J.D.R. Hawkins

One bullet can make a man a hero… or a casualty.

Archive for the tag “mascot”

A Special Honor

The Civil War created many tight bonds between soldiers, between comrades and enemies, as well as soldiers and animals. Cavalrymen were so reliant on their mounts that they often treated them as pets and became emotionally attached. This also happened with some of the soldiers’ mascots, which included an eagle, numerous dogs, and in one rare case, a camel. Douglas the camel was an especially revered mascot. He was killed at the Battle of Vicksburg. I have had the opportunity to see where Douglas’ headstone is located (his body isn’t in a grave), and it was quite moving to think that the soldiers who knew him loved him so much that they made him a marker.

Douglas

GRAVE OF DOUGLAS THE CONFEDERATE CAMEL

The final resting place of the camel who served with the Confederate Army during the Civil War

Among the 5,000 grave markers for Confederate soldiers in the Soldier’s Rest section of Cedar Hill Cemetery in Vicksburg, Mississippi, one pays tribute to Old Douglas, the camel of the 43rd Mississippi Infantry, Company A, nicknamed “The Camel Regiment.”

It is not known how Douglas, a dromedary (one hump) camel, came to serve with the 43rd Mississippi infantry during the Civil War. He was a gift to Colonel W. H. Moore, who assigned him to carry the instruments and knapsacks for the regimental band. Douglas participated in the Battles of Iuka and Corinth under Major Generals Sterling Price and Earl Van Dorn, respectively, before being shot by a Union sharpshooter on June 27th, 1863, during the siege of Vicksburg.

Douglas was well loved by the humans of his regiment, less so by the horses. On one occasion, Douglas is said to have spooked one of the horses into stampeding through a camp near Iuka, injuring horses and soldiers, possibly killing some of the former. Soldiers climbed trees to get out of the path of destruction.

Douglas routinely broke free of his tether, but usually used his freedom to graze, never wandering too far from the regiment. On that fateful day in 1863, though, he wandered into no man’s land between the Union and Confederate armies, and paid the ultimate price.

The Union army responded to the camel’s death, according to legend, by eating him, since food was scarce, and making war souvenirs out of his bones. The Confederates responded by making a point of severely wounding the sharpshooter who had killed their beloved camel. His gravestone, however, states that he was eaten by his own Confederate regiment who were suffering under the Siege of Vicksburg.

Douglas was not the only camel in the United States during the Civil War. Before he became president of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis was the U.S. Secretary of War, and implemented the Texas Camel Experiment in the 1850s to see how useful camels would be in the American Southwest where horses were beginning to have trouble on long trips. Camels can carry immensely heavy loads for long distances with little water. They are also not nearly as tamable as horses, though Douglas was called “faithful” and “patient” by those who knew him best. 

Camels were brought over from the Mediterranean and North Africa, and used for exploring the Southwest. The Civil War took the steam out of the experiment, and the camels eventually dispensed. Many were sold at auctions in 1864 and 1866 to work in circuses and mines, as postal carriers and pack animals and racing camels. Some even escaped or were set free, and feral camels were occasionally spotted roaming the American Southwest for years after.

Lest the contributions of camels in the Civil War be forgotten, the Texas Camel Corps promotes their stories with reenactments and hosts camel rides. Two of the camels are descendants of Old Douglas.

Know Before You Go

To find Douglas turn into the cemetery at Lindsey Street from Sky Farm Ave. A bit after the first cross street you will see a group of graves with Confederate flags on the left. Douglas’ marker (the one with the camel on it) is on the right side of the group, second row in.

https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/grave-of- douglas-the-confederate-camel

(Article courtesy of The Southern Comfort, Private Samuel A. Hughey Camp #1452 Sons of Confederate Veterans, Hernando, MS, vol. 43 issue 5, May 2019)

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Mississippi Won’t Cave to Political Correctness (But Ole Miss Might – Again)

Recent debate about controversy surrounding the Confederate battle flag prompted several government agencies to remove the flag over the last few months. Sadly, South Carolina and Virginia, among other states, had the flag removed for various reasons, the most prominent being that it is supposedly interpreted as offensive to certain ethnic groups. Pressure came from racial hate groups, such as the NAACP and Black Lives Matter, to remove the flag and anything else associated with the Confederacy. However, they failed to sway the people of Mississippi.

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The state is the only one left that includes the Confederate battle flag in its banner. In 2001, the state voted, and the people decided by a wide margin, that the Mississippi state flag would remain as it was. After the political correctness influx of last summer, the state is still going to keep the same flag, regardless of threats from Congress to have it removed from government buildings. Governor Bryant has ignored the threats and is standing firm on keeping the flag the way it is. Good for him!

However, the University of Mississippi, or Ole Miss, isn’t as open minded. A small group of student senators has pressured the school to remove the state flag from the university. If this happens, there will certainly be repercussions. A state university denying the use of the state flag? The same state that is funding the school? Ludicrous!

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This isn’t the first time Ole Miss has given in to political correctness. A few years back, they decided to get rid of Colonel Reb as their mascot, and replace him with a black bear. Needless to say, Colonel Reb still lives on, despite what a few claim is “racist.” I’m sure their next attack will be on the beautiful monuments to Confederate soldiers that adorn the campus. Maybe they’ll even bulldoze over the cemetery, also on campus, that holds the graves of the University Grays, those brave students who went off to fight for the Southern cause. (During the Battle of Gettysburg and Pickett’s Charge, the University Grays sustained 100% casualties – all we either killed or wounded.)

It’s shameful that these cherished reminders of the Confederacy are gradually being swept away. When our history is lost, then it has the opportunity to repeat itself, and the government has the opportunity to take total control by removing our identity.

http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/20/us/ole-miss-state-flag-confederate-vote/

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/10/18/ap-mississippi-refuses-strip-confederate-symbol-state-flag/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social

Mascots and the War Between the States

We all know the important roles horses and mules played during the Civil War. They were essential to the mobility of armies. They pulled artillery caissons, carried officers, served as couriers, and of course, transported the cavalry. But besides equines, many other animals served in the War Between the States as well.

Soldiers were attached to their pets, and some brought along dogs, cats, and various domesticated livestock to the battlefront. They adopted squirrels, bears, birds, raccoons, and other wildlife as company mascots. Some unusual mascots included a badger, a camel known as “Old Douglas,” which was part of the 43rd Mississippi, and a bald eagle named “Old Abe,” which represented the 8th Regiment Wisconsin Volunteers. General Lee kept a hen that dutifully laid an egg for him every morning.

Many of these special animals are immortalized in statuesque form, including General Lee’s horse, Traveller, General Grant’s Cincinnati, and General Stonewall Jackson’s Little Sorrel. Dogs are honored, too, including Sallie, mascot of the 11th Pennsylvania. Her likeness is carved in bronze on the regimental monument at Gettysburg. There are many other famous canines that accompanied their masters to the battlefield … and to their death. A few are even buried there. These include Jack with the 102nd Pennsylvania Infantry, Old Harvey with the 104th Ohio, and Major with the 19th Maine.

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