Spanish American War Records & Newspapers

Despite the Spanish American War being fought in 1898, many important Spanish American War records still exist. The Spanish American War started in 1898 after an explosion on a U.S. ship in Havana Harbor, the USS Maine, was attributed to Spanish sabotage. Although the Spanish American War lasted only 10 weeks, it resulted in the defeat of the Spanish Empire and gave Americans control of Guam, the Philippines and Puerto Rico.

Spanish American War records exist in the form of soldier information compiled by individual states and that was subsequently turned over to the War Department for official recording. Other Spanish American War records include scanned copies of documents related to the infamous sinking of the USS Maine. There are also over 1,200 Spanish American War records related to the rough riders, including the military service record of Teddy Roosevelt.

The Spanish American War records relating to the rough riders are comprised of military service descriptions, rank and dates of service for members of the First Regiment of the U.S. Calvary Volunteers. America's army was small in 1898, so President McKinley called for volunteers, which quickly swelled its numbers. The rough riders were more physically fit for battle and included Indians, cowboys and college athletes.

Spanish American War Timeline

February 15, 1898: The USS Maine incurred an explosion while docked in Havana Harbor and sank. The blame was placed on Spanish sabotage.

April 24-25, 1898: Spain declared war on the U.S. on April 24. The U.S. declared war on Spain the next day.

May 1, 1898: The Battle of Manila Bay in the Philippines resulted in Spain losing all its ships and over 300 sailors, while the Americans suffered no battle casualties.

June 20, 1898: The USS Charleston captured the island of Guam with no bloodshed. This marked the first Pacific capture of the war.

August 12, 1898: An Armistice was signed to end the war and pave the way towards peace talks.

December 10, 1898: The Treaty of Paris was signed, and after the U.S. paid Spain $20 million, Spain gave the U.S. control over Guam, the Philippines and Puerto Rico. Temporary control over Cuba was also granted to the U.S.

Spanish American War Newspaper Article

The Salt Lake Herald, published on May 8, 1898, included a lot of talk regarding the Spanish American War that had officially begun in April 1898. This Spanish American War newspaper edition splashed the headline "How Dewey And His Men Remembered the Maine" and was referring to the epic battle of Manila. The Spanish American War newspaper continued to describe that in remembering the Maine (meaning the USS Maine that sank in Havana Harbor and was a catalyst for the war), Commodore Dewey and his troops obliterated 11 Spanish warships, captured Spanish forts at Manila, and didn't lose a single American life. This Spanish American War newspaper article also described how Dewey ensured the safety of the Manila Bay residents and was caring for the wounded Spanish soldiers.

spanish american war articles

Also reported in this Spanish American War newspaper edition is the fact that the only source of communication for news of the battle of Manila was with the American consul in Hong Kong. The battle is discussed in great detail, as "yellow journalism" was hugely popular during that time and was responsible for not only sensationalizing news items, but was also responsible for incurring anti-Spanish sentiment leading up to the war among American citizens.

This Spanish American War newspaper edition also put a detailed account of how ecstatic Washington was over this epic battle victory - so much so that no one was able to maintain enough composure to go about completing routing work. Also described were the Senate and House members that came out to the Navy building in Washington to join in the excitement and the "explosive" atmosphere. Also reported was the sentiment that this atmosphere hadn't been felt since the Civil War. A sketch of this battle is featured prominently towards the top center of this Spanish American War newspaper edition.

Find Records Now for Free

Start your free trial today to learn more about your ancestors using our powerful and intuitive search. Cancel any time, no strings attached.

Start free trial