Thursday, January 17, 2019

American troops raising the Stars and Stripes over Fort San Antonio AbadMalate, Manila

After the 1898 war with Spain, the U.S. acquired various territories directly, including Cuba and Puerto Rico. Spain was unwilling to cede the Philippines, however, which had not been occupied by U.S. forces until after the armistice. Even then, U.S. forces only occupied Manila and its environs. Spain gave in to the offer of $20 million, however, and the islands became an American colony along with the Caribbean areas as a result of theTreaty of Paris. Cuba was denied independence until 1946. Unwilling to be subjugated by new masters, the Philippinesdeclared independence.

The Philippine-American War which followed lasted from 1899 to July 1902, but sporadic guerrilla warfare and rebellions for several more years, a phase called the "Philippine Insurrection." 4,000 American servicemen and at least five times as many Filipinos died in that conflict – far, far more than the several hundred Americans who died in the Spanish-American War. This war has almost totally disappeared from American historical memory, but reminders can still be seen, for example on the Marine Corps Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Mark Twain initially supported both wars. He was living in Europe at the time and was more familiar with Boer War being fought by Britain and the Boxer rebellion being fought between China and a colonial coalition (including the United States). He believed the U.S. was, unlike the European powers in their colonies, fighting to liberate colonies from Spain. The rhetoric supported his opinion. McKinley had called annexation of foreign land "criminal aggression" and congress had passed resolution promising Cuban independence after the war.
In June of 1898 Mark Twain wrote in a letter: "I have never enjoyed a war – even in written history – as I am enjoying this one…It is a worthy thing to fight for one's freedom; it is another sight finer to fight for another man's. And I think this is the first time it has been done."
But his support for the war turned to opposition after reading theTreaty of Paris which ended the U.S. war with Spain. U.S. control of new colonies, the payment of $20 million, and the treaty's specific protection for Spanish landholders in Cuba were all factors which turned him against U.S. policy. He returned to the U.S. in October, 1900. Embarking in Europe, he told a reporter, using words much like those of anti-war activists today, that the war was, "a mess, a quagmire from which each fresh step renders the difficulty of extraction immensely greater."
His opinion got a lot of press in the context of the 1900 presidential campaign which revolved to some degree around the issue of imperialism. He advocated putting a miniature U.S. constitution in the Pacific, but "we have gone there to conquer, not to redeem." "And so I am an anti-imperialist." He soon joined the Anti-Imperialist League, which had been formed in 1898. With that organization, he went on to support the Russian Revolution (1905) and opposed Belgian control of Congo. He wrote and spoke on its behalf, but was not involved in the day to day work of the league, even after becoming the organization's vice president in 1901. He died in 1910.
His 1901 essay To the Person Sitting in Darkness was not an anti-American polemic, but a broad critique of western colonial imperialism. In it, he satirizes the colonial powers' claims to be bringing "civilization" to the "dark" corners of the globe. This and his other writings clearly show his disgust with American colonial-imperial policy and with atrocities committed during the insurrection. He mocked the American general Leonard Wood (who has a base named after him in Missouri) and praised the Filipino leader Aguinaldo.
It was in this sarcastic essay that he wrote, "And as for the flag for the Philippine Province, it is easily arranged. We can have a special one - our States do it: we can have just our usual flag, with the white stripes painted black and the stars replaced by the skull and cross-bones".
He had a clearer idea of the conflict than anti-imperialists of today do. He could openly and freely support Aguinaldo, while today's "progressives" are caught between a blundering, deadly and counter productive American foreign policy which they oppose on the one hand, and, in the Middle East, often an unsavory band of murderous criminals, terrorists, and ethnic nationalists which they cannot support on the other.
Americans capture Malolos, March 30-31, 1899

Malolos: A portion of the US firing line; Filipinos are among the trees in front

March 30, 1899: The American photographer's caption: "A battle is in progress at this point, but a white flag is seen approaching from the position of the native army, and the order to cease firing is given, while the men anxiously await the result." Photo depicts men of the 20th Kansas Volunteer Infantry Regiment near Malolos

On March 30, the Americans reached the outskirts of Malolos. At the sight of a white signal of surrender, the Americans broke into cheers but the bearers suddenly broke and ran back into the town. An instant pursuit was begun and the US troops were received with heavy volleys. The Americans camped all night outside Malolos. The battle opened at daybreak.

Americans advancing on Malolos

1st Nebraskans under fire near Malolos, March 31, 1899.

1st Nebraskans on the firing line near Malolos, March 31, 1899.

March 31, 1899: 20th Kansas Volunteers cautiously entering Malolos. Colonel (later General) Frederick Funston, Kansas Volunteers: "The boys go for the enemy as if they were chasing jackrabbits........I, for one, hope that Uncle Sam will apply the chastening rod, good, hard, and plenty, and lay it on until they come into the reservation and promise to be good 'Injuns'."

At the end of the main street of the town, they were met by a barricade of stones from which a hot fire was poured by a few Filipino soldiers. Col. Frederick Funston leaped from his horse and swinging his hat, led the 20th Kansas Volunteers over the barricade and down the streets with terrific yells, firing as they ran.

The Associated Press cabled: "Colonel Funston, always at the front, was the first man in Malolos, followed by a group of dashing Kansans." But the town was deserted.

President Emilio Aguinaldo had moved his government 30 miles (50 km) farther to San Isidro, Nueva Ecija Province.

American losses were 8 killed and 105 wounded. Filipino casualties were unknown.

Filipino soldiers at Malolos

Original caption: "The desperate character of the insurgents is shown in this wanton destruction of Malolos church. It was fired by them as they fled before the Americans just entering the town. It was done partly in revenge against the religious orders." Malolos Cathedral, also known as the Basilica Menor dela Nuestra Señora de Immaculada Concepcion, was used by Aguinaldo as the Presidential Palace and seat of power of the First Philippine Republic. His soldiers left delayed-fused explosives which detonated and set the building on fire.

Malolos Cathedral today

Original caption: "The Insurgent House of Congress on Fire, Malolos, P.I."

Malolos: The church and smoking ruins of Aguinaldo's headquarters

President Emilio Aguinaldo's ruined headquarters

Original caption: "Distribution of troops in various portions of the town for preservation of lives and property of loyal natives, and to fortify against attacks of insurgents, as well as to insure the general safety." Malolos, March 31, 1899.

Original caption: "Public square in Malolos after troops entered city, March 31, 1899"

US soldiers at Malolos public square

US soldiers inspect the Casa Tribunal de Malolos, the jail where 5 Americans and several Spanish friars were kept as prisoners by the Filipinos

The Casa Tribunal de Malolos in 2010. Photo by Marcjeff03.

U.S. troops resting near the public square at Malolos. Photo was taken on March 31, 1899. Source: Jonathan Best Collection.

US troops at Malolos, March 31, 1899.

An American soldier inspects a captured Filipino improvised iron pipe cannon.

"The present war is no bloodless, fake, opera bouffé engagement. Our men have been relentless; have killed to exterminate men, women, children, prisoners and captives, active insurgents and suspected people, from lads of ten and up, an idea prevailing that the Filipino, as such, was little better than a dog, a noisome reptile in some instances, whose best disposition was the rubbish heap. Our soldiers have pumped salt water into men to "make them talk," have taken prisoner people who held up their hands and peacefully surrendered, and an hour later, without an atom of evidence to show that they were even insurrectos, stood them on a bridge and shot them down one by one, to drop into the water below and float down as an example to those who found their bullet riddled corpses. It is not civilized warfare, but we are not dealing with a civilized people. The only thing they know and fear is force, violence, and brutality, and we give it to them."

Filipino improvised cannon captured at Malolos

Battery B of the Utah Volunteer Light Artillery at Malolos

22nd U.S. Infantry on review at Malolos, March 31, 1899

Original caption: "Chinese flags are everywhere flying for the protection of lives and property of Chinese residents and merchants. These flags were always respected as covering neutrals and non-combatants." PHOTO was taken at Malolos, March 31, 1899.

Malolos: Chinese men smoking cigarettes. Photo taken shortly after the Americans had captured the town..

The American photographer's caption: "Wretched inhabitants and principal Street of Aguinaldo's abandoned Capital, Manolos, Philippines. Photographer: Underwood & Underwood Publisher: New York. Date of Publication: c1899."

Original caption: " The last word that he uttered was 'Mother,' an affecting scene after the Battle of Malolos, P.I."

General Loyd Wheaton on horseback at Malolos.

Original caption: "The proclamation of General Luna is posted upon the wall near the door. The officers are Generals Otis, McArthur and Hale. Photograph was taken within half hour following evacuation of insurgents." PHOTO was taken at Barrio Barasoain, Malolos, March 31, 1899.

Original caption: "Congressional hall and executive building occupied by Aguinaldo and his aids. Here Aguinaldo took the oath of office. After the Filipinos were driven away, Gen. McArthur made it his headquarters. Photograph taken on first day of occupation." Malolos, March 31, 1899.

Original caption: "Burying Filipinos after the battle of Malolos, P.I."

Wounded members of the 20th Kansas Regimental band grieve at the grave of a fellow bandsman killed on March 29, 1899.
April 4, 1899: Official Proclamation of American intentions by the U.S. First Philippine Commission

The First Philippine Commission, Left to Right: Jacob Gould Schurman, Admiral George Dewey, Charles Denby and Dean C. Worcester. The fifth member was Maj. Gen. Elwell Otis (absent from the photo). Both Dewey and Otis regarded the body as useless and seldom attended meetings.

On Jan. 20, 1899, Pres. William McKinley appointed the First Philippine Commission (the Schurman Commission) to investigate conditions in the Philippines and make recommendations. The Commission was presided over by Jacob Gould Schurman, president of Cornell University and a professor of Christian ethics and moral philosophy.

Members of the First Philippine Commission in complete attendance. LEFT to RIGHT: Dean C. Worcester, Charles Denby, Jacob Gould Schurman, John MacArthur (secretary), Admiral George Dewey, and Maj. Gen. Elwell Otis.

The members of the Commission were Dean C. Worcester (Professor at University of Michigan), Charles Denby (Ambassador to China), Admiral George Dewey (Head of the American Asiatic Squadron), and Maj. Gen. Elwell Otis (Military Governor of the Philippines).

It arrived in Manila on March 4, 1899, a month after the outbreak of the Filipino-American War.

The Schurman Commission interviewed Filipino landlords, money-lenders, and businessmen in Manila without trying to learn the views of the Filipinos who were resisting the Americans.

The Commission deemed that the Americans' victory at Malolos on March 31, 1899 was more or less decisive; the time was opportune to issue a proclamation to the Filipino people. It would explain the true objectives of the United States in acquiring the Philippines.

On April 4, 1899, the proclamation was posted in the streets of Manila, printed in English, Spanish and Tagalog. It was also distributed in the outlying towns as far as Malolos.

The proclamation read in part:

"The commission desires to assure the people of the Philippine islands of the cordial good will and fraternal feeling which is entertained for them by the President of the United States and by the American people. The aim and object of the American the well-being, prosperity, and happiness of the Philippine people and their elevation and advancement to a position among the most civilized peoples of the world...this felicity and to be brought about by the assurance of peace and order...guarantee of civil and religious liberty...establishment of justice...cultivation of letters, science and the liberal and practical arts...development...with the aid of modern mechanical inventions, of the great natural resources of the archipelago...Unfortunately these pure aims and purposes of the American government and people have been misinterpreted to some of the a consequence the friendly American forces have without provocation or cause been openly attacked...the supremacy of the United States must and will be enforced...those who resist it can accomplish no end other than their own ruin."

On April 29, 1899 Apolinario Mabini, the head of President Emilio Aguinaldo's cabinet, sent a message to the Commission asking for a three-month cease-fire in order to learn Filipino public opinion, but the Americans rejected his offer.

April 9-12, 1899: Lawton's Lake Laguna de Bay Expedition

Maj. Gen. Henry W. Lawton in field uniform in the Philippines, 1899. The white helmet was worn by General Lawton in all of his Cuban and Philippine engagements.

After the capture of Malolos, the U.S. 2nd Division under Maj. Gen. Henry W. Lawton was sent by Maj. Gen. Elwell S. Otis to the south into Laguna province, via Lake Laguna de Bay, to take the Filipino stronghold located in Santa Cruz, 48 miles (80 km) from Manila. The Filipinos were commanded by Gen. Juan Cailles.

US troops boarding cascos on the Pasig River at San Pedro de Macati

On April 8, 1899, at 5:15 p.m., Lawton's division, numbering 1,509 men, boarded 8 launches, 17 cascos and 2 bancas on the Pasig River at San Pedro de Macati, east of Manila, and sailed towards Lake Laguna de Bay. ["Bay" is pronounced "BAH-EE"].

Original caption: "Gunboat Laguna de Bay ---At the outbreak of hostilities this government was prepared to dislodge the insurgents from their strongholds along the Pasig and lake regions with the fleet of 'tinclads,' of which the above was the most formidable. Carrying two three-inch guns forward, two nordenfeldts at the stern and four Gatlings above, she poured a deadly fire that quickly routed the enemy."

Cascos, with soldiers for General Henry W. Lawton's Laguna Campaign, being towed by the gunboat Laguna de Bay across Lake Laguna de Bay to Santa Cruz

On April 9 at 10:30 a.m., landing craft began offloading Lawton's troops south of Santa Cruz. Darkness fell before all the troops could be landed, and a minor skirmish broke out to the Americans' right.

Early on April 10, General Lawton went ashore and cut the telegraph line into Santa Cruz, thus severing the Filipinos' connection with Aguinaldo in the north. At the approach to a bridge just outside of the town, which was heavily guarded by the Filipinos, Lawton ordered a charge and a battalion of the 14th US Regular Infantry Regiment supported by 1st Idaho and 1st Washington volunteers routed the local force.

In the meantime, dismounted Troops C and L of the 4th U.S. Cavalry Regiment, which had not gone ashore the night before were landing under fire just north of the town. (Lawton served in the 4th Cavalry as a 1st Lieutenant and Captain from 1871 to 1888 and had commanded Troop B during the capture of the Indian chief Geronimo).

4th Cavalry men resting in a banana grove. Photo taken in 1899, location not specified.

The 4th Cavalry drove off the Filipinos on the beach with supporting fire from the gunboats Laguna de Bay, Oeste and Napindan. That same day Lawton took control of Santa Cruz.

The gunboat Napindan, 1899.

US soldiers look over dead and wounded Filipinos after Battle of Santa Cruz

Dead and wounded Filipinos after Battle of Santa Cruz

The Americans suffered 1 dead and 6 men wounded at Santa Cruz, the Filipinos 96 killed with 41 taken prisoner.

An American soldier poses for a photo atop a carabao (water buffalo), the Filipino farmer's beast of burden, circa 1899-1900, location not specified.

A private in the 14th US Regular Infantry was gored by a carabao (water buffalo) but he survived; he held the bull by the hindfoot and held him until the rest of his squad got together and shot the animal.

Pagsanjan Gate in 1904; it was built in 1878-1880 by Filipino polistas (forced laborers).


General Cailles (RIGHT) and his men withdrew to Pagsanjan. On April 11, at 6:00 a.m., General Lawton began the expedition to capture Pagsanjan. A battalion of sharpshooters was sent ahead of the command as an advance guard, and as they came within 1.5 miles (2.5 km) of the town, they were fired upon by a small force of Filipinos from hastily built breatsworks blocking the road.

An artillery piece was brought up and fired two rounds into the breastworks, which were soon abandoned by most of the Filipinos. Some Filipinos remained in the breatsworks after the bombardment and were driven out as well after the sharpshooters gave the breastworks another heavy volley. Pagsanjan was captured with no further resistance. The Americans suffered 5 wounded against 6-8 Filipinos killed.

Pagsanjan Gate in 2011. Photo by Gary Orona.

Spanish monument at Pagsanjan appropriated by the Filipinos to honor Emilio Aguinaldo. The obelisk, called Aguja de Cleopatra (Needle of Cleopatra), was dedicated to Queen Regent Maria Cristina who ruled Spain during the minority of her son, King Alfonso XIII.

An American writer reported:

"In the town plaza of Pagsanjan was an old Spanish monument from which the people had taken the original inscriptions and put in their own inscriptions; one of these was to 'E. Aguinaldo, el Libertador.' In this town there was an air of so much refinement and wealth that it seemed strange, that such intelligent folk should run off before a civilized army, as if it were the hosts of Timur."

The US soldiers butchered chicken and geese abandoned by the fleeing townsfolk.

(LEFT) Another view of the Needle of Cleopatra in 1899, originally located in the town plaza; in 1961, it was moved to its present location (RIGHT) near the bridge spanning Balanac River.[Modern photo courtesy of Pagsanjan councilor Erwin P. Sacluti, who said that the present obelisk did not show the inscriptions to Aguinaldo.]

General Lawton's Laguna expedition resting by the way. Photo taken in April 1899

General Lawton's Laguna expedition resting by the way. Photo taken in April 1899

The next day, April 12, 1899, the Americans launched another expedition to capture the town of Paete.

About 220 men began the march at 2:45 that afternoon. After about an hour, the Americans spotted Filipino breast works 150 yards in front of them, manned by 50 or so Filipino fighters. Major John Fraine, commander of the Ist North Dakota Volunteers, sent a small squad consisting of one corporal and four privates to flank the Filipino positions.

Some Filipinos hiding in thick foliage flanking the road fired at close range on the small force, killing four.

The sole survivor, Private Thomas Sletteland (LEFT), managed to drive back the nearest group of Filipinos, who repeatedly tried to seize the rifles of his fallen comrades.

He was later awarded the Medal of Honor.

Flanking and frontal infantry assaults, artillery fire and scathing gatling gun fire from the gunboat Laguna de Baysucceeded in dislodging the Filipinos from their entrenchments.

1st North Dakota Volunteers in camp at Paete, Laguna Province. Photo was taken on April 13, 1899.

Lawton's command suffered 5 killed in capturing Paete; 15 Filipinos were kiled and wounded. The Laguna Campaign was over and deemed a success. During the entire campaign, the Americans suffered 7 killed and 21 wounded. They reported a total of 125 Filipinos killed and 40 captured. Sixty Chinese, who asked to be taken from Santa Cruz, were brought to Manila.

1st North Dakota Volunteers quartered in the old church at Paete, Laguna Province. Photo was taken on April 13, 1899.

The San Francisco Call, April 14, 1899, Page 1

Lawton did not have enough men to occupy Santa Cruz permanently. General Otis called Lawton’s expedition back, fearing they might be cut off. Otis also wanted Lawton’s force back for a pending operation to the north by Maj. Gen. Arthur C. MacArthur, Jr.

4th Cavalry men landing at Manila after the Laguna expedition, April 17, 1899.

Paete: US soldiers and young Filipino fruit vendors. Photo was taken on March 24, 1901.
April 16, 1899: Emilio Jacinto dies in Majayjay, Laguna Province

Known as the "Brains of the Katipunan", Emilio Jacinto was born in Trozo, Tondo, Manila, on Dec 15,1875. He was the son of Mariano Jacinto and Josefa Dizon. He was fluent in both Spanish and Tagalog, but he spoke more in Spanish. He studied in the Universidad de Santo Tomas, but did not finish college and at 20 joined the Katipunan. Because he was very brilliant, he became the advisor on fiscal matters and secretary to Andres Bonifacio. He also edited and wrote for the Katipunan newspaper "Kalayaan"--Freedom in Tagalog. He wrote in the newspaper under the pen name Dimasilaw, and in theKatipunan he was called Pingkian. Emilio Jacinto was the author of theKartilya ng Katipunan. After Andres Bonifacio's death, he continued fighting the Spaniards.

Majayjay Church and the town center in 1899

He contracted malaria and died at age 23 on April 16, 1899 in Majayjay, Laguna province. Later on, his bones were transferred to the Manila North Cemetery.

Americans Advance To San Fernando, April 22-May 5, 1899

Soon after he captured Malolos on March 31, 1899 (ABOVE), Brig. Gen. Arthur C. MacArthur, Jr., was eager to proceed northward at once along the line of the railroad to Tarlac Province in pursuit of Aguinaldo, who, he felt sure, was making his retreat in that direction. In reply to his request to be allowed to do so, Maj. Gen. Elwell S. Otis said:

"Aguinaldo will never retreat in province of Tarlac. If forced strenuously he will retire along the edge of the province of Bulacan into Nueva Ecija, where Tagalos inhabit. This for political reasons... Was informed several days ago that insurgents would retire on Baliuag, which is the intersection of several important roads connecting with nearly all the Tagalog country north of Manila."

Indeed, President Emilio Aguinaldo moved his capital to San Isidro, Nueva Ecija Province, 65 miles (104 km) north of Manila.

Virginian-Pilot, Norfolk, Virginia, issue of May 6, 1899, Page 1

Believing that a combined movement which should result in the hemming in of the Filipinos would be more advisable than a pursuit, General Otis detained General MacArthur at Malolos, until communications between that town and Manila should be perfected, and until Maj. Gen. Henry W. Lawton could be sent north to protect his eastern flank and aid in surrounding the Filipino forces.

Malolos church used as headquarters by the US army, 1899

On April 22, after three weeks of cooling off at Malolos, MacArthur was allowed to advance to the north; the objective was San Fernando, Pampanga Province. Wheaton came up on the left, and Hale's brigade moved along the center. On the same day, Lawton's division started to sweep the country to the right, with San Isidro, Nueva Ecija Province, as objective. The plan called for MacArthur and Lawton to meet up at San Miguel de Mayumo, Bulacan Province; the combined columns would then proceed to crush the Filipinos at San Isidro. All the forces were retarded by the extreme heat, rains, and bad roads

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