The naval battle of Santiago left about 1700 Spanish prisoners on board the American men-of-war and auxiliary vessels.
What disposition should be made of them was now a problem.
The Navy Department solved it by selecting a site on Seavey's Island for a military prison and camp, and at once let contracts for building a stockade, erecting barracks, kitchen, closets, etc., bringing a water-supply to the camp, and furnishing provisions. All arrangements were made for the comfort and health of the prisoners, provided the contractors could fill their orders, and worked with dispatch.
Information having been received that the first vessel loaded with prisoners would arrive on Monday, July 11th, the Department wisely telegraphed Paymaster Loomis to proceed immediately to Portsmouth, N.H., and report to the commandant for duty as commissary of the camp and assume such duty at that place.