The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 33, July 1929 - April, 1930 Page: 19
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Importation of Camels by the United States Government 19
porting camels into this country, and it is the purpose of this
paper to study the purchase of the camels and their voyage to
As early as 1836, Major George Crosman, U. S. A., after military
service in Florida, broached the matter of the camels to the proper
authorities in Washington. Later, Major Henry C. Wayne sug-
gested to the War Department that an expedition be sent to the
Near East for a group of camels for use in the frontier military
service. This was in 1848, and Wayne had several consultations
with Jefferson Davis on the subject. Davis was at that time United
States Senator from Mississippi.
In 1853, Davis became Secretary of War and one of his earliest
acts was to turn with renewed interest to his plans for the camel
experiment. In his report to the President, dated December 1,
1853, he urged Congressional action in the interests of camel im-
portation. "For military purposes, for expresses, and for recon-
noissances, it is believed, the dromedary would supply a want now
seriously felt in our service; and for transportation with troops
rapidly moving across the country, the camel, it is believed, would
remove an obstacle which now serves greatly to diminish the value
and efficiency of our troops on the western frontier."3
Davis' recommendation of 1853 did not succeed in moving Con-
gress to action, and again, in his report of December, 1854, he
renewed his appeal.4 When the committee met to frame the annual
army appropriation bill, it omitted any reference to the camels,
but an amendment was offered to the bill in the Senate, attaching
an appropriation of $30,000 "to be expended under the direction
of the War Department in the purchase and importation of camels
and dromedaries to be employed for military purposes." The
amended bill passed in both the Senate and the House on March 3,
'The best summary of this phase of the camel importation is to be found
in C. C. Carroll, The government's importation of camels: a historical
sketch, Washington, Government Printing Office, 1904.
8Report of the Secretary of War, December 1, 1853. 33d Congress, 1st
Session, House of Representatives, Ex. Doec., No. 1, Part II. Washington,
'Report of the Secretary of War, December 4, 1854. 33d Congress, 2d
Session, House of Representatives, Ex. Doec., No. 1, Part II.
'Congressional Globe, 33d Congress, 2d Session, March 3, 1855.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 33, July 1929 - April, 1930, periodical, 1930; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101090/m1/27/: accessed July 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.