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Grave of the Confederate Camel.

Grave of the Confederate Camel

Field review by the editors.

Vicksburg, Mississippi

The Confederate Army had some unusual brainstorms during the Civil War, one of which was to use camels as pack animals. The experiment was a flop -- the camels scared horses -- but one dromedary was apparently personable enough to persevere: "Old Douglas." He was an aging veteran of The Camel Corps, a herd of dromedaries imported in the 1850s by future Confederate President Jefferson Davis, who thought that camels could help settle the desert Southwest for slaveholders (like himself).

Old Douglas was "a favorite of both beasts and men," according to the lengthy inscription on his tombstone, but was "intentionally killed by Yankee sharpshooters" during the siege of Vicksburg on June 27, 1863. The camel had wandered into No Man's Land in search of food, and became a too-tempting target. "He may have been eaten by starving Confederates," the tombstone states, and indeed this seems to have been true.

The bones of Old Douglas were later made into souvenirs and scattered, but he was nevertheless given a grave plot in Vicksburg City Cemetery, where his tombstone stands out among those of the roughly 5,000 human Confederates who died during the siege.

Grave of the Confederate Camel

Cedar Hill Cemetery

Sky Farm Ave., Vicksburg, MS
Cedar Hill Cemetery.I-20 exit 4A or 4B. Drive west on Clay St. for one mile. Turn right onto Mission 66. Drive north one mile. Turn right onto Sky Farm Ave. Drive a quarter-mile. Turn first left into cemetery (Gate 2). Drive a few hundred feet. Just before you get to the second possible left turn within the cemetery, look to the left; you'll see a small group of Confederate tombstones (perhaps Confederate flags). The camel is on the right side of that group, second row in.
Daily 7:30-dusk. Gated after hours. Local health policies may affect hours and access.
Save to My Sights

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