Camels of the American Southwest / A Trip Into History

Why the army was focused on camels is a narrative in itself. Most historians attribute the camel concept, or at the very least the unique one, to George H. Crosman who served with the army in the Seminole Wars in Florida.

George Crosman

The Camel Concept?

Starting in the 1830’s Crosman promoted the use of camels to the federal authorities but not with a lot success. The American frontier in the 1840’s ran principally on a line from Minnesota down by means of Missouri after which by way of Arkansas and east Texas.

The arid areas of the desert southwest have been outdoors the American area and have been explored and governed by Spain. When Spain was expelled in the 1820’s the region was ruled by Mexico. Because the U.S. frontier at that time was removed from the desert southwest, the camel, which was associated with the desert regions of the Center East, was not on the government’s radar to switch the horse or the mule. Nothing got here of Crosman’s concept.

The Camel Experiments of Jefferson Davis

Jefferson Davis fought in the Mexican American Struggle. He was aware of the problems of army and civilian communication and travel in desert areas. When the warfare ended the U.S. army would wish to travel throughout the arid southwest not to mention future railroad survey crews.

Two HistoricTrips to the Mediterranean

In 1855 Jefferson Davis despatched the U.S.S. Supply on a voyage to the Mediterranean for the function of bringing back camels to the U.S. The vessel made another trip to the Middle East in 1856.for the similar function. The vacation spot of both boatloads of camels was the Texas coast.

jefferson davis army camel corp

Jefferson Davis who approved the U.S. Army Camel Corp

The united statesS. Supply was one of the most lively provide ships throughout this era and during the later Civil Conflict. It’s exploits to the Middle East throughout the 1850’s made United States Naval historical past. Jefferson Davis arranged for the camels to be delivered to an space near Victoria Texas and close by Camp Verde and San Antonio. When the camels arrived the local populace was quite excited and amused.

The camels also created a stir among the horses and mules who picked up the camels unique scent. Each the horses and mules turned agitated when the camels appeared. The state of affairs was such that teamsters needed to be advised prematurely when the camels have been transported inland from the coast so they might make sure their horse and mule teams have been out of the area.

Under are Three Fascinating Trip Stops Relating to the Army Camel Corp

Hi Jolly and Quartzite Arizona

There’s a number of unique websites chances are you’ll need to add to your western journey planner that is half of this unique army camel experiment.

One of these distinctive sites is situated in Quartzsite Arizona, about 80 miles north of Yuma Crossing and 129 miles west of Phoenix Arizona on the north aspect of Interstate 10.

hi jolly grave site quartzite arizona

Hello Jolly grave website in Quartzite Arizona

At the moment Quartzsite could be very in style with winter RVer’s and there are various major gem and mineral exhibits scheduled during the months of January and February which usher in over one million guests.

Quartzsite can also be the remaining resting place of a man who was referred to as Hi Jolly, a man a lot concerned with camels in Arizona. Hello Jolly was a name given to him by the army men he worked with. His actual identify was Hadji Ali and he was also later generally known as Philip Tedro. Born in the Ottoman Empire of Jordanian parentage Hadji Ali (pictured with Gertrude Serna under right) was the first ever camel driver hired by the U.S. Military. His job was to drive camels by means of the American Southwest during the army’s experiment utilizing camels as beasts of burden.

hi jolly quartzite arizona

Hi Jolly Monument plaque

The story of Hi Jolly and his work with the U.S. Army throughout the mid 1800’s is an fascinating tale of experiments and American exploration into a brand new area…the arid desert southwest…this new land taken over by the People consequently of the Mexican-American Warfare.

Camel Treks and Historic Reenactments and Reveals

The Texas Camel Corps guides camel treks via the Massive Bend area of Texas. Camel trekking is like backpacking, only with out having to hold anything. Once you tire of driving, you’ll be able to walk.

Led by Texas Camel Corps owner Doug Baum, individuals should be capable of stroll 5-7 miles per day and provide their own sleeping bag, water container, small duffel bag or backpack and alter of garments. Camels, all different camping gear, and meals are offered. The situation is Gearhart Ranch, Scenic Fort Davis Loop, Fort Davis, Texas. For more information about Texas Camel Corps events see website www.texascamelcorps.comThe Camel Stables at the Previous Benicia California Arsenal

The Camel Barns which have been inbuilt 1855 can still be seen at the previous Benicia Arsenal whose grounds now house the Benicia Historical Museum in Benicia California. Benicia is situated northeast of San Francisco alongside Suisun Bay. Benicia is a few 35 mile drive from San Francisco.

See the Journeys Into History articles on the links under…

The Southwest Expedition

The expedition in Texas was in-part carried out by a Main Henry C. Wayne who was quite conversant in the southwest having served with Basic Kearny in California throughout the Mexican Warfare. Additionally recruited was Edward Fitzgerald Beale who was a former lieutenant in the Navy. Beale also advisable the appointment of one of his family members, Navy lieutenant David Dixon Porter, to hitch the group. Porter went together with the U.S.S. Supply in it’s two voyages to seek out camels and drovers in the Mideast.

trans pecos region texas

The Trans Pecos Region of Texas

After the end of the Mexican-American Conflict, the Military was wanted to supply additional surveys and construct further wagon roads. Edward Beale was of massive significance in this endeavor having ridden with Package Carson all through the southwest throughout the warfare.

The camels have been delivered to San Antonio on June 21, 1857 to be loaded. Beale set out throughout the south Texas plains and desert on June 25th and arrived in El Paso on July 27th.  A stop was made at Fort Davis along the approach. The journey handed via the dangerous Camanche lands, known as Comancheria, but with out incident. When the caravan passed near to Mexico many of the locals came out to see these strange animals. On the journey up the Rio Grande to Albuquerque a lot the similar occurred when the group passed via villages.

Efficiency of the Camels

Durring his travels with the caravan Beale made several fascinating stories about the camels. He reported that the camels might travel constantly in a country the place other barefooted beasts couldn’t last however every week. He additional famous that the animals might stay on something and thrive. Beale stated that on a particularly scorching day the animals didn’t take a drink of water for over twenty-six hours.

Westward Toward California

When the group reached Albuquerque, Beale rode up to Santa Fe to make his report to the army authorities there. On August 13th the group headed out west to Ft Defiance the place they have been to satisfy a detachment underneath the command of a Colonel Loring.

From Fort Defiance the caravan adopted the 35th parallel where their actual work would start. That was a survey for a wagon street westward to the Colorado River. The expedition was not truly the very first to traverse this area since they did have a map with them drawn up throughout a 1853 expedition to survey a railroad route. This route right now considerably follows Interstate 40 via the northern part of Arizona.

The caravan continued westward from the Zuni Pueblo and did encounter some Pueblo Indians and Apaches along the approach but all meetings have been peaceable. Upon reaching the Colorado River, the crossing, whereas a bit troublesome as a result of the camels couldn’t swim, was not as onerous as predicted. The camels have been roped collectively in gangs of 5 and have been capable of cross.

fort tejon california

Previous Fort Tejon Barracks exhibit right now

Shifting additional westward they cut up up and a gaggle went to Los Angeles and another to Fort Tejon. The Mojave Desert crossing appeared to be uneventful since Beale only devoted a couple of sentences to it in his journal.

Beale left the camels at Ft Tejon and began an extended journey eastward to Washington to make his formal report to Secretary of Struggle Floyd. Ultimately the camels in both California and Texas have been costing the government rather a lot of money however no one knew what to do subsequent with the camels and Congress began to cease funding..

The Experiment Ends

Secretary Floyd and others have been proponents of camel utilization all through the army, nevertheless the majority were not. A few army commanders in the west needed to do other experiments with the camels of a purely army nature. Might these sturdy beasts probably exchange many of the horses? They might subsist on virtually nothing so might this help the military in it’s consolidation of the southwest? After much debate and the start of the American Civil Conflict the funding for the camels decreased and for all sensible functions the use of camels by the government and by personal business got here to an finish in the 1870’s.

Wild Camels Roam the Desert Southwest

In 1891, 9 camels roaming on the western edge of Demise Valley appeared earlier than the eyes of two gold miners who thought they have been seeing ghosts.  This was many years after the camels have been delivered to North America. The miners, Shep Searcy and Charlie Fisher, have been mendacity down at the time, making an attempt to drink from a mud puddle, when Shep stated: “Do you see what I think I see?”  Fisher replied: “I don’t know what you see, Shep, but it looks like Barnum’s circus to me.”  Shortly after that, the camels snorted, and ran away.  When the miners reported their temporary encounter to residents of a close-by town, individuals thought they have been loopy. The camel experiment as long forgotten.

benicia arsenal

Benicia Arsenal in 1878

In October 1891, camels induced a cattle stampede outdoors Harrisburg, Arizona.  Males stood round, amazed, not understanding what to do, when Harry Wharton, one of the unique camel teamsters, approached to stroke one of the camels throughout the knees.  The camel readily knelt.  Harry then shot the animal lifeless.  Two Mexicans stripped the carcass and bought the meat to an unsuspecting butcher.

In the 1890s, passengers on Southern Pacific trains reported seeing camels pacing the sands of Arizona Territory.  In 1901, in western Arizona, a Southern Pacific practice ran over and killed one of the animals.

(Article copyright 2014 Trips Into History)