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LEADING FACTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY
and urged that the whole question should be referred to an arbitration committee chosen by different nations (§ 374). This proposal the United States declined to accept. Later, we raised the wreck of the Maine (1912), and an examination confirmed the opinion of the court in regard to the mine.
413. The President's Message; the Resolutions adopted by Congress. In April (1898) President McKinley sent a special message to Congress. He declared that in the "name of humanity," in the "name of civilization," and "in behalf of endangered American interests," the "war in Cuba must stop."
Shortly afterward both Houses of Congress resolved (April 19, 1898) "that the people of Cuba are, and of right ought to be, free and independent." Furthermore, Congress demanded that Spain should give up all sovereignty over Cuba; in case Spain refused, the President was authorized to use the land and naval forces of the United States to compel the Spaniards to leave the island.
Finally, Congress resolved that when peace should be made in Cuba, we would "leave the government and control of the island to its people." Later, however, Congress resolved (1902) that in case of necessity, the Cubans must admit our right to act as guardians of their liberty (§ 419).
414. We prepare for War with Spain (1898); the Call for Volunteers; the Call for Money; the Navy; War declared. Spain refused to grant our demands and we determined to fight.
The President called for 200,000 volunteers. A million men stepped forward, saying, "Here am I; take me." Some of these men had been Union soldiers in the Civil War, while others had fought on the side of the South; but now they were eager to stand side by side and fight against Spain.
Furthermore, our people knew that in war money was as necessary as men; so when the government wished to borrow a large sum great numbers at once offered to lend it seven times as much as it asked for. They also declared their willingness to pay the heavy taxes that would be needed.1
1 The government asked for a loan of $200,000,000, and raised about $200,000,000 more, every year as long as it was required.
Samson & Schley
LEADING FACTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY
In a contest with Spain the navy would naturally take the most prominent part. The President sent Captain William T. Sampson.1 with a fleet of war ships to blockade Havana and other ports of Cuba. He also ordered Commodore W. S. Schley2 to organize a "flying squadron" of fast, armed steamers to be used as occasion might demand. Congress then declared war (April 25, 1898).
415. The Battle of Manila. Commodore George Dewey, who had been with Farragut at the battle of New Orleans (§ 334), was then in command of our Asiatic squadron at Hongkong, China. The President ordered him to go to Manila, the capital of the Philippines (Map, p. 380), and "capture or destroy" the Spanish squadron which guarded that important port. Our plan was to attack Spain through her colonies of Cuba and the Philippines and so strike her two heavy blows at the same time, one on one side of the world, the other on the other.
Commodore Dewey had only six ships of war. The Spaniards at Manila held a fortified port; they had twice as many vessels as Dewey had, but our squadron was superior in size and armament; last of all, the enemy, though brave men and good fighters, had never learned how to fire straight.
On May 1, 1898, Commodore Dewey reported that he had just fought a battle in which he had destroyed every vessel of the Spanish squadron without losing a man. A French officer, who witnessed the fight, said that the American fire was "something awful" for its "accuracy and rapidity."
The "Hero of Manila" was promoted to the rank of rear admiral; after the war he was made admiral (1899), and Captain Sampson and Commodore Schley were made rear admirals.
416. Commodore Schley discovers Cervera's Squadron. Shortly before the battle of Manila Admiral Cervera left the Cape Verde Islands with a Spanish squadron of seven war ships. Nobody in America knew whether Cervera was headed for Cuba or whether he meant to shell the cities on our eastern coast.
1 Captain Sampson had the rank of Acting Rear Admiral.
2 Schley (sly or schlä)
THE "ROUGH RIDERS"
Commodore Schley set out with his "flying squadron" (§ 414) to find the enemy. The Commodore discovered that the Spanish ships had entered the harbor of Santiago on the southeast coast of Cuba. He said with a grim smile, "They will never get home." They never did.
A few days later Captain Sampson sailed for Santiago. One of his squadron was the battle ship Oregon. It had come from San Francisco, through the Straits of Magellan, -- an exciting voyage of over 13,000 miles, -- in order to take part in the fight.
MAP OF CUBA AND NEIGHBORING ISLANDS
The entrance to the harbor of Santiago is long, narrow, and crooked; it was also protected by land batteries and submarine mines. Our ships could not get at the enemy.
417. Fighting near Santiago; the "Rough Riders Destruction of Cervera's Squadron. Not long afterward General Shafter landed a strong force near Santiago to coöperate with Captain Sampson in the capture of that city.
A week later (July 1-2, 1898) our "regulars" and Roosevelt's Rough Riders,"1 who here fought on foot, stormed up the
1 At the beginning of the war Theodore Roosevelt raised a force of volunteer cavalry. Colonel Leonard Wood (now General Wood) took command of this regiment, in which Roosevelt held the position of lieutenant colonel. The regiment was popularly known as Roosevelt's Rough Riders." It included "cowboys" from the West and college graduates and the sons of wealthy families from the East. The "Rough Riders" always showed themselves the equal of any men in the field for desperate fighting.
LEADING FACTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY
steep heights of El Caney and San Juan, overlooking the city of Santiago. In spite of defenses made of barbed wire, they drove the Spanish, with heavy loss, pellmell into the city.
Captain Sampson then went down the coast to confer with General Shafter. Meanwhile, Commodore Schley, of the flagship Brooklyn, and the commanders of the other vessels of the fleet, were keeping a sharp lookout for Cervera (§ 416).
Not long after Captain Sampson left, a great shout went up from the Brooklyn: "The Spaniards are coming out of the harbor!" Both sides opened fire at the same moment (July 3, 1898). But the Spanish Admiral's squadron of six vessels proved to be no match for our fleet of six vessels, comprising four powerful battle ships.1 Such a condition could have but one result.
In a few hours nothing was left of the enemy's squadron but helpless, blazing wrecks; and Cervera himself was taken prisoner. Spain needed the few ships she had left to protect her own coast. Her sea power was destroyed, and the war on the ocean was over.
It is a noteworthy fact that in our war with Spain, as in that with Mexico (§ 293), the American army and navy won every battle which they fought.
418. The End of the War. This decisive defeat compelled the Spaniards to surrender Santiago. Shortly afterward the first draft for a treaty of peace was signed. The President then ordered all fighting to stop, and the Spanish governor of Porto Rico surrendered that island to General Miles.
Before the President's dispatch could reach the Philippines, Rear Admiral Dewey and General Merritt, who had gone out with reënforcements, attacked and took Manila (August 13, 1898).
1 Our fleet, then off Santiago (July 3, 1898), consisted of six war ships, among which were the battle ships Iowa, Indiana, Oregon, and Texas. The battle ship Massachusetts, with other war ships, and Captain Sampson's flag ship, the New York, were east of Santiago. Cervera had four first-class cruisers, but no battle ships.
Wheeler & Shafter