Lakeland, Florida was selected by the War Department in 1898 as a site to quarter troops bound for Cuba via Tampa to fight in the Spanish-American War. Among the reasons for that selection were good rail connections, abundant water supplies and close proximity to the embarkation point of Tampa, which was being overwhelmed with troops awaiting transport to Cuba. Tampa was unable to cope with the large number of soldiers arriving and Lakeland was chosen to help relieve some of the burden on Tampa.
This small collection contains photographs depicting the activities of the Second Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteers and the Seventy-first Regiment of New York Volunteers while they were encamped in Lakeland awaiting orders to proceed to Cuba. Most of the photographs were donated to the Special Collections unit by descendants of soldiers assigned to the two units.
Included are photographs depicting recreational activities, parade drills, camp streets, camp kitchens, camp hospitals, soldiers at leisure, general camp views, and soldiers departing for Cuba and returning home after service in Cuba.