List of battles of the Spanish–American War

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During the Spanish–American War, the United States Army, United States Marine Corps, and United States Navy fought 30 significant battles against the Spanish Army and Spanish Navy.[a] Of these, 27 occurred in the Caribbean theater and 3 in the Pacific theater. The Caribbean theater consisted of two campaigns—the Puerto Rican Campaign, which saw 10 battles, and the Cuban Campaign, which saw 17 battles—while the Pacific theater had one campaign—the Philippine Campaign, which saw two battles—and the capture of Guam.


The United States Navy battleship Maine was mysteriously sunk in Havana harbor on 15 February 1898;[b] political pressures from the Democratic Party pushed the administration of Republican President William McKinley into a war that he had wished to avoid.[3] Spain promised multiple times that it would reform the government of Cuba, but never delivered. The United States sent an ultimatum to Spain demanding that it surrender control of Cuba on 20 April. After the ultimatum was sent, Madrid declared war on 23 April, and Washington responded with its own declaration two days later.[4]

The main issue was Cuban independence; the ten-week war was fought in both the Caribbean and the Pacific. After the declaration of war, the U.S. Navy blockaded ports such as Havana and Cardenas. The Spanish attempted to lift the blockades on Cardenas and Matanzas,[5] finally succeeding after failing once at Cardenas.[6] Commodore Dewey successfully destroyed the Spanish Pacific Fleet in Manila Bay on May 1, but failed to land troops.[7] The Navy also blockaded Puerto Rico and bombarded San Juan, but the Spanish attempted to lift this blockade, succeeding on the second attempt in June.[8] The U.S. Marines also cut telegraph lines under the bay of Cienfuegos, but suffered heavy losses from Spanish fire.[9] The U.S. also captured the port of Guantanamo Bay after a four-day battle, which ended on June 10.[10]

U.S. expeditionary forces landed in Cuba on 22 June and skirmished successfully at Las Guasimas two days later.[11] Meanwhile, the uninhabited island of Guam was "captured" by the Americans, which consisted of raising of the American flag.[12] The U.S. also attempted to land forces near Trinidad, but were repulsed by Spanish forces.[13] The U.S. forces captured San Juan Heights, which overlooked Santiago de Cuba, after two battles at San Juan Hill and Kettle Hill,[14] which was preceded by a smaller battle on the San Juan Hill's right flank at El Caney.[15] The Spanish also attempted to lift the blockade on the port of Manzanillo twice, but failed both times.[16] The Spanish fleet also attempted to escape Santiago harbor, but was destroyed by U.S. gunboats and armored cruisers.[17] After this victory, U.S. forces laid siege to Santiago de Cuba for 14 days, until the Spanish forces surrendered, but there were several skirmishes afterwards.[18] The Spanish managed to cut the United States blockade at Manzanillo,[16] but the Americans sunk two Spanish ships at Nipe Bay.[19] The Americans also tried to land at Mani-Mani, which was west of Havana, but was repulsed by the Spanish.[20]

On 23 July, Americans landed close to the port of Ponce in Puerto Rico. Two days later, there was a small skirmish at Yauco, which was won by the Americans. The Spanish retreated and attempted to destroy rail lines to Ponce, but failed to.[21] On 5 August, American forces marched into the town of Guayama, but the Spanish deserted the town several hours earlier.[22] From 8 to 9 August, an American battalion captured the mountain at Coamo, Puerto Rico on the road to the port of Ponce.[23] At the same time, there was an inconclusive battle at Fajardo, which led to the capture and desertion of a lighthouse.[24] One day later, the Americans captured Silva Heights. The Americans also landed near Mayaguez, and captured the town with no resistance.[5] At the Battle of Asomante, the US forces took Asomante and captured many Spanish prisoners.[25] At the same time, American forces also captured Manila. These two battles led to an armistice agreement, which quickly led to the Treaty of Paris, which ended the Spanish–American War.[26]

The 1898 Treaty of Paris, which was the result of the American victory in the war, was negotiated on terms favorable to the U.S. which allowed it temporary direct control of Cuba and ceded ownership of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippine islands. The cession of the Philippines involved payment of $20 million ($602,320,000 today) to Spain in order to cover the Spanish infrastructure.[27] The U.S. installed a military government in Cuba immediately after the Treaty of Paris, and eventually let it become an independent republic in 1902.[28] The Philippines also rebelled against U.S. control, which led to the Philippine–American War lasting from 1899 to 1902.[29] The Spanish also sold the rest of their Pacific islands to Germany under the German–Spanish Treaty.[30]

Pacific Theater[edit]

Philippine Campaign[edit]

Battle Date Conclusion
Battle of Manila Bay May 1, 1898 Decisive American victory, destruction of Spanish Navy′s Pacific squadron.[7]
Battle of Manila August 13, 1898 American-Filipino victory, capture of Manila.[25]

Capture of Guam[edit]

Battle Date Conclusion
Capture of Guam June 20–21, 1898 US victory, capture of Guam from the Spanish.[12]

Caribbean Theater[edit]

U.S. forces charging at Spanish positions during the Battle of Las Guasimas.

Cuban Campaign[edit]

Battle Date Conclusion
Battle of Matanzas April 25, 1898 US victory, blockade of the Spanish port of Matanzas.[5]
First Battle of Cardenas May 8, 1898 American victory, Spanish attempts to lift the blockade on Cuba thwarted.[6]
Second Battle of Cardenas May 11, 1898 Spanish victory, loosening of the blockade on Cuba.[6]
Battle of Cienfuegos May 11, 1898 Inconclusive. Americans cut telegraph cable, but suffered heavy casualties.[9]
Battle of Guantánamo Bay June 6–10, 1898 American victory, capture of Guantánamo Bay.[10]
Battle of Las Guasimas June 24, 1898 American victory, town of Sevilla captured.[11]
Battle of Tayacoba June 30, 1898 Spanish victory, Americans fail to land troops.[13]
First Battle of Manzanillo June 30, 1898 Spanish victory, American gunboats fail to capture Manzanillo harbor.[16]
Battle of El Caney July 1, 1898 Inconclusive. American forces succeeded on capturing El Caney fort and protecting the right flank at San Juan Hill, but suffered delays and heavy casualties.[15]
Second Battle of Manzanillo July 1, 1898 Spanish victory, a second attempt to capture Manzanillo harbor fails.[16]
Battle of San Juan Hill July 1, 1898 American/Cuban victory, capture of San Juan heights.[14]
Battle of Aguacate July 1, 1898 Cuban victory, many Spanish forces continue retreat to Santiago.[31]
Battle of Santiago de Cuba July 3, 1898 American victory, destruction of six Spanish ships escaping from Santiago harbor.[17]
Siege of Santiago de Cuba July 3–17, 1898 American/Cuban victory, surrender of the city of Santiago de Cuba.[18]
Third Battle of Manzanillo July 18, 1898 American victory, destruction of Spanish squadron in Manzanillo harbor.[16]
Battle of Nipe Bay July 21, 1898 American victory, sinking of two Spanish ships.[19]
Battle of Mani-Mani July 23, 1898 Spanish victory, American landing fails.[20]

Puerto Rican Campaign[edit]

Battle Date Conclusion
Bombardment of San Juan May 12, 1898 Spanish defenses damaged.[8]
Second Battle of San Juan June 22, 1898 US victory, Spanish attempts to break U.S. blockade fails.[8]
Third Battle of San Juan June 28, 1898 Spanish resupply attempts succeed.[8]
Battle of Yauco July 25, 1898 US victory, Spanish forces retreat and fail to destroy rail lines.[21][32]
Battle of Guayama August 5, 1898 US victory, capture of Guayama[22]
Battle of Coamo August 8–9, 1898 US victory, capture of Coamo.[23]
Battle of Fajardo August 8–9, 1898 Inconclusive.[24]
Battle of Silva Heights August 10, 1898 US victory, capture of Silva Heights.[5]
Battle of Mayaguez August 11, 1898 US victory, Spanish forces retreated before the US forces arrived.[5]
Battle of Asomante August 9–13, 1898 US victory, capture of Asomante. This led to the end of the war in Puerto Rico and the end of the Spanish–American War.[26]



  1. ^ This list only includes the significant battles of the Spanish–American War and not minor skirmishes.
  2. ^ The cause of the Maine was later attributed to the spontaneous combustion of coal in the engine.[1] However, at the time, the Board of Inquiry believed the sinking was caused by a mine or torpedo, and the American "Yellow Press" attributed the sinking to Spanish actions, which encouraged the public to go to war.[2]


  1. ^ The Destruction of the Maine (2013)
  2. ^ Marolda (2001), p. 9.
  3. ^ Beede (1994), p. 148.
  4. ^ Beede (1994), p. 120.
  5. ^ a b c d e Tucker (2009), p. 385.
  6. ^ a b c Richard (2001), p. 96.
  7. ^ a b Grant (2008), pp. 241–243
  8. ^ a b c d Beede (2013), p. 364.
  9. ^ a b Beede (2013), p. 104.
  10. ^ a b Tucker (2009), p. 265.
  11. ^ a b Algers (1901), p. 110.
  12. ^ a b Rivera (2014), p. 6.
  13. ^ a b Taussig (2009), p. 9.
  14. ^ a b Tucker (2009), pp. 400–402.
  15. ^ a b Tucker (2009), pp. 398–400.
  16. ^ a b c d e Everett (2010), pp. 140–143.
  17. ^ a b Grant (2008), p. 239.
  18. ^ a b Algers (1901), pp. 213-215.
  19. ^ a b Everett (2010), p. 115.
  20. ^ a b Beede (2013), p. 365.
  21. ^ a b Everett (2010), p. 146.
  22. ^ a b Everett (2010), pp. 147–148.
  23. ^ a b Everett (2010), pp. 151–155.
  24. ^ a b United States Navy Department (1898). "Annual Report of the Secretary of the Navy for the Year 1898, Appendix to the Report of the Chief of the Bureau of Navigation, p. 656-657" (100). Government Printing Office. ISSN 0272-9415. OCLC 2480810. Retrieved 27 November 2014. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  25. ^ a b Everett (2010), p. 161.
  26. ^ a b Everett (2010), p. 156.
  27. ^ Beede (2013), p. 289.
  28. ^ Edelstein (2010), p. 178.
  29. ^ Tucker (2009), p. 479.
  30. ^ Schmidt-Brucken & Schuster & Wienburg (2016), p. 204.
  31. ^ Muller, Juan (1899). Battles and Capitulation of Santiago de Cuba: (Completed). Government Printing Office.
  32. ^ "Battle of Yuaco: Described". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Garnett Company. 25 September 1898. p. 37.


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