Ebel (2017)