A Monument to Old Douglas

Earlier this week, John told us about the Camels of Texas. The Confederate Army used quite a few of them during the Civil War. That inspired Neatorama reader Russ Warner to send us some of his neat pictures of the Cedar Hill Cemetery in Vicksburg, Mississippi, where the camel named Old Douglas, of Company A of the Forty-third Mississippi Infantry, is honored with a marker. From Wikipedia:

Though the men tried to treat Old Douglas like a horse, the camel was known to break free of any tether, and was eventually allowed to graze freely. Despite not being tied up, he never wandered far from the men. The Infantry’s horses feared Old Douglas, and he is recorded to have spooked one horse into starting a stampede, which reportedly injured many, and possibly killed one or two horses.[5]

Old Douglas’s first active service was with Gen. Price in the Iuka campaign. He also participated in the 1862 Battle of Corinth.[3] He remained with the regiment until the Siege of Vicksburg, where he was killed by Union sharpshooters.[6] Enraged at his murder, the men swore to avenge him. Col. Bevier enlisted six of his best snipers, and successfully shot the culprit. Of Douglas’s murderer, Bevier reportedly said, “I refused to hear his name, and was rejoiced to learn that he had been severely wounded.[7]” According to legend, after Douglas was shot, his remains were carved up and eaten, with some of his bones made into souvenirs by Federal soldiers.[2]

Learn more about the American camels from the Texas Camel Corps, a group “established to educate the public about the historic use of camels in America in the 19th century.”

(Images credit: Russ Warner, Brandon, Mississippi)

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