Tuesday, Jul 24, 2012
Re-enactors from throughout the Pacific Northwest and Canada will once again celebrate peace as they gather for the 15th Annual Encampmentand the Henry M. Jackson Centennial Celebration scheduled Saturday and Sunday, July 28-29 on the English Camp parade ground at San Juan Island National Historical Park.
Encampment 2012 is free. Disabled persons should call the park at (360) 378—2240, ext. 2233, or 378-4409 for special access information.
Highlight of this year’s event will be a 2 p.m. ceremony on Saturday commemorating the centennial of the birth of Sen. Henry M. "Scoop" Jackson, who, starting in 1958 was a driving force leading to the 1965 Senate bill creating San Juan Island National Historical Park. The ceremony will include remarks from local, state and federal dignitaries and a member of the Jackson family. The festivities also will include music from San Juan Island’s own "One More Time" band, punch and cake and a ceremonial firing of the Battery D. Foundation’s mountain howitzer. (For details on Senator Jackson's role in conservation of public lands and the creation of San Juan island National Historical park please see attachment below.)
Also on the docket for the entire weekend event are recreations of mid-19th century Royal Marine Light Infantry and U.S. Army camp life, demonstrations of music, blacksmithing, spinning and weaving, sewing and cooperage and carpentry, along with the pageantry of period uniforms in scarlet and blue. Black powder rifled musket demonstrations and the firing of howitzer also are planned both days.
Saturday (July 28) activities will culminate in the Candlelight Ball, scheduled at 8 p.m., in the English Camp barracks. The public is invited to join in the dancing and refreshments that will include the traditional cake and punch. Music for contra dancing will be provided by the Pig War Band.
As it has since its inception in 1998, Encampment commemorates the peaceful joint occupation of San Juan Island by British and American forces from 1859 to 1872, and final settlement of the Northwest Boundary dispute.
This seemingly innocuous event nearly escalated into hostilities between elements of the U.S. Army and the Royal Navy on San Juan Island between July and October 1859. The crisis was quelled thanks to the restraint of Royal Navy officers on scene and the negotiating skills of Lt. Gen. Winfield Scott, commander of the U.S. Army, who made the six-week trip from New York City to the West Coast from Washington, DC.
Shortly after Scott re-embarked for the East, the two nations agreed to a joint military occupation of the island. The Americans elected to remain at their camp on the island’s Cattle Point Peninsula while Royal Marines established their camp 13 miles north on Garrison Bay.
Throughout the joint occupation the garrisons exchanged visits to celebrate holidays that included Christmas, the Fourth of July and Queen Victoria’s birthday. Typically the men would participate in athletic contests, imbibe in spirits and other refreshments and usually host a dance to which the community was invited.
The Encampment tradition was renewed in 1998 on the occasion of the dedication of English Camp’s 80-foot flagpole, a gift to the park by the people of the United Kingdom. The event drew nearly 600 people to the parade ground, including distinguished guests and officials from both nations.