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The Last Camel Charge: The Untold Story of America's Desert Military Experiment 1st Edition
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The Problem was the acquisition of a vast unwatered desert region as part of the settlement ending the Mexican-American War, territory that the Army would need to be able to control. The new national border would need to be patrolled, forts would need to be built and kept supplied, wild places would need to be explored and mapped, roads would need to be surveyed and built, and a watch at the very least would need to be kept on two restive populations: the various Indian tribes and the Mormons, especially as large numbers of settlers began to head west through this region to California, and for this task the horses, donkeys, and mules that served quite well in other parts of the country were not entirely up to the task. To take one example it took two additional mule-drawn wagons just to haul the food and water necessary to get one mule-drawn wagon full of supplies through to Camp later Fort Yuma on the Colorado River.
It is not known who deserves the most credit for suggesting the use of camels (several people seem to have come up with the idea independently), but it wasn't until March 3, 1855, that Congress finally authorized $30,000.Read more ›
Read The Last Camel Charge and all of these terms will present themselves. There will be but one sadness as you read it. That will come when the book is ended and there is finally no more to enjoy. Your adventure into history will have ended and there will be sorrow the Charge is done. And that is when you will again lift Forrest Johnson's monumental work and read it again, for it is that kind of book.
...This reads like an "alternate history" novel... with connections to all kinds of important people and events of the day. As one reviewer here said... I too was very sorry to reach the end of the book.
...Turns out that much of what I thought that I knew about the "failed" experiment was false. The camels *could* be managed. While horses and mules first exposed to camels often panicked... in short order the strangeness (especially the odor) and size (seemed like maybe giant predators) wore off. After a brief period the animals could all be kept together without the slightest problem and they could be pastured together as "friends" (except for male camels with other males during the "rut...")
...Camels could carry two to four times the load of a mule (males being larger). Camels not prone to "bad nerves or hysteria" unlike horses and mules. In the entire Southwest there was only one plant that the camels would not eat... otherwise the nastiest, thorniest bushes were not only consumed... but much preferred to tall green grass.
...Contrary to previous accounts, camels could handle stones on the terrain... A leather "shoe" handled the problem. Camels did very well on snow... (though on severe ice on a slope they might travel the worst of it on their knees) Where previous accounts did not get it wrong was the smell... (The camels in Lawrence of Arabia might look a touch strange to a Bedouin because they had been washed by the production crew...)
...American Naval officers came up with a way to safely transport camels on sailing ships, even in the worst storms. Other American officers came up with much better packs and saddles.
...The Arabs say that the camel was specifically designed by Allah...Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I live in the Arizona area that this book discusses. Very informative and well written. I have purchased and given as gifts to family and neighbors, all loving it. Read morePublished 13 days ago by Naomi M
As an adolescent America spilled west toward California and the Pacific, it was the western deserts that posed the most serious barrier to expansion. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Jeff Jellets
Who would ever think of camels in the 1850 southwest US! A great tale that you did not read in your high school US history course! Enjoyable, well written read!!Published 4 months ago by jmurr
After you read it, watch Lawrence of Arabia. Gave me a hold new appreciation of camels.Published 6 months ago by Gerald Burton
This book covers an obscure part of Western history. Well-written and enjoyable!Published 8 months ago by J. Crivelli
Good book on an often overlooked part of history. A good book for anyone interested in military and/or natural history of America.Published 11 months ago by Dakota Taylor
Learn a lot of western history quickly. Fascinating and sometimes funny.Published 14 months ago by Willis H Warnick