15,354 Ohioans served in volunteer and Ohio National Guard Units during the Spanish-American War. Many people in the U.S. objected Spain's treatment of their then colony Cuba. The United States declared war on Spain on April 25, 1898 by President William McKinley, an Ohioan, after the Maine, a U.S. battle ship, exploded near Cuba. The conflict lasted less than 3 months with Spain, and ended in a complete victory for the United States with the 1898 Treaty of Paris. Cuba technically gained independence and the U.S. acquired the Spanish colonies of Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines as territories. The 4th, 6th, and 8th Ohio Volunteer Infantry's served overseas during the conflict. 230 total deaths were recorded.
The Official Roster of Ohio Soldiers in the War with Spain, 1898-1899 [R 973.89471 B786i 1991] is available for research in the Library with a separate index that contains regimental histories.
The Spanish-American War Rolls, 1898 [State Archives Series 1139] include assignment cards, muster rolls, payrolls, correspondence, canceled checks, and company descriptive rolls. They are available on microfilm rolls GR 2062 through GR 2087 in the Library Microfilm Room.
Spanish-American War Veterans Grave Registration Cards, A-Z [State Archives Series 6992] can be paged for research in the Library. Files include the veteran's name, company, birth date, and death date ranging from 1920 to 1980.
Correspondence to the Governor and Adjutant General of Ohio, 1861-1898 [State Archives Series 147] contains correspondence related to Spanish-American War topics. Responses to these letter can be found in Correspondence from the Adjutant General, 1861-1898 [State Archives Series 146]. Both collections can be paged for researched in the Library.
Further Spanish-American War information can be accessed by using Ancestry and Fold3 which are available via computers in the Library.
You can browse all Spanish-American War era newspapers, library, archives, and museum records using our Online Collections Catalog.
Below is a an example of a Spanish-American War battle flag found in our museum collections.
Description: This flag is a silk guidon of 1st Ohio Light Artillery, Battery H and Battery I. The gold appliques of crossed cannons are an "I" above and an "H” below against a red field. At one time it was likely a swallowtail shape but has since been torn. Both Battery H and I mustered out of Cincinnati. President McKinley, a fellow Ohioan, issued the first call for volunteers on April 23, 1898. They easily filled Ohio's initial quota of six infantry regiments and four batteries of light artillery. The term of enlistment for volunteer troops in 1898 was for two years or until discharged.
Charles Young was the first African American to achieve the rank of colonel in the United States Army and, until his death in 1922, was the highest-ranking African American officer. In 1884, he reported to the United States Military Academy at West Point. He became its third African American graduate five years later. After graduating with a commission as a second lieutenant, he proceeded to serve 28 years with black troops in the 9th and 10th U.S. Cavalries, also known as the Buffalo Soldiers. He had multiple military assignments both foreign and domestic, and it was after his service in Mexico, during the 1916 Punitive Expedition, that he was promoted to lieutenant colonel. Young was placed on the U.S. Army's inactive list during World War I due to health concerns, later riding from Wilberforce, Ohio where he was a professor to Washington, D.C. to prove his fitness for duty. Young was reinstated as a full colonel in 1918. He died in 1922 while on a reconnaissance mission in Nigeria. He received a full military funeral and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
Below is a photograph of Colonel Charles Young in uniform. More images of Colonel Young and collection finding aids pertaining to him are available on Ohio Memory, a statewide digital library program.
Black Cadet in a White Bastion: Charles Young at West Point by Brian Shellum [B Y84s 2006] is available to be paged and researched in the Library. Shellum also authored Black Officer in a Buffalo Soldier Regiment: The Military Career of Charles Young [B Y84s1 2010] which is also available to be paged and researched in the Library.
The Glendower Photograph Collection, circa 1850-1940 [AV 300] includes photographs of Charles Young and his family. This collection contains a compilation of photographs from smaller collections once held at the Glendower Museum in Warren County, Ohio.
Additional collections pertaining to Colonel Young may be accessed at the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center in Wilberforce, Ohio. Some collection materials are available on their Ohio Memory webpage.
The 9th Ohio Volunteer Infantry Battalion was an African American regiment formed in 1881 with companies in Springfield and Columbus. A company was added in Xenia in 1884, then in Cleveland in 1898. The battalion was commanded by Major Charles Young. The regiment did not see overseas service during the Spanish-American War, but spent duration of the war at several camps across the United States. This regiment, along with the 10th U.S. Cavalry, were also known as the Buffalo Soldiers.
Below is a photograph of Arthur Kelton Lawrence, who served as a hospital steward in the 9th Battalion during the Spanish-American War. More images related to the 9th Ohio Volunteer Infantry Battalion from the Spanish-American War era are available on Ohio Memory, a statewide digital library program.
The Lawrence Family Collection [P 104] contains photographs and oversize materials related to Dr. Thomas Lawrence and his family, including his son Arthur Kelton Lawrence. The collection includes photographs from the Spanish-American War. A finding aid for this collection is available on Ohio Memory.
Black Soldiers-Black Sailors-Black Ink: Research Guide on African-Americans in U.S. Military History, 1526-1900 by Thomas Truxtun Moebs [R 355.008996073 M722b 1994] is available for research in the Library. It discusses African American military service in America through the Spanish-American War.
Additional collections pertaining to the 9th O.V.I. and the Buffalo Soldiers may be accessed at the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center in Wilberforce, Ohio. Some collection materials are available on their Ohio Memory webpage.
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We do not hold military service or pension records. That information can be obtained by contacting the National Archives and Records Administration. Records prior to World War I are located at the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C.
You may also wish to read the military records section of the National Archives Genealogy webpage.
If you have questions, please contact us at email@example.com or 614.297.2510.