Morris County in the Spanish-American and Philippine Wars

Theodore Roosevelt and his Rough Riders at the top of the hill they captured in the Battle of San Juan.

“A Splendid Little War”

Combatants: United States v. Spain

On April 21, 1898, the United States declared war on Spain, making this the first war wholly fought overseas by the U.S..

America had long supported Cuba and the Philippines in their struggle to overthrow rule by Spain.

The explosion of the U.S.S. Maine in Havana Harbor on February 15, 1898 provided cause for a formal declaration of hostilities.

Quick victories by the U.S. troops led Ambassador John Hay, who soon became Secretary of State, to dub the conflict: “A splendid little war.”

“Remember The Maine!”

The Maine entering Havana Harbor

The Maine enters Havana Harbor, Cuba, passing Morro Castle on January 25, 1898.

The destroyed Maine, American flag on its mast

The Maine in ruins, February 20, 1898.

The impetus for formal entry into war was the explosion of the U.S.S. Maine on February 15, 1898 killing 268. Of the 200 bodies recovered only 78 were positively identified.

On March 28, 1898, the United States Naval Court of Inquiry concluded that the Maine was destroyed by a submerged mine. Spain was not formally accused of mining the harbor, but the implication was clear.

The Maine explosion remains a subject of studious debate; recent research suggests that the explosion may have been accidental, involving a spontaneous combustion fire in the coal bunker.

On to Cuba!

Dover Iron Era, April 29, 1898

Map showing battle sites and routes in Florida and Cuba

Aftermath of “The Splendid Little War”

The Philippine War

February 4, 1899 to July 2, 1902

Combatants: The United States v. First Philippine Republic

With the United States determined to maintain control in the Pacific after the Spanish-American War, tensions remained high for over a decade in the region; leading to sporadic outbreaks of guerilla fighting in the Philippine islands.

A victorious United States held control of the islands with the Philippines becoming a territory of the U.S. until 1946.

First Movements of War

The Morris County Chronicle, April 22, 1898

The Dover Volunteers Organize.

Rockaway Record, April 26, 1900

Spanish-American Dead Honored.

Dover Iron Era, May 29, 1903

Read our list of Morris County's Soldiers and Sailors in the Spanish-American and Philippine Wars