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History Pops: U. S. Army's Camel Corps Experiment

Did you know that the U.S. Army once had an experimental 'Camel Corps' right here in America? And one of the key players in pushing the idea forward to reality was none other than the future Confederate president, Jefferson Davis.

At the time of the implementation of the Camel Corps experiment (1855) however, Davis held the office of U.S. Secretary of War, under President Franklin Pierce. Davis worked tirelessly to convince both the president and Senate to agree to the project and purchase camels from overseas for American military use.

According to the U.S. Army history website:

"On 3 March 1855, Congress agreed and passed the Shield amendment to the appropriation bill, resolving: “And be it further enacted, that the sum of $30,000 be, and the same is hereby appropriated under the direction of the War Department in the purchase and importation of camels and dromedaries to be employed for military purposes.” Secretary Davis would finally get his camels."

Unfortunately, the whole mission proved to be quite disastrous. You can read all about the failed Camel Corps experiment here.

Want a little teaser about what eventually happened to these Americanized camels or "ships of the desert?"

"They were seen for many years afterward, wandering the deserts and plains of the Southwest. The last of the original Army camels, Topsy, was reported to have died in April 1934, at Griffith Park, Los Angeles, at the age of eighty, but accounts of camel sightings continued for decades."

Who knew?

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