The Spanish American War, which lasted from March to December in 1898, was a short war; but it was significant in bringing the United States into the world arena as a major power. The United States defeated the Spanish forces in naval and land battles in the Philippine Islands, in Cuba, and in Puerto Rico. In many ways, the war was a comedy of errors and a "lark" for Americans, who saw the war as a romantic adventure to save the native Filipinos and Cubans from the oppressive Spanish government and to defend the honor of the United States.
Like other states, Utah became involved in the war when the federal government called for 125,000 volunteers to augment the small regular army of the United States. Utah's original quota of volunteers was 425, but by the end of the conflict Utah had sent 800 troops. Most Utahns served in units organized within the state which were formerly National Guard units; but because of a technicality in the law, the National Guardsmen were prohibited from serving outside the boundaries of the United States. The states got around this technicality by having the guardsmen resign and then reenlist as members of federal units.