The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 33, July 1929 - April, 1930 Page: 25
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Importation of Camels by the United States Government 25
down in cold weather, and outside there were wooden shutters for
use in bad weather to keep out the sea. Thus the main hatch could
be kept open in the most severe storm, and in this way the camels
were always provided with fresh air. As Porter said, after the
arrival in the United States: "I have never, on any occasion,
known the 'between decks' of the Supply to be uncomfortably
warm; on the contrary, there was frequently more air thrown down
there than was required."22
For loading the camels into the ship, Porter made a special boat
and a camel car (to fit inside the boat) for hoisting the camels
in and out of the ship. The boat was flat-bottomed, so that it drew
but little water and could be run up on the beach with ease. It was
capable of carrying a load of six thousand pounds. The camel car
itself was a most important apparatus, for the camels were trouble-
some to get in and out of such a car. In size it was eight feet
long, four feet wide and three feet high. Said Porter: "Out of
thirty-three camels shipped in this way, not one received a scratch
of any kind, and they were put on board at the rate of one in every
Major Wayne had secured the services of three Egyptian natives
to go to the United States to take care of the animals. Also three
sailors (apparently drifting English or Americans) were hired
for the same purpose. The Egyptians turned out to be worse than
useless on the voyage, "for in heavy weather they are perfectly
helpless, and in good weather they are not of much use." As to
the sailors, they served well. "I would," said Porter, "in all cases
prefer sailors to take care of the animals at sea, and it is remarkable
that during this voyage not an accident of any kind had happened
to a camel under charge of the sailors."24
On February 15, 1856, the Supply left for the United States,,
"having made everything comfortable for the camels." The story
of that sea voyage is unrivalled in the annals of ocean traffic.
Porter was pleased with his preparatory work as he surveyed the
dromedaries on board, "all standing, cleaned up, side by side, their
"Report, 106. Porter to Davis, New York, May 28, 1856. This letter,
comprising pages 103 to 132 of the Report, contains a full account of the
"Report, 107. Ibid.
"4Report, 115. Ibid.
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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/m1/33/: accessed October 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.