Spanish-American War, 1898
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. Records for this war are listed in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under:
UNITED STATES ‑ MILITARY RECORDS ‑ WAR OF 1898
Below is an index to service records:
- General Index to Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers Who Served during the War with Spain. National Archives Microfilm Publication M871. (FHL films 1002433–558.)
- A wiki article describing an online collection is found at:
- United States, Index to Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers in the War with Spain (FamilySearch Historical Records)
Individual state indexes are also available for:
- Louisiana. National Archives Microfilm Publication M240 (FHL film 0880013.)
- North Carolina. National Archives Microfilm Publication M413 (FHL films 0821907–8.)
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 Family History Library Catalog for complete information on film numbers.
The service records of Florida have been microfilmed:
- Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers Who Served in the Florida Infantry during the War With Spain. National Archives Microfilm Publication M1087. (FHL films 1314126–38.) See the Family History Library Catalog for complete film numbers.
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. To find specific microfilm numbers, look in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under:
[STATE] ‑ MILITARY RECORDS ‑ WAR OF 1898
A list of volunteer officers is on Vol.2 pages 185–272 of the following:
The "Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army..." by Francis B. Heitman lists Regular Army and volunteer officers from 1789 to 1903 in two volumes giving a brief history of the officers service and awards received. Casualties (including prisoners of war) from 1789 to 1902 are also listed as well as a chronological list of battles, actions, etc., in which troops of the Regular Army have participated.
- General Index to Pension Files, 1861–1934, National Archives Microfilm Publication 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 of Veterans Who Served Between 1861 and 1900" (NARA T289), also called the "Civil War Pension Index" also lists Spanish‑American War veterans including Spanish‑American War nurses. This collection is available online. See Civil War Pension Index Cards.
- Note: This collection is often referred to as the "Organization Index". It covers the years 1861-1917 and includes records for veterans of the Spanish-American War.
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) FamilySearch Research Classes Online, 2010.
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.
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 Censusasked 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 line 14 and line 29 of the census, which would have covered about five percent of the population.
Veterans and Lineage Society Records
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.
- United Spanish War Veterans Camp Index, ca. 1890–1984 (FHL film 1765853-54, 1766000-6003)
- United Spanish War Veterans Master Index, ca. 1890–1984 (FHL film 1765850–52)
- United Spanish War Veterans, Department of Utah. Muster Rolls of Members, 1929–1957. (FHL film 1666085) Lists the veteran’s name, age, residence, final discharge date, and unit. Some entries may contain additional data.
Sources for Further Reading
Dyal, Donald H. Historical Dictionary of the Spanish American War. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1996.
Gabbert, Howard Markland. The Rough Riders: A Brief Study and Indexed Roster of the 1st Regiment U.S. Volunteer Cavalry 1898. Tucson, Ariz.: Arizona State Genealogical Society, 1992. (FHL book 979.1 M2g.) Includes the name of the soldier, rank, place of residence, death date, muster out date, and discharge date.
Kelly, Thomas E., III. The U.S. Army and the Spanish-American Era, 1895–1910. Special Bibliography 9 in 2 parts. Carlisle Barracks, Pa.: U.S. Army Military History Research Collection, 1974. (FHL book 973 B4ua no. 9.) An inventory of the manuscript and published holdings of the U.S. Army Military History Research Institute. The collection has material gathered from veterans and widows, including questionnaires completed by veterans in 1968 as part of the Spanish-American War, Philippine Insurrection, and Boxer Rebellion research project.
Livingston, Rebecca. “Sailors, Soldiers and Marines of the Spanish-American War: The Legacy of USS Maine.” Prologue: Quarterly of the National Archives and Records Administration 30. (Spring 1998): 62–72. (FHL book 973 B2p.)
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.