The Spanish-American War (April 21 – August 13, 1898) and Philippine–American War (February 4, 1899 – July 2, 1902) and the First World War were international conflicts that gave troops stationed at Madison Barracks in Sackets Harbor exposure to very different cultures while deployed to Cuba and the Philippines.
On Saturday August 19th the Sackets Harbor Battlefield historic site visiting re-enactors will link the story of the Spanish-American War, Philippine–American War and the First World War to the community on Saturday August 19, 2023. Visitors can about local soldiers whose lives were impacted by their service abroad.
Tangible reminders of that service are the Madison Barracks stone water tower plaque and the embossed name “Balangiga” on the concrete pedestal nearby. Balangiga refers to the Balangiga an incident during the latter stages of the Philippine–American War in which the residents of the town of Balangiga on the island of Samar conducted a surprise attack on an occupying unit of the U.S. 9th Infantry from Sackets Harbor, killing 54.
Some Filipino historians have asserted that the term Balangiga Massacre more appropriately refers to the March across Samar, a subsequent action on the island that resulted in an estimated 2,000 Filipino civilians killed and over 200 homes burned, which they see as retaliation by American soldiers.
In 1917, as the United State became involved in World War I, Sackets Harbor’s Madison Barracks army post hosted an officer’s training camp where at least 2,500 troops needed temporary housing. As the war ended, Madison Barracks became “General Hospital #37” receiving many wounded in mind and body.
After the war some very different residents resided there, including European “war brides.” At that time, the Sackets Harbor navy yard headquartered a NY Naval Militia summer training.
This event will be held at the Navy Yard lawn at the terminus of West Main Street from 10 am to 3 pm.
Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site is located at 112 Hill Street, in Sackets Harbor, NY, on Lake Ontario in Jefferson County, NY. For more information call (315) 646-3634.
Photo: Sackets Harbor postcard showing Madison Barracks (provided) and members of Company C, 9th US Infantry Regiment posing with Mayor Valeriano Abanador and another town official in Balangiga shortly before the attack there.