events of 1898: From the arrival of the U.S.S. Maine in Havana
on January 25, 1898, to the
Treaty of Paris, concluded on
December 10, 1898.
President decided that Cuba would have to be liberated by land
forces, and to this end the Army scrambled to raise and train
and additional regular troops. An enthusiastic citizenry filled
recruiting depots, creating havoc on a organization designed to
police Western Plains.
Order was eventually imposed on chaos and Shafter sailed for
Cuba with 17,000 men on June 14, 1893.
the Army and the Navy were unprepared when hostilities began.
The Navy quickly recovered, and within a week of the declaration
of the war
Dewey had destroyed the weak Spanish squadron in Manila Bay.
Meanwhile, after briefly panicking over a possible Spanish
attack against the East Coast,
the American Atlantic Squadrons under Admiral Sampson clapped a
blockade around Cuba, sealing Cervera's obsolescent squadron in
landings in Cuba were not opposed, and after some hesitation
Shafter decided to take Santiago. A skirmish at Las Guasimas
caused the Americans
to underrate their foe and consequently, on July 1, 1898,
Shafter's corps launched bloody frontal assaults against strong
Spanish fortifications at El Caney
and San Juan Hill. Small unit leadership, the bravery of the
American soldiers, and a significant numerical advantage secured
these objectives, leaving
the Spanish in an untenable position in Santiago.
Spanish Admiral Pascual Cervera's fleet tried to escape and was
sunk in a one-sided running engagement on July 3, 1898. General
Toral recognized the
hopelessness of his plight, and surrendered Spanish forces on
Eastern Cuba on July 17. American forces went on to take Puerto
Rico by August 9, and
the Spanish sued for peace on August 12. The next day, unaware
that an armistice had been signed, General Merritt's forces