Often grouped together and confused with each other, the Spanish-American War and Philippine-American War are two separate conflicts in which Wisconsin men served. The Spanish-American War lasted from April to August 1898 and took place primarily in the Caribbean (Cuba and Puerto Rico), with a brief naval battle against Spanish forces in the Philippines. The Philippine-American War, often called the Philippine Insurrection, spanned 1899 to 1902 and was fought entirely in the Philippines against Filipino forces.
Wisconsin’s burgeoning National Guard was called into federal service for the war against Spain, with four infantry regiments and one battery of light artillery (over 4,000 men) answering the call. Only two of those units, the 2nd and 3rd Wisconsin Infantry Regiments, made it overseas before the brief war ended; they saw action in Puerto Rico. Of the 134 Wisconsin men who died during the Spanish-American War, only two were killed in action. The remaining 132 died of disease, most often malaria or typhoid fever, as many of the Badgers were exposed to tropical climates for the first time.
Involvement in the Philippine-American War is harder to track as Wisconsin soldiers and sailors were scattered among many federal units rather than concentrated into state volunteer regiments. Still, Wisconsin men like Arthur MacArthur, Charles King, and Medal of Honor recipient Hugh McGrath made their marks in the conflict.
The Wisconsin Veterans Museum preserves the stories of Wisconsin’s role in these two conflicts. Our Spanish-American War Database
allows you to search for individuals by name, unit, or hometown. Regimental histories
provide a broad overview of a unit’s travels and assignments during the Spanish-American War. Other resources include a bibliography
of published works that relate to Wisconsin’s role in these conflicts as well as an examination of the United Spanish War Veterans
, an organization that included veterans of both wars. Remember to search
the museum’s collections to find artifacts, books, oral history interviews, letters, photographs, and more from Wisconsin Civil War veterans. Contact us
if you have any questions or comments.