Montauk Point State Park
50 South Fairview Avenue
Montauk, NY 11954
Gen. Shafter's Fifth Army Corps, including Roosevelt's Rough Riders, returned to Montauk in the summer of 1898, following its swift and decisive victories over Spanish forces at Santiago de Cuba in the Spanish-American War. "Oh, but we have had a bully fight!" boomed Col. Roosevelt from the crowded deck of the transport Miami to the jubilant troops and civilians on shore as the ship approached the pier at Fort Pond Bay. The newly confident nation wanted to cheer its returning heroes, but more than half of the 22,500 returning soldiers suffered from tropical diseases - malaria, typhoid, dysentery and, in some cases, yellow fever.
Established for the rest and recuperation of the Fifth Army Corps, Camp Wikoff became the focal point of a concerned nation as newspapers told of the soldiers' plight. Thousands came to the aid of the troops at Montauk, bringing food "delicacies," blankets, cots and their compassion.
Montauk Point State Park, heavily wooded tundra leading to the eastern tip of Long Island and the historic Montauk Lighthouse, offers some of the best surf fishing in the world. The view is unique because, when the water is calm, visitors can clearly see the "race" of converging tides from the Atlantic and Block Island Sound. Visitors can picnic at tables under the pine trees, use the nature trails to hike or cross-country ski, or spend time watching the seals sun on the rocks offshore. Also, visit http://www.montauklightouse.com, the only place to get the book, "Bully," by Jeff Heatley, a full accounting of Col. Theodore Roosevelt, the Rough Riders and Camp Wikoff.
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