The Spanish-American War
Tampa and the Tampa Bay Hotel played an important role in the Spanish American War of 1898
Tampa and the Tampa Bay Hotel played an important role in the Spanish American War of 1898. Henry Plant convinced the Secretary of War to allow Tampa to be the official port of embarkation for troops going to Cuba. His railroad and steamships helped transport troops to Florida and eventually to Cuba. The Tampa Bay Hotel became the headquarters for the Army officers awaiting the order for embarkation.
The Generals planned the war campaigns from the Hotel. Officers and war correspondents stayed here in relative luxury, rocking on the veranda, sipping iced tea and planning and reporting strategies. Colonel Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders trained in the camps near the Hotel during the day. Clara Barton gathered supplies for the Red Cross and frequented the Hotel. The enlisted men camped in tents around Tampa and other Florida cities, fought off mosquitoes, endured stifling temperatures, wool uniforms and boredom while waiting for the signal to start the war.