What was happening in Washington Territory during the War Between the States?
Fort Historian John McPherson presented highlights of that period on June 15 at Historic Ft. Steilacoom’s monthly lecture program.
McPherson’s presentation included details about George Pickett, Lt. Col. Silas Casey and other soldiers who’d been in this area during that time.
Soldiers from the fort were assigned to duty in places such as Pt. Townsend, Bellingham and Chehalis, as well as in this area. Steilacoom, and its connection to other posts in the region was a bustling post for its time. Little-known facts about that era were included in McPherson’s hour-long program.
Local newspaper publishers, such as Charles Prosch in Steilacoom’s Puget Sound Herald, wrote about happenings at the fort, and its impact on the community.
Although enlistment at Ft. Steilacoom continued to decline in the mid-1860s—with Pickett, for example, eventually resigning his commission in the US Army—the fort was closed in 1868 and the land deeded to the territory for a mental hospital.
Besides regular programs on the second Sunday of each month, the fort is open from 1-4 p.m. on the first Sunday of each month in June through August.
HFS is located at 9601 Steilacoom Blvd., SW, in Lakewood. Visit the fort’s website at www.historicfortsteilacoom.org. Phone 253-582-5838 for more information.