Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Old Douglas The Camel

  During the 1850's Secretary of War Jefferson Davis imported camels to the United States as an experiment to see whether camels could adapt to the dry climate of Texas and could replace Army horses because of their ability to survive in desert environments. The camel experiment was a failure but one camel made his way to Mississippi. He became the mascot of Co. A, Forty Third Mississippi Infantry. The men named him "Old Douglas" and at first they treated him like a horse. He kept breaking loose and they finally just allowed him to graze freely. He never wandered far from the men however. Old Douglas was involved in several battles until he was finally killed by a Union sharpshooter at Vicksburg. The men were enraged by his murder and their commander Colonel Bevier collected six of his best sharpshooters to kill the culprit. They were able to find and shoot the man who killed Old Douglas. Legend has it that the camel was eaten by Union soldiers and his bones were made into souvenirs. Old Douglas has a grave marker dedicated to him in Vicksburg's Cedar Hill Cemetery.

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