Saturday, March 12, 2011

Camp Verde

On Friday Linda and I had to go to Camp Verde. This area has a unique history to it. There is a general store here that was established in 1857 and is really cool. It's a two story structure that used to be open only on payroll days. The store was built one mile from Fort Camp Verde because Army regulations prohibited the sale of intoxicants upon the reserve. When the US Army deactivated the Fort in 1869, the store and post office continued to serve pioneer ranchers who had settled in the area.

History of the camp, as quoted from the flyer we picked up is as follows: "In 1854, Secretary of War Jefferson Davis, later President of the Confederacy, petitioned Congress to appropriate $30,000 so the army could experiment with camels for army transportation and military purposes. With the support of President Pierce, the bill was later approved by Congress on March 3, 1855. Maj. Henry Wayne and Lt.David Porter were put in command of securing the camels from the Middle East. The first shipment of nine swift dromedaries from Egypt, twenty burden camels, plus four others of mixed breeed, arrived on the naval supply ship on April 29, 1856. Four native drivers, later given the American names of Greek George, Long Tom, Mico and Hi-Jolly (Hadji Ali) accompanied the camels.

On August 26-27, 1856 the camels arrived at Fort Camp Verde. The second load of forty camels arrived in May 1857. The third shipment, used as a cover for slave importation into the U.S. was turned loose to range the coastal country. At the outbreak of the Civil War, fifty-three camels were at Fort Camp Verde. On February 28, 1861 Fort Camp Verde passed into the hands of the Confederacy. In 1865, the fort with one hundred camels was recaptured by the US Government. The camels passed every test as pack animals by traveling longer distances and carrying heavier loads than the mules and horses used in this area. The war dept, after the civil war, did not have the funds to continue the operation of this experiment as money was needed for the reconstruction. On November 30, 1869 the fort was deactivated. The buildings at the Fort were destroyed in a fire in March of 1910."

1 comment:

Jim and Bobbie said...

Interesting post. We visited Hi-Jolly's grave in Quartzsite, AZ back in 2008. It's very ornate.