Writer's Guide to Government Information

Resources to inject real life detail into your fiction

Archive for the tag “cuba”

United States Revenue Cutter Service in the War With Spain, 1898: the official history (Coast Guard)

The United States Revenue Cutter Service in the War With Spain, 1898: the official history (Coast Guard) – http://www.uscg.mil/history/docs/USRCSSpanAmerWar1898.pdf

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What sort of duties did the Revenue Cutters have during the Spanish American War?
  • Where can I find a dramatic summary of the rescue of a naval vessel under heavy fire?
  • Where can I find first hand accounts of naval battles that took place during the Spanish American War?
  • How did the Cutter Service treat non-combatant shipping?

Description:

The Revenue Cutter Service was a forerunner of today’s US Coast Guard and played a role in the Spanish American War/War with Spain. From the introduction:

There were in cooperation with the Navy 13 revenue cutters, carrying 61 guns, 98 officers, and 562 enlisted men. Of these, 8 cutters (43 guns), 58 officers and 339 men were in Admiral Sampson’s fleet and on the Havana blockade; 1 cutter (6 guns), 10 officers and 95 men were in Admiral Dewey’s fleet at Manila and 4 cutters (12 guns), 30 officers and 128 men cooperated with the Navy on the Pacific Coast.

This 26 page book lists out all of the officers who served. It also contains reports from some of the Revenue Cutter captains as well as complimentary letters from the Army and Navy commanders they supported in the three areas mentioned above.

Spanish-American War: Historical Overview and Select Bibliography (Naval History and Heritage Command)

The Spanish-American War: Historical Overview and Select Bibliography (Naval History and Heritage Command) – https://web.archive.org/web/20141210200200/http://www.history.navy.mil/biblio/biblio7/biblio7.htm

UPDATE 1/19/2015 – URL shifted to Internet Archive version because not currently locatable on the Naval History and Heritage Command Web Site.

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • How did the American blockade against Cuba operate?
  • How did the United States sever telegraph links between Cuba and Spain?
  • Where can I find an overview of the battle of Manila Bay?
  • Where can I locate music and poetry honoring the memory of the USS Maine?

Description:

This extensive, if mostly unannotated, bibliography is a good starting point for people doing a deep dive of research into the Spanish American War/War with Spain. It is divided into the following sections:

  • General Works
  • Background and Preparation
  • Cuban Insurrection and Relations with Spain
  • USS Maine
  • Voyage of USS Oregon
  • The Opposing Fleets
  • Operations
  • Pacific Theater
  • Atlantic and Caribbean Theater
  • Special Subjects
  • Blacks in the Navy
  • Diplomatic Relations
  • Intelligence
  • Marines
  • Medicine
  • Naval Leaders and Enlisted Personnel
  • The Press: Journalists, Photographers, and Artists
  • Poetry and Music
  • Consequences, Lessons Learned, and Evaluation of the Navy’s Performance

When annotations do exist, they range from a sentence to a short paragraph.

The beginning of the bibliography features a roughly 13 page “historical overview” essay that provides background on the war and its effect on subsequent naval preparation. If you are considering using the War with Spain as a historical setting, this is an easy place to start.

Search/Use Tip:

For works in the bibliography published earlier than 1923, try copying and pasting the title into your favorite search engine. As a result of a number of library digitization projects, many notable books published prior to 1923 are now available full text on the Internet. For an example, see:

Johnston, William A. History Up To Date: A Concise Account of the War of 1898 between the United States and Spain, Its Causes and the Treaty of Paris. New York: A. S. Barnes, 1899. 258 pp., which can be downloaded from Google Books at http://books.google.com/books/about/History_up_to_date.html?id=SvY6Cq8AIYwC.

For works still under copyright protection (usually, but not always, since 1923), try your local library. If they don’t have a volume, they may be able to get it for your through interlibrary loan.

Spanish American War (Navy Department Library)

Spanish American War (Navy Department Library) – http://www.history.navy.mil/browse-by-topic/wars-conflicts-and-operations/spanish-american-war.html

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What was the state of the US Navy in 1898?
  • What are some theories as to the destruction of the USS Maine?
  • Where can I learn more about the Cuban Insurrection?

Description:

List of resources related to naval operations during the Spanish American War. Some material in this collection of special interest include:

  • Battle of Manila Bay
  • USS Maine, destruction of
  • “War Plans and Preparation and Their Impact on the U.S. Naval Operation in Spanish American War”

The material on the USS Maine describes the several investigations done over the years and links to images of the ship, the Maine’s casualty list and list of survivors. The “War Plans” article provides a good overview of the ups and downs of Navy strength from the Civil War to the time with the War With Spain, including specific force breakdowns.

Medal of Honor Recipients from War with Spain (Center of Military History)

Medal of Honor Recipients from War with Spain (Center of Military History) – http://www.history.army.mil/html/moh/warspain.html

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • Where can I find someone decorated for rescuing wounded from Cuba?
  • Where can I find individuals involved in the cutting of the cable leading from Cienfuegos, Cuba?
  • Where can I find men cited for action in the Philippines?

Description:

Listing of citations of Medals of Honor earned by servicemen in the war with Spain. Each entry carries name, rank, birthdate, birthplace, date of citation and date of action. Also carries a 1-3 sentence description of the act being honored.

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