Perhaps the most interesting and widely researched medal of the Spanish
American War is the USN WEST INDIES NAVAL CAMPAIGN MEDAL (not to be confused
with the USN West Indies Campaign Medal), more widely known by collectors
as THE SAMPSON MEDAL. The obverse depicts a bust of Admiral Sampson.
This medal was given in three distinct phase types and individualized by
the seperate top bars for each ship, engagement clasps for the battles,
authorization dates on the reverse, and recipients name and rank on the
rim. The medal shown here is the pattern awarded to members of Colonel
Huntington's USMC Battalion for service ashore during the Spanish American
War. The medal has a distinctive 'blank' bar above the broach as
these Marines were not part of a ships' detachment and the example shown
here has a top bar reading MANZANELLA for service in that battle.
The rim is impressed to HARRY F. TRUESDALE. PRVT. Note that this
variation of the medal is refered to as a "chain link" medal as the battle
clasp is above the actual medal, most "Sampsons" were produced in either
Phase I (without any engagement bars) or in Phase II and III (with the
bars attached to the ribbons). The Sampson medal is far more common
than the "Dewey Medal."