In the mid-19th century, when much of the Southwest was uninhabited desert, government officials sought solutions to explore the 35th parallel – known today as Interstate 40.
In 1857, U.S. Secretary of War Jefferson Davis purchased around three dozen camels from Egypt and Turkey that became the U.S. Army Camel Corps. The experimental brigade’s superiority for arid travel became so reliable in Arizona that the army increased its pack to 100.
However, when the Civil War began, military priorities changed. After a failed attempt at using camels to transport mail from New Mexico to California, they were sold at auction in 1864.
– Margaret Willard, The Arizona 100