When the Spanish-controlled island of CUBA was seeking its independence from SPAIN in 1898, the experienced all black military units were ready to serve.
It took the explosion of the American battleship, the U. S. S. MAINE, killing 260 Americans (22 Black sailors perished with this crew) on February 15, 1898 in Havana Harbor to create a means for declaring war.
American preparation was quick, and on April 22, 1898, the U. S. Navy blockaded SANTIAGO HARBOR and, on April 24, declared war on Spain. Congress also activated TEN REGIMENTS OF ALL BLACK TROOPS: the 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 3rd Alabama, 3rd North Carolina, 23rd, 24th, and 25th. ONLY the 9th, 10th, 24th, and 25th saw combat in this short-lived war. Several key battles included LAS GUAIMAS, EL CANEY, the Battles of SAN JUAN HILL, SANTIAGO, and KETTLE HILL.
The SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR established several key points:
- The Black-American units were able to use more trained black officers as commanders of their regiments.
- They were able to serve the armed forces on territory outside the United States.
- Their superior acumen and bravery was recognized by two prominent Americans:
- Theodore Roosevelt, who later became U. S. President (1901-1909), served along side black soldiers in the SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR as part of the unit, "THE ROUGH RIDERS." On one Cuban mission, the 10th Calvary rescued the Rough Riders. Theodore Roosevelt said, "I don't think that any Rough Rider will ever forget the tie that binds us to the 9th and 10th Calvary."
- Lieutenant John J. Pershing was able to comment, "White regiments, Black regiments, Regulars, and Rough Riders, representing the young manhood of the North and South, fought shoulder to shoulder. All of the soldiers were mindful only of their common duty as Americans."
On July 3, 1898, The U. S. Navy destroyed the Spanish Naval Fleet. This major battle ended Spanish rule on the Atlantic Seaboard. In the end, the U. S. freed Cuba, and Spain ceded the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Guam. The U. S. also annexed the republic of Hawaii in 1898.
Among those soldiers were:
George G. Anderson * William H. Anderson * Daniel Atkins * Edward L. Baker Jr. * Dennis Bell * George Berry * Horace W. Bivins * Lewis Broadus * Horace G. Burke * T. C. Butler * Pierre L. Carmouche * Jordan Chavis * Hilary W. Coston * James Elmer Dellinger * Franklin A. Denison * Lee Fritz * George W. Ford * William H. Franklin * James Gilliard * Captain Wilt Jackson * John A. Logan * John Roy Lynch * Lt. John S. Nelson * Robert Penn * Walter Pinchback * George W. Prioleau * William W. Purnell * Lt. Charles L. Reece * Lt. John W. Shreeves * Lt. Jacob C. Smith * Sgt. William Tompkins * William A. Vrooman * William C. Warmsley * Major William Wesley * Cpt. Horace Wheaton * Col. Charles A. Young
February 24 - Second Cuban Insurrection begins.
April - General Gomez, General Antonio Maceo, Jose Maceo, Cebreco, Crombet, Guerra, Jose Marti and Borrero land in Cuba
May 19 - Cuban Jose Marti killed in encounter at Dos Rios Oriente Province.
June 13 -Spanish General Fidel de Santoclides killed in the battle of Peralejo Oriente Province. He died, killed by sharpshooter Andres Fernandez of Antonio Maceo's escort, while protecting Arsenio Martinez Campos Spanish Governor of Cuba. Martinez Campos takes refuge in Bayamo and is soon removed from his position and returned to Spain.
September 17 - Battleship MAINE commissioned.
October 1895-January 1896. Antonio Maceo and Maximo Gomez take their forces on the "La Invasion" fighting almost every day from Mangos de Baragua Oriente Province eastern Cuba to Mantua, in Pinar del Rio Province in extreme western Cuba.
November 30, 1895 - Battle at Iguara. It is in this "La Invasion" encounter that Winston Churchill is given a medal "Red Cross" by the Spanish. Spanish claim victory but numerically inferior Cubans continue to advance.
January, 1896 - Antonio Maceo and Maximo Gomez end their "La Invasion."
February 16 - General Weyler issues first of reconcentrado orders.
March 24 - Calixto Garcia, escaped from Spain, arrives in Cuba with well armed expedition.
August 26 - Philippine Revolution begins.
December, 7 - Antonio Maceo killed in encounter at Punta Brava, Havana Province.
December 30: Filipino national hero Dr. Jose Rizal is executed by Spanish troops.
March 4 - William McKinley inaugurated as president of the United States.
March 13 - Calixto Garcia now using cannon enters the fortified town of Jiguani Oriente Province.
June 19 - Stewart Woodford appointed U.S. Minister to Spain
August 8 - Spanish Prime Minister Canovas assassinated.
August 30 - The Spanish forts at Tunas, north western Oriente Province fall to Calixto Garcia.
October 4 - Prime Minister Sagasta takes office in Spain.
October 31- Prime Minister Sagasta recalls General Weyler from Cuba.
November 28 - The Spanish forts at Guisa, Northern foothills of Sierra Maestra Oriente Province, fall to Calixto Garcia.
January 1 - Spain institutes limited political autonomy in Cuba.
January 12 - Spanish in Cuba "riot" or demonstrate against autonomy-supporting newspaper offices. Consul-General Lee takes this as threat against Americans.
January 17 - Consul-General Lee asked for ship to sent to Havana
January 21 Esperanza, the Cuban rebel stronghold is invaded.
January 24 - Battleship MAINE sent to Havana
January 25 - Battleship MAINE arrives in Havana.
January 27 - Cuban Brig. Gen. Aranguren ambushed and killed.
February 1 - Spanish forces are beaten at Rejondon de Baguanos. This and other previous operations by Garcia, cause the Spanish to abandon the strategically important interior of Oriente Province, and effectively isolating Santiago de Cuba by land from other coastal Spanish garrisons.
February 9 - The DeLome letter is printed, critical of McKinley, causing the Spanish diplomat to be recalled.
February 15 -Battleship MAINE explodes, 266 crewmen killed.
February 16 - DeLome leaves the US for Spain.
February 17 - Naval Board of Inquiry into the loss of the battleship MAINE created ("the Sampson Board")
February 18 - Spanish cruiser VIZCAYA arrives in New York in reciprocal visit for the USS Maine, unaware that the Maine had been lost.
February 21 - The Naval Court of Inquiry into the loss of the MAINE begins.
February 25 - VIZCAYA leaves New York for Havana.
February 25 - Theodore Roosevelt, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, cabled Commodore Dewey to be ready if war were to break out, and gave him his objectives
March 6 - Spain requests, unofficially, that Consul-General Lee be recalled.
March 8 - Congress authorizes $50 million for a war fund.
March 14 - Admiral Cervera's squadron steams for the Cape Verde Islands.
March 17 - Senator Redfield Proctor reports on the Cuban situation after his visit to Cuba
March 19 - Battleship OREGON, under Capt. Charles Clark leaves San Francisco for Florida, by way of Tierra del Fuego on its famous dash!
March 21 - Board of Inquiry Report completed. States that battleship MAINE lost to a mine.
March 25 - McKinley receives Board of Inquiry Report.
March 26 - McKinley sends note to Spain demanding an end to war in Cuba, as well as a note indicating the findings of the Naval Board of Inquiry.
March 28 - Naval Court of Inquiry report presented to Congress. On the same day, the report of the Spanish Board of Inquiry into the loss of the MAINE is received in Washington. This reports states that the loss was the result of an internal accident.
March 30 - U.S. minister to Spain, Woodford, conveys request that war in Cuba end and that Cuba be given independence.
March 31 - Spain turns down demands of Cuban independence.
April 1 - U.S. House of Representatives authorizes $22.6 million for naval vessels.
April 6 - Pope asked McKinley to not declare war pending the Pope's negotiations with Spain.
April 7 - Ambassadors of England, Germany, France, Italy, Austria and Russia appeal to McKinley for peace.
April 9 - Spain orders General Blanco to declare armistice in Cuba. Consul-General Lee and other U.S. citizens leave Cuba.
April 11 - McKinley asks Congress for war.
April 16 - Army begins mobilization. Teller Amendment passes in U.S. Congress, stating that the U.S. would not annex Cuba.
April 19 - U.S. Congress declares Cuba independent.
April 22 - Blockade of Cuba commenced by US Navy. First Spanish ship taken.
April 23 - McKinley issues call for 125,000 volunteers. Spain declares war.
April 25 - U.S. declares war, but makes the declaration retroactive to April 22. Matanzas, Cuba bombarded by the US Navy.
April 27 - Commodore Dewey's squadron leaves Mirs Bay, China for the Philippines.
April 29 - Calixto Garcia takes Bayamo, abandoned by the Spanish, as headquarters.
April 30 - Admiral Cervera's Spanish squadron leaves the Cape Verde Islands for the Caribbean.
May 1 - U.S. Navy's Asiatic Squadron under Commodore Dewey defeats the Spanish Pacific Squadron at the Battle of Manila Bay.
May 1 - US Lieutenant Andrew Summers Rowan arrives in Bayamo to coordinate Cuban and US forces.
May 11 - Dewey promoted to rear admiral.
May 11 - The WINSLOW attacks Cardenas, resulting in the death of Ensign Bagley and five crewmen. Bagley was the only U.S. naval officer to die in the war. Cervera's squadron appears off Martinique.
May 11 - The cable is cut at Cienfuegos, Cuba by the crews of the MARBLEHEAD and NASHVILLE
May 12 - Admiral Sampson bombards San Juan, Puerto Rico, without warning.
May 13 - Commodore Schley's "Flying Squadron" leaves Hampton Roads for the vicinity of Cuba.
May 15 - Theodore Roosevelt begins training with Rough Riders.
May 17 - Cervera's squadron arrives in Santiago, Cuba.
May 25 - McKinley issues a call for 75,000 more volunteers. The first army expedition leaves San Francisco for Manila, P.I.
May 28 - Battleship OREGON arrives off Florida after the 14,700 nautical mile dash from the U.S.'s west coast
May 29 - US Navy blockades Spanish fleet in Santiago harbor.
May 31 - Schley and the blockading squadron skirmish with CRISTOBAL COLON and the forts at Santiago
June 3 - Hobson sinks the MERRIMAC at the entrance to Santiago harbor.
June 10 - US Marines land at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.
June 12-14 - Maj. Gen. Shafter's Vth Corps embarks at Tampa.
June 15 - Spanish squadron leaves Spain for the Philippines.
June 21 - Guam "captured" by US forces.
June 20 - Calixto Garcia meets with US General William Shafter in Asseradero Sierra Maestra to coordinate US landings.
June 20 - Cruiser CHARLESTON captures Island of Guam
June 21 - Cuban forces (530 men) under Colonel Gonzalez Clavel are taken by US transport Leone, and protected by the US warships Vixen and the Gloucester land at Sigua and advance on Daiquri by land.
June 22 - At dawn, Gonzalez Clavel's men advancing by land take the lightly defended Spanish positions on the heights of Daiquiri and control landing zone. US ships accidentally shell Cuban forces on shore. U.S forces under General Lawton begin to land.
June 22 - Vth Corps of 16,000 men land at Daiquiri in Cuba throughout the day.
June 22-23 - Cuban scouts take about 20 wounded and report to General Lawton that first Spanish strong positions are at La Guasimas. Lawton orders US and Cuban forces at his command to hold positions, before fomal attack.
June 24 - Battle of Las Guasimas.
July 1 - Battles of El Caney and San Juan Hill.
July 3 - Spanish fleet attempts to escape from Santiago, all ships destroyed at the naval Battle of Santiago.
July 4 - Six Spanish prisoners killed aboard Auxiliary Cruiser HARVARD. The event becomes known as the "Harvard Incident."
July 6 - Hobson and his crew exchanged.
July 8 - Spanish squadron heading for the Philippines is forced to turn around to protect the Spanish coastline.
July 10 - Santiago bombarded by the U.S. Navy.
July 17 - Spanish Santiago garrison surrenders.
July 25 - US Army invades Puerto Rico.
July 26 - Spanish ask for terms of peace through the French ambassador.
July 31 - Night attack by the Spanish on the American lines at Manila, P.I.
August 9 - Battle of Coamo, Puerto Rico results in U.S. victory; Spain accepts McKinley's terms of peace.
August 11 - American Troops entered Mayaguez, Puerto Rico's third largest city.
August 12 - Peace protocol is signed (truce).
August 13 - U.S. Forces take Manila after a minor skirmish and show of force.
August 20 - Great naval review in New York harbor.
August 23 - General Merritt appointed governor of Manila. Command of 8th Corps in P.I. given to General Otis.
August 25 - General Shafter leaves Cuba.
August 29 - Efforts to raise MARIA TERESA and CRISTOBAL COLON begun by Hobson.
September 10 - Spanish Cortes approves peace protocol.
September 12 - Admiral Cevera leaves U.S. to return to Spain.
September 13 - "Rough Riders" mustered out of service; Spanish senate approves peace protocol.
September 14 - U.S. troops begin leaving Puerto Rico; Queen Regent of Spain signs peace protocol.
September 20 - First U.S. flag raised in Havana, Cuba.
September 24 - Leonard Wood made military governor of Cuba.
September 25 - MARIA TERESA raised by Hobson.
September 29 - Spanish and American peace commissioners meet for the first time.
October 12 - OREGON and IOWA leave New York for Manila, P.I.
October 18 - U.S. takes formal possession of Puerto Rico.
October 25-18 - Peace Jubilee held in Philadelphia
November 5 - MARIA TERESA lost near Cat Island.
November 28 - Spain agrees to cede Philippines Islands.
November 30 - General Blanco leaves Cuba for Spain.
December 10 - Treaty of Paris ends Spanish American War.
December 23 - Aguinaldo's cabinet resigns in the Philippines.
February 4 - Philippine American War (formerly called the Philippine Insurrection) begins.
March 4 - McKinley's 2nd inauguration. Roosevelt is vice-president.
March 23 - Philippine Revolutionary leader General Aguinaldo captured.
September 14 - McKinley dies after being shot on September 6, Theodore Roosevelt becomes President.
July 4 - Roosevelt declares the Philippines pacified.