Camp Tampa (1898-1898) - The primary Spanish American War organization and embarkation camp in Tampa, Hillsborough County, Florida, established in 1898. Abandoned in 1898.
Tampa was originally designated along with New Orleans and Mobile as an embarkation point for the expected invasion of Cuba during the Spanish American War. New Orleans and Mobile proved to be unhealthy spots for large numbers of troops and Tampa became the main port. The Tampa area became the organizing place for the 5th Army Corps which was composed mainly of regular troops (about 33,000 troops per Corps). Later the 4th Army Corps that was originally organized at Camp Wheeler moved to Tampa, taking over the campsites left vacant by the departed invasion force.
As the troops arrived at Tampa a series of tent camps were established to house them, Camp Tampa was the primary camp. Regular Army regimental camps were located in Tampa Heights on both the east and west sides of Florida Avenue. Headquarters was located at the Tampa Bay Hotel. The composition of the initial invasion force was set by which regiments were ordered to Tampa and the vast majority of those were regular U.S. Army regiments. A few state volunteer regiments were included and one regiment of the U.S. Volunteers, the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry, known as Colonel Teddy Roosevelt's "Rough Riders".
Chaotic conditions at the port of Tampa made orderly loading of troops, equipment, and supplies impossible and by the time the invasion fleet was ordered to sail not all units were able to board the transports. Troops C, H, I and M of the Rough Riders were among those left behind.
The Tampa Bay Hotel remains in operation and the building has pictures and memorabilia from the Spanish American War period. A large breechloading cannon is placed as a monument to the Spanish American War troops and fortifications in Tampa, Hillsborough County, Florida.
Visited: 22 Dec 2009