Spanish American War Original Print
In Fighting Trim - The Squadron Leaving Key West

Extremely Rare Find

Spanish American War Squadron leaving Key West

This original print copyright date is 1898
by the American Lithograph Company, New York

This print was issued with the Truth Magazine No. 578, May 18, 1898
Artist Reuterdahl of Key West

In Fighting Trim

The Spanish–American War was a conflict in 1898 between Spain and the United States. It ended with the Americans defeating the Spaniards. Revolts against Spanish rule had been endemic for decades in Cuba and were closely watched by Americans; there had been war scares before, as in the Virginius Affair in 1873. By 1897–98, American public opinion grew angrier at reports of Spanish atrocities. After the mysterious sinking of the American battleship Maine in Havana harbor, political pressures from the Democratic Party pushed the government of President William McKinley, a Republican, into a war McKinley had wished to avoid. Compromise proved impossible, resulting in an ultimatum sent to Madrid demanding it surrender control of Cuba immediately, which was not accepted. First Madrid, then Washington, formally declared war.

The Sunken USS Maine eleven days after the Cuban autonomous government took power, a small riot erupted in Havana. The riot was thought to be ignited by Spanish officers who were offended by the persistent newspaper criticism of General Valeriano Weyler’s policies.  McKinley sent the USS Maine to Havana to ensure the safety of American citizens and interests. The need for the U.S. to send the Maine to Havana had been expected for months, but the Spanish government was notified just 18 hours before its arrival, which was contrary to diplomatic convention. Preparations for the possible conflict started in October 1897, when President McKinley arranged for Maine to be deployed to Key West, Florida, as a part of a larger, global deployment of U.S. naval power to attack simultaneously on several fronts if the war was not avoided. As Maine left Florida, a large part of the North Atlantic Squadron was moved to Key West and the Gulf of Mexico.

The North Atlantic Squadron was a section of the United States Navy operating in the North Atlantic. 

The Indiana served in the Spanish–American War (1898) as part of the North Atlantic Squadron. She took part in both the blockade of Santiago de Cuba and the battle of Santiago de Cuba, which occurred when the Spanish fleet attempted to break through the blockade. 

The Oregon was ordered to join the blockade at Santiago as part of the North Atlantic Squadron under Rear Admiral Sampson. She took part in the Battle of Santiago de Cuba, where she and the cruiser Brooklyn were the only ships fast enough to chase down the Spanish cruiser Cristóbal Colón, forcing its surrender. Around this time she received the nickname "Bulldog of the Navy", most likely because of her high bow wave—known as "having a bone in her teeth" in nautical slang—and perseverance during the cruise around South America and the battle of Santiago.

William Thomas Sampson (9 February 1840 – 6 May 1902) was a United States Navy rear admiral known for his victory in the Battle of Santiago de Cuba during the Spanish-American War.

The United States declared war against Spain on April 21, 1898; and, eight days later, Admiral Cervera's fleet sailed from the Cape Verde Islands for an uncertain destination. Rear Admiral Sampson, in flagship New York, put to sea from Key West. Sampson's early involvement in the conflict would include his supervision of the Cuban blockade, which would last for the duration of the war, as well as the bombardment of the city of San Juan on May 10, 1898.

The New York departed Fort Monroe on 17 January 1898 for Key West. After the declaration of the Spanish-American War in April, she steamed to Cuba and bombarded the defenses at Matanzas before joining other American ships at San Juan in May, seeking the Spanish squadron. Not finding them, they bombarded El Morro Castle at San Juan (12 May) before withdrawing. New York then became flagship of Admiral William T. Sampson's squadron, as the American commander planned the campaign against Santiago. The Battle of Santiago de Cuba on July 3rd resulted in complete destruction of the Spanish fleet.

At about 08:45, just as his ships had slipped their moorings, Admiral Sampson and two ships of his command, his flagship, the armored cruiser USS New York, and the torpedo boat USS Ericsson had left their positions for a trip to Siboney and a meeting with Major General William Shafter of the U.S. Army. This opened a gap in the western portion of the American blockade line, leaving a window for Cervera. Sampson's New York was one of only two ships in the squadron fast enough to catch Cervera if he managed to break through the blockade. Further, the battleship USS Massachusetts had left that morning to coal. With the departure of Admiral Sampson, who had signaled "Disregard movements of flagship," immediate command devolved to Commodore Schley in armored cruiser USS Brooklyn, which now became the de facto flagship of the U.S. blockade.

Thus, the American blockade formation that morning consisted of Schley's Brooklyn, followed by the battleships USS Texas, Oregon, Iowa and Indiana and auxiliary cruisers USS Vixen and Gloucester.

Artist:  Henry Reuterdahl (August 30, 1871 – December 21, 1925) was an American painter highly acclaimed for his nautical artwork. He had a long relationship with the United States Navy. In addition to serving as a Lieutenant Commander in the United States Naval Reserve Force, he was selected by President Theodore Roosevelt to accompany the Great White Fleet voyage in 1907 to document the journey. In addition to his artwork, he was a frequent writer on naval topics, and served as an editor of Jane's Fighting Ships.

Spanish American War Original Print - 1898
In Fighting Trim - The Squadron Leaving Key West
   Size:  11" x 35"
Condition - Good, minor water damage lower right & left corners
and separation at the middle fold.

Price:  $ 395.00
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