While the Spanish were forced off San Juan Heights and cleared off most of Cuba, there was still one Spanish stronghold left: the harbor of Santiago de Cuba. Surrounded by rugged prepared terrain and several forts and guarded by an army of 15,500 Spanish Regulars commanded by General Jose Velazquez, it seemed like an impregnable fortress. At least in their minds. Inside that harbor were the cruisers Infanta Maria Teresa, Almiranta Oquendo, Vizcaya, Cristobal Colon, and the destroyers, the Pluton and Furor of the Spanish Fleet under Admiral Pascual Cervera. However 15,000 troops from the 5th US Army and 5,000 Cuban insurgents didn’t think so. Neither did the US Fleet cruisers New York and Brooklyn, the battleships Iowa, Indiana, Oregon, Texas, Massachusetts, and the armed yachts Gloucester and Vixen, or did their commanders, Admiral William Sampson and Commodore Winfield Schley.
Ever since the founding of our nation, resiliency has been an integral part of the American spirit. Let’s look at some of the many ways are history proves this.
After successfully defeating the Spanish fleet in Manila, the U.S. turned its attention to Cuba. With around 200,000 troops in Cuba, Spain was definitely a major, if not dominant, force in Cuba. To counter this force, the President sent the Fifth Corps and a superior navel force to capture and blockade Santiago de Cuba, the second largest city in Cuba.
Winston Churchill stated, “A nation that forgets its past has no future.” With that in mind, I’d want to review three important documents that played a part in the march of liberty through the years and consequently, had a major impact on the founding of our nation.