The Spanish American War lasted less than four months (April 25 to August 13, 1898). For the entire war, American casualties totaled less than 2,000 men, among them 345 killed or mortally wounded. Many more, however, died of disease (about 2000). Over the years, the war has been remembered as an event in which American interests and yellow journalism led to a conflict where the outcome was never in doubt. The nation of Spain, embroiled in internal dispute and civil unrest, was ripe for the picking and could do little to organize a defense of her colonies against a nation that was quickly becoming one of the world's superpowers. Today, using hindsight, it is easy for us to view the war in this fashion, but the men involved had no such insights.

In this, the centennial of the Spanish American War, it is important to take a fresh look at the struggle through the eyes of the men who witnessed the events firsthand. These men had no idea that the war would be over so quickly or that American forces would be so successful. Like the men of other wars, they did their duty and deserve to be remembered. [excerpt]