Douglas the Camel

vmicraig

Sergeant
Joined
Mar 12, 2018
Location
Mobile, AL
60a31aaa9f10d764a6540d0c93b05817.jpg


This write-up is per Wikipedia (so please don't bash me if some fo the facts are incorrect, just wanted to post this very cool photo):

Douglas The Camel, or “Old Douglas,” was a domesticated camel used by Company A of the 43rd Mississippi Infantry, part of the Confederate Army during the American Civil War. Because of Old Douglas, the 43rd Mississippi Infantry came to be known as the Camel Regiment,[1] Douglas was originally part of a U.S. War Department program called the Texas Camel Experiment, which aimed to experiment with camels as a possible alternative to horses and mules, which were dying of dehydrationin vast numbers. Jefferson Davis, who had ascended to the position of United States Secretary of Warin 1853, was a strong proponent of the program, and used his political influence to make the experiment happen.[2] Although the details are unknown, Douglas somehow made his way to Mississippi, and eventually died at Davis's hometown of Vicksburg, Mississippi. He was initially given to Colonel W. H. Moore by 1st Lt. William Hargrove.[3] Besides being a mascot, Moore assigned Douglas to the regimental band, carrying instruments and knapsacks
 

Carronade

Captain
Joined
Aug 4, 2011
Location
Pennsylvania
I've never seen much explanation of the end of the Camel Corps other than that the army just lost interest. They seem to have been effective, as one would expect in arid terrain. According to wiki, Robert E. Lee wrote a favorable report while he was serving in Texas.
 

Carronade

Captain
Joined
Aug 4, 2011
Location
Pennsylvania
The only thing to question is why the battle flag of the AoNV was put on the marker, since it was a Mississippi unit.

This probably goes back to ucvrelics's comment:

Great Photo. How old is that grave marker?

The marker appears to have been put up well after the war, when many people have come to think of the ANV battle flag as "the Confederate flag".
 

TomP

Sergeant
Joined
Sep 29, 2015
Location
Corinth, MS
Over the years Mr. Doug Baum of the Texas Camel Corps, has brought several of his camels to the Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center to portray Old Douglas. https://texascamelcorps.com/
Doug is probably the foremost authority on the U.S. Camel Corps and Jim Huffman is THE man on all things about the 43rd Mississippi Infantry. A few years ago Jim came across some newspaper articles that question the accepted story that Old Douglas was part of the experiment in the Southwest.

YAZOO DEMOCRAT [Yazoo City, MS], November 19, 1859, p. 3, c. 1
Curious enterprise of a Pretty Widow - The Selma (Alabama) Reporter says:
Mrs. Watson, who is pretty extensively engaged in the importation of camels is in the city with seven of the odd looking animals. She will exhibit them at the State Fair, which is to begin in Montgomery on Monday next, and we hope she may receive a premium for each, as well as one for herself. Mrs. Watson is said to be the widow of a deceased officer of the United States Army. She is a very intelligent, as well as handsome lady, and we wish her all sorts of good luck in her enterprise.

MOBILE DAILY REGISTER, March 23, 1860, p.2, c.4

Choice Breeding Stock For Sale.

Pure Arabian Horses.

Spanish Merino Sheep.

Pure Cashmere Goats.

Maltese and Spanish Jacks.

Malteese Goats, Ewes and Bucks.

30 Superior Young Camels, well broke, suitable for plantation work:

The above stock is all of direct importation, and no pains or expense spared in the selection.

The public is invited to call and examine this stock.

A.R. Meslier & Co. Mobile.


SOUTHERN BROADAXE [WEST POINT, MS], May 11, 1859, p. 2, c. 4

Camels in Dallas County [Alabama] – We have been informed that it is the intention of Capt. J.A. Machodo who has been engaged for years in importing camels to the United States, to send a short time, some three or four camels to our countrymen, B.M. Woolsley, who has consented to take them, and ascertain practically, if the camel is really adapted to the wants of our section of the country. Mr. Woolsley, we learn, will receive these animals in the course of ten or fifteen days, and will make such experiments with them as will prove their adaptation to our farming pursuits.

There are quite a number of gentlemen in our vicinity, who have been anxious to test the uses of the camel, and that this may be done , capt. Machodo, has consented that Mr. Woolsley may make the test, so in case they prove to be what they are represented, he can furnish any number to our planting friends. We shall endeavor, at any any [sic], to keep our readers posted, as to the result of the experiment. – Selma Sentinel.
 
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