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Bugle from the Wreck of the Maine

The blast that swept the nation into war
This bugle was recovered from the wreck of the United States battleship Maine, which blew up in Havana harbor, Cuba, on February 15, 1898, killing more than 250 American sailors. Although most likely an accidental explosion, the sensational "yellow press" reported it as an enemy attack in order to stir enthusiasm for war. Two months later--rallied by the cry "Remember the 'Maine!'"--Congress declared war with Spain. The Smithsonian was not immune from the war fever that swept the country. It collected many artifacts from the Spanish-American War, and even sent agents to Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Philippines to "secure for the Museum such relics and mementos of the campaign as would be of interest to the people." This bugle was salvaged by the U.S. Navy in 1911 and given to the Museum in 1920.

Web display only

Learn more!
· U.S.S. Maine
· "Remember The Maine" by Tom Miller, "Smithsonian" magazine, February 1998
· "The World of 1898: The Spanish-American War," a Library of Congress Virtual Exhibition

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