Date of Award
Culminating Project Type
College of Liberal Arts
Alton C. Wolfer
Orville H. Schmidt
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
Keywords and Subject Headings
Minnesota, Philippines, National Guard
This thesis describes and analyzes the role of the 13th Minnesota Volunteer Regiment in both the Spanish-American and Philippine-American War's, 1898-1899. I have done this by looking at the recent literature on this topic ruong with researching the letters, diaries, government documents, books, and newspapers that were written by the people of that time.
With the onset of war in 1898, many Minnesotans, along with much of the United States, found themselves preparing for a war against Spain. This war was sold to the American people as an opportunity for them to bring their style of democracy to colonialized people in Cuba and the Philippines.
For many Minnesotans this was the kind of adventure they felt they needed to lift them out of the mundane lifestyles they believed they were in. Enlisting in order to be part of a great adventure and to prove their manhood, these Minnesotans who became involved in these events, quickly discovered that their actions would not only help change their own, but also a great many other American's impressions of their country.
After a brief period of military training in both Minnesota and California, the 13th Minnesota was assigned to sail to the Philippines in order to help defeat the Spaniards stationed in Manila. After a rather short battle, and one which need not have been fought, the Americans defeated the Spanish.
Due to their bravery in battle, the 13tb Minnesota was given the duty of patrolling Manila and its surrounding suburbs. Although not wanting this duty, and often terribly bored, the Minnesotans did it with such professionalism that Manila was soon back to its normal routine.
After seven months of tensions and misunderstandings between Emilio Aguinaldo's troops and the American's, the second war in the islands began on February 4, 1899. Although not officially involved in this battle, the Minnesotans found themselves later in the middle of an attack on Manila only three weeks later.
With the signing of the Paris Peace Treaty, which' concluded the Spanish-American War, American officials decided to make the Philippines a possession of the United States. This change of policy not only caused more tensions between the Americans and Filipinos, but also forced the 13th Minnesota to become part of an offensive campaign into northern Luzon. There they were ordered to destroy both Aguinaldo's men and his equipment, thereby.hopefully bringing the war to a quick and successful conclusion.
With the Filipinos beginning to rely on guerrilla warfare, and many Minnesotans fearing death, a number of members of the 13th Minnesota began writing letters home in which they both requested to be brought home, and began questioning why the United States was fighting this second war. With enough pressure from the volunteers and people at home, President McKinley began to order these citizen-soldiers home in the summer of 1898. Leaving the Philippines in August and reaching Minnesota in October, the men of the 13th Minnesota's service to their country was over.
After being welcomed home by Governor John Lind and President William McKinley, these soldiers, who 18 months earlier wanted nothing more than to escape the boredom they once knew, now wanted nothing more than to return to it.
Although history has all but forgotten the 13th Minnesota and the wars in which they fought, they did leave an impressive legacy. By both serving the nation when asked, and later questioning both their own and their government's role in fighting the Filipinos, the members of the 13th Minnesota can be remembered as reluctant heroes. Even though they helped bring America into the 20th century as a burgeoning world power, they also must never be forgotten for refusing to blindly follow their government when they felt it was doing wrong.
Ward, Kyle, "The 13th Minnesota Volunteer Regiment and the Spanish-American and Philippine-American Wars, 1898-1899" (1998). Culminating Projects in History. 2.