Of Jefferson Davis and U.S. Army on Camels

On June 4, 1855, Major Henry C. Wayne got on board the USS Supply in New York Harbor and headed to the Mediterranean Sea to procure camels (29 of the Dromedary or one-hump variety and 2 of the Bactrian or two-hump kind) for use by the US Army in the Western United States. In 1848, Wayne had conducted a more detailed follow-up study to the 1836 report submitted to the Army by Major George Crossman who had recommended the US Army acquire camels as pack animals for hot weather environments. These reports and recommendations went nowhere until Jefferson Davis, an enthusiastic proponent of the idea of camels in the Army (yes, the guy that would be the President of the Confederate States of America) became Secretary of War in 1853 and convinced Congress to authorize $30,000 to start an Army camel unit. Thus, the US Camel Corps was established and remained an active unit until disbanding in 1866.

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