The Spanish-American War (April 21-August 13, 1898) began after an internal explosion of the USS Maine in Havana Harbor, Cuba, leading the United States to intervene in the Cuban War of Independence.
The war caused great excitement in the United States and in Massachusetts as a major topic of discussion, including on college campuses.
The 2nd Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment was mustered into Federal service during the war. It was one of three state volunteer regiments that fought in the Santiago Campaign in Cuba and participated in the Siege of Santiago until the city surrendered.
Offering an excellent home front discussion, just four days after the war began, 4 pp, 5 x 8, ALS, Newton Highlands to Fred T. Wood of Williamstown, MA, from his father George. Discussion begins with the news that Fred’s insurance license has been renewed [renewal included] on April 1, 1898. George then elaborates on the war.
“...Our country has made quit a deal of history since you were home hasn’t she, and events are still marching on and what the end of another week will show, who can anticipate. I see that some of the students at Yale and Brown have permitted themselves to be carried away by their enthusiasm and want to rush into the struggle but probably they are of the type of college boys who readily adopt the most extreme views, and are easily influenced by impulse without much thought of what is to follow. Of course, their patriotic fervor is credible to them, but in this emergency, the men who can do the most serviceable to their country in Cuba are those who have lived in the warmer latitudes or have become somewhat accustomed to a hot climate for especially at this beginning of the rainy unhealthy season in Cuba, those who have not been somewhat accustomed to a hot climate especially young men whose physical constitution is not fully established are likely to quickly become a care and an encumbrance through sickness rather than a help to their country. My idea of the situation in Cuba is that if the insurgents are encouraged by an effectual blockade by our war vessels, I think that no further help can come to the Spanish troops now in Cuba – that they will before long make it so hot for the Spanish troops – that they will see that further resistance is useless with their supplies cut off and the naval enemy in front – and the insurgents banging away in their rear.
“I have hoped...that the insurgents will make the effort to capture Havana, and will succeed, and that, too, in the near future. This would I think tend to greatly simplify the situation as it would show the world that they had strength enough to capture the capital of Cuba without the help of U.S. forces on land. If they could do this, it seems to me that it would bring about a recognition of their independence from other nations besides ours and our object would be accomplished without the shedding of the blood of our people...”
The letter is well written and easily read. Folds and light toning. Nice cover included with an April 25, 1898, postmark, just four days after the war began.
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