The Experimental U.S. Army Camel Corps

In 1836, U.S. Army Lieutenant George H. Crosman presented the idea of having camels assist with travel. U.S. Senator Jefferson Davis, a decade before he was president of the Confederacy, supported the idea and lobbied Congress to fund the use of camels in the army.

On 3 March 1855, Congress had a majority vote on an appropriation bill that stated within it’s Shield Amendment:  “And be it further enacted, that the sum of $30,000 be, and the same is hereby appropriated under the direction of the War Department in the purchase and importation of camels and dromedaries to be employed for military purposes.”

Eventually, U.S. Army Lieutenant Edward Beal began the camel corps experiment, and utilized several camels to assist with the transportation of army equipment among desert terrain. However, horses and mules were used in addition to camels for transportation, and the camels presence frightened those animals. Therefore, the camel corps was disbanded after the army reports of the camels’ disruptions to other transportation animals.

The National Musuem of the United States Army has more information on the Camel Corps.

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