Florida During the Spanish-American War of 1898
Documents

Spanish Citizens in Key West and Tampa

The following are letters concerning Spanish citizens in Florida in the months preceding the Spanish-American War.

Consulado de Espana en Key West to Governor H.L. Mitchell

Consulado de España en Key West to Governor H.L. Mitchell

"...such proceedings having a tendency to strain the friendly relations between the governments of the United States and Spain."

In this letter to Governor Mitchell, the Spanish consul expresses concern about an event that occurred in Key West.

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Knight

Attorney Peter Knight to Governor William D. Bloxham

"We have been having considerable trouble in this city to convince the Spaniards that in the event of war with Spain, they will be perfectly safe."

In this letter, an attorney for the Exchange National Bank of Tampa writes to Governor Bloxham. He seeks assurances that the Spanish citizens in Tampa will be safe as the threat of war with Spain grows.

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Bloxham to Knight

Governor William D. Bloxham Replies to Attorney Peter Knight

"You can therefore assure the Spanish citizens and inhabitants of Tampa, that every power possible will be exerted to protect them..."

In this letter, Governor Bloxham gives his assurances that the Spanish citizens in Tampa will be safe as the threat of war with Spain grows.

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African-American Soldiers in Florida

The following are documents related to African-American soldiers in Florida. The Buffalo Soldiers were the most famous of the African-American soldiers to fight in the Spanish-American War. They were the first peacetime all-black regiments in the regular U.S. Army. Congress created the four regiments, the 9th and 10th Cavalries and the 24th and 25th Infantries, just after the American Civil War.

All four regiments were transferred to Florida in the spring of 1898 in preparation for the war with Spain. From Florida they went to Cuba where black troops fought and played a major role in the victory at Santiago de Cuba.

Reminiscences of the Experiences of Company L, Second Regiment Massachusetts Infantry, U.S.V., in the Spanish American War, by Major Frederick E. Pierce

Major Frederick E. Pierce's Observations of Lakeland, Florida

"...The race prejudice in Florida is very great and the distinction between the whites and blacks is very sharply drawn."

This excerpt from the reminiscences of Major Frederick E. Pierce, a white soldier with the Second Regiment Massachusetts Infantry, describes the time his regiment spent in Lakeland, Florida. It includes observations of race relations in the town.

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Lewis

Published Letter from John E. Lewis of the 10th Cavalry

"The druggist refused to sell them, stating he didn't want their money, to go where they sold black's drinks."

This letter was written by John E. Lewis, an African-American soldier with the 10th Cavalry. He describes the time his regiment spent in Lakeland, Florida, including observations observations of race relations in the town.

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Governor Bloxham to the Secretary of War in Washington, D.C.

Governor Bloxham to the Secretary of War in Washington, D.C., Regarding Lakeland, Florida

"...Mayor, Sheriff & Prosecuting Attorney at Lakeland call for protection from threatened riot and outrage by the tenth Cavalry."

Governor Bloxham writes to the secretary of war in Washington, D.C., about racial violence in Lakeland, Florida.

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Troops

"Colored Immunes"

"...Florida's quota was filled promptly and that 8 companies of infantry, & 2 of artillery of the regularly organized State Troops, besides one regiment of colored immunes, and numerous other volunteer companies..."

Governor Bloxom's secretary describes the troops raised by the state of Florida, including a regiment of "colored immunes."

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Camp Life in Miami

Camp conditions for soldiers in the Spanish-American War could be rough. The camp at Miami, however, was probably the roughest. When military leaders first surveyed Miami as a possible site for an Army encampment, they rejected it on account of its lack of port and railroad facilities as well as the swampy nature of the terrain. Chaplain H.R. Carson of the Second Louisiana Volunteer Infantry describes the camp in Miami.

Carson

The Second Louisiana Volunteer Infantry in Miami

"We had heard glowing accounts of Miami on our way down there. Our information, however, was secured mostly from railroad folders."

Chaplain H.R. Carson of the Second Louisiana Volunteer Infantry describes the camp in Miami.

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Measles and Typhoid in Camps at Fernandina Beach, Florida

The following are letters dealing with measles and typhoid outbreaks in Fernandina, Florida. During the Spanish-American War, more soldiers died from disease in the United States training camps than on the battlefield in Cuba.

S.J. McConnell to Governor William D. Bloxham

Chaplain S.J. McConnell – August 11th, 1898

"They are lying in the dirt on their blankets with one nurse and the attending physician to look after their wants..."

In this letter, Chaplain S.J. McConnell appeals to Governor Bloxham for supplies and more nurses for the military quarantine hospital in Fernandina, Florida.

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Bloxham to Lovell

Governor Bloxham to Colonel C.P. Lovell – August 13, 1898

"You will please call attention of the proper U.S. Officials, as you are not now subject to State Orders, to this condition of our fellow citizens. It is hoped that this state of affairs, which is first called to the attention of the Executive Office by a Chaplain of another State, will not be neglected."

Governor Bloxham forwarded Chaplain S.J. McConnell's letter to Colonel C.P. Lovell and demanded action.

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Lovell

Colonel C.P. Lovell – August 15, 1898

"If you have any power to get the high officials to make an investigation I will be very glad if you will do so, as I am powerless in the matter."

In this letter to Governor Bloxham, Colonel C.P. Lovell asks for assistance in obtaining hospital tents, cots and medicines for the sick.

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Call

Brigadier General Louis H. Carpenter – August 16, 1898

"The regiments here were sent lately from Tampa, very much infected with Typhoid and Malarial fevers."

In this letter to Governor Bloxham, Brigadier General Louis H. Carpenter gives a report on the regiments that were sent from Tampa, infected with typhoid and malarial fevers.

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Frank W. Headley to Governor William D. Bloxham

Chief Surgeon Frank W. Headley – August 16, 1898 [Enclosed in Carpenter's Letter to Bloxham]

"All these patients coming in so rapidly exhausted completely the supply of furniture and medicines provided."

In this letter to Governor Bloxham, Chief Surgeon Frank W. Headley gives a report on the status of the Isolation Hospital for measles patients, near the Amelia Lighthouse.

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Lovell

Colonel C.P. Lovell – August 21, 1898

"You may have noticed in one or two papers an article taken from the Fernandina paper saying that the regiment was overworked, that I had a 50 acre parade ground cleared up and the men were worked and drilled ten hours a day."

In this letter to Governor Bloxham, Colonel C.P. Lovell denies that the men were overworked to exhaustion.

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