Philippine-American War, 1899-1902


US Infantry, Naval Reinforcements, Embark For Manila, May 25 - June 29, 1898


The US Army forces that invaded the Philippines in the Spanish-American and Philippine-American Wars assembled at the Presidio (ABOVE, in 1898) on the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula, California.



Camps of the 51st Iowa and 1st New York Volunteers at the Presidio, 1898. The Iowans went but the New Yorkers did not proceed to the Philippines.


The Presidio was originally a Spanish Fort built by Jose Joaquin Moraga in 1776. It was seized by the U.S. Military in 1846, officially opened in 1848, and became home to several Army headquarters and units. During its long history, the Presidio was involved in most of America's military engagements in the Pacific. It was the center for defense of the Western U.S. during World War II. The infamous order to inter Japanese-Americans, including citizens, during World War II was signed at the Presidio. Until its closure in 1995, the Presidio was the longest continuously operated military base in the United States.

51st Iowa football team at the Presidio, 1898


Brig. Gen. Arthur C. MacArthur, Jr., at the Presidio, 1898

The lack of transport accommodation, which was corrected by sending vessels from the Atlantic coast of the United States, coupled with the imperative necessity for dispatching troops immediately to the Philippines, resulted in the movement of the 8th Army Corps by 7 installments, extending over a period from May to October.


Source:  Henry B. Russell, An Illustrated History of Our War With Spain and Our War with the Filipinos. Hartford, CT, The Hartford Publishing Co., 1899.

Only 3 of these expeditions  [470 officers and 10,464 men] reached Manila in time to take part in the assault and capture of that city on August 13.

They were:

First Expedition, 115 officers and 2,386 men, commanded by Brig. Gen. Thomas M. Anderson:

1st California Volunteer Infantry Regiment; 2nd Oregon Volunteer Infantry Regiment; 14th United States Infantry Regiment (5 companies); California Volunteer Artillery (detachment).

Steamships: City of Sidney, Australia, and City of Peking [RIGHT, Harper's Weekly, June 11, 1898 issue].

Sailed May 25, arrived Manila June 30.

Second Expedition158 officers and 3,428 men, commanded by Brig. Gen. Felix V. Greene:

1st Colorado Volunteer Infantry Regiment; 1st Nebraska Volunteer Infantry Regiment; 10th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment; 18th United States Infantry Regiment (4 companies); 23rd United States Infantry Regiment (4 companies); Utah Volunteer Artillery (2 batteries); United States Engineers (detachment).

Steamships: China, Colon, Senator, and Zealandia.

Sailed June 15, arrived Manila July 17.

Men of Company D, 1st Idaho Volunteers, who sailed with the Third Expedition to the Philippines in June 1898. Photo was taken in May 1898. 

Third Expedition197 officers, 4,650 men, commanded by Brig. Gen. Arthur C. MacArthur, Jr., Maj. Gen. Wesley Merritt accompanying:

18th United States Infantry Regiment (4 companies); 23rd United States Infantry Regiment (4 companies); 3rd United States Artillery acting as Infantry (4 batteries);  United States Engineers Battalion (1 company); 1st Idaho Volunteer Infantry Regiment; 1st Wyoming Volunteer Infantry Regiment; 13th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment; 1st North Dakota Volunteer Infantry Regiment; Astor Volunteer Artillery; Hospital and Signal Corps (detachments).

Steamships: Morgan City, City of Para, Indiana, Ohio, Valencia, and Newport.

Sailed June 27 and 29, arrived Manila July 25 and 31. 

Camp Merritt looking south from the Presidio, 1898.

Farewells at Camp Merritt, just outside the Presidio, San Francisco. The camp was established on May 29, 1898 but abandoned on August 27 of the same year due to problems with disease, mostly measles and typhoid. The remaining troops bound for the Philippines were moved to Camps Merriam and Miller a bit north at the Presidio.

Company F, 1st Colorado Volunteer Infantry Regiment, at Camp Merritt, 1898

Dinner at the San Francisco armory to 1st California Volunteers, May 1898.

Issue dated May 29, 1898

1st California Volunteers ready to leave for Manila, May 1898

1st Nebraska Volunteers from Nebraska State University, 1898

The Lombard Gate of the Presidio, built in 1896, where most US troops en route to the Philippines passed through to meet awaiting ships.

The troops marched down Lombard Street to Van Ness, then to Market Street to the docks.

The Lombard Gate, the main entrance to the Presidio, as it looks in contemporary times.


Original caption: "Soldiers and their Sweethearts, on the Eve of Departure for Manila." Photo taken in 1898 in San Francisco.

1st California Volunteers boarding the City of Peking, San Francisco Bay, May 25, 1898



City of Peking leaving San Francisco Bay with the 1st California Volunteer Infantry Regiment aboard, First Expedition, May 25, 1898


The First Expedition stopped over at Honolulu, Hawaii, on June 1-4. Photo shows Brig. Gen. Thomas M. Anderson visiting the USS Charleston at Honolulu Bay. The cruiser convoyed the expedition to Manila.

USS Charleston, at Hong Kong Harbor, 1898. The protected cruiser convoyed the First Expedition from Hawaii to Manila, June 4-30, 1898. In 1899, during the Philippine-American War, she bombarded Filipino positions to aid Army forces advancing ashore, and took part in the capture of Subic Bay in September 1899. Charleston grounded and was wrecked beyond salvage near Camiguin Island north of Luzon on Nov. 2, 1899.

The USS Monterey is seen off Mare Island Naval Yard, Vallejo, California, 23 miles (37 km) northeast of San Francisco. The monitor sailed for Manila Bay on June 11 and arrived there on August 13. Photo was taken in June 1898.

1st Nebraska Volunteers embarking for Manila with the Second Expedition, June 15, 1898

10th Pennsylvania Volunteers bound for Manila, June 15, 1898

The Second Expedition leaves San Francisco for the Philippines, June 15, 1898.

The transport China leaving for Manila as part of the Second Expedition. On board were the 18th US Infantry Regiment (Companies A and G); 1st Colorado Volunteer Infantry Regiment; Utah Volunteer Light Artillery (Battery B, Sections 3,4,5); and US Volunteer Engineers (Company A), June 15,1898.

USS Monadnock enroute to Manila from San Francisco Bay, June 23 - Aug. 16, 1898

USS Valencia leaving San Francisco with the Third Expedition aboard, June 27, 1898. The transport carried the 1st North Dakota Volunteer Infantry Regiment; 1st Washington Volunteer Infantry Regiment (Companies F, G, I, and L); and the California Heavy Artillery (Batteries A and D).

The USS Indiana leaving San Francisco for the Philippines, Third Expedition, June 27, 1898. On board were the 18th US Infantry Regiment (Companies D and H); 23rd US Infantry Regiment (Companies B, C, G, and L); US Engineers Battalion (Company A); and 1st North Dakota Volunteer Infantry Regiment (Company H).