Landings at Siboney
Siboney is one of three sites east of Santiago where American expeditionary forces landed in Cuba. Most of the coast is formed by a low rocky cliff. Landing sites were selected because they offered sandy beaches. The invasion began with a landing of some 650 Marines on the eastern side of Guantanamo Bay on June 10, 1898. The major incursion of U.S. forces began on June 22, 1898 with a brief naval bombardment and amphibious landing at Daiquiri.
The beach at Siboney was some 7 miles closer to Santiago than Daiquiri was. It was directly connected to a road that led to Santiago. And it offered both a broader beach and a somewhat more sheltered section of coast than Daiquiri so disembarkation was moved there after June 23, 1898. Cuban insurgent (or revolutionary) forces controlled this portion of Oriente Province and supported the landings in both places.
Landing Gen. William Shafter’s main force took several days and Siboney remained the major landing point for American forces and supplies until Santiago was surrendered. Landings were made by small boat from anchored ships to the sandy beach. Historic photographs indicate that the area behind the beach served as staging from which military stores were dispatched up the narrow road that American troops followed toward Santiago. A substantial tent community was established on the terraces that overlooked the beach from the west. Siboney’s most obvious material remnant of 1898 is a well-preserved monument on a jetty at the western edge of the sandy landing area. This monument contains a brass plaque that lists the commanding officers of units and detachments that landed between June 24 and July 17.
Once ashore, Gen. William Shafter made his major assault against Santiago on an inland course. He sent his main force up a wagon track that led to the eastern side of the city. On June 24, U.S. forces, led by the dismounted cavalry division, met Spanish troops dug in and behind barbed wire barricades at the Village of Las Guásimas. After a brief but sharp skirmish, the Spanish fell back and the American advance toward Santiago continued. Today a single monument stands in the village commemorating the cavalry action at Las Guásimas.