NEGenWeb Project
Spanish American War

Compiled by Fred Greguras

Camp at the Soldiers Home, Washington, D.C. (See Camp Harries)

The District of Columbia militia, which became the 1st D.C. Vol. Inf., initially was supposed to go into camp at the south end of the Soldiers Home grounds on April 25, 1898. The order was revoked before camp was actually established because of the disruption the mobilization would have caused governmental offices. Activity continued at the regiment’s armory, the Center Market armory, and a temporary tent camp was established on May 11, 1898 in the park in front of the armory. The regiment began moving to Camp Harries on May 13, 1898.
The Center Market armory was north of the Center Market Building located between 7th and 9th Streets on what is now Constitution Avenue. These buildings were demolished in the 1930s for the Federal Triangle construction. The National Archives Building sits where the market and armory were located. The temporary tent camp would have been on the Pennsylvania Avenue side of the armory. The Soldiers Home is still located in northeast Washington, D.C.

Camp Springfield, Jacksonville, FL (See Camp Cuba Libre)

Camp Steadman, Chicago, IL

The name “Steadman” came from a photo caption in source (1) showing a camp of the Illinois Naval Militia. The camp may have been named after Commander E.M. Stedman, U.S.N., retired, who was active in recruiting for the Illinois Naval Militia in March, 1898.
The naval militia armory was at 20 Michigan Ave. in Chicago, which is close to Lake Michigan. The camp may have been near the armory or at the Fort Sheridan wharf on Lake Michigan. The Chicago Tribune of late April and May, 1898 reports activity at the armory but has no mention of Camp Steadman.

Camp Stephens, Chickamauga Park, GA (See Camp Thomas)

Camp Stephens, Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis, MO

Named after the war-time Missouri governor
Jefferson Barracks was the muster in site for all Missouri regiments. The 1st through the 5th regiments were there in May in 1898 and the 6th Missouri in July and August. Camp Stephens was name of the initial camp in May.
A full page line drawing in the St. Louis Republic magazine section of May 8, 1898 has the following caption: “This view of the camp at Jefferson Barracks was drawn from the hill above what is called the new parade grounds, northwest of the Barracks proper. Battery A, the first organization to go into camp, is located just beyond the clump of trees shown at the right. The First Regiment (St. Louis) is shown in the center, with the men drilling. The Second Regiment (Southwest Missouri) is at the extreme left of the picture. Other regiments will be camped in the foreground and on smaller hills in the distance to the left . . . .”
The camp was spread across and southeast and southwest down the slope of the ridge named on some maps as Argonne Ridge which has a maximum elevation of 540 feet. The 1st Missouri’s camp was at the top of the hill. The north part of the camp site is currently primarily a recreational area.
The “new” parade ground is the current parade ground area. The “old” parade ground was at the southeast corner of the current parade ground where the initial rectangular-shaped post known as the quadrangle was located.
According to source (12), the 6th Missouri Vol. Inf. was mustered in at Camp Bell, near Jefferson Barracks on July 23, 1898. Camp Bell occupied the site used by the 2nd Missouri when it was at Camp Stephens in May, 1898. The regiment remained in this camp until August 11, 1898. Camp Bell was named after M. Fred Bell, adjutant general of Missouri during the war according to the July 16, 1898 St. Louis Republic. The 6th Missouri was a second call regiment which began assembling at Jefferson Barracks in early July 1898. The Camp Bell name first appears in St. Louis Globe-Democrat articles on July 21, 1898. 
Two other volunteer regiments assembled, mustered and trained at Jefferson Barracks. The 7th U.S. Volunteers, a Black regiment, was there during the period July 6 to September 13, 1898. The 7th’s camp was named Camp Godwin after the regimental Colonel Edwin A. Godwin. The camp name first appears in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat on August 10, 1898. This camp was near the bottom of the hill close to the northwest corner of the new parade ground. Godwin is buried at Arlington.
The 3rd U.S. Volunteer Engineers was camped at Jefferson Barracks from July 25 to September 19, 1898. The July 27, 1898 St. Louis Globe-Democrat reported that names for the engineers’ camp were being discussed and that the most popular choice was “Camp Jefferson.” The engineers’ camp, however, does not appear to ever have been named as no articles refer to it by any name. The August 7, 1898 St. Louis Republic magazine section has an article on and line drawing of the engineers’ camp. This camp occupied the site of the 1st Missouri camp when it was at Camp Stephens in May, 1898.

Sternberg General Hospital, Camp Thomas, Chickamauga Park, GA (See Camp Thomas)

At Camp Thomas. The hospital consisted of tents and wood barracks buildings.
George Miller Sternberg was Surgeon General of the U.S. Army from May 30, 1893-June 8, 1902. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
The August 8, 1898 Omaha Evening Bee repeated: work on the new George M. Sternberg Hospital was begun today…. It is located at the foot of Lytle Hill close to General Breckinridge’s headquarters.”
The August 17, 1898 New York Times reported the “new” Sternberg Hospital opened August 16, 1898 and was located near the Wilder Tower and only a short distance from Lytle Station.
The hospital is shown on the map of Camp Thomas in source (13). According to the map, it was southeast of the Wilder Tower. A photograph shows the unfinished tower to be in the midst of the hospital buildings and tents. 

Camp Stevenson, Boise City, ID

According to Alan Virta, Head, Special Collections, Boise State University Library: The Idaho Statesman (Boise’s morning newspaper) of May 1, 1898, reports that Idaho volunteer companies were arriving in Boise and assembling at the camp “on the Boise military reservation.” The Statesman of May 4, 1898, reports that Governor Steunenberg chose the name Camp Stevenson for the “camp established on the reservation,” in honor of Edward A. Stevenson, governor of the Idaho Territory in the [late] 1880s. Stevenson died in 1896. The Idaho Statesman of May 5, 1898 refers to the camp as “Camp Edward A. Stevenson.”
The Boise Barracks was located on the large expanse of land commonly known as the military reservation. The site is north of downtown Boise at 5th and Fort Streets. The May 3, 1898 Statesman indicates the site selected on the Barracks was “on the lower edge of the large field east of the Idaho City road.” The site of the Boise Barracks is now occupied by the VA Hospital, which has preserved many of the old buildings. The rest of the old reservation is now parkland and athletic fields, though a few public buildings (including the new Federal Courthouse) have been built fronting on Fort Street.
See page 157 of source (7) for a photo of the camp.

Camp Tampa, FL (See Camps Mitchell, Palmetto Beach and Rogers)

Tampa was the staging area for the invasion of Cuba. Initially, New Orleans and Mobile were also to be embarkation points for the Cuba expedition but the plan changed. The Fifth Corps, which was comprised almost entirely of regulars, assembled in Tampa. The Fourth Corps moved to Tampa after being initially assembled at Mobile. A photographic history was published: de Quesada, The Spanish American War in Tampa Bay, published by Arcadia Publishing, 1998.
Camps were all over the Tampa area. The initial camps were north of downtown at Tampa Heights for the infantry and at and near the embarkation point at Port Tampa for the artillery and cavalry. The 5th Infantry was the first unit to reach Tampa and camped at Tampa Heights. The April 21, 1898 Tampa Tribune reports the 5th Infantry camp to be near Robles Pond just beyond Tampa Heights on Florida Avenue. As troops streamed into Tampa, the Heights area was not large enough and became primarily a camp of infantry regiments. The camps spread west from downtown to the Bay and east and south to Ybor City, the Desoto Park area and Palmetto Beach. Farther south were camps on the old garrison reservation of Fort Brooke and at Picnic Island at Port Tampa. 
The May 27, 1898 Tampa Tribune indicates religious services were to be held at five locations: Tampa Heights, the Tampa Bay camp which was west of the Tampa Bay Hotel, Port Tampa, the state volunteers camp at Desoto Park and the Florida volunteers camp, Camp Mitchell.
The Tampa Heights camp was south of where Robles Park is located and is just west of Interstate 275. A caption on a photograph locates the camp near the intersection of Ross and Central Avenues. As indicated below, the camp was spread over a large area. A historical plaque at the Fort Homer Hesterly National Guard Armory, 500 North Howard Ave., marks the campsite of the Rough Riders. This was the general site of the West Tampa cavalry camp. Ybor City is a suburb northeast of downtown Tampa, near where Interstate 4 intersects with North 21st Street. Picnic Island, originally an island, is southwest of downtown Tampa, just west of Port Tampa. Fort Brooke was in the downtown area south of Ice Palace Drive.
Palmetto Beach was a recreation beach in 1898 and is located southeast of downtown Tampa adjacent to South 22nd Street. This area is southwest of and close to Desoto Park. Desoto Park is southeast of downtown Tampa where South 26th Street runs into McKay Bay. Desoto Park and Palmetto Beach are so close together that camps are described at either location in different accounts. For example, the 1st Florida is usually listed as being camped at Desoto Park. One account, however, indicates the 69th N.Y. established camp at Palmetto Beach and that the 1st Florida camp was south of its camp which made the 1st Florida camp closer to Palmetto Beach than Desoto Park. The camp of the 1st Florida at Desoto Park was initially referred to as the “Camp at Palmetto Beach,” later as Camp Florida and finally as Camp Desoto before the unit moved to Camp Amelia. 
The May 11, 1898 Tampa Tribune identifies these camp locations on Tampa Heights and Port Tampa: 17th Infantry west of Florida Ave, 21st Infantry west of the 17th Infantry, 4th Infantry south of the 17th and 21st; 6th, 9th, 10th, 13th and 22nd Infantry regiments east of Florida Ave; 24th Infantry (Black) to the “extreme” east and a mile away from the “white” camp; 1st and 25th Infantry at Port Tampa. Florida Avenue is west of Robles Park.
The 9th Cav. and light artillery were located about a mile from the Point Tampa docks. The June 12, 1898 New York Times mentions the site of the artillery camps: “The camps are on the very edge of the beach, about half way between Port Tampa City and the station of Port Tampa.”
The June 23, 1898 New York Independent reported the location of the Rough Riders camp as “in a camp in a thinly wooded piece of land half a mile behind Tampa Bay Hotel (Army Headquarters) . . . .” The June 19, 1898 New York Times reports: “The camp of the Rough Riders lies directly west of the town of Tampa, in an open sand flat . . . .”
Important Dates (from the Tampa Bay History Center Web Site):

4/14/1898: Tampa is selected, along with Mobile and New Orleans, as a mobilization point for United States troops. Tampa is also chosen as a supply base.

5/1898: Troops pour into Tampa, filling the first encampment at Tampa Heights (largest camps at this location) and spilling over into camps at De Soto Park, Palmetto Beach, Fort Brooke, Port Tampa, Ybor City. By June, 25,000 troops were stationed in and near Tampa.

6/1/1898: The Rough Riders cavalry unit under the command of Col. Leonard Wood and his second in command Lt. Colonel Theodore Roosevelt arrive in Tampa.

“Port Tampa was the scene of the army’s embarkation to Cuba. The wharves and warehouses were totally inadequate for the volume of supplies and traffic. The improvements of the harbor near downtown Tampa, later the Port of Tampa, can be traced to the government’s frustration at Port Tampa. Port Tampa was a city, separate from Tampa, until 1961.” Tampa 1898: The Homefront and the Spanish-American War, 1998 handout for Tampa History Center exhibit.
See chapter on Tampa in source (7) beginning at page 167. Also see map at page 173.

Camp Tanner, Springfield, IL (See Camp Lincoln)

Named after the wartime Illinois governor.
The camp was at the state fairgrounds in the north part of the city. According to source (12), the 5th Ill. Vol. Inf. lived in cattle sheds and stables at the fairgrounds. Page 4 of the April 27, 1898 Chicago Tribune has a map showing the fairgrounds and indicating where the regiments were to camp. The 1st, 2nd and 7th Infantry of Chicago were to camp in the Dome Building and Machinery Hall. The 4th and 5th Infantry were to occupy the stock barns. The 3rd and 6th Infantry were to use the Exposition Building and the cavalry was to camp under the amphitheater (grandstand). The Exposition Building, built in 1894, still stands on the fairgrounds.
From Bunzey, Whiteside Boys in Porto (sic) Rico, 1898, no publisher identified, 1901: “At eleven fifteen we entered Springfield. The State Fairgrounds being some distance from where we entered the city, we were picked up by a switch engine and run down to Camp Tanner, as the rendezvous at the Fairgrounds had been officially designated by Brigadier General Barkley, Post Commander. A draw bar was pulled out of one of the coaches which caused a delay of nearly two hours. We marched into the campgrounds at one thirty p.m. Nearly all of the State troops had arrived in advance of our delayed train. The Third and Sixth regiments were assigned quarters in the Exhibition Building; the First, Second, Fourth and Fifth were located in the various buildings scattered about the grounds. The Seventh was under tents in the center of the racecourse. Governor Tanner, Commander-in-Chief of the State troops, established headquarters in the Dome Building. The Commissary Department was located in the Poultry Building, separated from our quarters by a long high bridge that spanned a wide, dry ravine which coursed through the grounds.”
Camp Tanner ceased to exist when the 1st Ill. Vol. Cal. left for Chickamauga on May 30, 1898.
There are many photos of Camp Tanner in the Bunzey book

Camp Bob Taylor, Knoxville, TN (See Camps Poland and Wilder)

Named after the war-time governor of Tennessee.
Muster in camp of the 4th Tenn. Vol. Inf. This regiment was mustered in at Knoxville from about July 1-13, 1898 but remained in Knoxville until November 28, 1898.
Both Camps Bob Taylor and Wilder were established in late June, 1898 near Lake Chilhowie in Chilhowie Park. This park was the site of the 1910 Appalachian Exposition. Camp Bob Taylor was the camp of the 4th Tenn. Camp Wilder was the camp of the 6th U.S. Vol. Inf. Both camps were near Magnolia Avenue. The 4th’s camp was to the north of Magnolia. The company streets ran north and south and ended at Magnolia.
From Rule, Standard History of Knoxville, Tennessee, Lewis Publishing Company, 1900, page 189: “General John T. Wilder, on a visit to Secretary of War Alger, June 20, 1898, secured assurances that Knoxville would be made a campsite in the location of the camps for soldiers that were not sent forward to Cuba, or while they might be in waiting. Sites for the Fourth and Sixth regiments were selected June 22, that for the Sixth being on what was formerly Elmwood Park, two miles east of the city on the Park street short line, and consisting of seventy acres of land surrounded on three sides by woodland, and about fifty yards to the eastward was the site of the camp of the Fourth regiment, nearly south of the residence of N.S. Woodward, seventy acres of grass land and well drained. About 5,000 acres of land, partly covered with timber, was there available for a drill and parade ground. A pipe line was laid to the Knoxville water works though the camp, and there were pipes, four inches in diameter, from this main pipe through the center of the camp with hydrants where needed.”

Camp Bob Taylor, Nashville, TN

Named after the wartime governor of Tennessee.
The 1st, 2nd and 3rd Tenn Vol. Inf. all were mustered in at Nashville in May, 1898. The 4th Tenn was mustered in at Knoxville beginning in mid July, 1898.
The initial camp of the Tennessee brigade of volunteers was at Cherokee Park. Cherokee Park was then several miles out of town and near the state penitentiary, which was in service until 1992. The Cherokee Park area in the southwest part of the city was Nashville’s first suburb. The May 3, 1898 Nashville Banner indicates the camp was named Camp Bob Taylor in honor of the governor. The three regiments were all in camp by May 4, 1898. The camp was moved to Centennial Park beginning about May 6. Troops were at both campsites until about May 18 when the 3rd Tenn moved to Centennial Park. Centennial Park, northeast of the Cherokee Park area, nearer downtown, was the site of the 1897 Tennessee Centennial Exposition. There is at least one newspaper reference to the Centennial Park camp also being named Camp Bob Taylor. The 3rd Tenn departed for Camp Thomas on May 23. The 2nd Tenn departed for Camp Alger on May 28. Because of standing water in the vicinity of Centennial Park, feared to be the source of malaria, the 1st Tenn moved its camp back at Cherokee Park on June 2, 1898. This camp was named Camp John W. Thomas in honor of the president of the Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railway Company who provided the railway transportation to the new camp for the men and equipment. The 1st Tenn departed for San Francisco on June 10, 1898.

Camp George H. Thomas, Chickamauga Park, GA (See Leiter and Sternberg General Hospitals)

Named after the “Rock” of Chickamauga on April 22, 1898.
This camp was established April 14, 1898 on the grounds of the Chickamauga-Chattanooga National Military Park. This was the assembly point for at least 6 regiments of regular cavalry who were on their way to Tampa. Camp Thomas became the initial camp of the First and Third Corps. By mid-May, 1898, the regulars had departed and the volunteer units began arriving. By mid-September, 1898, the only volunteer unit remaining at Camp Thomas was the 6th U.S. Vol. Inf. The current map of the park can be overlaid on the 1898 map of the camp to identify where units were camped.
 Many souvenir booklets were published on this camp, including Life Scenes in Camp Thomas, no publisher identified, July, 1898; The “Boys” in Camp Thomas, published by Sidebottom & Kerr, June, 1898.
 The May 20, 1890 St. Louis Globe-Democrat refers to the 1st Missouri camp at Camp Thomas as Camp Stephens. No other references to this camp name were found.
See source (7) beginning at page 140.
The map of the camp in source (13) shows where all regular army and volunteer units were camped and the location of Sternberg General Hospital.


©2005 Fred Greguras