Camp Twiggs was named in honor of Army General David E. Twiggs, the commanding general of the Western Division, the geographical area of the southeast U.S. in 1849. Twiggs replaced Zachary
Taylor when Taylor was elected President in November, 1848. The headquarters of this command was in Baton Rouge, but the commander purchased a home in Pascagoula and often brought his
headquarters staff and a guard for extended stays. Camp Twiggs was established one quarter mile north on basically the same site as the 1848 Camp Jefferson Davis. However, while Camp Davis was
used as a disembarkation and reorganization point for 2000 U.S. regular Army soldiers from Mexico Camp Twiggs was only used by a maximum of 80 soldiers at any one time. The camp was primarily
tents in a grove of trees, but a couple of open buildings were constructed.
Every September to May between the years 1849 and 1855, the camp was garrisoned by a company of infantry or artillery soldiers rotating out of the brick coastal forts between New Orleans and Pensacola notably Forts Barrancas, Pickens, Pike, and Macomb. In 1849 the soldiers at this post left for Tampa Bay for the Third Seminole War just when the Round Island Affair began
While the camp was in use in 1849-1855, 20 Soldiers died and another 20 deserted.
In 1851 an Act of Congress designated the
location as one of the first three Military Asylums to be established in the country and was funded by fees collected from officers and soldiers. The real estate was formally purchased from Jacob Baptiste and the buildings were totally refurbished for use as a convalescent facility for invalid soldiers on furlough or recovering from wounds. However, soldiers rarely took advantage of the benefit of the Asylum, and it never had more than 20 patients. It was closed in 1855 and the patients re-assigned to the main Asylum in Washington, DC. The last manager of the Asylum was Lieutenant Charles G. Merchant, 8th Infantry, West Point Class of 1843. He died at the Asylum in September, 1855, due to complications of wounds received during Indian fights in Texas in 1850. He is the only known commissioned officer to perish in the
vicinity of Pascagoula 1848-1855.
Legacy: The Military Asylum was the direct forerunner of Old Soldiers Home. Many soldiers that perished at Camp Davis and Camp Twiggs, and later during the Civil War, were buried in the adjacent ground that became known as the "Asylum Lot" on survey plots. The property was sold by the government in 1907.