Hoosier Dusty Files - April 25, 1898 - Governor James A. Mount Calls for Volunteers - Spanish American War
|A Year of Indiana History - 2016|
When war broke out between the United States and Spain in 1898, President William McKinley issued a call for volunteers on April 22, 1898 to fight the war. Indiana Governor James A. Mount received the notification on April 25 the War Department wanted Indiana to supply four regiments of infantry and two batteries of light artillery.
Spanish American War
The Cuban War of Independence had begun in 1895 as the Cubans rebelled against Spanish repression. The Americans saw their conflict a century earlier mirrored in the Cuban revolt against Spain. American sentiment thus ran towards the Cuban revolutionaries. McKinley sought a peaceful resolution of the conflict and, by negotiation, managed to get a Cuban government installed. The island still teemed with unrest and riots erupted in Havana. McKinley sent the USS Maine into the harbor to protect United States interests. On February 15, 1898, a massive explosion rocked the harbor. Moments later the Maine sank, because of the explosion. When an investigation, concluded March 28, revealed that an external explosion had caused the ship's powder magazine, suspicion settled on the Spanish. Major newspapers began publicizing the incident and the United States soon developed war fever. Spain declared war on the United States on April 23. Congress declared war on Spain on April 25.
Governor Mount assured the President that Indiana's quota of troops would be filled within 24 hours. Mount issued a call to the state for volunteers to assemble at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, which had served as a recruiting and training camp during the Civil War. Indiana mustered Volunteer regiments 157 through 160. This number system continued the regimental numbers began during the Civil War. The state also organized the 27th and 28th Light Batteries. Enthusiasm in the state was so high that it was the first state to fulfill its quota of troops. On May 25, McKinley issued a call for more troops. The Indiana General Assembly had reorganized the Indiana National Guard in 1895, so the Guard was trained and ready to go. Indiana supplied over 7000 troops for the War; however, none went to battle. The war only lasted four months, Spain surrendering before the bulk of United States troops could be deployed. Seventy-three soldiers died of disease during the short war.
Hostilities between the two nations stopped on August 12, 1898 when Spain and the United States signed a Protocol of Peace. The peace treaty, ratified February 6, 1899 gave the United States the territories of Guam, Philippines, Puerto Rico and Guantánamo Bay on Cuba, which became a protectorate of the United States.
A Year of Indiana History - 2016
© Paul Wonning