On April 21, 1898, the united States claimed war against Spain. It would be the very first overseas problem fought by the U.S. It involved significant campaigns in both Cuba and also the Philippine Islands.

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The reasons for war were many, yet there were two prompt ones: America"s support the continuous struggle by Cubans and also Filipinos against Spanish rule, and the mysterious explosion that the battleship U.S.S. Maine in Havana Harbor.
Half a people away and only 11 work after the battle began, the Spanish Pacific fleet in Manila only was defeated by the U.S. Marine in swift strike do by Commodore George Dewey. Unaware the Dewey’s quick success, president McKinley notified troops to mount a campaign versus the funding of Manila.
The armed forces base ideal suited to stage this project was the Presidio of san Francisco. Volunteer soldiers from all over the United states gathered and trained at the Presidio before the long sea trip to the Philippines.

The Presidio’s Role

The Presidio to be a natural choice because the is beside the ideal harbor ~ above the West Coast. The post also had sufficient land come house and train big numbers of troops.

The very first overseas devices left the Presidio in may 1898. They to be the 1st California Infantry and also the second Oregon Infantry Regiments. Quickly volunteer devices from Washington State, Montana, Iowa, Wyoming, Kansas, Tennessee and Utah would be stationed in ~ the Presidio. Native the beginning of the war to 1900, part 80,000 males passed with the short article on their means to and also from the Philippines.

At the revolve of the century, san Francisco offered many attractions, but army life at the Presidio was cramped, and also sickness frequently flared increase in the short-term tent camps. This instance prompted the army to improve troop facilities and helped change the face of the Presidio over the ensuing years.

Fighting continues in the Philippines

Philippine rebels had actually been waging guerrilla warfare versus Spanish manifest destiny long prior to the U.S. Came to be involved. Their exiled leader, Emilio Aquinaldo, connected with the U.S. Army currently on its way to the Philippines. He thought the United claims would assist the "Insurrectos" get independence native Spain.

But the U-S federal government had an additional idea. ~ the signing the tranquility treaty through Spain in late 1898, the U.S. Gave Cuba its independence yet kept the Philippines. The Philippine nationalists to be outraged and also it sparked a bitter and controversial dispute called the Philippine War.


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The Presidio with the Spanish American war sites listed on the insert rectangle.

Impact that the Spanish American war on the Presidio

The note of the short war with Spain and the longer dispute with the Philippines is evident throughout the Presidio. The arrival of large numbers of troops spurred its shift from a frontier military outpost to a contemporary army base. Buildings like the Montgomery St. Barracks and also the Letterman Hospital facility are now an essential part of the historic scene.


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1 - Montgomery Street Barracks: five brick barracks follow me Montgomery Street were built in between 1895 and 1897 to administer permanent soldier for troops destined for abroad duty. Each barrack can house two companies of 109 men. Because that a time in 1898, an army General field Hospital was established in few of the barracks ~ soldiers became ill in the damp problems at Camp Merritt, a tent encampment because that volunteers near the Arguello Gate.
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2 - Ordonez Gun: This form of coastal artillery piece was developed by Spanish Captain Salvador Diaz Ordonez in 1880. This certain weapon was supposedly damaged in ~ Subic just in the Philippines through shellfire from the U.S.S. Charleston in September the 1899. Yet some historians believe an to explode of a covering inside the gun damaged the barrel rather of a direct hit. Publisher wilhelm Randolph Hearst brought the pistol to san Francisco by the moment of the 1906 earthquake and the military acquired that in 1973 come exhibit at the Presidio.


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Horse drawn ambulances beginning Lombard door en-route to Letterman Hospital roughly 1900.

Golden Gate national Recreation Area, Park Archives


3 - Letterman Hospital Complex: The complicated began as a time hospital at Camp Merritt in 1898, when the article was overwhelmed with troops sickened through unhealthy life conditions. The hospital to be designated a U.S. Army General field Hospital that very same year and was temporarily housed in the Montgomery St. Barracks. The hospital to be permanently situated closer to the troop camps close to the Lombard Gate and also to the docks wherein patients to be unloaded from ships. The first stage of the complex was perfect in June 1899.
4 - Tennessee Hollow: This was the site of time camps of the first Tennessee and first Utah Volunteer Infantry Regiments in might 1898. Once called Camp Miller, it separation into two different camps geographically separated by a low ridge: Merriam, or the eastern Cantonment on the east border the the post; and Tennessee Hollow, or the West Cantonment, at this site. Tennessee Hollow, in the valley east of Officers’ Row follow me Funston Ave., to be a more open ravine at the time, v fewer smaller sized trees, and no houses.
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5 - Camp Merriam: Brigadier general Henry Merriam to be the commanding general of the department of California in 1898. The camp to be on the eastern border of the Presidio close come the Lombard door (now the website of Letterman Digital arts Center). It sheltered the very first volunteers shipped to the Philippines. The living conditions at Camp Merriam were thought about to be better than Camp Merritt, just south that the Arguello Boulevard Gate.

6 - Plaque in respect of Col. James F. Smith: This plaque at former Camp Merriam is locatednear the Letterman Digital arts Center. The plaque marks whereby the 1st California Regiment of Volunteer Infantry camped if awaiting transport throughout the Pacific. The plaque, provided by the regiment, commemorates their commanding officer because that actions in Guam and also the Philippines.

7 - Monument to the 51st Iowa Volunteer Infantry: A stone monument in ~ the edge of Ruger Street and also Sherman roadway marks the camp site of the 51st Iowa Volunteer Infantry Regiment i m sorry in 1898-1899 trained in ~ Camp Merriam before shipping the end to the Philippines. On Ruger Street room infantry barracks built in between 1903 come 1909 to provide better housing because that overseas-bound and returning troops.


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8 - Lombard Gate: 2 sandstone pillars, ornamented with army insignia and flanked by captured Spanish cannon mark the Presidio’s key entrance. The door was constructed in 1896 come permanently mark the boundaries as well as to boost the post’s appearance to mountain Francisco civilians. Many troops en path to the Philippines passed v this gate to meet awaiting ships.

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9 - mountain Francisco nationwide Cemetery: In 1884 the battle Department designated the former article cemetery and surrounding land as the first National Cemetery top top the West Coast. It gradually accumulated much more land, because of the consist of of burials from exit forts approximately the west U.S. And also the casualties that the Spanish American War and the Philippine American conflict, until reaching its current size of 28 acres. Significant General Frederick Funston, hero of the Philippine Insurrection, and significant General william R. Shafter, the commander of the forces in Cuba, are buried here.