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1898: The Spanish American War & Florida

By Jason Zappulla

Sample album page

Two leaves from photo album. At left: Soldiers Ditmars and McNair, among others. At right: Clearing camp at Fernandina, Florida


This photo album is a collection of photographs of soldiers with the 2nd New York Volunteer Infantry, recruited for the Spanish-American War, and serving at Camp Black, New York; Tampa, Florida, Fernandina, Florida; and Troy, New York. The photos show Company “L” from Saratoga Springs, New York. 

During the brief Spanish-American War, Tampa served as a point of departure for troops heading to Cuba. By far the most famous of these Tampa visitors was the Rough Riders under Colonel Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt, but several others regiments from across the country were also stationed in Tampa. Some, including the Rough Riders, were shipped off to Cuba after long delays due to disease and lack of transports. Others, including the 2nd New York Regiment, were still waiting to be shipped out when the war ended, and were thus sent back north and eventually mustered out. During their stay in Tampa, the officers and civilians were headquartered at the Tampa Bay Hotel (now the University of Tampa), while the soldiers were stationed in seven camps. The photos in this album show an encampment at the former location of Fort Brooke. The site was near the mouth of the Hillsborough River, west of where the Tampa Bay History Center stands today.

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