As temperatures keep rising throughout the summer months in 1860, Southerners kept trying to find better means of transportation. Though the traditional horses and mules come to mind as being the main source of animal-powered transportation, the argument must be made whether camels would make a good substitute in the arid climates of the deep South. The camel seems to make his debut in Texas, as noted by this week’s “150 Years Ago…” column. In little more than two month’s time, the camel makes his debut in an Arkansas paper on September 22, 1860, as an Arkansawyer noted :one camel can do the work of two mules and will take less to keep him than a mule or a cow. Below is a July 21, 1860 account of the value of a camel 150 years ago this week:
THE RANCHERO [Corpus Christi, TX], July 21, 1860, p. 2, c. 5
The Camels.—In his late report, Gov. Floyd, the present Secretary of War, says:
The experiments thus far made (and they are pretty full) demonstrate that camels constitute a most useful and economical means of transportation for men and supplies through the great deserts and barren regions of our interior. A camel will go safely with its burden over ground so rough and precipitous that a mule will scarcely pass over it unladen without assistance. They require no forage but what they gather in the most sterile and barren parts of our continent, and for many days together live conveniently without water. An abundant supply of these animals would, beyond all doubt, enable our army to give greater and prompter protection to our frontiers, and to all our interoceanic routes, than three times their cost expended if any other way. As a measure of economy and efficiency, I cannot too strongly recommend the purchase of a full supply to the favorable consideration of Congress.