Spanish American War volunteers return to Seattle on November 6, 1899.

  • By Greg Lange
  • Posted 1/01/2000
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 2051

On November 6, 1899, on the S.S. Queen, the First Washington Volunteer Infantry returns from fighting in the Philippines and disembarks at Seattle's Ocean Dock at the foot of Washington Street.

The Spanish American War was fought primarily in Cuba and the Philippines, where revolts were under way against Spanish colonial power. The United States, with its own imperial goals, intervened against Spain. As a result of the war, the country acquired its first overseas territories, including Puerto Rico and the Philippines.

A Big Welcome

Governor John R. Rogers declared a state holiday to celebrate the Washington Volunteers' return. They arrived to dozens of welcoming steamers in Elliott Bay and to a waiting crowd reported to be 200,000. They were met with bells, whistles, sirens, yells, screams, and a thunder of aerial bombs from three revenue cutters that "literally rent the air."

Seattle organized two of the 12 state Infantry companies that served in the Philippines. Seattle Companies B and D each had a Captain, Lieutenants (2), Sergeants (4), Corporals (12), a Cook, a Musician, an Artificer, a Wagoner, and Privates (38 or 39).

The First Washington Infantry was involved in 36 engagements. One officer and 24 enlisted men died, and five officers and 98 men were wounded. Seven men from Companies B and D died. On October 31, 1898, in San Francisco, about 123 men were mustered out of the two Seattle companies.


Sources:

Building a State: Washington 1889-1939 ed. by Charles Miles and O. B. Sperlin (Tacoma: Washington State Historical Society, 1940), 121; Seattle Post-Intelligencer, November 5, 1899; The Seattle Star, November 6, 1899, p. 1.


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