Spanish-American War

In Franklin County:

1898 to 1899 – Company C of the 8th Regiment

Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry with 112 Officers and Men

Resident Henry Pete Fletcher Served With Rough Riders

Throughout the Colonies:

On April 21, 1898, the United States declared war against Spain following the sinking of the Battleship Maine in the Havana harbor on February 15, 1898. The U.S. also supported the ongoing struggle of Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines for independence against Spanish rule.

This would be the first war fought overseas by the United States and it involved campaigns in both Cuba and the Philippine Islands.

The majority of Spanish-American War soldiers were volunteers who originated from all over the United States for their part in, as Secretary of State John Hay called it, a “splendid little war.”

War began in Cuba in June when the Marines captured Guantanamo Bay and U.S. troops landed at Siboney and Daiquiri, east of Santiago, Cuba. U.S. troops attacked the San Juan heights on July 1, 1898.

Dismounted cavalry troopers, including the African-American Ninth and Tenth cavalries and the Rough Riders commanded by Lt. Col. Theodore Roosevelt went up against Kettle Hill while the forces led by Brigadier General Jacob Kent charged up San Juan Hill and pushed Spanish troops further inland while inflicting 1,700 casualties.

The Spanish fleet guarding the Philippines was defeated by the U.S. Navy under the command of Commodore George Dewey on May 1, 1898. President McKinley authorized the assembling of troops in order to mount a campaign against the capital of Manila not realizing Dewey’s win.

The war ended with the signing of the Treaty of Paris on December 10, 1898. The war established the independence of Cuba, ceded Puerto Rico and Guam to the United States, and allowed the US to purchase the Philippines Islands from Spain for $20 million.

The war cost the United States $250 million and 3,000 lives, 90% of whom perished from yellow fever, typhoid fever and other infectious diseases. Pennsylvania was one of the largest contributors of men during the Spanish American War with almost 17,000 Pennsylvanians serving in the Pennsylvania Volunteers, and many more in the Federal army and navy.

Information above provided by the following source:

“Pennsylvania Volunteers in the Spanish-American War.” Summary of the Spanish American War 1898-1899. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Jan. 2013.