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Nevada Historical Marker

The Camel Corps

Nevada State Historical Marker
      In 1855 Congress authorized $30,000 for camels as frontier military beasts of burden because of their adaptability to desert heat, drought and food. Lt. Edward F. Beale surveyed the wagon route from Fort Defiance, New Mexico, to the Colorado River near the tip of Nevada, testing the fitness of these camels. They crossed the Colorado River into Nevada north to Fort Mohave, October 18, 1857. The experiment was not practical, but ten of Beale's camels hauled commercial freight from Sacramento to Nevada Territory. Others purchased in 1860 carried salt, ore and supplies through Central Nevada. Careless treatment, domestic stock incompatibility and new transportation methods ended use of camels. Some were seen years later wandering in southwest deserts.