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Spanish American War Diary of a Member of a Hospital Corps Humanitarian Mission

Identifier: SC 00817

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Scope and Contents

Handwritten diary by a Hospital Corps man detailing repeated trips to Cuba between December 5, 1898 and May, 1899. He was chosen from a Hospital Corps School in Washington, D.C. (Established in 1898, often called "Old Naval Hospital") to be among twelve sent on a humanitarian mission to Cuba.

He sails from New York to Cuba on the Bay State Hospital Ship, which is delayed after an explosion within fifty feet of the diarist. The Bay State Hospital Ship was a project of the Massachusetts Volunteer Aid Association which was organized in 1898 to send medical and humanitarian supplies to benefit U.S. troops overseas and particularly troops and local people in Cuba and Jamaica.

While in Cuba, he sees the sunken ships Merrimac and Reina Mercedes in the harbor. Various units and military personnel are mentioned including the 8th Calvary aboard the Minnewaska, the 6th Ohio and the 3rd Engineering Corps. In Cienfuegos, he meets with Lt. Col. Greenleaf and General Breckenridge, the Inspector General of the Army.

During a resupply trip to Newport News, Virginia, he visits the dry docks and sees the USS Kentucky and USS Illinois under construction.

He notes Spanish gunships loading troops and supplies and trampers overloaded with Spanish civilians heading back to Spain. Mentions disrepair of streets and sidewalks, odd practice of rental of cemetery plots (and result if rent not paid)and a cemetery in Cienfuegos where the remains of the sailors and marines of the Maine are buried.

One brief trip to Kingsport, Jamaica.


  • Creation: 1898-1899

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to all researchers. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, such as the Virginia Public Records Act (Code of Virginia. § 42.1-76-91); and the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (Code of Virginia § 2.2-3705.5). Confidential material may include, but is not limited to, educational, medical, and personnel records. If sensitive material is found in this collection, please contact a staff member immediately. The disclosure of personally identifiable information pertaining to a living individual may have legal consequences for which the College of William and Mary assumes no responsibility.

Conditions Governing Use

Before publishing quotations or excerpts from any materials, permission must be obtained from the Curator of Manuscripts and Rare Books, and the holder of the copyright, if not Swem Library.


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Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased in 2009 (accession 2009.029).

Guide to the Spanish American War Diary of a Member of a Hospital Corps Humanitarian Mission
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Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository