Preparations for the Spanish-American War

Preparations for the Spanish-American War

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The U.S. Army in 1898 was small, about 25,000 soldiers, and scattered throughout the country. Many commanders of the local forces were political appointees of dubious military value.Large numbers of black soldiers volunteered for service in the war. At the staging area in Tampa, Florida, tensions rose because of racial slights inflicted by white soldiers and residents.Recruitment goals were reached quickly, but the government lacked sufficient rifles and ammunition. The soldiers' health was imperiled by the issuance of spoiled canned beef on the ships bound for Cuba. Medical services there were stretched to the limit and malaria, dysentery and typhoid would take a far heavier toll than Spanish bullets.

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