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HISTORY OF WORK POINT BARRACKS

by Jack Bates

PART 1 — 1842 to 1886


1859

San Juan Island was in dispute in terms of jurisdiction, British or American territory, and on June 15, 1859 a Hudson Bay Company owned pig was killed by an American farmer. This prompted the potential "Pig War." The Americans sent in a regular army detachment with some field artillery and Britain countered with the presence of Royal Navy ships and cannon, along with a detachment of Royal Marines. In March 1860 a detachment of Royal Marine Light Infantry took up residence on the north end of the island. It was mutually agreed that both countries should occupy the island until its sovereignty was decided. The dispute ended with the Treaty of Washington on October 21, 1872 awarding ownership of the island, and others, to the United States, and the British detachment departed.

In August, the Victoria Sheriff's office suggested a company of infantry be formed, 67 men volunteered but they could gain no weapons so they formed a company of firemen.


1860

The Victoria Volunteer Rifle Corps was formed, made up of 45 blacks who had come from San Francisco. The unit lasted until June 1866 when they were disbanded amid some controversy and eventual lack of enthusiasm.


1861

ABSTRACTS OF ACTS
Passed by the Legislature since the First Session, Beginning March 1st, 1860.
February 6, 1861

Powder Magazines – Grants certain privileges to the builder or builders of a powder magazine.

The Vancouver Island Volunteer Rifle Corps was formed from the white population on June 30 comprised of one company of infantry and one of artillery. The unit couldn’t survive conflicts within and were disbanded on July 16, 1862.


continued ...