The Spanish American War in Cuba

The blockade of Cuba   Admiral Cervera's squadron   sinking of the Merrimac   

Guantamamo Bay    Landings at Daiquiri and Siboney   Battle of Las Guasimas

Gen Shafter's plan of attack   Battle of El Caney   Battle of The San Juan Heights

    The Naval battle of Santiago de Cuba   The Seige of Santiago de Cuba and surrender

Puerto Rico   Peace Treaty   Aftermath

 

 

 

Map of Cuba with battle locations

 

 

The Blockade of Cuba 

 

On April 22, 1898, Admiral Sampson left his base at Key West for Cuba .In the next few days he blockaded Havana, Matanzas, Cardenas, Marie , Cabanas and Cienfuegos. Santiago de Cuba was not blockaded due to its defenses .On April 27, the New York, Puritan and April shelled a battery at Matanzas. On May 11, two of thre cables to the outside world were cut, so the Spanish forces in Cuba could still communicate with Spain .  On the same day, the American torpedo boat Winslow was damaged with four sailors killed by a Spanish gunboat and had to be towed away .

 

Admiral Cervera's Squadron 

 

On April 29, Admiral Cervera's squadron consisting of  the Cristobal Colon, Vizcaya, Almirante Oquendo and Infanta Maria Terasa,three destroyers torpedo boat destroyers, the Pluton, Furor and the Terror departed for San Juan . Most of the squadron was in poor condition, as mentioned before the Cristobal Colon was missing its forward 10 inch guns, ammunition, coal and food supplies were low .As soon as Cervera's squadron departed, the Navy Department made preparations to intercept his force .On May 4 Sampson he moved toward San Juan with the battleships Iowa and Indiana, the armored cruiser New York, the unprotected cruisers Montgomery and Detroit , the monitors Amphitrite and Terror and the torpedo boat Porter.

 

bombardment of San Juan

 

On May 10, the Spanish destroyers Furor and Terror entered the French island of Martinique to see about getting coal for the squadron and information about the American naval forces . The French in Martinique refused to give the Spanish coal and tried to detain the destroyers in port, The Furor managed to escape but the Terror did not .From the Furor Cervera learned that Cuba was blockaded ,coal was not to be gotten from Martinique and Sampson was in San Juan with a strong force . On May 14,  Cervera went to the Dutch island of Curacao and purchased coal . Cervera next planned to sail for Santiago de Cuba, where he arrived on May 19 .

 

The new Minister of the Marine, Captain Ramon Aunon y Villalon

 

After Dewey's victory in the Philippines on May 1st, the Spanish government became fearful of a similar outcome with Cervera's squadron and rear admiral Bermejo ordered Cervera's squadron to return to Spain on May 12. However, after Bermejo lost his position in the aftermath of Dewey's victory, the new Minister of the Marine, Captain Ramon Aunon y Villalon countermanded that order and withdrew permission to return, fearing that a return would be bad for Spanish moral in Cuba. . Also on May 12, Sampson bombarded San Juan, and not seeing Cervera's squadron there, returned with his force to Cuba .On May 18, he returned to Key West . Cervera did not have enough coal to return to Spain in any case .

 

 

Morro Castle at the entrance of Santiago de Cuba

 

Shortly afterward, Cervera's squadron was blockaded in Santiago de Cuba by the battleships Oregon ( the most powerful in the Navy ) Massachusetts, Iowa and Texas, the armored cruiser Brooklyn, the protected cruiser New Orleans and the unprotected cruiser Marblehead - a force much stronger than that of the Spanish in the harbor .

 

 

With the threat of Cervera's squadron, preparations to land American Army forces began and plans were made to send a force of 25,000 from Tampa .

 

The sinking of the Merrimac 

 

 

 

 

In order to bottle up Cervera's squadron in the harbor, plans were made to sink the collier Merrimac at the mouth of the harbor. The entrance to the harbor was well defended with Morro castle on a 207 foot bluff stood and coastal batteries and electric mines. Six sailors under the command of Richard Hobson would attemp this on June 3, setting out at 3:00 A.M.. The Spanish spotted the Merrimac and opened fire and exploded mines .The ship sank, but sank where it would not be a serious obstacle. Hobson and his men were captured and became national heros .

 

Hobson and his crew

 

Guantamamo Bay 

 

Marines in action at Guantamamo Bay

 

Wishing to have a coaling base and a protected harbor during the oncoming hurricane season, and a detachment of Marines were landed there on June 10 .By June 15 the eastern shore had been cleared of Spanish troops at a cost of six Marines killed .

 

The Landings at Daiquiri and Siboney 

 

 

 

 

Between June 22 and June 24, the U.S. V Corps under General William R. Shafter landed at Daiquirí and Siboney, east of Santiago, and established the American base of operations. Not one shot was fired by the Spanish during the landings . Roosevelt was later to comment " Five hundred resolute men could have prevented the disembarkation at very little cost to themselves ."The Spanish had about 35,000 men in the area under  Lieutenant General Arsenio Linares. About one third of the force were made up of Cuban loyalists. The Spanish had about 80,000 troops on Cuba, but they could not be moved to reenforce Santiago. The Americans controlled the sea and insurgents who were stong in eastern Cuba,would attack the Spanish while they moved inland .Less than 10,000 men were in Santiago when General Shafter landed . General  Linares had a thin line of defense in the expected area of American attack, between coastal towns of Daiquiri and Siboney, to the east of Santiago .

 

Cuban rebel leader Calixto García

 

 3,000  Cuban rebels or insurrectos fought in the Guantamamo area to prvent troops there from aiding joining Gen Linares in Santiago .The insurrectos were led by General Calixto García. Forces under Garcia also helped with the landing of American forces .

 

map of operations around Santiago

 

 

            

                               General Shafter             General Arsenio Linares

 

General Shafter planned to land in that area and move to attack Santiago away from the well defended mouth of the harbor. General Shafter read an account of a 1741 British attack on Santiago, they had landed much further away at Guantamamo and lost 2,000 men to disease on the march to Santiago. Disease was still a major concern for this time of year, and General Shafter planned to land as close to Santiago as possible .

 

After a naval bombardment in which the few Spanish defenders in the area withdrew, troops started to land at 10 A.M and by 6:00 P.M. 6,000 troops had landed . there was general disorganization at the landing and many horses and a few men drowned .Troops also landed at Siboney, 8 miles closer to Santiago .

 

Battle of Las Guasimas 

 

 

 A contingent of Spanish troops, having fought a skirmish with the Americans near Siboney on June 23, had retired to their lightly entrenched positions at the ridges of Las Guasimas amid dense undergroth . The Spanish troops there numbered about 2,000 under the command of General Antero Rubin .An advance guard of U.S. forces under former Confederate General Joseph Wheeler ( Whom McKinley had appointed mainly to have a representative from the old Confederacy, to show that wounds of the Civil War had healed ), commaner of the dismounted cavalry, ignored Cuban scouting parties of the forces of pro-independence rebels led by General Calixto García and orders to proceed with caution. As the top commander in the field (General Shafter was aboard ship ), he took command .

 

 

General Joseph Wheeler(L), Leonard Wood and Theodore Roosevelt of the Rough Riders

 

General Wheeler wanted to get the glory of the first battle, and started to attacked before General Shafter was ready with his troops and supplies . They caught up with and engaged the Spanish rear guard who effectively ambushed them, in the Battle of Las Guasimas on June 24. The battle ended indecisively in favor of Spain and the Spanish left Las Guasimas on their planned retreat to Santiago. 16 Americans were killed and 10 Spanish soldiers were killed .

 

After this skirmish, General Shafter saw to it that General Wheeler did not take advantage of vague orders for adventures again .

 

The U.S. Army employed Civil War-era skirmishers at the head of the advancing columns. All four U.S. soldiers who had volunteered to act as skirmishers walking point at head of the American column were killed. The Battle of Las Guasimas showed the U.S. that the old linear Civil War tactics did not work effectively against Spanish troops who had learned the art of cover and concealment from their own struggle with Cuban insurgents, and never made the error of revealing their positions while on the defense. The Spaniards were also aided by the then new smokeless powder, which also aided their remaining concealed even while firing. American soldiers were only able to advance against the Spaniards in what are now called "fireteam" rushes, four-to-five man groups advancing while others laid down supporting fire.

 

As Gen Shafter was getting his troops into position to attack Santiago, Gen Linares was working just as hard preparing his defense of Santiago with a line of defense from El Caney to the San Juan heights. For some unknown reason Shafter did not coordinate with the Navy to shell Spanish positions .

 

 

By June 30 Gen Linares had about 10,500 men in positions in and around Santiago .Instead of concentrating his men in force in expected areas of attack, he tried to cover every possible area that could be attacked .

 

Gen Shafter's plan of attack 

 

 

On June 28, Shafter discovered Colonel Escario was approaching to reenforce Santiago, with a force first believed to number around 8,000, but around 3,500 in reality. Shafter decided he should attack before Escario could arrive . He posted Garcia and his forces to the northwest of the city. He decided to attack the town of El Caney and the San Juan Heights of San Juan and Kettle Hills, outposts in front of the stronger Spanish positions . El Caney is about 6 miles northeast of Santiago, this position had 6 blockhouses and a stone fort on top of the hill called El Viso .El Caney was important since it commanded the road to Guantanamo, where there was still a large Spanish force and taking it would prevent the Spanish from flanking the attack on the The San Juan Heights. El Caney was held by Gen Joaquin Vara del Rey with about 500 men . It was expected he would retreat if faced with a large force .The San Juan Heights were two miles east of the city with a brick blockhouse on the top , trenches and rifle pits . For some reason, Shafter decided not to coordinate with Sampson at sea to bombard Santiago .

General Joaquin Vara del Rey

 

El Caney and the stone fort of El Viso

 

 Gen Lawton's division, with Gen Bates brigade in support were  to attack El Caney at dawn on July 1. Gen Duffield with Navy support was to attack close to the mouth of Santiago harbor in a feint to draw troops away from the main attack on the San Juan Heights .Gen Kent and Gen Wheeler were to make the main attack on the San Juan Heights at 10:00 A.M. After Lawton had taked El Caney, he was to support the attack on the San Juan Heights . The attack on San Juan Heights would begin after El Caney had fallen. One artillery battery would help Lawton reduce El Caney and another battery at El Pozo would fire on the San Juan Heights . the Americans had little artillery and no heavy artillery due to the difficulty in moving them on the narrow, muddy roads around Santiago .

 

 

Gen Lawton

Shafter did not have much respect for the Spanish fighting ability and planned to storm the San Juan Heights, rout the enemy and take Santiago. This would force the squadron of Cervera to surrender or steam out and be attacked by Sampson's powerful fleet waiting outside.Shafter planned to command all these actions from a position one mile east of El Pozo, where telephone lines and messengers would be used .

 

monument to Gen del Rey in Madrid

 

Battle of El Caney 

 

 

At dawn on July 1, Gen Duffield started to make his diversionary attack at the mouth of the harbor. However, they discovered a deep gorge they could not cross in front of their objective, and after some brief firing, returned to Siboney. No major movement of troops was accomplished by the attack .

 

Meanwhile, at El Caney, Gen Lawton prepared his attack . He started at 7:00 a it soon became obvious El Caney would not fall easily. At El Caney, Gen del Rey had about 500 men, including two sons . The Americans had 8,000 soldiers and 1,000 Cuban fighters.Lawton brought up his light artillery pieces, Gen de Rey had no artillery to respond with .As 10:00 approached, Lawton would have to disengage or throw more troops in to try to storm El Caney . Lawton decided to throw in more troops. despite being outnumbered 12:1, the defenders fought valiantly for eight hours, with del Rey being killed around noon . After noon, Shafter ordered Lawton to his position to attack the San Juan Heights, however, Lawton was too deeply engaged and could not move .With the aid of his artillery and a frontal charge Lawton was able to take el Viso and the block houses, the fighting was not over till 5:00 P.M. The Spanish force retreated only when it had been reduced to 80 men .the Americans had 81 killed and the Spanish 38 .This battle proved that if properly led, the Spanish were stout fighters and no pushovers .Some argue that the tieing up of forces at El Caney prevented Shafter from taking Santiago .

 

Battle of The San Juan Heights 

 

 

 

The battles of San Juan and Kettle Hills were the bloodies battles in the Spanish American War . San Juan Hill of 125 feet was the highest point on the eastern approach of Santiago, where the Americans had to approach. Kettle Hill was lower .From these hills the Spanish could look down on the Americans . There was a brick blockhouse on top of San Juan Hill with trenches and rifle pits .The San Juan Heights were defended by by about 500 men with about 400 men nearby in reserve with some of the sailors from the squadron  with a 6.3 inch and 4.7 inch guns . Why Gen Linares didn't place much more troops and naval guns on the heights is a mystery . The Americans had 15,000 troops plus about 4,000 Cuban fighters .

 

About 8:00 A.M a battery of four 3.2 inch guns opened fire on the heights. The Americans, using black powder in their guns were easily spotted, while the Spanish had smokeless powder and were harder to see and the Spanish guns soon took out the American guns .

 

An observation balloon was also used by the Americans, with disastrous results .By watching the observation balloon, the Spanish were able to discern the American line of march and open a murderous fire which caused many American causalities . eventually the balloon was shot down .When at the same time El Caney was being stubbornly defended, events weren't going well for the Americans here either .Shafter should have ordered a thorough reconnaissance of the heights before and not have relied on a balloon .

 

Gen Kent was to have started his attack at 10:00, but he was delayed waiting for Lawton to come from El Caney .Finally it started at around noon without Lawton in some confusion as some of the inexperienced volunteers fled when coming under fire .Gen Kent was able to prevent a rout and move regular troops forward .the Americans had no artillery or Gatling guns at this time and took many causalities . The Americans, now at the base of the hieghts, were to storm it without it being softened up with artillery .A British observer of the battle, thought this was madness .

 

 

At this point, the American forces either had to attack or retreat, but could not remain taking murderous fire .However, there were no orders. This area was dubbed "Hell's Pocket" and "Bloody Ford" by the Americans .

A brigade staff officer named Jules G. Ord initiated an unusual discussion with his commander by asking, "General, if you will order a charge, I will lead it." Hawkins made no response. Ord again asked "If you do not wish to order a charge, General, I should like to volunteer. We can't stay here, can we?"
"I would not ask any man to volunteer," Hawkins stated. "If you do not forbid it, I will start it," returned Ord. Hawkins again remained silent. Ord finally asked "I only ask you not to refuse permission." Hawkins responded "I will not ask for volunteers, I will not give permission and I will not refuse it," he said. "God bless you and good luck!" Ord reached the summit and was killed there .

 

Seeing the spontaneous of Ord, Gen Kent gave the order to attack with his division and took a blockhouse after bloody hand to hand fighting

 

At 1:15 an American Gatling gun detachment arrived and opened fire on the Spanish . Even though the burst only lasted eight minutes, it provided essential support for the charge and stormed the top of San Juan Hill. The Spanish fortifications and trenches were poorly situated, and the Spanish could not use the full benefit of the hill. The Spanish abandoned the top before the Americans arrived .

 

 

 

at the top of San Juan Hill

 

As San Juan Hill was being stormed, American forces were moving on Kettle Hill with cavalry and the soon to be famous Rough Riders under Roosevelt, the commander being too ill to lead the attack .In the absence of orders, Roosevelt took it upon himself to lead a bold charge.Roosevelt, had to dismount, but was one of the first to reach the summit on foot .Here also the Spanish abandoned the summit before the Americans arrived and fell back to a stronger position .

 

the Rough Riders attacking Kettle Hill

 

The battle had been a hard one for the Americans, who suffered almost three times as many losses as the Spanish . The Spaniards, meanwhile, had literally fought to a man, losing a third of their force in casualties but yielding very few prisoners. even though the Americans did take the heights and El Caney, the objective had been Santiago .The Americans also did not attack the stronger Spanish position closer to Santiago .

 

Once in possession of the heights, the Americans halted instead of continuing on to Santiago and entrenched themselves there. The Americans feared a counterattack, but no attack was forthcoming .Gen Linares had been wounded and was replaces by Gen Jose Toral . the battles of the day dispelled the notion that the Spanish were cowardly and pushovers. At El Caney they had been outnumbered 12:1 and were without artillery, yet fought for 8 hours. At the heights they were outnumbered 16:1 .  The Americans lost 205 men killed, 1,180 wounded. the Spanish lost 215 killed and 376 wounded .

 

The stout Spanish resistance took  the initial aggressive spirit out of the Americans and there was not to be another large scale attack . Unknown to the Americans, the Spanish troops were extremely low on food and ammunition . Shafter, however, considered a retreat because of supply problems, but his other commanders were against it .

 

street scene in Santiago de Cuba

 

On July 3, Shafter sent a message to Toral demanding surrender, which he refused to do .The same day Cervera's squadron left Santiago and the day before Colonel Escardio arrived, the main  reason for the early attack, and entered Santiago with about 3,200 men, despite Garcia's rebels .

 

The Naval battle of Santiago de Cuba 

 

 

The American movement closer to Santiago placed Cervera's squadron at risk of being captured. The Spanish command now had to decide whether to scuttle the squadron or risk a sortie . Cervera was authorized to leave Santiago on June 23, but he tried his best to argue the Ministry of Marine and the Governor General Blanco out of the operation and to use the squadron's guns to defend Santiago .Governor General Blanco was adamant that the squadron should leave rather than be captured , which he felt would be too great a blow to Spanish morale .

 

To escape Santiago, Cervera's squadron would have to exit one by one, and even at night the blockading squadron had a searchlight on the entrance with " ..the certain result will be the ruin of each and all ships and the death of a greater part of their crews .' he said . Where could he escape to ? To Havana ? And end up in the same situation as in Santiago ? On Juy 2 , Blanco gave Cervera a direct order to leave immediately That night Cervera gave orders to leave the next morning at 9:00 A.M ,when the American crews would be at religious services . A night sortie through the narrow channel deemed to be too dangerous , with the Infanta Teresa in the lead .the Vizcaya, Cristobal Colon, Almirante Oquendo, Furor and Pluton would follow .The Brooklyn, with its speed, was deemed to be the most dangerous American ship, and it would be the main target , the Infanta Teresa would try to ram it .Any ship escaping would steam for Havana or Cienfuegos . At 8:00 A.M, seeing that the Brooklyn was further away than usual, Cervera the departure of his squadron, raing the signal flag Zafarrando de Combate ( Clearing for Action ) and giving a cheer, Viva Espana ! on his flagship, the Infanta Teresa .

 

The blockading squadron was understrength, as the battleship Massachusetts, cruiser New Orleans had gone to Guantanamo for coal .Admiral Sampson had left on the cruiser New York to confer with Shafter , leaving Commodore Schley in command. On Blockade were the battleships Iowa, Oregon,Indiana and Texas , the armored cruiser Brooklyn and a torpedo boat.

 

At 9:35 the Infanta Teresa came out and the American squadron went to battle stations .The last of the Spanish squadron was out at 10:10 A.M. While the Spanish had held the initiative by beginning the engagement and largely surprising the Americans, two factors slowed their escape. The first was the continuing problem experienced in maintaining proper speed by Vizcaya; the second was the poor quality of most of the coal in the Spanish holdsFor 10 minutes, the Infanta Teresa had to withstand the firepower of the entire American squadron .The Infanta Teresa steamed straight for the Brooklyn, which moved to avoid it and placed the Brooklyn between the Iowa and the Texas. the texas had to reverse to avoid a collision . The Iowa had started from a disadvantaged position and was passed by Infanta Maria Teresa but hit her with two 12-inch rounds from 2,600 yards and swung into the chase. As Iowa was passed in turn by Cristóbal Colón, the Spanish ship hit her with two shots from her secondary battery. One of these, striking near the waterline, caused Iowa to slow, and she therefore engaged the Almirante Oquendo, bringing up the rear of Cervera's four cruisers.The Infanta Teresa was soon disabled by the combined firepower of the fleet and ran aground at 10:35 A.M.

 

wreck of the Infanta Teresa

 

The Almirante Oquendo was the second to be destroyed, it turned toward shore and het the beach at 10:40 A.M.

 

wreck of the Almirante Oquendo

 

The Pluton was beached at 10:45 and the Furor sank soon afterwards.

 

The Furor sinking

 

wreck of the Vizcaya

 

 Next the slow moving Vizcaya , taking fire from the American squadron, ran aground at 11:15 A.M.A valiant fight was put up by Vizcaya, locked in a running gun duel for nearly an hour with Brooklyn. Despite steaming side-by-side with Schley's flagship at about 1,200 yards (1,100 m), and even with some good shooting which knocked out a secondary gun aboard Brooklyn, almost none of the Spaniards' nearly three hundred shots caused significant damage, while Brooklyn pounded Vizcaya with horrific effect. Subsequent claims by Admiral Cervera, and later research by historians, have suggested that nearly eighty-five percent of the Spanish ammunition at Santiago was utterly useless, either defective or simply filled with sawdust as a cost-saving measure for practice firing.

 

the New York, Brooklyn, Texas and Oregon next pursued the Cristobal Colon. Lacking its 10 inch guns, the Cristobal Colon could not direct long range fire .At 1:00 P.M. the Cristobal Colon ran out of its supply of good coal and began to slow down . At 1:15 P.M. the captain of the Cristobal Colon took down his flag an headed torward shore, beaching his ship 50 miles west of Santiago de Cuba .

 

Captured Spanish sailors. Cuban rebels try to kill Spanish sailors swimming

ashore, which the American Navy prevented

 

Only one American sailor was killed from fire from the Vizcaya. The Spanish had 323 killed and 151 wounded out of 2,227 men .1,720 were taken prisoner, the rest escaped capture and 150 returned to Santiago de Cuba .Admiral Cervera survived and was rescued, picked up near Punta Cabrera by the crew of the armed yacht Gloucester.

 

As the ships of the U.S. fleet pushed through the carnage, rescuing as many Spanish survivors as possible, an officer was fished out by sailors of the Iowa. At first unrecognizable under a bloody bandage and covered in oil and soot, this man proved to be Captain Don Antonio Eulate of the Vizcaya. Standing shakily on the deck of the Iowa, he thanked his rescuers and gravely presented his sword to Captain Robley Evans, who handed it back. Eulate then turned to look out at the burning wreck of his ship and saluted her.

 

Two of the Spanish ships, Infanta Maria Teresa and Cristóbal Colón, were later re-floated and taken over by the United States. Both eventually foundered and were lost. The Reina Mercedes, abandoned in Santiago Bay because of engine troubles, was the unprotected cruiser captured by the U.S. and used as a receiving ship until the 1950s as the USS Reina Mercedes.

 

The battle was the end of any noteworthy Spanish naval presence in the New World. It forced Spain to re-assess her strategy in Cuba and resulted in an ever-tightening blockade of the island. While fighting continued until August, when a peace treaty was signed, all surviving Spanish capital ships were now husbanded to defend their homeland. Uncontested U.S. control of the seas around Cuba made resupply of the Spanish garrison impossible and its surrender inevitable.

 

The Seige of Santiago de Cuba and surrender 

 

After the destruction Cervera's squadron, Shafter again asked Gen toral to surrender , but Toral again refused . Shafter allowed civilans to evacuate Santiago de Cuba, and eventually around 20,000 had gathered in El Caney .

 

Shafter made another demand, that if Toral refused to surrender, the American squadron would start to fire 8 to 13 inch shells into Santiago. to which toral made a counter offer of leaving santiago to the Americans if his forces could march to Holguin and not be attacked .Shafter sent the proposal to McKinley, who said he would only accept unconditional surrender .Since toral still refused to surrender, bombarment began on July 10 .On July 11, an offer was made to sail surrendering Spanish troops back to Spain. The americans wished to settle the issue before yellow fever, which had appeared among the American troops, spread .

 

After the battles of San Juan Hill and El Caney, the American advance ground to a halt. Spanish troops successfully defended Fort Canosa, allowing them to stabilize their line and bar the entry to Santiago. The Americans and Cubans forcibly began a bloody, strangling siege of the city. During the nights, Cuban troops dug successive series of "trenches" (actually raised parapets), toward the Spanish positions. Once completed, these parapets were occupied by U.S. soldiers and a new set of excavations went forward. American troops, while suffering daily losses from Spanish fire and sniper rifles, suffered far more casualties from heat exhaustion and mosquito-borne disease. At the western approaches to the city Cuban general Calixto Garcia began to encroach on the city, causing much panic and fear of reprisals among the Spanish forces.

 

Gen Toral and officers meeting for surrender talks

 

By Spanish law, Toral could not surrender the city while he still had food and ammunition, he would have to get approval from the Spanish government in Madrid . On July 15, toral signalled Shafter that he had received permission to sign a capitulation and ending fighting in eastern Cuba and the final capitualation took place on July 17 and at noon the American flag was raised over Santiago de Cuba .

 

Puerto Rico 

 

 

During May 1898, Lt. Henry H. Whitney of the United States Fourth Artillery was sent to Puerto Rico on a reconnaissance mission, sponsored by the Army's Bureau of Military Intelligence. He provided maps and information on the Spanish military forces to the U.S. government prior to the invasion.

 

On May 10, U.S. Navy warships were sighted off the coast of Puerto Rico. On May 12, a squadron of 12 U.S. ships commanded by Rear Adm. William T. Sampson bombarded San Juan. During the bombardment, many government buildings were shelled.

 

On June 25, the Yosemite blockaded San Juan harbor. On July 25, General Nelson A. Miles, with 3,300 soldiers, landed at Guánica and invaded the island with little resistance in the brief Puerto Rican Campaign.On Puerto Rico there were an estimated 8,000 Spanish troops and 9,000 militiamen . After Guánica was seized, American troops came ashore at other points on the south side island to a total of about 15,000 . Gen Miles then began a cross island march to San Juan in the north .There were  skirmishes near Ponce and Mayaguez on Aug 9-10, then on Aug 12 word came that a peace ptotocol had been signed .In the campaign, the US lost 7 killed and 36 woulded, the Spanish had 450 casualties .

 

 

Peace Treaty 

 

McKinley wanted to have peace without attacking Havana and Spain itself

On July 18, the Spanish Foreign Minister, sent out feelers for peace .He asked the Spanish ambassador in Paris, Fernando Leon y Castillo to ask the french government to use its good offices to contact the United states regarding peace .Thus began peace negotiation to end what Secretary of State John Hay who helped negotiate the Treay of Paris the ' splendid little war.' Some terms were settled without much arguement, independence for Cuba, giving up Puerto Rico for an indemnity and guam as well. the question of te Philippines caused extensive discussion .there was considerable anti-imperialist sentiment in America, despite this, it was thought best to annex the Philippines

 

Hostilities were halted on August 12, 1898 with the signing in Washington of a Protocol of Peace between the United States and Spain. McKinley wanted to have peace without attacking Havana and Spain itself .The formal peace treaty was signed in Paris on December 10, 1898 and was ratified by the United States Senate on February 6, 1899. It came into force on April 11, 1899. Cubans participated only as observers.

The United States gained almost all of Spain's colonies, including the Philippines, Guam, and Puerto Rico. Cuba, having been occupied as of July 17, 1898, and thus under the jurisdiction of the United States Military Government (USMG), formed its own civil government and attained independence on May 20, 1902, with the announced end of USMG jurisdiction over the island. However, the United States imposed various restrictions on the new government, including prohibiting alliances with other countries, and reserved for itself the right of intervention. The US also established a perpetual lease of Guantanamo Bay.

On August 14, 1898, 11,000 ground troops were sent to occupy the Philippines. When U.S. troops began to take the place of the Spanish in control of the country, warfare broke out between U.S. forces and the Filipinos. See Philippine-American War.The United States paid Spain US$20 million for the Philippines.(The Philippine-American War, which broke out two months later, cost the United States $400 million). 

 

Aftermath 

 

Culturally a new wave called the Generation of 1898 originated as a response to this trauma, marking a renaissance of the Spanish culture. Economically, the war actually benefited Spain, because after the war, large sums of capital held by Spaniards not only in Cuba but also all over America were brought back to the peninsula and invested in Spain. This massive flow of capital (equivalent to 25% of the gross domestic product of one year) helped to develop the large modern firm in Spain in industrial sectors (steel, chemical, mechanical, textiles and shipyards among others), in the electrical power industry and in the financial sector.However, the political consequences were serious. The defeat in the war began the weakening of the fragile political stability that had been established earlier by the rule of Alfonso XII.

 

 

 

 

   

Spanish American War

History Channel on the War

 

 

 

 

Rough Riders

Tom Berenger, Sam Elliott 1997

 

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