Fort De Soto's designation changed several times through the years from subpost of Fort Dade to independent post. Fort Dade had approximately 250 troops stationed on Egmont Key compared to approximately 125 at Fort De Soto on Mullet Key. Fort Dade had much more to offer the soldiers such as tennis, baseball, bowling, a gymnasium, movie theater, and more. Records do not show these activities at Fort De Soto. However, both posts shared in the misery of having horrendous hordes of mosquitoes. The troops could not even enjoy the nice beaches on the island due to the vampiric pests.
Tents of Florida State Troops on drill in 1908
The post quartermaster gave this report in 1908:
"The suffering of the men daily at work or drill has been greater than can be imagined by any who have not actually experienced it. There have been nights that the men have had no sleep due to mosquitoes in quarters, even though mosquito barrs (nets) are used. At present, life for the men is a torture both night and day, and the mosquitoes have to be fought with a bush continuously whether at work or resting."
The Chief Surgeon of the Department of the Gulf stated, "If this post is to continue as a station, life for those concerned should be, at least, made bearable." The Commander of the Department of the Gulf recommended that the sale of beer and light wines be permitted in the post exchange at Fort De Soto to add to the "contentment and discipline" of the garrison.