The capture of Guam was a bloodless event between the United States and the Kingdom of Spain during the Spanish-American War. Guam had been under Spanish control since 1668. The last message the Spanish authorities on Guam had received from Spain was dated April 14, 1898, a month before war was declared. Henry Glass, captain of the cruiser USS Charleston, was en route to Manila when he opened sealed orders notifying him to proceed to Guam and capture it.
Glass drilled his untested crew during the voyage to the island. On June 20, Glass arrived off the shore of Guam. He noticed a Japanese ship anchored in the harbor. Charleston fired upon the island from three of its cannon. The barrage apparently did no harm, since a ship flying the Spanish flag soon appeared, and the Spanish officer climbed aboard Charleston and asked to borrow some powder from the Americans to return their salute. Glass informed the officer that war had been declared between the two nations and that the officer was a prisoner of war. He then paroled the officer and sent him back to the island with the message to surrender the island.
Spanish Governor Juan Marina responded to Glass saying that Spanish law forbade him to board an American vessel. Glass notified him that an officer would be sent to the island the next day to discuss the surrender terms. The next morning, the navigator of Charleston went ashore with a message from Glass regarding the island's surrender. In the meantime, landing parties were formed and also began to row ashore. Because the Spanish had no adequate defenses (the only cannon the American force could later locate were four almost antique guns deemed unsafe even for ceremonial purposes) and were without powder for their cannon, Governor Marina surrendered, despite his protests of being attacked without any knowledge of the declaration of war.
The same day, the Spanish garrison and Governor Marina marched out and boarded the Charleston. Glass went ashore and raised an American flag over the fortifications. His orders included destroying the island's forts, but Glass decided that they were in such disrepair that he left them as they were.
[Image: Halftone photograph of Charleston at the entrance to the harbor of Agana, Guam, 20-21 June 1898, when she captured the island from the Spanish.]