(I’ve visited Douglas’s grave up on Sky Parlor Hill surrounded by his compatriots – DD)
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(Military.Com) – In the late 1850s, the U.S. Army experimented with using camels as pack animals in the American Southwest, where horses and mules routinely suffered from dehydration. Camels from the Ottoman Empire were shipped to the United States in 1853. Secretary of War Jefferson Davis ordered they be tested on routes across the desert to California.
The camel experiment was a success, but the Army was wholly uninterested in camels. Before there could be an internal struggle about it, the Civil War broke out in 1861. The secretary of war became president of the Confederacy, and the idea died out. The U.S. Army wasn’t the only one interested in testing camels; that’s how a dromedary — a one-humped camel — ended up in the Confederate Army.
Douglas the Dromedary, also known as Douglas the Camel and “Old Douglas,” was purchased by planters in Mobile, Alabama, around the same time the Army was sending camels of its own to Texas. Local farmers wanted to see whether they could be effective on their plantations. Long story short: They weren’t.
That wasn’t the end for Old Douglas, though. He was given to Col. William Moore of the 43rd Mississippi Infantry Regiment at the…