Captain George Pickett commanded Company D of the 9th Infantry Regiment, a unit that arrived at Fort Steilacoom with Co. H/9th Infantry and Lt. Col. Casey in the midst of the Indian insurgency of January 1856. He was a veteran of the Mexican War after graduating from the USMA in 1846 at the bottom of his class.
Captain Pickett had served with the 8th Infantry in Texas during the Mexican War. He joined the 9th Infantry in 1855. By August 1856, Pickett’s Company D had been dispatched to Bellingham Bay to construct and occupy a post that they named Fort Bellingham.
Nearly three years later, Pickett’s Co. D/9th Infantry was the vanguard of an American force on San Juan Island, an affair today known as the Pig War. Pickett’s handling of the situation put him at odds with General Winfield Scott and the British authorities. Pickett’s company was among those companies ordered off the island as part of Scott’s negotiations in November 1859.
Captain Pickett would return to San Juan Island in March 1861, but his company would leave the island that summer stopping briefly again at Fort Steilacoom where Pickett would take leave of his company. Capt. Pickett resigned his commission in California, secretly making his way to the newly-formed Confederacy where he would rise to the rank of division commander in the Army of Northern Virginia under General James Longstreet.
After the Civil War, General Pickett fled to Canada, but returned to the U.S. in the 1870s with the approval of then-President Grant.