The regiment served in Cuba during the Spanish American War and took part in the battle of El Caney.
The 2nd massachusetts Volunteer Infantry was mustered into federal service between May 8 and 10, 1898 at Framingham, Massachusetts. At the time of mustering in, the regiment consisted of forty-seven officers and 896 enlisted men.
The regiment became part of the Fifth Army Corps, under the command of General William Shafter, forming part of the First Brigade of the Second Division. On June 14, the regiment steamed for Cuba as part of the invasion force on board the army transport SENECA. The regiment arrived in eight days later.
At the battle of El Caney, the First Brigade was sent to occupy the road leading westward from El Caney. On June 30, late in the day, the brigade, with the 2nd Massachusetts, moved out for their position. Arriving, the men bedded down along the road for the night. At 4:00 A.M on July 1., they were awakened and advanced on El Caney. Once the brigade was within one thousand to twelve hundred yards of the town, it began receiving mauser rifle fire. The brigade deployed with the 2nd Massachusetts occupying the right of the brigade's line. The 2nd Massachusetts was hampered in that it was still equipped with Springfield rifles which used black powder. This placed the men of the unit at a disadvantage since the smoke of the black pwoder would give away their position, and also obscured their view of the enemy. The shorter range of the weapon was also a handicap.
The battle for El Caney was fierce. Originally expected to be a brief skirmish, the battle lasted most of the day. It had been intended that, once El Caney had been neutralized, the men involved would advance to the San Juan Heights and join in the assault at that location, which was also ongoing. Unfortunately, by the time the town fell, there was no time to join in at San Juan Heights. When the town eventually fell, the 2nd Massachusetts found it had lost First Lieutenant Charles Field, killed, with Captain W. T. Warner, Second lieutenant D. J. Moynhan and Oscar D. Hapgood being wounded.
Santiago soon surrendered, and on August 12, 1898, the United States and Spain formally agreed on an armistice, ending the fighting portion of the war. The 2nd Massahusetts was soon boarding a steamer headed back to the United States. The unit arrived at Camp Wikoff on Long Island, New York on August 20.
The regiment was mustered out of service on November 3,1898 at Springfield, Massachusetts. At the time of mustering out, the regiment consised of forty-four officers and 896 enlisted men. During its term of service, the regiment one officer and four enlisted men killed in action. Four more enlisted men would die of wounds received in action. In addition one officer and eighty-six enlisted men succumbed to disease.
The war ended on December 10, 1898 with the signing of the Treaty of Paris.
1 Source: National Park
Service, Soldiers and Sailors System; "A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion" by Frederick H. Dyer,Cosmas; An Army for Empire : The United States Army in the Spanish American War by A. Graham, (Shippensburg, PA: White Mane Publishing Co., 1993).