Near the start of the Spanish American War in July 1898 the Americans occupied about a thousand yards of entrenchment south of Manila. By July 31, this line was extended to only 300 yards from the enemy line and the 10th Pennsylvania moved into the advanced position. The regiment's commander, Colonel Alexander L. Hawkins, fell ill and Major H.C. Culbertson assumed temporary command. Around eleven that evening the sky opened and a torrential rain began to fall.
Several minutes later, the Spanish line erupted in rifle fire. Although it was pitch black and pouring, the 10th Pennsylvania swiftly returned fire. Colonel Hawkins heard the explosion of battle and pulled himself out of his sick bed to join his embattled regiment. After shooting blindly for roughly four hours, the firing began to diminish. The 10th expended an incredible amount of ammunition counting 36,000 round fired. During the battle, six were killed and twenty-nine were wounded on the American side. Spanish casualties amounted to an estimated 250 men.