US Cavalry and Camels

If it had not been for the Civil War, the United States Cavalry might have been riding camels. Shortly before the war, Secretary of War Jefferson Davis imported 81 camels for testing in Texas. There were some problems. Ordinary horses were terrified of the camels, and so were many of the soldiers. On the other hand, in some ways the camels were excellent. They could go for several days without water, they could carry a half-ton, and walk 40 miles a day. The military was generally impressed and were ready to start switching to camels in large numbers, but then the war developed and there was no time to deal with camel importation.

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