1855-C GOLD G$1, TYPE 2 AU58
TYPE 2. ONLY 9,803 STRUCK.
All good things have usually gone through an extensive period of trial and tribulation and have more than likely been protested at one point or another. In this case, a unique idea to incorporate a Camel Corps into the United States Army definitely received its share of questioning and skeptics before its approval in 1855. The idea originated in 1836 from Army Lt. George H. Crosman who noticed how westward expansion was dampened by the inhospitable terrain and arid conditions. Crosman reached out to a friend, E.H. Miller, to study their hypothesis about the benefits of camels in westward expansion and possibly a militant role. Both men submitted their findings, which were positively conclusive, to the War department who unfortunately rejected their proposal. At this point there was nothing to do so the idea laid dormant until it resurfaced once again in 1847 after Crosman, now a Major, met with Major Henry C. Wayne of the Quartermaster Department. Wayne also recognized the benefits of camels early on and greatly supported the cause that his new acquaintance had begun years earlier. Once Wayne had gotten involved, he too submitted the request for importation to the War Department and Congress as well this time, but again it was disregarded. Fortunately Wayne and Crosman caught the attention of future Secretary of War Jefferson Davis, who thought the camel idea was “worthy of attention” and tried for several years to get the proper funds. Thankfully, by 1853 Davis had been appointed to his new position so once again he was able to present the idea to congress and President Pierce, this time with more leverage. Two more years had passed that were filled with proposals and reports that supported the camel corps idea, when finally on March 3, 1855 the Shield Amendment to approve appropriation for the corps was passed. Davis immediately jumped on the opportunity to utilize the funds and obtain camels from the Mediterranean area during which he appointed Major Wayne as lead for the expedition. With a Naval store ship, the USS Supply, on loan Wayne set out across seas where he decidedly met with experts about camels and their care. Upon arrival overseas Wayne and ship captain, Lt. David Dixon Porter, met with Porter’s brother-in-law, Gwynne Harris Heap, who was knowledgeable in Eastern languages and camels. Thanks to Heap the men were able to obtain thirty-three camels at $250 per animal and hired four Arabic and Turkish men to maintain the animals. Once they arrived back to the United States, and the camels rested for a bit, they were put into action immediately to prove to an impatient Davis that this was money well spent. During their trial, the camels proved that not only could they carry excessive weight, but they could last more than a week without water. Obviously the camels exceeded their expectations and continued to accompany frontiersmen and exploration brigades for several years after. From its fruition, the camel experiments- while odd- was decidedly an excellent decision as they proved time and time again to be perfect for the treacherous western plains and arid climate. Unfortunately, the start of the Civil War effectively ended the Camel Corps since all excess expense was allocated to their respective fronts, thus ending the bizarre test of camels for militant use.