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Captured Spanish Admiral Cervera Takes a Walk

captured Spanish Admiral Pascual Cervera y Topete Presents
Historic Portsmouth #417

On July 5, 1898 the US auxiliary cruiser St. Louis left Santiago, Cuba with 700 captured prisoners of the Spanish American War. Six days later the prisoner ship steamed into Portsmouth Harbor and deposited the men on Seaveys Island at the navy yard. Haggard and hungry the men were transferred by barge to the hastily constructed Camp Long. (Continued below)


Hundreds more prisoners of war arrived later and 30 died on what became the site of the Portsmouth Naval Prison. Locals and tourists observed the prisoners from boats in the Piscataqua River and one newspaper even issued a souvenir booklet. Though technically a prisoner, captured Spanish Admiral Pascual Cervera y Topete was allowed to roam the region as he negotiated the release of his officers and men, traveling back and forth from New Hampshire to Annapolis. While in Portsmouth, Cervera stayed at the Rockingham Hotel. The public immediately took to the distinguished bearded man in his white suit and cane. They treated him like a superstar. When the Admiral visited the Wentworth Hotel in August he was so mobbed by admiring ladies, the newspaper said, that one could not get within 50 feet of him. This incredible snapshot shows the Cervera walking briskly through Portsmouth with a herd of young boys. An altered version of this photo with the boys airbrushed out was used for publicity.  (Courtesy Portsmouth Athenaeum)



Text (c) and photos
(c) Portsmouth Athenaeum

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