Images from Spanish American War Story Board



The second half of the 19th Century saw a decline and subsequent reemergence of the U.S. Navy. The renewed power of the Navy was clearly illustrated during the Spanish-American War. War with Spain was declared by the U.S. Congress on April 25th 1898, precipitated in part by the public outcry following the sinking of the USS MAINE in Havana Harbor on 15 February 1898. The following is a selection of small, mostly 6x4 inch watercolor images, created as part of a storyboard for a U.S. Navy training film (Creative Arts Studio Inc. – FN 6943g). The working title of the film was, Naval Decline, The New Navy and the War with Spain 1865 – 1898.

These images illustrate the decline of the Navy following the American Civil War, its subsequent build-up in the late 19th Century, and the Navy’s role in the Spanish American War. You will notice on some images there are panning instructions in the form of lines and arrows. Over the years, as the glue dried, the painting detached from the boards. An attempt has been made to reestablish the original order. Where possible the text from the storyboard associated with a particular image is included. Photographs of many of the final paintings can be found in the collection of NHHC’s Photographic Section. These wonderful works of art bring key events in the Spanish America War to life, and give us insight into earlier interpretations of the Navy's past.

sunset image of Monitors laid-up after the Civil War.

The size of the Navy declined sharply after the Civil War.



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