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Home > Voter Information > Vote in Honor of a Veteran > Chapter 1

The Spanish-American War (1898)

"We meet here to pay glad homage to the memory of our illustrious dead; but let us keep ever clear before our minds the fact that mere lip-loyalty is no loyalty at all, and that the only homage that counts is the homage of deeds, not of words. It is but an idle waste of time to celebrate the memory of the dead unless we, the living, in our lives strive to show ourselves not unworthy of them. If the careers of Washington and Grant are not vital and full of meaning to us, if they are merely part of the storied past, and stir us to no eager emulation in the ceaseless, endless war for right against wrong, then the root of right thinking is not in us, and where we do not think right we cannot act right."

Theodore Roosevelt (1848-1919)
26th President of the United States
April 27, 1900

Theodore Roosevelt

 


January 24, 1898 The USS Maine arrives in Havana harbor in Cuba on a "friendly" visit. Three weeks later, on February 15, 1898, the Maine is shattered by two separate explosions and rapidly sinks. This incident leaves 254 seamen dead, and 59 sailors wounded. Eight of the wounded later die.

After the disaster, U.S. newspapers are quick to place responsibility for the loss on Spain. A U.S. Navy court of inquiry concludes that the ship was sunk by a mine, but it could not fix responsibility upon any person or persons, including the government or military forces of Spain. (Later studies indicated a possibility that the Maine sank as a result of a coal bunker fire adjacent to one of its ammunition magazines.)

However, the loss of the Maine turns American popular opinion strongly in favor of war with Spain. Hundreds of editorials demand that the Maine and American honor be avenged. Soon the rallying cry is everywhere: "Remember the Maine! To hell with Spain."


 

The USS Maine rested on the floor of Havana Harbor until 1911. Eventually the wreck was recovered and then sunk at sea. She now rests at 3,600 feet. However, many artifacts from the ship were recovered and given to towns, cities and organizations across the country.

USS Maine

Bow Scroll

 

Among the mementos recovered from the USS Maine is her bow scroll, now located in Davenport Park on the corner of Main Street and Cedar Street in Bangor, Maine. The scroll was cleaned and refurbished during the centennial and is considered by many to be one of the most remarkable artifacts from the ship.


The silver service from the USS Maine, on permanent loan from the U.S. Navy, is currently on display in the dining room of the Blaine House in Augusta.

Recovered by divers after the ship was sunk, the soup tureen and two serving dishes are decorated with pine cones and tassels and the Great Seal of the State of Maine.

USS Maine Silver Service

Several Maine citizens honored the contributions of military personnel during this period of American engagement abroad:


My grandfather, Albert J. Yager, served on the USS Kentucky during the Spanish-American War.

Gail Bogdanski, Sangerville


Horace E. Moore
Horace E. Moore


 

Horace E. Moore, my grandfather, served in the 1st Maine Artillery in the Spanish-American War.*
John E. Moore, Brewer

*He served in the 1st Battalion, Heavy Artillery, U.S. Army.

Service Record Card for Horace E. Moore

Summary service record card of Horace E. Moore, Battery B, 1st Battalion, Heavy Artillery, U.S. Army, Spanish-American War. –Maine State Archives

I am voting in honor of my grandfather, William Joseph Stephens, who fought in the Spanish-American War. He died in WWI with the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry in Yerps, France.
Carl H. Smith, Falmouth
Served in Vietnam era

I pay tribute to William Winders, who served in the Spanish-American War. He was over 100 years old when I took care of him as a visiting nurse in Denver, Colorado, over 30 years ago.
Elizabeth F. Wisecup, Windham


Cpl. Harry G. Carey, my grandfather, was born in the Isle of Jersey, England. He came to the U.S. with his family and became a U.S. citizen on October 15, 1890. He "enrolled" in Company M of the 47th Regiment of New York in 1898 for two years or "during the war" and was promoted to rank of Corporal on November 28, 1898 in Caguas, Puerto Rico. He was awarded the New York State Decoration for Service and was "mustered out of the Regiment" on March 31, 1899.
Constance J. Footman, Durham

 

May 1, 1898 – Commodore George Dewey leads a naval victory in Manila Bay in the Philippines.

May 21, 1898 – U.S. Navy takes control of Guam.

June 29, 1898 – Skirmish between U.S. and Spanish troops near Santiago, Cuba.

July 1, 1898 – Battle of San Juan Hill, Cuba. Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders win notoriety. Roosevelt returns to U.S. a hero.

July 3, 1898 – Spanish fleet destroyed off Santiago Bay, Cuba.

July 25, 1898 – U.S. forces land in Puerto Rico.

August 12-13, 1898 – Spain agrees to armistice.

December 10, 1898 – Treaty of Paris is signed.

 

Additional Tributes Submitted Online

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