Fourth U.S. Cavalry in the Spanish American War

By Patrick McSherry


Elements of the Fourth U.S. Cavalry were sent to the Philippines during the Spanish American War. Arriving too late to take part in the actions of that war, the unit soon found itself involved in the Philippine-American War.


The outbreak of the Spanish American War found the Fourth U.S. Cavalry serving in the U.S. West, guarding the frontier. As the Spanish American War dragged on into the summer, and it became obvious that a sizeable force of troops would possibly be needed to take Manila, portions of the 4th U.S. Cavalry were ordered to the Philippines. Of the 4th Cavalry, Troops C, E, G, I,K and L were sent to the Philippines.  Troops D and H remained at Fort Yellowstone, Wyoming, while the Headquarters staff and Troops B and M remained stationed at the Presidio, in San Francisco, California.

The portions of the unit sent to the Philippines became part of the Fourth Philippine Expedition, which was under the command of General E. S. Otis. They were accompanied by two batteries of the 6th U.S. Artillery, five companies of the 14th U.S. Infantry and several detachments of recruits. All told, the expedition consisted of 42 officers and 1,640 men. The expedition shipped out on the transports PERU and CITY OF PUEBLO.

General Otis

General Otis

The expedition left San Francisco on July 15 1898, and arrived in the Philippines on August 21, 1898. The fighting against the Spanish had effectively ended about a week before their arrival. On August 13, Manila had fallen, while simultaneously halfway around the world, an armistice with Spain was reached. News of the armistice did not reached the Philippines in time for the Spanish to retain Manila, which actually fell after the armistice was declared. From the fall of Manila until the end of the war, an uneasy peace between the Spanish, Americans and Philippine forces remained in effect, and the 4th saw no fighting.

The Spanish American War ended with the signing of the Peace Protocols on December 10, 1898. In February, 1899, the Philippine-American War broke out, and the Fourth U.S. Cavalry took part in that war.


(As a service to our readers, clicking on title in red will take you to that book on

Clerk of Joint Committee on Printing, The Abridgement of Message from the President of the United States to the Two Houses of Congress. (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1899.) Vol 3, 486-488, 500.

Cohen, Stan. Images of Spanish American War, April-August,1998.  (Missoula:Pictorial Histories Publishing Co., Inc., 1997) 100 (image of Otis), 254.

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