Fort Humboldt, Jefferson Finis Davis

Lafayette Guild – Assistant Surgeon At Fort Humboldt

Lafayette Guild was the assistant surgeon at Fort Humbolt during his time with the U.S. Army. In 1861, Guild resigned his army commission and joined the Confederacy. Eventually, Guild became the personal surgeon for Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

On one of the windows of former hospital at Fort Humboldt is a tribute to Lafayette Guild.

The hospital is the only original building left at Fort Humboldt. The rest were destroyed by the earthquake of 1906.

Jefferson Finis Davis, New Orleans, Louisiana

January 6, 1889 – Jefferson Finis Davis Dies Inside The “Grand Mansion” Of New Orleans, Louisiana

On January 6, 1889, Jefferson Finis Davis died at the Grand Mansion in New Orleans, Louisiana of health complications.

At the end of a Jefferson Finis Davis’s life, the advocate of states rights and former Confederate President, was revered in the north yet still praised by many in the south after the war was over. However, weather liked or not, the Confederacy came at a great cost to the nation.

Presently, a historical marker indicates the site of his death by the Grand Mansion.

Biloxi, Mississippi, Jefferson Finis Davis, The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government

Beauvoir – Jefferson Finis Davis’s Last Residence And Presidential Library

In 1870, Jefferson Finis Davis moves to Beauvoir, an estate in Biloxi, Mississippi, were he wrote his memoir, “The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government”. The Beauvoir was the last residence that formed Confederate President Jefferson Finis Davis would live in before his passing.

Jefferson Finis Davis at the Beauvoir in 1885.

Currently, the Beauvoir serves as a Presidential Library for the former Confederate President.

Jefferson Finis Davis

February 18, 1861 – The First Inaugural Speech Of Confederate President Jefferson Davis

On February 18, 1861, after being elected president by the Confederate Congress, Jefferson Finis Davis gave his first inaugural address at the Alabama State Capital building in Montgomery, Alabama, three weeks before President Abraham Lincoln gave his first inaugural address.

During President Davis’s first inaugural address he stated:

“The declared purpose of the compact of Union from which we have withdrawn was ‘to establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessing of liberty to ourselves and our posterity;’ and when, in the judgment of the sovereign States now composing this Confederacy, it had been perverted from the purposes for which it was ordained, and had ceased to answer the ends for which it was established,”

Author’s Note:

In 1862, Jefferson Finis Davis was elected President by a democratic vote and gave a second inaugural address on February 22, 1862.

Jefferson Finis Davis, Montebello, Orange County, Virginia, President Zachary Taylor, Sarah Dabney Taylor

Montebello – The Birthplace Of President Zachary Taylor

On November 24, 1784, Zachary Taylor, who would become the last slaveholding U.S. President, was born at the Montebello house in Orange County, Virginia. Zachary Taylor’s parents were Colonel Taylor, whom was a Revolutionary War soldier, and Sarah Dabney Taylor.

In present day, only historical marker indicates the birthplace of President Zachary Taylor.

Author’s Note:

Zachary Taylor served in the Black Hawk War with Jefferson Finis Davis. After the war, Jefferson Davis began a courtship with Zachary Taylor’s daughter Sarah Knox Taylor. Zachary Taylor disapproved the the relationship since he did not want his daughter to be traveling with her husband all of the time, as he made his wife do during his decades of military service, so Jefferson Davis resigned from the military to court Sarah. However, a mere three months after marriage Sarah Taylor caught malaria on the way to the Davis family home and passed away.

1st Lieutenant Thomas F. Castor, Camp Canada de las Uvas, Fort Miller, Fort Tejon, Jefferson Finis Davis, President Franklin Pierce

Fort Tejon – The California Station For The U.S. Army Camel Experimental Corps

On June 24, 1854, Fort Tejon, also known as Camp Canada de las Uvas, was established by 1st Lieutenant Thomas F. Castor, 1st Dragoons, to replace Fort Miller, which was built three years beforehand by the San Joaquin River. Before the U.S. Civil War, the U.S. Army consisted of three different types of mounted troops: cavalry, dragoons, and mounted riflemen. At the time the U.S. Army Dragoon Soldiers were considered to be an elite fighting force that could engage in combat mounted on a horse or unmounted with equal measure.

Gravesite of 1st Lieutenant Thomas F. Castor, 1st Dragoon’s, at the Fort Tejon Military Cemetary.

In 1853, a year before Fort Tejon was established, President Franklin Pierce appointed U.S. Senator Jefferson Davis as the U.S. Secretary of War.

Photograph of Franklin Pierce, the 14th President of the United States.

In 1854, Secretary Jefferson Finis Davis’s annual report to Congress stated that “[in the] …Department of the Pacific the means of transportation have, in some instances, been improved, and it is hoped further developments and improvements will still diminish this large item of our army expenditure. In this connexion, … I again invite attention to the advantages to be anticipated from the use of camels and dromedaries for military and other purposes, and for reasons set forth in my last annual report, recommend that an appropriation be made to introduce a small number of the several varieties of this animal, to test their adaptation to our country…”. Jefferson Finis Davis, and members of the U.S. Army, successfully lobbied for the creation of the “Experimental Camel Corps” to support the “Manifest Destiny” of westward expansion.

Daniel Huntington’s painting of Jefferson Finis Davis. (U.S. Army Art Collection)

The newly created U.S. Army Camel Corps was ordered to travel from San Antonio, Texas to Fort Tejon, to test the durability of camels in transporting army supplies.

Thomas Lovell’s painting “Camels in Texas”. The painting depicts an event with the US. Army Camel Corps In June 1859 and it is on permenant display in Permian Basin Petroleum Museum, Library and Hall of Fame of Midland, Texas.

However, the camels scared the horses the soldiers traveled with, making travel much more difficult, and the experiment was considered a failure. The U.S. Camel Corps was disbanded shortly after being stationed at Fort Tejon.

During the U.S. Civil War the fort was abandoned, since many California soldiers were sent to fight confederate troops in Arizona and in Texas. Decades after abandonment, the state of California established the area around the former fort as the Fort Tejon State Historic Park.

One of Fort Tejon’s original buildings has several exhibits on the history of the former fort.

Edward Fitzgerald Beale, George Hampden Crosman, Jefferson Finis Davis, President Franklin Pierce, The National Musuem of the United States Army, U.S. Army Camel Corps

The Experimental U.S. Army Camel Corps

In 1836, U.S. Army Lieutenant George Hampden Crosman, a 1823 West Point graduate, proposed the idea of having camels assist the military with the movement of essential supplies along desert terrain in the western United States. At first, his idea was dismissed by his superiors and he only garnered a few political supporters of the idea.

Jefferson Finis Davis, who served as the U.S. Secretary of War from 1853 to 1857.

In 1853, Jefferson Finis Davis was appointed as Secretary of War by President Franklin Pierce. Jefferson Finis Davis actively supported the idea of a U.S. Army Camel Corps and lobbied Congress to fund the use of camels in the military. In 1854, Jefferson Finis Davis stated in his annual report to Congress the need to utilize camels from the Middle East in the U.S. Army and congress compiled a bill on the measure soon after the report.

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.”

U.S. Army Lieutenant Edward Fitzgerald Beale has been commissioned by President James Buchanan to survey and. Hold wagon roads from New Mexico to California. Years after assisting with that commission Edward Fitzgerald Beale helped initiate the camel corps experiment, and authorized several camels to assist with the transportation of army equipment among desert terrain from the “Beale Road” that he had helped create between New Mexico to California.

Photograph of Edward Fitzgerald Beal.

However, horses and mules were used in addition to camels for transportation, and the camels presence frightened those animals, thus making transportation of supplies more difficult along rugged routes. Therefore, the U.S. Army Camel Corps was eventually disbanded and the army returned to just using horses and mules for the transport of goods.

A single camel at the Drum Barracks in San Pedro, California. (Photograph may of been in the 1850s).

The National Musuem of the United States Army has additional information on the history of the former Army Camel Corps.

Photograph of Major General George Hampden Crosman.

Author’s Note:

During the U.S. Civil War George Hampden Crosman served for the Union Army as a Major General. George Hampden Crosman was the Chief Quartermaster of the Department of Pennsylvania and the Shenandoah from April 29 to August 24, 1861; and for the rest of the war he was in charge of the Quartermaster’s Department at Philadelphia, Pennslyvania and Depot of Clothing and Equipage, for the Schuylkill Arsenal, from September 27, 1861, to August 27, 1864.