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It was, in brief, a war for humanity, for
America could no longer close her ears to the wails of the dead and
dying that lay perishing, as may be said, on her very doorsteps. It was
not a war for conquest or gain, nor was it in revenge for the awful
crime of the destruction of the _Maine_, though few nations would have
restrained their wrath with such sublime patience as did our countrymen
while the investigation was in progress. Yet it cannot be denied that
this unparalleled outrage intensified the war fever in the United
States, and thousands were eager for the opportunity to punish Spanish
cruelty and treachery. Congress reflected this spirit when by a
unanimous vote it appropriated $50,000,000 "for the national defense."
The War and Navy Departments hummed with the activity of recruiting, the
preparations of vessels and coast defenses, the purchase of war material
and vessels at home, while agents were sent to Europe to procure all the
war-ships in the market. Unlimited capital was at their command, and
the question of price was never an obstacle. When hostilities impended
the United States was unprepared for war, but by amazing activity,
energy, and skill the preparations were pushed and completed with a
rapidity that approached the marvelous.

War being inevitable, President McKinley sought to gain time for our
consular representatives to leave Cuba, where the situation daily and
hourly grew more dangerous. Consul Hyatt left Santiago on April 3d, but
Consul-General Lee, always fearless, remained at Havana until April
10th, with the resolution that no American refugees should be left
behind, where very soon their lives would not be worth an hour's
purchase. Lee landed in Key West April 11th, and on the same day
President McKinley sent his message upon the situation to Congress. On
April 18th the two houses adopted the following:

WHEREAS, The abhorrent conditions which have existed for more than
three years in the island of Cuba, so near our own borders, have
shocked the moral sense of the people of the United States, have been
a disgrace to Christian civilization, culminating, as they have, in
the destruction of a United States battleship with 266 of its
officers and crew, while on a friendly visit in the harbor of Havana,
and cannot longer be endured, as has been set forth by the President
of the United States in his message to Congress of April 11, 1898,
upon which the action of Congress was invited; therefore,

_Resolved_, By the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
States of America, in Congress assembled--

First--That the people of the island of Cuba are, and of right ought
to be, free and independent.

Second--That it is the duty of the United States to demand, and the
government of the United States does hereby demand, that the
government of Spain at once relinquish its authority and government
in the island of Cuba, and withdraw its land and naval forces from
Cuba and Cuban waters.

Third--That the President of the United States be, and he hereby is,
directed and empowered to use the entire land and naval forces of the
United States, and to call into the actual service of the United
States the militia of the several States, to such extent as may be
necessary to carry these resolutions into effect.

Fourth--That the United States hereby disclaims any disposition or
intention to exercise sovereignty, jurisdiction, or control over said
island, except for the pacification thereof, and asserts its
determination when that is completed to leave the government and
control of the island to its people.

[Illustration: CITY OF HAVANA AND HARBOR, SHOWING WRECK OF THE
BATTLESHIP MAINE.]

This resolution was signed by the President April 20th, and a copy
served on the Spanish minister, who demanded his passports, and
immediately left Washington. The contents were telegraphed to United
States Minister Woodford at Madrid, with instructions to officially
communicate them to the Spanish government, giving it until April 23d to
answer. The Spanish authorities, however, anticipated this action by
sending the American minister his passports on the morning of April
21st. This act was of itself equivalent to a declaration of war.

The making of history now went forward with impressive swiftness.

[Illustration: THE BATTLESHIP "MAINE" Destroyed in Havana Harbor,
February 15, 1898, by which the lives of two officers and 264 members of
the crew were lost. This disaster was popularly believed to have been
the work of Spaniards, and was a potent factor in hastening the war
between Spain and the United States.]

On April 22d the United States fleet was ordered to blockade Havana. On
the 24th Spain declared war, and the United States Congress followed
with a similar declaration on the 25th. The call for 75,000 volunteer
troops was increased to 125,000 and subsequently to 200,000. The massing
of men and stores was rapidly begun throughout the country. Within a
month expeditions were organized for various points of attack,
war-vessels were bought, and ocean passenger steamers were converted
into auxiliary cruisers and transports. By the first of July about
40,000 soldiers had been sent to Cuba and the Philippine Islands. The
rapidity with which preparations were made and the victories gained and
the progress shown by the Americans at once astonished and challenged
the admiration of foreign nations, who had regarded America as a country
unprepared for war by land or sea. On April 27th, following the
declaration of war on the 25th, Admiral Sampson, having previously
blockaded the harbor of Havana, was reconnoitering with three vessels in
the vicinity of Matanzas, Cuba, when he discovered the Spanish forces
building earthworks, and ventured so close in his efforts to investigate
the same that a challenge shot was fired from the fortification, Rubal
Cava. Admiral Sampson quickly formed the _New York, Cincinnati_, and
_Puritan_ into a triangle and opened fire with their eight-inch guns.
The action was very spirited on both sides for the space of eighteen
minutes, at the expiration of which time the Spanish batteries were
silenced and the earthworks destroyed, without casualty on the American
side, though two shells burst dangerously near the _New York_. The last
shot fired by the Americans was from one of the _Puritan's_
thirteen-inch guns, which landed with deadly accuracy in the very centre
of Rubal Cava, and, exploding, completely destroyed the earthworks. This
was the first action of the war, though it could hardly be dignified by
the name of a battle.

[Illustration: ADMIRAL GEORGE DEWEY.]


THE BATTLE OF MANILA.

It was expected that the next engagement would be the bombardment of
Morro Castle, at Havana. But it is the unexpected that often happens in
war. In the Philippine Islands, on the other side of the world, the
first real battle--one of the most remarkable in history--was next to
occur.

On April 25th the following dispatch of eight potent words was cabled to
Commodore Dewey on the coast of China: "Capture or destroy the Spanish
squadron at Manila." "Never," says James Gordon Bennett, "were
instructions more effectively carried out. Within seven hours after
arriving on the scene of action nothing remained to be done." It was on
the 27th that Dewey sailed from Mirs Bay, China, and on the night of the
30th he lay before the entrance of the harbor of Manila, seven hundred
miles away. Under the cover of darkness, with all lights extinguished on
his ships, he daringly steamed into this unknown harbor, which he
believed to be strewn with mines, and at daybreak engaged the Spanish
fleet. Commodore Dewey knew it meant everything for him and his fleet to
win or lose this battle. He was in the enemy's country, 7,000 miles from
home. The issue of this battle must mean victory, Spanish dungeons, or
the bottom of the ocean. "_Keep cool and obey orders_" was the signal he
gave to his fleet, and then came the order to fire. The Americans had
seven ships, the _Olympia_, _Baltimore_, _Raleigh_, _Petrel_, _Concord_,
_Boston_, and the dispatch-boat _McCullough_. The Spaniards had eleven,
the _Reina Christina_, _Castilla_, _Don Antonio de Ulloa_, _Isla de
Luzon_, _Isla de Cuba_, _General Lezo_, _Marquis de Duero_, _Cano_,
_Velasco_, _Isla de Mindanao_, and a transport.

From the beginning Commodore Dewey fought on the offensive, and, after
the manner of Nelson and Farragut, concentrated his fire upon the
strongest ships one after another with terrible execution. The Spanish
ships were inferior to his, but there were more of them, and they were
under the protection of the land batteries. The fire of the Americans
was especially noted for its terrific rapidity and the wonderful
accuracy of its aim. The battle lasted for about five hours, and
resulted in the destruction of all the Spanish ships and the silencing
of the land batteries. The Spanish loss in killed and wounded was
estimated to be fully one thousand men, while on the American side not a
ship was even seriously damaged and not a single man was killed
outright, and only six were wounded. More than a month after the battle,
Captain Charles B. Gridley, Commander of the _Olympia_, died, though his
death was the result of an accident received in the discharge of his
duty during the battle, and not from a wound. On May 2d Commodore Dewey
cut the cable connecting Manila with Hong Kong, and destroyed the
fortifications at the entrance of Manila Bay, and took possession of the
naval station at Cavite. This was to prevent communication between the
Philippine Islands and the government at Madrid, and necessitated the
sending of Commodore Dewey's official account of the battle by the
dispatch-boat _MCCullough_ to Hong Kong, whence it was cabled to the
United States. After its receipt, May 9th, both Houses adopted
resolutions of congratulation to Commodore Dewey and his officers and
men for their gallantry at Manila, voted an appropriation for medals for
the crew and a fine sword for the gallant Commander, and also passed a
bill authorizing the President to appoint another rear-admiral, which
honor was promptly conferred upon Commodore Dewey, accompanied by the
thanks of the President and of the nation for the admirable and heroic
services rendered his country.

[Illustration: MAP OF CUBA]

The Battle of Manila must ever remain a monument to the daring and
courage of Admiral Dewey.



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