The Junior Patriot: Spanish-American War Part One

The Battle of Manila Bay

On April 28, 1898, a message from the Spanish Consul at Hong Kong to Spanish Admiral Patricio Montojo said that the United States Asiatic Squadron was on the way to the Spanish Outpost in the Philippines.  The Spanish-American War had started!

Admiral Montojo had already planned should this happen.  Spain had been expecting war with the United States. In preparation for war, Spain sent the Cristina, Castilla, Cuba, Luzon, Ulloa, Austria, and Duero under command of Admiral Montojo to the Philippines.  Anchoring in Cavite, some of the ships guns were taken off for use on shore batteries.

Spain wasn’t the only one preparing.  U.S. Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Theodore Roosevelt had appointed Admiral George Dewey in command of the Asiatic Squadron, based in Hong Kong, before the war ever started.  At that time, it consisted of the U.S.S Olympia, Boston, and Petrel.  They were also in short supply of ammunition.  But under the command of Dewey, this soon was solved.  Dewey realized that he could get his needed ammo from the U.S.S. Concord and the U.S.S. Baltimore, which were being sent to the Asiatic Squadron anyway.

The Asiatic Squadron was ordered to the Philippines as soon the war started.  Right then, the ships were receiving the last of their ammunition from the U.S.S Baltimore. Steaming out of Hong Kong, Dewey speed to Manila. There, he found the Spanish Fleet anchored off Sangly Point.

At 5:40, May 1, 1898, the U.S. Cruisers opened fire.  They circled in front of the Spaniards, allowing both their starboard and port guns to fire. They did this 5 times. While it seemed like a strong Spanish barrage to the Americans, the Spanish were a beaten foe.  They literally were wiped out.  Every ship was destroyed.  And, due to inferior Spanish gunnery, the Americans suffered only 9 injured!  The Spaniards suffered 348 dead or wounded, over 40 times what the Americans experienced.

So the lesson is preparedness.  Admiral Dewey thoroughly prepared his fleet for action.  We need to thoroughly prepare ourselves for the future.  However you do this, preparing yourself will help you.  Just remember, it helped Dewey, it can help you!

The Spanish-American War was an important war, yet also a little known war.  It established the U.S. as a world power and a force to be reckoned with.  The war was caused by the Spanish refusing to grant Cuba independence.  It was also caused by the explosion of the U.S.S Maine.

Be sure to read the next 3 articles as I write about the three most important and decisive battles that spelled the end of the Spanish territories in the Pacific and Caribbean!


Photo credit: USS Olympia at battle of Manila, Wikipedia Public Domain

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