Camp Onward (1898-1899) - A Spanish American War 7th Army Corps embarkation Camp first established as Camp Lee in 1898 near Thunderbolt, Chatham County, Georgia. Initially named Camp Lee after General Fitzhugh Lee (Cullum 1755), commander of the Seventh Corps but renamed by him as Camp Onward on 10 Nov 1898. Abandoned in 1899.
History of Camp Onward
Established 23 Oct 1898 with the arrival of the 7th Army Corps under the command of General Fitzhugh Lee, commander of the Seventh Corps. The 7th Army Corps was relocated from Camp Cuba Libre at Jacksonville. The new camp was a series of regimental camps scattered in the southeast part of the Savannah along Victory Drive and Shell road. For example the 31st Michigan Volunteer Infantry was at Daffin Park while the hospital buildings were constructed in the Ardsley Park area. The camps of the 1st and 2nd divisions were reportedly along Dale Avenue and Thunderbolt Road, respectively.
Most of the regiments at Camp Onward were destined for occupation duty in Cuba and departed for Cuba in December 1898. A few regiments of the 7th were mustered out without ever going to Cuba. In December the President reviewed the Seventh Corps in the southern section of Forsyth Park and by the end of December the majority of the 7th Corps was in Cuba or in the process of mustering out.
The occupation of Cuba was short lived and by the end of April 1899 the 7th Army Corps had returned stateside and the volunteer regiments were mustering out as soon as they could clear quarantine. Camp Onward was used as a quarantine station for some of the returning regiments although it is not clear if it had retained that name. The last unit out of Camp Onward was a detachment of the 2nd U.S. Cavalry that left on 25 May 1899.
Spanish American War Memorial in Forsyth Park, Thunderbolt, Chatham County, Georgia.