California State Military Department
The California State Military Museum
Preserving California's Military Heritage
Historic California Posts:
Camp Low
 
During the last days of the Civil War a gang of white marauders, led by two men named Henry and Mason, terrorized Santa Cruz and Monterey counties, robbing and murdering ranchers at will. The Army was determined to provide protection for the citizens by establishing a military post somewhere in Monterey County. The town of San Juan was selected as the post. The National Hotel was rented by the government to be used as a barracks and military supplies were stocked. The post was named Camp Low in honor of then California's executive officer. In December 1864 three companies, two infantry and one cavalry, under the command of Major J. S. Ceremony, marched into town and bivouacked on the plaza. In April 1865, a squad of cavalry came upon Henry and Mason in the mountains; shots were exchanged, but the outlaws escaped after a running fight. Sometime in May, Ceremony and his men were ordered to Arizona to fight the Indians there, thus terminating Camp Low. The two outlaw leaders were subsequently tracked to Angeles County by a company of California Volunteers and killed while resisting arrest.

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