In 1898, a crisis in Cuban affairs brought on war with the United States, known as the Spanish-American War, which from its opening to its close lasted 114 days. In that time the United States land and sea forces destroyed two Spanish fleets, received the surrender of more than 35,000 Spanish soldiers, took the fortified cities of Santiago de Cuba, in Cuba, Ponce, in Puerto Rico, and Manila, on the island of Luzon, in the Philippines, and secured control, pending negotiations of peace, of the Spanish possessions in the West Indies, the Philippines, and Guam. The Americans suffered no loss of ships or territory and but 279 killed and 1,465 wounded in battle, while the cost to Spain, aside from prisoners, ships, and lost territory, was 2,199 killed, and 2,948 wounded.
April 20th President McKinley, authorized by Congress to intervene in Cuba, using the United States military and naval forces, sent an ultimatum to Spain. The Spanish minister at once left Washington, and the next day the United States minister left Madrid.
April 22d A proclamation was issued by the President blockading the principal ports of Cuba.
April 23d President McKinley issued a call for 125,000 volunteers to serve for two years.
April 27th The batteries of Matanzas, Cuba, were shelled by Admiral Sampson's flagship, the New York, with the monitor Puritan and the cruiser Cincinnati.
April 29th The Spanish fleet, commanded by Admiral Cervera, consisting of the Cristobal Colon, the Almirante Oquendo, the Maria Teresa and the Viscaya, and the torpedo boats Furor, Terror, and Pluton, left the Cape Verde Islands for Cuba.
May lst Commodore Dewey, commanding the United States Asiatic squadron, destroyed the entire Spanish fleet in Manila Bay, Philippines, without losing a man.
May llth The Wilmington, Winslow, and Hudson engaged the Spanish batteries at Cardenas. Ensign Bagley and four of the Winslow's crew were killed. Major General Wesley Merritt was ordered to the Philippines as military governor.
May 12th A United States fleet, commanded by Rear-Admiral Sampson, bombarded the fortifications of San Juan, Puerto Rico.
May 19th Admiral Cervera's fleet reached Santiago de Cuba, and a few days later was bottled up there by the "flying squadron" of Commodore Sehley.
May 25th President McKinley called for 75,000 more volunteers. Twenty-five hundred United States troops sailed from San Franciseo for Manila, several thousand more following at a later date.
May 31st -The Massachusetts, Iowa, and New Orleans bombarded the fortifications at the mouth of Santiago Harbor. They were bombarded again several times after Admiral Sampson took command of the fleet.
June 3d Assistant Naval Constructor Hobson with seven men ran the collier Merrimac to the mouth of Santiago Harbor and sank her in the channel under fire from Spanish forts. Hobson and his men were taken prisoners.
June 10th Six hundred marines were landed at Caimanera, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where sharp skirmishing continued for several days, several Americans being killed.
June 12th The 5th Army Corps, commanded by General Shafter, sailed from Tampa on twenty-nine transports for Santiago, arriving off there on June 20th.
June 13th President McKinley signed the War Revenue Bill, providing for the raising of revenues by a stamp tax and providing for a bond loan which was immediately subscribed.
June 17th A Spanish fleet under Admiral Camara left Cadiz for the Philippines, but returned after passing through the Suez Canal.
June 22d General Shafter's troops began disembarking at Daiquiri and Siboney, near Santiago.
June 14th Roosevelt's Rough Riders were attacked while advancing toward Santiago; sixteen Americans were killed and forty more wounded before the Spaniards were repulsed.
July 1st General Lawton took El Caney, near Santiago, and General Kent, commanding the 1st division of the 5th Army Corps, which included the 2d, 6th, 9th, 10th, 13th, 16th, and 24th infantry, and the 71st New York volunteers, took San Juan Hill after heavy fighting. Official reports gave the American losses 231 killed and 1,364 wounded and missing.
July 3d Admiral Cervera's squadron made a dash out of Santiago Harbor, and every vessel was sunk or disabled by the American fleet. General Shafter demanded the surrender of Santiago. The seizure of Guam by the Charleston was reported at this time.
July 7th President McKinley signed resolutions passed by the Senate annexing the Hawaiian Islands to the United States, and the Philadelphia was ordered to Honolulu to raise the American flag.
July 17th General Toral, in command of the Spanish troops at Santiago, General Linares being wounded, surrendered his forces and the east portion of the province of Santiago de Cuba to General Shafter.
July 21st General Leonard R. Wood, formerly colonel of the 1st Volunteer cavalry, was appointed military governor of Santiago.
July 25th United States troops, under General Nelson A. Miles, landed at Guanica, Puerto Rico, the town having surrendered to the Gloucester.
July 26th Through the French ambassador, the government of Spain asked President McKinley on what terms he would consent to peace.
July 28th Ponce, the second largest city in Puerto Rico, surrendered to General Miles. Capture of several other towns, with little or no fighting, followed.
July 30th President McKinley's statement of the terms on which he would agree to end the war was given to the French ambassador. The President demanded the independence of Cuba, cession of Puerto Rico and Guam to the United States, and the retention of Manila by the United States pending the final disposition of the Philippines by a joint commission.
July 31st United States troops engaged the Spaniards at Malate, near Manila, in the Philippines, and repulsed them, with some loss on both sides.
August 9th The French ambassador presented to President McKinley Spain's reply, accepting his terms of peace.
August 12th Protocols agreeing as to the preliminaries for a treaty of peace were signed by Secretary Hay and the French ambassador. United States military and naval commanders were ordered to cease hostilities. The blockades of Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Manila were lifted and hostilities ended.
August 13th Manila surrendered after a combined assault by the army under General Merritt and Admiral Dewey's fleet.
“See a flame in a spark, a tree in a seed; see great things in little beginnings; look not so much to the beginning, as to the perfection, and so we shall be in some degree joyful, and thankful unto Christ.”
–Richard Sibbes, The Bruised Reed and Smoking Flax