The Goat that Ate Camp Heywood
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Written by Seacoast Archives Presents  
Historic Portsmouth #369

This photo will take some explaining. First, visualize the huge defunct Portsmouth Naval Prison on the southern side of Seavey’s Island in Kittery. That crumbling old structure was built in 1906. Now imagine the flat island of pine trees on the PIscataqua River before the prison was constructed. (Continued below)


Now imagine 1,612 prisoners encamped there in the summer of 1898 following a battle at Cuba during the Spanish American War. At least 31 of the Spanish prisoners of war died while interned here. That proto-prison site was called Camp Long (originally Fort Sullivan in the Revolutionary War). Okay, now imagine the north side of the island where Marines were encamped in August and September of that year while returning from Cuba. That was Camp Heywood, a tent city were the men drilled, rested, and were showered with gifts from Seacoast residents. The site was named in honor of Major General Charles Heywood who was later the ninth commander of the United States Marine Corps. Heywood, who was born at Waterville, Maine, served with distinction for 45 years. The goat, whose name was “Fitz,” served as mascot to the marines of Camp Heywood. Whether the goat ate the camp or the camp ate Fitz is not known.  (Photo courtesy of the Portsmouth Athenaeum)

Camp Heywood soldiers on Seavey's Island 1898



from the Portsmouth Athenaeum