Spanish-American War

In late April 1898, the regiment was assembled in its entirety for the first time in many years at Camp Thomas, Georgia. It did not stay there long and was moved to Tampa, Florida, to join Major General William R. Shafter’s V Army Corps in the impending expedition to Cuba. The regiment embarked on 8 June and arrived at Siboney, Cuba, on the 22nd. Over the next 8 days it moved with the corps slowly toward Shafter’s main objective, the port of Santiago. On the morning of 1 July 1898, the troops of the 16th Infantry, as part of the 1st Division, moved into line for an attack on the heights above Santiago.

The 1st Brigade, commanded by Brigadier General Hamilton S. Hawkins, was assigned as its objective a block house on what was called San Juan Hill. In the ensuing attack, it was the 16th Infantry that captured the blockhouse and whose colors were first on the hill. Over the next two and a half weeks, the troops of the V Corps dug in around the heights looking down on the city and laid siege until the Spanish surrendered. While Spanish bullets were responsible for many of the regiment’s killed and wounded, it was Yellow Fever and other maladies that began to rapidly deplete the strength of the U.S. forces. As a result, President McKinley ordered the troops home and the regiment arrived at Montauk Point, New York, on 15 August 1898.

  • A 16th Infantry soldier armed with a Krag-Jorgenson rifle, circa 1898,

  • Soldiers of the 16th Infantry crouch under the fire of Spanish Mausers eminating from San Juan Hill. The San Juan River and “Bloody Ford” is to their front.

  • The blockhouse on San Juan Hill can be seen in this view just above the dark round isolated tree to the front. This is the ground across which the regiment advanced.

  • A unique view of the actual attack. The dark figures just approaching the blockhouse are likely troops from the 6th Infantry. The 16th Infantry was moving up the hill to the left of that regiment.

  • This view is of the blockhouse (in far distance) from near “Bloody Bend” in the San Juan River. The regiment would have charged from left to right in this view.

  • An artist’s rendition of the charge up San Juan Hill. Given the angle of attack on the blockhouse, these are most likely troops of the 16th Infantry.

  • This view is from San Juan Hill looking back toward the ground over which the 1st Brigade attacked.

  • The camp of US Troops just below San Juan Hill. The blockhouse can be seen on the hill above the pointing man. The city of Santiago is beyond the hill.

  • A view of the US camp from San Juan Hill after the charge. The pond in front of the hill is in the middle distance.

  • Troops of the 16th Infantry in the trenches before Santiago. The regiment would have attacked up the backside of the hill from left to right.