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Gathering at the Golden Gate: Mobilizing for War in the Philippines, 1898

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[Technical Report, Research Report]

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Today, as the US military prepares units for conflicts abroad and deploys forces overseas, it is instructive to examine how the Army coped with similar challenges in the late 19th century. This study analyzes efforts during the Spanish-American War to mobilize expeditions in San Francisco for the Armys first major overseas deployment destination, the Philippines. Not since the Mexican War, fought a half-century earlier, had the American military attempted to prepare a large force to move to a foreign land. No prewar plans existed to provide a blueprint for this endeavor in 1898. To compound deployment challenges on the West Coast, the Army had already moved most of its Regular organizations and logistics support to Southern assembly areas oriented on objectives in the Caribbean. This study finds that to mobilize effectively, the Army depended on fundamentals then that are still prized to this day leadership, initiative, and resourcefulness. It also reveals the vital role that private volunteer organizations and the civilian community played in supporting the military forces assembling at the Golden Gate. Together the American Army and San Francisco community succeeded in sustaining and deploying expeditionary forces that fought the battle of Manila in August 1898.

Subject Categories:

  • Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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[A, Approved For Public Release]