Camp Watson established amid Indian raids
Indian raids occurring along The Dalles-Canyon City Wagon Road resulted in the military department establishing camps to curb raiding activities. A camp site at the center of the trouble was established by Company B, First Oregon Volunteer Calvary, on July 12, 1864. That fall the site was moved a few miles west to a better location.
The camp was built in rectangular shape. The north side had two rows of log huts used for housing soldiers, which was divided east and west by The Dalles-Canyon City Road. Across the quadrangle there were four officer's huts built of logs. There was a small map house, hospital, guard house, an orderly room, a commissary and quartermaster store on the western side. To the east were corrals and stables. It was located along the timber fringe on the north slope of the Ochoco Mountains near the present site of the Antone Ranch.
The camp was named for Lt. Stephen Watson, who had been killed in a skirmish with Snake Indians in the Upper Crooked River Valley in May 1864. Watson was first buried at Camp Maury, then his body was moved to the Camp Watson site. Eventually, his remains were exhumed and sent to Ft. Vancouver for burial.
The Oregon Volunteers were replaced by Company I of the regular cavalry after the Civil War. The military stayed until the summer of 1869, when the raiding threat appeared to be over. Protests from Canyon City merchants resulted in this being one of the last posts to be abandoned.
The only remaining evidence of the camp is the military cemetery.
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