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Spanish Order of Battle in Puerto Rico, 1898

Courtesy of Ramiro Cruz <>

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General: Below is the Spanish order of battle in Puerto Rico during the Spanish American War.


REGULAR ARMY UNITS - about 8,000 men, as follows:

1st Provisional San Juan Infantry Battallion - 800 men.
2nd Provisional San Juan Infantry Battallion - 800 men.
3rd Provisional San Juan Infantry Battallion - 800 men.
4th Provisional San Juan Infantry Battallion - 800 men.
Cazadores de la Patria ("Hunters of the Fatherland") Infantry Battallion - 800 men.
Alfonso XIII Infantry Battallion - 800 men.
Principado de Asturias ("Principality of Asturias") Infantry Battallion - 600 men.
12th Battalion of Fortified Town Artillery - 700 men (static defensive unit).
14th Civil Guard Tercio (regiment) - (a rural constabulary).
One company of telegraphic engineers.
One section of military hygienists.
Public Order Corps (an urban constabulary).

MILITIA UNITS - about 10,000 men, as follows:
Institute of Volunteers - 6,000 men (14 battalions of part-time soldiers).
Tiradores de Puerto Rico ("Puerto Rico Sharpshooters") Battallion (government
A company, in each town, of guerrillas armed with machetes.

Coastal Artillery (all in the San Juan forts).
25 guns of 15-cm (5.9-in).)
10 howitzers of 24-cm (9.4-in).
6 howitzers of 21-cm (8.3-in).
2 bronze muzzle loaders, 32-pounders (18th century pieces).
5 guns of 12-cm (4.7-in) - received in June, 1898.
4 mortars of 15-cm (5.9-in) - received in June, 1898.
2 howitzers of 15-cm (5.9-in) - received in June, 1898.

Field Artillery (concentrated in San Juan, sent out as needed).
4 guns of 9-cm (3.5-in).
8 guns of 4.5-cm (1.8-in).
8 guns of 8-cm (3.1-in).

Naval Forces

TERROR, destroyer, a type known then as torpedo boat destroyer. Displacement: 380 tons.  Speed: 28 knots.  Weapons: two 57-mm (2.2-in) guns and two 14-in (350-mm) torpedo tubes. Arrived in Puerto Rico on May 17, 1898.  Two 75-mm (3-in) guns had been removed before crossing the Atlantic with Rear Admiral Cervera, and were not replaced until after the war.

ISABEL II, unarmored cruiser.  Displacement: 1,190 tons. Speed: 14 knots.  Weapons: four 12-cm (4.7-in) and two 70mm (2.8-in) guns, and two torpedo tubes.

GENERAL CONCHA, classified by the Spaniards as an unarmoredcruiser, but really a large gunboat.  Displacement: 540 tons. Speed: 11 knots.  Weapons: three 12-cm (4.7-in) and two 25-mm (1-in) guns, and one torpedo tube.

PONCE DE LEON, gunboat.  Displacement: 200 tons.  Speed: 12 knots.  Weapons: two 57-mm (2.2-in) and two 37-mm (1.5-in) guns.

ALFONSO XIII, auxiliary cruiser.  Displacement: 5,120 tons. Speed: 17 knots. Weapons: six 12-cm (4.7-in) and two 57-mm (2.2-in) guns.  This ship arrived in San Juan with supplies on May 4, 1898, and was assigned to that station.  On June10, 1898, she secretly sailed back to Spain.

CRIOLLO (*Creole*), gunboat.  Displacement: 201 tons.  Speed: 6 knots.  Weapons: two 57-mm (2.2-in).  Built in 1869.


Alfredo Aguilera, Buques de Guerra Espanoles, 1885-1971, San Martin, Madrid, 1972.

Angel Rivero, Crónica de la Guerra Hispanoamericana en Puerto Rico, Editorial Edil,
Inc., Rio Piedras, P.R., 1972.

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