Front Matter The Beginning of the U.S Franklin's Return Troubles After the War The Constitution The First President Washington's Troubles A Wonderful Invention Death of Washington The U.S. Buys Land War With African Pirates Death of Somers The First Steamboat The Gerrymander The War of 1812 "Don't Give Up the Ship" The Star-Spangled Banner Clinton's "Big Ditch" More Land Bought Jackson Stories Jackson's Presidency New Inventions Whitman's Ride The Mormons The First Telegraph The Mexican War The Slavery Quarrel Daniel Webster's Youth Webster's Speeches Early Times in California Discovery of El Dorado Rush to California The Underground Railroad The First World's Fair John Brown's Raid Lincoln's Youth The First Shot The Call to Arms The President's Decision Admiral Farragut The Monitor and Merrimac The Penninsular Campaign Barbara Frietchie Lincoln's Vow The Battle of Gettysburg The Taking of Vicksburg Riots, Raids, and Battles The Burning of Atlanta The March to the Sea Sheridan's Ride The Doings of the Fleet Lee's Surrender Decoration Day Lincoln Stories Lincoln's Rebukes A President's Son A Noble Southerner Hard Times in the South The Atlantic Cable Best Way to Settle Quarrels Our One Hundredth Birthday Gold for Greenbacks A Clever Engineer Death of Garfield The Celebration at Yorktown The Great Statue A Terrible Flood Lynch Law The Great White City The Explosion of the Maine The Battle of Manila Hobson's Brave Deed Surrender of Santiago The Hawaiian Islands The Annexation of Hawaii The Philippine War Assassination of McKinley The Panama Canal Roosevelt's Administration Two Presidents German Views The World War Since the World War

Story of the Great Republic - Helene Guerber

Surrender of Santiago

About a week after Hobson's heroic deed, a force of American marines landed at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, where they had to fight many hours to gain and hold the position they wanted. They defended it bravely, and the bay served as a harbor for the American ships. General Shafter's army next landed a few miles from Santiago, where he met General Garcia, the famous Cuban leader, who came to help him with a force of determined Cubans.

A plan was then made for the attack on Santiago. It was agreed that while the American and Cuban soldiers closed around it on the land side, our navy should throw shells over the hills and into the city. In carrying out this plan, the Rough Riders—a troop composed of Western cowboys and Eastern athletes—suddenly came upon a strong Spanish force, and a few of them relieved their feelings by swearing. But when their leader shouted, "Don't swear—shoot!" they ceased misusing their tongues, and used their arms to such good purpose that they completely routed the Spaniards. Advancing farther, our army fought a brisk battle at El Caney, and made a memorable charge up the hill of San Juan.

Having thus become masters of a position overlooking the town, they planted their field cannon. But as they knew their shells would do great damage, all the women, children, and old men were allowed to leave the city and seek a place of safety.

Just before the final shelling of Santiago was to begin, at nine o'clock on Sunday morning, July 3, while our sailors were getting ready for divine service, the men on watch suddenly cried: "Cervera is trying to escape!" It was true; the Spanish fleet was coming out of the channel, which the Merrimac  did not block securely, having swung only part way around owing to its disabled rudder.

The Oregon


As soon as the Spanish fleet was sighted, our ships prepared for action, and a few seconds later opened fire and closed in on the enemy. In spite of the running fire which the Spaniards bravely kept up to the very last, their vessels were soon riddled with shot, and, wreathed in flames, they sank or were run ashore to enable some of the men to escape. While one of the ships was sinking, our men started to cheer; but their captain quickly checked them, saying: "Don't cheer, boys; the poor fellows are dying!" Thus, at the moment of victory, he showed himself generous as well as brave by pitying the enemy.

This second naval victory, which did very little damage to our men or ships, proved a crushing blow to Spain. Admiral Cervera, with all the Spanish sailors who had not been killed, fell into our hands, and his six fine war ships lay battered wrecks on the Cuban shore. Perceiving it would be useless to struggle any longer, Spain recalled her third and last fleet, which was on its way to the Philippines via the Suez Canal, and gave General Toral permission to save Santiago from destruction by immediate surrender.

On July 17, 1898, the American flag floated over Santiago; and seeing there was nothing more to be done there, General Miles set off with part of our army to conquer Puerto Rico. Almost four centuries before, this island had been conquered by Ponce de Leon, who sought there, as well as in Florida, the marvelous Fountain of Youth. He founded San Juan (1511), more than fifty years before the building of St. Augustine, the oldest city on our mainland.

San Juan was sacked near the end of the sixteenth century by the famous seaman Drake; pirates of various nations visited the island from time to time; and it was also attacked by British men-of-war. In spite of all this, however, the Spanish settlers prospered, and as they were better governed or more submissive than the Cubans, they suffered less from war. Their island is very fertile, and contains large coffee, sugar, and tobacco plantations; and their herds supply great quantities of hides and beef.

Landing on the southern shore of Puerto Rico, General Miles's troops met little or no resistance from the Spaniards, while the Puerto Ricans welcomed the Americans as friends. Our army now went by different roads to attack San Juan, on the opposite side of the island, where most of the Spanish forces had collected.

Meanwhile, Spain asked President McKinley, through the French ambassador at Washington, on what terms he would make peace. McKinley insisted that Spain should consent to withdraw from the West Indies forever, and to meet American commissioners in Paris, to discuss terms of peace. These men were to decide what should be done with the Philippine Islands.

After a little hesitation, Spain accepted these terms, and on August 12, 1898, a peace protocol was signed at Washington. This really ended the Spanish-American War, which had begun one hundred and fourteen days before. But before this news could reach Rear Admiral Dewey, our forces in the Philippines attacked and seized Manila, after a short battle, in which some of our men fell (August 13).

As soon as the protocol was signed, the Cuban blockade was raised and most of our ships were recalled to New York, where a great naval parade took place. But part of our army was kept in Cuba and Puerto Rico to maintain order and take possession of those islands when the Spaniards sailed home.

Although our navy won most of the glory in this brief war, it lost very few men; but our army, exposed to a climate which produces fevers, suffered far more from disease than in battle. This is, however, always the case in war; but while mourning for our dead, we must remember that it is just as heroic to die at one's post—wherever that may be—as to fall in battle.

Naval parade at New York


Besides the heroic deeds already mentioned, and those every one talks about, there were countless brave actions done on land and sea. But while the heroes whose names we know are praised and rewarded, the others deserve no less credit. They too can enjoy the approval of their conscience, and feel with satisfaction that they have done the best they could for their beloved country.

As agreed in Washington, the Peace Commission met in Paris on October 1, 1898, and on December 10 signed a new Treaty of Paris. By this treaty, Spain gave up all her rights in Cuba, and ceded Puerto Rico and the Philippines to the United States, which in turn was to pay Spain $20,000, 000.

It is said that the Spanish-American War cost us about two hundred million dollars and three thousand lives, while it cost Spain nearly five times as much. Besides adding to our territory, the war put an end to all jealousy between the North and the South, for old Union and Confederate soldiers, and their sons, now fought side by side under the same flag.

Many of the inhabitants of the islands won from Spain are supposed to be in favor of annexation to the United States. But whether they will adapt themselves to our rule, and become good American citizens, time alone can tell.