Did you know there was a “Confederate Camel”, a mascot of the 43rd Mississippi Infantry Regiment during the War Between the States? I had never heard of him, although I did know about Jefferson Davis’ Texas Camel Experiment when he was Secretary of War in 1855, and perhaps this camel was left over from that and somehow got to Mississippi prior to 1861.
At any rate, the delightful story of Old Douglas, the Confederate Camel, is told by Celeste T. Young in the August 2013 issue of the United Daughters of the Confederacy Magazine. Douglas, the camel, became not only a mascot but a beast of burden, toting and fetching equipment for the 43rd Regiment.
Young tells of how on a forced march to Iuka, Mississippi, on the day before the battle, the camel’s wide gait startled the horses and caused a stampede. Even though casualties were heavy on both sides, this was a tale never forgotten by the survivors, and was retold over and over.
The article goes on to tell how, sadly, Douglas was struck with Yankee lead as he stood safely behind Confederate lines during the Siege of Vicksburg. According to legend, Ms. Young says, after Douglas was killed, his remains were carved up and eaten, possibly by starving Confederates.
There is a marker to Douglas in Vicksburg, Mississippi’s Cedar Hill Cemetery. Apparently he is a legend in the annals of Mississippi confederate history.