The Last Camel Charge

The Untold Story of America's Desert Military Experiment

In the mid-nineteenth century, the U.S. Army would employ a weapon that had never before been seen on its native soil. From the Middle East came a cavalry mount that would fare better than both mules and horses in the American Southwest. Against the Mojave in the Arizona Territory...against the Mormons in Utah Territory...during the early stages of the Civil War, the camel would become one of America's great military experiements, and a nearly forgotten chapter of Americana.

The Last Camel Charge is the first book to tell the complete story and document in detail the military's experiment with camels. At the end of the Mexican-American War in 1848, a need emerged for control of-and transportation through-the country's vast new western territories. The hostile environment proved a challenge to the Army's traditional mounts, and in a radical move, the War Department ordered a Navy ship and its captain to the Mid-East to purchase camels and deliver them to an Army post in Texas.

The mission brought together an extraordinary group of people: innovative rancher Samuel A. Bishop, whose desperation over the Mojave gave birth to the idea; Mexican War hero Lt. Edward F. Beale, placed in command of the newly arrived beasts, who would forge a wagon trail westward. At the same time, Colonel Albert S. Johnston was leading troops against the Mormons and Hadji "Hi Jolly" Ali, who accompanied the great beasts overseas, would become known as one of America's first Muslim immigrants.

Reaching speeds up to forty miles an hour, traveling days without water, and able to carry three times the weight of a mule, camels helped to subdue enemies, reach new frontiers, and unite a nation. And now, The Last Camel Charge gives them their due as a vital piece of American history.


  • ~Bevin Alexandra, Military Historian and Author

    A fascinating portrait of the American West…Johnson reaches deep into the essence of how America came to be.

  • ~Lance Zedric, Amazon Reviews

    Everything you wanted to know about American history from 1820 to the Civil War wrapped around the U.S. Army Camel Corps like a pig in a blanket.

  • ~True West Magazine,

    A fascinating story...well researched, fast paced narrative.

  • ~Yankee Papa Reviews,

    Buy this book!

  • ~Ashbury Park Press,

    Johnson fills accounts with a colorful cast of characters and often gripping detail

  • ~Regina Lindsey's Reviews,

    As a writer, Johnson proves to be a master story teller with a brilliant sense of timing.