Camel was Confederate mascot

Published 12:01 am Sunday, April 10, 2011

While many Mississippians are aware of the history of Old Douglas, a Confederate camel killed by a Union sniper at Vicksburg during the Civil War, few know the legend surrounding the animal.

Old Douglas was one of the original camels transported to Indianola, Texas, in May 1856 to serve with the U.S. Cavalry on the Texas frontier. Jefferson Davis, secretary of war serving under President Franklin Pierce, convinced Congress to appropriate $30,000 to use camels to haul freight and heavy equipment while exploring new routes to permit westward expansion and protect settlers from hostile Indians.

In 1857, an expedition of camels and horses charted a route along the Colorado River, from Fort Davis to San Antonio, El Paso, and across Arizona to Fort Teton, Calif.

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