When walking the trails in and around Camp Casey – have you ever wondered whose names were listed on those batteries, or when and why the buildings were constructed? A google or wiki search will highlight dozens of references, but our own local Terry Buchanan’s Fort Casey, the History of Fort Casey and the Defense of the Pacific Northwest is a wealth of historical information. In a news release in 2010 Buchanan wrote, “Guarding the entrance … of the Puget Sound waterway stand a number of empty and abandoned coastal fortifications … these concrete gun emplacements were positioned to defend the only deep water navigable approaches to Seattle, Tacoma and Bremerton.” Prior to the construction of these batteries and aiming systems, hitting a target was largely the result of experience and a lot of luck. The 10″ disappearing guns allowed for the lobbing of a 700-pound projectile that could come down 10 miles away onto a deck of a ship.
Thousands of soldiers have passed through the gates of Camp Casey since its inception and many of those soldiers later became residents on Whidbey Island. In recognition of Veterans’ Day, we dedicate these next 2 blogs to those that have served our country.
In 1858, the U.S. government purchased 10-acres of land for the construction of Admiralty Head Lighthouse. In 1890, the Army took over and named its garrison Fort Casey in honor of Brigadier General Thomas Lincoln Casey. General Casey served as Chief of Engineers for the Army Corps of Engineers and oversaw the completion of the Washington Monument, as well as the design of the Library of Congress.
As work began in the early 1900s on the buildings that now encompass Camp Casey, a half dozen officers and over 200 enlisted men arrived. Between 1900 and 1918 most all of the clusters of guns were built.
As you enter into the park, the first battery on your left is Battery Seymour. This battery is named for Maj General Thurman Seymour, 5th US Artillery. He fought initially in the Mexican War, participated in the Florida Indian Hostilities and during the Civil War, took part in the surrender of General Lee. He retired from active service and died in 1891.
Battery Schenck is named for Lt. Col Alexander Schenck, US Artillery Corp. He participated in the Civil War battles of Bull Run, Perryville, Stone River and Hoover’s Gap. He died in Sept. 1905.
Battery Trevor was named for 1st Lt. John Trevor, 5th US Calvary. He died from wounds received during the Battle of Winchester, VA in 1864.
Named for 1st Lt. John Valleau of the 13th US Infantry is Battery Valleau. During the War of 1812 his company participated in the attack on Queenstown Heights and he was killed during the first assault.
Battery Kingsbury was named after Col. Henry W. Kingsbury, 11th Connecticut Volunteers, who died in Oct 1862 of wounds received in action at Antietam, Maryland during the Civil War.
Want to know more about the battery and buildings that are on Camp Casey proper? Tune in for our next blog post, scheduled for Nov 15th.