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Camel Cavalry - Civil War History


Camel Cavalry - Civil War History

Camel Cavalry - Civil War History

Camel Cavalry - Civil War History

The race of American soldiers surmounting the sands of the Iraqi desert on a victory march to Baghdad is reminiscent of a colorful experiment in 1855-60 using camels to conquer the great American desert that militarily divides the East and West Coast.

The discovery of gold at the Sutter Mill in December 1848 sparked a rush in California. Excited miners had to choose between three difficult and dangerous ways to get there.

The fastest and most expensive were a cruise to Panama, a trip to the Pacific Ocean, and another trip by ship to San Francisco. The Mid-Continent Route requires an uphill climb through the Rocky Mountains. A southern road running through a desert country recently won as booty in the Mexican War, had to deal with a lack of water and fodder for the animals.

Jefferson Davis, a Mississippi senator—who later became president of the Confederacy—suggested importing camels to carry supplies across the desert southwest to miners—and gold for the return trip. His proposal was met with boos and laughter in Congress.

In 1853, Davis was appointed Secretary of War and was in a position to continue the camel's adventure. Two years later, Congress appropriated $30,000 to purchase camels for military purposes.

Major Henry C. Wayne was given the task of acquiring camels. US Navy Lieutenant David Porter, captain of the supply cargo ship, was instructed to transport the exotic animals. Neither of them had ever seen a camel, except probably the circus.

In Tunisia, Wayne bought the first camel he saw and paid the required price for a distraught camel herder. Before long, Wayne and Porter bought four dilapidated beauties that soon died. Bey Tunis gave them a good sentence.

Fortunately, an American named Gwen Hebe, who had lived in Tunisia for many years, joined the expedition. He took the two children to Egypt, where he bought nine camels at very exorbitant prices.

With this, Heap was left alone for Smyrna, where his relationship with the US government was unknown. There he bought 23 healthy animals when Wayne and Porter arrived.

The diverse herd of 33 camels includes “21 Arabian (single hump) behemoth, two Bactrian (two humps) behemoths, nine Arabian camels (bred for fast riding), and one Toile (a huge offspring of an Arabian and lively female. A germinal male).) )."

Three local guides were taken to tackle camels during the three-month Atlantic crossing. The camel drivers are Haji Ali (shortened by sailors as Hello Julie), George Karalambo (George the Greek), and Elias Kalis.

The camels were housed below the roof in thatched stables. A hole was cut in the deck to accommodate the toile hump. In bad weather, the animals were tied in a kneeling position so that their legs would not break.

A camel died on the flight. However, six foals were born. Two of them survived. Thus, the expedition landed in Indianola, Texas, with one more animal than it initially did. Upon reaching the shore, the camels were agitated, and broke their belts, and spooked, and kicked, and trotted about.

Beauty was a great curiosity. Newspapers published his arrival on the front page. The people of San Antonio laughed at the camels and questioned their strength. After that, Wayne arranged to show his ingenuity.

He asked the crowd to point to a camel. This person got on his knees and they loaded him with two hay bales weighing a total of 613 pounds, which is a heavy load on a mule. Then two more packages were put on the camel's back. When driving, the camel easily got up and rode away, to the cheers of the crowd
The total cost of the expedition was $7,331. The credit balance of $30,000 was returned to the government, a precedent that never flourished.

Major Wayne set out in a convoy to Camp Verde, an army outpost 60 miles northwest of San Antonio. Heap and Porter immediately returned to Asia Minor, where they purchased another 42 camels. This brings the total number of imported animals to 75.

On the way to Camp Verdi, the caravan stopped to rest in Victoria. There, Lady Mary Shirky was allowed to cut enough camel hair to tie a pair of stockings. I mailed it to Wayne and he mailed it to President Franklin Pierce. The President sent Mrs. Shirky a silver cup.

The first American Beauty Corps was commissioned in March 1857. Edward Bell was put in command. He was promoted and assigned assignments in Washington, D.C., where the Civil War was brewing.

Bell's appointment to the Beauty Cavalry was an anomaly of fate. He graduated from the Naval Academy, but resigned when President Millard Fillmore appointed him supervisor of Indian affairs in California.

When gold was discovered at Sutter's Mill in 1849, Bell and Messenger were selected from the Army to take the news to Washington, D.C. They were ordered to take different paths so that the news would reach them, even if one of them died trying.

Bill chose a dangerous path. Sail south to San Blas and then travel overland on horseback to Vera Cruz through the Bandit District. On the Gulf Coast, board a ship to Washington. He was the first to arrive in the capital, proudly carrying an eight-pound gold nugget.

In 1885, the government was still searching for an acceptable all-weather route across the vast American continent to California. Bell was instructed to take his camels and study a possible route along the 35th parallel from Fort Defiance, Arizona, to the crossing of the Colorado River.

The party set off from Camp Green in June 1857 with 25 camels, mules, sheep, dogs, supply wagons, and cavalry of the regular army.

At first, the beauty remained behind with agonizing humps from the inaction of the sea voyage.

However, when they reached El Paso, Wayne reported to Secretary of War Floyd:

Working under all the hindrances created by the fact that we don't have a single man who knows anything about camels, or how to load them, we got here without any accident.

“Although we used camels every day with heavy loads, they had less back pain and impotence than if they were traveling with mules.

“Camels live and feed on the food that mules reject and that grows so abundantly in our driest American deserts—fatwood, a bitter little shrub that is useless for any purpose.

"The highest authority told me when I left San Antonio that none of them would see El Paso again; that they would give up the road. This expectation has not actually been verified."

In another report, just before he got to the watering hole, Bell wrote:

"Our horses are now starting to suffer greatly, running almost continuously for 36 hours without water. One of the most painful images I have ever seen is a group of them standing on a small water barrel and trying to drink from it. Plug the hole, frantically with the pain and craving to get to it!"

"Our beauty seemed to view this procedure with great disdain and ate quietly in the grass and bushes."

Arriving in Colorado, the regular cavalry looked at the wide crossing warily. Camels were supposed to have a fear of rivers and either resist or could not swim. However, they entered without worry and all reached the other side safely. Ten mules and two horses drowned.

Belle and Hey Julie, dressed in Arabian garb and bells, victoriously rode two Bactrians toward Los Angeles. The mission was completely successful

The route they once followed became the famous Interstate 66, now Interstate 40.

Wishing to test a camel's endurance in winter, Bell followed the same path in early 1858. Camels were indifferent to cold weather.

Secretary Floyd was impressed by the camels' performance and ordered an additional 1,000 animals to be purchased. However, Congress was more concerned about the possibility of a civil war at home. All the money was spent on conventional defenses.

Verdi's camp and his camels fell to Confederate forces in February 1861. Without any experience in handling camels, the Confederates killed several "desert ships" as a nuisance.

When the Union forces regained control of Camp Green, the remaining camels were distributed to the various owners. Bell delivered 28 of them to Los Angeles. They were quartered on Main Street to carry mail and baggage from San Pedro.

The government sold the last 33 animals at auction to a farm breeder named Sam McClingan. He sold three to Circus and used the others in the freight service for many years.

The camels were skillful and economical. However, as the caravans approached a village, the driver had to go forward on horseback and shout: "The camels are coming, the camels are coming!"

This was a warning to passengers, whose carriers are usually intimidated by strange-looking and foul-smelling camels. Nevada has passed a law that imposes a $100 fine for using a camel on a public highway.

McClean finally released his beauty. They and their few descendants have roamed the wilds of Texas, Oklahoma, and Arizona for many years.

Historian Robert Froman asserts through contemporary newspaper articles that a huge wild camel with the skeleton of a man strapped to its back roamed Arizona and trampled a woman to death when she was caught in a jump.

Since then, the angry camel has been called the Red Ghost. He was shot dead in 1893, and some human bones are still attached to his hump.

The drivers from the Middle East who arrived with the original shipment of camels also dispersed. Calis ended up in Mexico, where his son, Plutarco, became president of Mexico in the early 1920s. The Greek George served for a long time in the US Army and died in Montebello, California, in 1913.

Hello, Jolie has become a living legend in the West. Once, after insulting him that he wasn't invited to a picnic in Los Angeles, Hi Jolly broke up the meeting by driving a chariot pulled by his camel.

A Syrian camel driver and US Army scout are said to have died in 1903 with his camel in the Arizona desert, his arms around his trusty horse's neck. A memorial marking the "Last Camp" of the High Jolly Festival has been erected in Quartzsite, Ariz.

In April 1934, the Oakland (California) Tribune reported: "Topsy, the last American camel to traverse the Arizona and California deserts, died today in Griffith Park, and was devastated by those present when he was paralyzed by old age." His ashes are interred at the High Jolly Memorial in Quartzsite.