Spanish-American War, 1898

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The war between the United States and Spain was largely fought in Cuba and the Philippines. The conflict lasted from April to August 1898. As a result, the United States acquired Puerto Rico and Guam and bought the Philippines. Cuba became independent.

The war was fought by U.S. regular forces and state volunteers. About 250,000 enlisted men and 11,000 officers served in this conflict. Most volunteers came from the states of New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Ohio.

Chronology of Major Events[edit | edit source]

Jan 1898 Spanish sympathizers staged a riot in Havana, Cuba, a colony of Spain. The United States government sent the ship the U.S.S. Maine to Havana to protect the Americans in Cuba.
15 Feb 1898 The U.S. Maine was blown up in the Havana harbor. Many Americans believe that the ship was sunk by the Spanish, though the actual cause was never proven.
19 Apr 1898 The U.S. Congress adopted resolutions that declared Cuba independent from Spain and authorized U.S. military intervention to compel the Spanish to leave Cuba.
21 Apr 1898 Spain broke diplomatic relations with the United States.They declared a state of war on April 24. The U.S. officially declared war on Spain the following day.
23 Apr 1898 President McKinley asked for 125,000 volunteers to fight the war with Spain.
1 May 1898 Commodore George Dewey led an American attack against the Spanish fleet in Manila Bay in the Philippines, a Spanish colony. The Spanish fleet was destroyed, but the American ships were unharmed. Only eight Americans were slightly wounded in the skirmish.
15 Jun 1898 American forces repulsed a Spanish force a Guantanamo Bay,Cuba.
1 Jul 1898 American troops stormed the Spanish strongholds of San
Juan and El Caney near Santiago, Cuba. Casualties were
heavy on both sides. The city of Santiago surrendered on July
3 Jul 1898 The Spanish fleet, stationed in the Santiago harbor, was
either destroyed or disabled.
25 Jul 1898 American troops landed at Guanica Harbor, Puerto Rico.Three days later the island surrendered.
12 Aug 1898 All hostilities ended by the terms of a protocol. The terms ceded Cuba and Guam, one of the Mariana Islands, to the United States. The U.S. also purchased the Philippine Islands.
10 Dec 1898 The peace treaty was signed in Paris.
6 Feb 1899 The peace treaty was approved by the U.S. Senate.

Beginning Research[edit | edit source]

Service Records[edit | edit source]


Below is an index to service records:

A wiki article describing the online collection is found at:
United States Index to Service Records, War with Spain - FamilySearch Historical Records

Individual state indexes are also available for:

The indexes list the soldier’s name, rank, and unit. Entries that refer to miscellaneous personal papers have no corresponding compiled service records. The papers themselves follow the jacket envelopes for most units. See the FamilySearch Catalog for complete information on film numbers.

The service records of Florida have been microfilmed:

Other service records are available at the National Archives. You may also find military records at state archives, historical societies, and county courthouses. Some are on microfilm at the Family History Library.


A list of volunteer officers is in Vol.2 pages 185–272 of the following:

Regular Army

Enlisted Men

The "Register of Enlistments in the U.S. Army, 1798-1914" (NARA M233) consists of U.S. Army registers that recorded the name and other information on soldiers that enlisted between 1798 and 1914. The collection includes enlistees from the time period of the Spanish-American War, however, it does not specify whether they served in the war or not. See United States Army.


Unit Histories

Pension Records[edit | edit source]


  • The General Index to Pension Files is available online. The "General Index to Pension Files, 1861–1934" (NARA) T288. The index covers veterans of the Civil War, Spanish‑American War, Philippine Insurrection, Boxer Rebellion (1900 to 1901), and the regular Army, Navy, and Marine forces.
  • The Organization Index to Pension Files is available online. The "Organization Index to Pension Files of Veterans Who Served Between 1861 and 1900" (NARA T289), also called the "Civil War Pension Index", lists Spanish‑American War veterans including Spanish‑American War nurses.

Pension Records

The pension records themselves are not on microfilm. Copies can be ordered from the National Archives.

See also Military Records: Pre-WWI Pension Applications (16 minute online video) at FamilySearch Learning Center.

Casualty Records[edit | edit source]

Regular Army Officers

Cemetery Records[edit | edit source]

Peterson, Clarence Stewart. Known Military Dead during the Spanish-American War and the Philippine Insurrection, 1898–1901. Baltimore: Clarence Stewart Peterson, 1958. (FHL book 973 M23pc; fiche 6051242.) This work includes name, rank, company, regiment, and death date and place.

Census Records[edit | edit source]

1900 U.S. Federal Census

The 1900 Federal Census (NARA T623) enumerated military personnel stationed overseas in places such as Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines. The census gives the soldier’s name, rank, place of residence in the United States, birth date and place, company, regiment, and branch of service.

1930 U.S. Federal Census

The 1930 Federal Census asked if a person was "A veteran of the U.S. military or naval forces mobilized for any war or expedition" and "What war or expedition" they served in.

1940 U.S. Federal Census

The 1940 Federal Census asked "Is this person a veteran of the United States military forces or the wife, widow, or under 18-year-old child of a veteran?" and "If child, is veteran-father dead?" and "War or Military" served in. These were only asked of persons which were recorded on 2 of the 40 lines per page, which would have covered about five percent of the population.

Prisoner of War Records[edit | edit source]

Regular Army Officers

Society Records[edit | edit source]

Veterans Society Records[edit | edit source]

The United Spanish War Veterans was established in 1899. Its membership includes veterans with service in the Spanish-American War and the Philippine Insurrection to 4 July 1902. The following sources contain information on their members who were veterans of the two wars.

State & Local[edit | edit source]






New York

  • Index cards, M-Z, for New York County. Contains members of Manhattan Camp no. 1 Sgt. Hamilton Fish Camp no. 46, Defendam Camp no. 36, Col. Henry Hubbell Camp no. 24, Old Guard Camp no. 19, Gen Andrew S. Burt Camp no. 117 and others.




Washington and Alaska

Additional Societies[edit | edit source]

Lineage Society Records[edit | edit source]

Sons of Spanish American War Veterans

Daughters of '98

State Spanish-American War Records
[edit | edit source]

National Archives[edit | edit source]

Service Records

Medical Records

Other Collections

Sources for Further Reading[edit | edit source]

  • Alger, Russell A. The Spanish-American War. (Freeport, New York: Books for Libraries Press, 1971).
  • Chadwick, French E. The Relations of the U.S. and Spain: The Spanish-American War. (New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1911).
  • Dyal, Donald H. Historical Dictionary of the Spanish American War. (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1996).
  • Foner, Philip S. The Spanish-Cuban-American War and the Birth of American Imperialism, 1895-1902. (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1972).
  • Freidel, Frank. The Splendid Little War. (Boston: Little, Brown and Co.,1958).
  • O'Toole, George J. A. The Spanish War: An American Epic--1898. (New York: Norton, 1984).
  • Sexton, William T. Soldiers in the Sun: An Adventure in Imperialism. (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: The Military Service Publishing Co., 1939).
  • Titherington, Richard Handfield. A History of the Spanish-American War of 1898. (Freeport, New York: Books for Libraries Press, 1971).
  • Trask, David F. The War with Spain in 1898. (New York: Macmillan, 1981).
  • Venzon, Anne Cipriano. The Spanish-American War: An Annotated Bibliography. Vol. 11 of Wars of the United States. (New York: Garland Publishing, 1990). FHL book 973 M23b v. 11.
    • Contains sections on the U.S. Army and Navy which identify sources on regular and volunteer units and vessels. Also covers Black Americans in the war, relief efforts, and medical and sanitary conditions.
  • Werstein, Irving. Turning Point for America: The Story of the Spanish-American War. (New York: J. Messner, 1964).