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Thread: The path of the US Camel Corps

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    Question The path of the US Camel Corps

    I've been rereading Odie B. Faulk's The U.S. Camel Corps: An Army Experiment.

    The author states that in 1858 Lt. Edward F. Beale led 25 of the best camels from the Army's heard from Texas to Ft. Defiance in New Mexico, and then from there followed the 35th parallel route first pioneered by Lt. Amiel W. Whipple. Supposedly Lt. Beale took some of the camels to Los Angeles from Ft. Mojave, while most of the expedition rode on to Ft. Tejon. Unfortunately the author said Lt. Beale wrote almost nothing about that leg of the trip.

    I assume Lt. Beale and his men led the camels over the Mojave Road. Does anyone know of any references (perhaps from other members of the expedition) that mention particular points or observations along the Mojave Road or the path from Prescott to Ft. Mojave?
    Last edited by shirohniichan; 09-07-2011 at 07:09 AM. Reason: geography correction

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    The references for this article may help you. It also refers to info about the route traveled in California.

    http://www.wrightwoodcalif.com/forum...c=11467.0;wap2

    Also a note of interest: "The camel barns, built in 1855, still remain and are now the Benicia Historical Museum."

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    Thanks for the link. Here is one of Terry Graham's claims:

    "Side note trivia: The Lt. Edward F. Beale Survey trail would become the Beale Wagon Road, which is in Arizona. This route that would be followed almost 70 years later by Route 66. The Atlantic and Pacific Railroad (now Santa Fe RR) laid its tracks along Beale's Camel Road in the 1880's. These are the same tracks that ran parallel to Route 66 throughout the Southwest, and still run parallel to Interstate 40 today."

    While this may be true, a trail near Route 66 would place the camel route quite a bit further north than I'd been led to expect. I'll have to see if I can make a definite connection between the claims I'd read that the Mojave Road was used to supply Prescott, AZ and its use by the camels. If the camel route ran close to the later Route 66, it did not vere as far south as present-day Needles but would have run from Ft. Mojave across the middle of what is now the Mojave National Preserve.

    Maybe this would make a decent PhD thesis.

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    I, also, have not been able to find references that tell what the original route the camels would have traveled to California, other than Beale used them to survey the route for the wagon road. This may have been their first trek into California.

    http://www.tomjonas.com/swex/beale.htm

    http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=491

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_...nd_Camel_Corps

    The camels were also used to survey the Butterfield Overland Stage route to California through southern Arizona and New Mexico. They had also proposed a trancontinental railroad over this route. As I understand, this was a major reason for the Gadson Purchase. The Civil War halted the railroad idea because of the South's influence in Arizona.

    Here is some more interesting reading on the Camels;

    http://www.desertusa.com/mag05/sep/camel.html

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    I found a very obscure little book on Ebay by Douglas McDonald titled "Camels in Nevada". It talks about their use not only in the southern part of the state, but their use around Dayton and the surrounding area. Camels were once outlawed for use as pack animals even.

    Anyway, there is a historical marker on the way to Laughlin, NV talking about the camel corps.


    Another one in Dayton:
    "I have a .44 and a shovel, I'm sure no one's gonna miss you" - Virginia City, NV

    http://community.webshots.com/user/GBodell

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    I read that the smell of camels caused horses, burros, and mules to panic. Teamsters were said to have shot camels on site because camels made their teams uncontrollable.

    Supposedly the only ones who figured out how to use this to their advantage were some packers. When surrounded by Paiute warriors, four of them mounted camels and led a charge. This caused the Paiutes mounts to panic and flee.

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    The route from Ft. Mojave to Prescott was along the Mohave-Prescott Toll Road. It passed through Union Pass, across the Sacramento Valley and up Coyote Pass to Camp Beale Springs (near Kingman), then east to Camp Willow Grove, and eventuall SE to Camp Hualapai that is near Walnut Creek and Juniper Mesa north of Prescott. A small portion of the approximate route can be seen on the Prescott NF map and is labeled as Trail #1 or the Military Trail. Here is a book that describes the road. http://www.amazon.com/toll-road-Pres.../dp/B0006QVR50. I've got a copy but haven't looked at it for awhile. I spent a lot of time in the Camp Willow Grove area (I found a US Army stirrup there in the '70s) and the Fort Rock area when I was younger. I visited the Camp Hualapai area in 2003 or so. That whole area is quite beautiful and, once you get off I-40, quickly gets to feeling very remote.

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    I found the e-book version of Beale's letters from his 1858 expedition on google books.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=GII...n road&f=false

    Unfortunately he did not write about the leg of the trip I most want to read about (i.e. what is today's Mojave Road).

    I also found a link to the Beale Wagon Road Historic Trail east of Williams, AZ.
    http://www.eatstayplay.com/html/az/a52p1466c2041.html

    I wish I had more time to walk the trail and get an idea what Beale and crew saw over 150 years ago.
    Last edited by shirohniichan; 01-06-2012 at 12:41 PM. Reason: added info

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