Camp Wikoff / 125th Anniversary: 1898 – 2023

Second Edition of the BULLY! book.

Published by Montauk Historical Society & East End Press.


BOOK LAUNCH: Veterans Day: November 11, 2023 @ 2 PM / Oceans Institute

Montauk Point Lighthouse



April — August, 1898


April 11, 1898 

President McKinley’s Message to Congress

…. In view of these facts and of these considerations I ask the Congress to authorize and empower the President to take measures to secure a full and final termination of hostilities between the Government of Spain and the people of Cuba … and to use the military and naval forces of the United States as may be necessary for these purposes.

President William McKinley

—– Appendix pages 509 – 513. 


July 4, 1898 

Dashing Bravery of the Rough Riders 

by Richard Harding Davis / Front Page, New York Herald

    …. No one who saw Roosevelt take that ride expected he would finish alive. As the only mounted man, he was the most conspicuous object in range of the rifle pits, then only two hundreds yards ahead. It looked like foolhardiness ….

—– Appendix pages 520 & 521.   


Medal of Honor Citation

….. For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty….

—– Awarded by President Clinton, 2001 —– Appendix, page 525.


‘American Valor’ 

….It was against all modern military theory that men should charge straight at a fortified and intrenched position, unshaken by artillery and defended by modern firearms in the hands of trained troops; and yet here we were. Only American valor could have done it.

—– Lieut. John Joseph Pershing, known as Black Jack Pershing | Tenth Cavalry / Appendix page 523. 


July 17, 1898 

The Formal Surrender

General Toral with an infantry escort rode out from the city to meet General Shafter, who was escorted by a squadron of mounted cavalry. …. Arms were presented by both commanders, and the Spanish general tendered his sword to our commander.

Lieutenant. John J. Pershing / Appendix page 515.


July 24, 1898

No Governorship for Roosevelt 

…. Now, Roosevelt, in his impetuous way and in his strong self-assertiveness, would not listen to any part suggestion. He would be absolutely master of the situation and would not brook any suggestion…. You may be quite certain that Roosevelt will not be named….”

— Statement by a New York City Republican
leader, who “stands close to Senator Thomas C. Platt.”

—– Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 24, page opposite page 1.


July 31, 1898

Santiago de Cuba

“An honorable name”

   [Letter to Senator Henry Cabor Lodge| …. I am determined that my skirts shall be clear of this particular form of murder….I am not in the least alarmed about myself; in the first place I don’t think I should die if I caught it, and in the next place should the worse come to the worst I am quite content to go now and to leave my children at least an honorable name….. 

—– Letter of Col. Theodore Roosevelt / pages 8 & 9.


August 4, 1898

‘Army Will Die Like Sheep’

Major-General Shafter:

Sir …. I write only because I cannot see our men, who have fought so bravely, and who have endured extreme hardship and danger so uncomplainingly, go to destruction without striving, so far as lies in me, to avert a doom as fearful as it is unnecessary and undeserved.

 —– Col. Theodore Roosevelt, pages 13 & 14. 

Published August 4th on the Front Page of William Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal, with a document that became known as the Round Robin — a document (below), signed by officers in Cuba, written in  protest of the Secretary of War Alger’s order to move troops further inland. Pages 13 & 14.

See ‘The Round Robin Really Was A Revolt’, pages 196 – 200. 


Petition to Gen. Shafter 

We, the undersigned officers, commanding the various brigades, divisions, &c., of the army of the occupation in Cuba, are of the unanimous opinion that this army should be at once taken out of the island of Cuba and sent to some point on the northern seacoast of the United States …. 

—– Signed by eight officers, including Col. Roosevelt.

Note: this protest, and Roosevelt’s accompanying letter was published nationally on August 4th — while it was directed to Secretary of War Alger, he first saw the protest in the daily newspaper, angering him.  The protest came as a shock to the country, as the fever-stricken condition of the troops in Cuba was unknown to the general public at that time. Ultimately, Alger blamed Roosevelt for the entire incident — court marshal of Col. Roosevelt was considered at the time. 

—– William Randolph Hearst’s New York Evening Journal, page 15. 


August 5, 1898


Washington, D.C., August 4th —

….. The Secretary of War has ordered Gen. Shafter’s troops relieved from further duty in Santiago as fast as transportation can be provided…

—- Illustration, Chicago Tribune / Text, The Sun, pages 16 & 17.


The Humane Side Of The War

One of the most significant characteristics of this war is the distinctly high moral and humane plane upon which the United States Government has directed all operations, both on land and sea ….

—– Editorial, Commercial Advertiser, page 42. 


August 12, 1898


Spain Quits the New World

…. “Now, therefore, I, William McKinley, President of the United States, do, in accordance with the stipulations of the protocol, declare and proclaim on the part of the United States a suspension of hostilities ….”

Done at the City of Washington, this 12th day of August …..

By the President: WILLIAM R. DAY,
Secretary of State.

—– New York Press, pages 49 – 51. 


August 13, 1898


From what relatively small purposes to what a large function the nation has grown! The release of Cuba defined and sufficed for that purpose. The freedom of all this continent from Spain has been accomplished…..

—– Illustration, Boston Globe / Editorial, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, page 53. 


We have risen above the cramping traditions of our national infancy and have learned to survey the whole round earth without blinking…..Welcome to peace, but hail to the glorious war that has brought it.

—– Editorial, William Randolph Hearst, New York Journal, pages 53 & 54. 


Camp Wikoff’s Brave Camp Mother

….. Mrs. Walworth is the one bright feature in this desolate place. Her adventures and what she has gone through to aid the soldiers have endeared her to every man in camp….

—– The World, pages 51 & 52.   


Reubina Hyde Walworth

Mrs. Walworth has sent for her daughter, Miss Reubina Hyde Walworth ….

“As conditions are so rapidly improving there,” said Mrs. Walworth yesterday, “I feel that she is need now at Camp Wikoff.” ….

—– New York Press, August 17, 1898, pages 52. See, Reubina Hyde Walworth, Heroic Nurse, pages 446 & 447 —– The World. 


August 14, 1898 

The Transport Gate City Sighted Bearing East

Boys from the front at last! Men from the bloody field of San Juan, in the province of Santiago—men who had faced the terrors of the Spanish Mausers and the horrors of blood and rain-soaked ditches! ….

—– The World, pages 55 & 56 [entitled, ‘507 Heroes Home From Santiago]. 


August 15, 1898 

Our New Mission Among The Nations

…. Everything has been done in the open, every move has been discussed as a possibility all over the United States before the Government was irrevocably committed one way ot the other ….

—– Editorial, The London Times, reprinted in The World, pages 58 & 59.


August 15, 1898

Roosevelt and Wheeler Ashore


… the two heroes stood, bowing and smiling, until the ship’s sides touched the dock, and then an officer on the pier shouted, “How are you, Colonel Roosevelt?”

“I am feeling disgracefully well.” Then, after a pause …. “Oh, but we have had a bully fight!”

—– August 16, New York Herald, pages 61 – 68. 


The Rough Riders

The Rough Riders are, of all regiments, the public’s favorite. They form the one regiment that belongs to no State. They represent the whole country, and Texas feels as much local pride in them as does New York…..

—– Editorial, Commercial Advertiser, pages 75 & 76. 


August 16, 1898


It is the same sea surging against its bluffs that washes the shore at Santiago, yet in the South it makes the air hot and heavy and holds the germs of fever, while here it so cools and refreshes the wind that it puts life in every man that breathes it….

—– Brooklyn Daily Eagle, pages 82 – 85. 


August 19, 1898


A tidal wave of anguish rolled over Camp Wikoff to-day. Five hundred shattered wrecks of humanity are waiting in the bay for hospital accommodation, and scarcely 150 cots are at their disposal….

—– The World, pages 95 – 98. 


American Red Cross 

…. The arrival of the Mobile on the 19th is an epoch in the history of Red Cross work at Camp Wikoff….

—– American Red Cross / Report of Howard Townsend, Red Cross Executive / Field Agent at Camp Wikoff / page 533.


August 21, 1898  

Colonel Roosevelt’s Home-Coming

All Oyster Bay Meets Roosevelt

Oyster Bay, N.Y., August 21 — Back from the wars, Col. Roosevelt, his khaki uniform exchanged for a Tuxedo coat and loud alarums replaced by the silvery sound of the dinner gong, is enjoying such peace as he may….

“I’m glad to be home again, even for four days,” he said, “and think I’ve earned the right to renew my acquaintance with my wife and children.”


….. The dramatic instinct is one of the key notes of Mr. Roosevelt’s success. It is that which makes him always interesting, always surprising, always leading to climax or tableau…..

—– The World, pages 100 – 102. 


Platt and Roosevelt

Editorial — It is evident that Platt is seriously considering the acceptance of Theodore Roosevelt as the Republican candidate for Governor…..

—– Evening Post, pages 103 – 104.   


“We have everything,” said a young lieutenant. “We have life and we have death.” 

—– Commercial Advertiser 


August 25, 1898


…. [A] most superb spectacle of lightning, a duel between two cloud monsters, the one approaching from the west and another which had swiftly risen from the southern horizon. Broad sheets of levin flooded the air with tingling brilliance, and between the floods the storm giants flung blazing spears at each other across the expanse of corrugated sky…..

 —– The Sun, pages 115 – 118. 


Red Cross Heroine of Camp Wikoff

Annie Laurie Early Wheeler

….. “I expected to rest when I came north,” she simply said, “but when I found the need so great I felt like a fire horse at the sound of an alarm. I could not rest with all this suffering about me, so I applied to Col. Forwood and was assigned to Ward I, where I am kept busy with my forty patients.” …..

—– The World, pages 119 – 121.


War Without Hatred 

….. No finer tribute could be paid to this Nation’s motives and conduct and sentiments in the war than has been paid by our own antagonists. The gallant and knightly Cervera declares that for himself he will take with him back to Spain only the kindest remembrances of the American people ….

—– Editorial, New York Tribune, pages 123 – 124.


The Express Office

….. “Look at them watermelons,” said one in a choking whisper. “Oh, look at ’em!”

“And beer,” said another. “A hull barrel of it! Whew! I could swim in beer and never get drowned.” ….

—– The Sun, page 127. 


August 26, 1898  


Boston, August 25 — Lieutenant William Tiffany, of New York City, an officer in Roosevelt’s Rough Riders, died at the Parker House in this city at 5:30 o’clock this afternoon…. He was simply weak and emaciated as a result of insufficient nutrition and the privation of the campaign….

—– New York Times, page 129. See also Appendix pages 526 – 528. 


Died of Starvation

Think of an American soldier dying of starvation, after fighting and helping to win a glorious battle for his country! … Hundreds of vigorous men have had their constitutions shattered and their strength permanently destroyed by wasting fevers, which might have been prevented if proper supplies and the right kind of hospitals had been provided at the outset….

—– Kansas City Star, page 130.


Army Beef Scandal of 1898

Col. Roosevelt’s Report to the Secretary of War

…..The hardtack…was often mouldy….The canned roast beef …. was coarse, stringy, tasteless, and very disagreeable in appearance, and so unpalatable that the effort to eat it made some of the men sick….

—– September 10, 1898 / page 528.


Report to the American Red Cross

Had the General, Detention, and Division Hospitals been ready when the troops arrived there would have been room for every sick man, as it was, it became necessary to turn out men before they were thoroughly well in order to make room for others just arrived who were seriously ill….

—– Howard Townsend, Red Cross Executive / Field Agent at Camp Wikoff / page 531.


August 26, 1898

Rough Riders Their Heroes

…. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, the Rough Riders should feel highly honored by the latest riding habit of the fair equestriennes of the Hamptons. This costume includes a felt slouch hat and blue blouse, which make a striking likeness to the uniform of the Rough Rider…..

—– Brooklyn Daily Eagle, pages 131-132.


August 27, 1898

Sick Land in Surf Boats

…. The sight was certainly a strange one. Boatload after boatload of sick soldiers being brought ashore from a stranded war vessel to a strip of beach usually abandoned, but now crowded with people, who cheered and cheered each time a man was brought ashore….

—– The Sun, pages 133-138. 


Illustrator, Cory / The World, page 144.


Help For Montauk Troops

  Early tomorrow morning, Col. John Jacob Astor will go to Montauk on his yacht Nourmahal….with the choicest delicacies and needed food….The value of the supplies is over $3,000. Among the subscribers were Cornelius Vanderbilt, Mrs. Odgen Mills, Mrs. Victor Sorchan, Fernando Yznaga, and Col. John Jacob Astor….

—– New York Times, pages 146-147. 


All Proud of Roosevelt 

….. “In the city we all knew that Teddy had moral courage to burn, but since I’ve seen him in action I’ve found out the reason for his independence. I tell you, boys, the trouble with Teddy is that he hasn’t got it in him to be afraid. I don’t believe even the first bullet scared him.” …..

—– The Sun, pages 147 – 151. 


Rough Riders at Play

….. He ploughed through a marsh, lifted his mount over a gully in a flying leap, sped over the weedy stretch beyond, plunged down five feet to the sand beach, and pulled up close to the water’s edge with his men still behind him. Three minutes later … Col. Roosevelt could be seen …  just outside the line of breakers ….

—– The Sun, page 163. 


Camp Ghost

….. “Such cases,” says one of the surgeons here, “are just about beyond treatment. I haven’t yet been able to comprehend the condition of mind and body which produces the camp ghost….”

—– The Sun, page 165. 


August 28, 1898 

Help For Montauk Troops

Newport, R.I…..The vessel is literally packed with delicacies, vegetables, canned soups, fruit, fresh meats packed in ice, and tons of other stuff such as the heroes require to rebuild their broken-down health….

— New York Times, pages 146 – 147 / Illustration, New York Herald. 


Roosevelt and the Rough Riders True to Life

“….. Finally, we were ordered into the ‘bloody lane,’ and here men were shot right and left. We were there presumably as the support for Gen. Lawton, who was attacking El Caney. It was here that Col. Roosevelt took the bull by the horns and led that famous charge on horseback to the first blockhouse on San Juan Hill….”

—– Illustration & Text / The World, pages 151 – 160.


August 29, 1898

Buried At Sea

….. “Can you tell me, sir, whether he was buried at sea?” ….

—– Colonel Loomis L. Langdon, New York Herald, pages 169 & 170.


Yellow Fever at Montauk 

It is now a certainty, despite the protests of experts, that yellow fever exists at Camp Wikoff, and it has developed among the fifty-three cases which were taken from the Catania and isolated on a knoll near the detention hospital….

—– New York Times, pages 175 – 176.


Neglect at Camp Wikoff

 “…..Each unavenged victim of the crime of the War Department will cost the Republican Party thousands of votes. The people in their blind rage will strike at something, and the Administration, if it temporizes now or remains inactive, will be the only thing in sight….

“For campaign purposes “Remember Camp Wikoff” may be as effective in [its] way as ‘Remember the Maine’.”

— Samuel Parrish

—– Letter to the Editor, New York Times, page 186. 


American Red Cross

….. Mr. Samuel Parrish of Southampton…began to work for the Red Cross early in September and gave his entire time to visiting the men in sick quarters…..

—– Report of Howard Townsend, Red Cross Executive | Field Agent at Camp Wikoff/ page 537.


Mute Evidence of Starvation 

“What did he die of?” asked the reporter….

“I don’t know what the doctors say. Pernicious fever, or likely, dysentery. But look at him and you’ll see the real cause — slow starvation. That’s what most of them die of. The doctors would tell you so only they are afraid of army discipline….”

—– The World, pages 176 – 177.  


To Mr. McKinley

Does the President not know that the lives of American soldiers sacrificed in peaceful camps at home outnumber those lost on the fields of battle in Cuba and Manila? …..

—– Editorial, New York Times, pages 177 – 178. 


Hungry Joe’s

“Got any lemon pie?”
“How much are your canned peaches?”
“Hey, chef, put a steak on the broil.”
“Here y’are; here y’are; three more drinks of milk left….”

—– The Sun, pages 172 – 173.


August 31, 1898

Laying Out Camp Wikoff

…. The Signal Corpsmen arrived on Tuesday morning, bringing with them all their equipment. There were linemen, “inside wire” men, practical electrical workers, theoretical electricians (graduates from technical institutes and colleges), telegraph operators, telephone operators, draughtsmen, photographers, surveyors, civil engineers, flagmen, carpenters and general workers …..

—– The Sun, pages 180-184.



—– Illustrator, Nelan / New York Herald, page 185.


The Battery of Machine Guns

….. the newest thing in modern warfare is on exhibit for all who choose to see in this camp. This the battery of machine guns attached to the Thirteenth Infantry and under command of Capt. Parker…..

—– The Sun, page 190. 


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