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of the Islands, 266 ; The Visayans in Early Times, 269; Ancient Form of
The Staff Department of the Army, 301 ; The Engineer Corps: 301 ; The Battalion
of Engineers, 301 ; The Engineer Corps in the Philippines, 302 ; The Quarter-
THE AMERICAN FLEET AT MANILA.
Take a hold o' the wings o' the mornin'
NE of the most wonderful events of history is the American
occupation of the Philippines. When the Spanish-American war began, these islands were hardly thought of in the problem. The archipelago was to most of us simply a few blotches on our geographies; and Admiral Dewey was a Commodore at the close of an honorable but obscure career. The big headlines were all about Santiago and Havana, Ponce and
Porto Rico, Sampson, Schley and the Rough Riders. Suddenly from a clear sky and an unvisited sea, rose clouds and constellations; nations were confused; American patriotism and glory were put on pinnacles; and the deeds of a simple, quiet gentleman with a company of American Jacktars were placed in the pantheon of history along with those of Farragut and mighty Nelson.
It was expected by the civilized world that this war would keep its limits in the West Indies. In fact one of the great nations made a move to have the United States understand that the trade of the world was not to be interfered with outside the zone affected by the principles at stake in the island of Cuba. The theater of war has changed. The West Indies are no more interesting than Van Dieman's land; and the focus of American history and the cynosure of statesmen is the remote archipelago, lying in the China Sea, seven thousand miles from our western coast. Nor was the change in scene the only miracle. The change in the attitude of the nation was greater than the distance that separates Havana from Manila. The war began in the sacred name of liberation for a fettered people, dragging their chains in pain and sweat. To-day in jungles of Luzon, by the rivers of Panay, and along the shores of Cebu a sullen people dispute us inch by inch, straining every human effort to be free from the governance of the liberators. To the Filipinos in their long contest for liberty, we appear as the European oppressor appeared to our forefathers who wrought out human rights at Valley Forge and Bunker Hill. Flying with their wives and children to the hills, burning their homes with their own hands; killed by the thousand in the rice-fields and the cane-brakes; driven like wild beasts back to mountain lair—the mightiest nation in the world can not but dread the audacity of their despair.
The problem is as grave as any that ever put swordcuts of thought on human brows. These islands lie in fair summer seas. They are rich in furrowed field
and forest height; in the river beds that gleam and the hills that are crowded with waiting metals. Yet their history has been and is to-day a history of blackness and darkness; a history of work and want, of ignorance and fear. No star, no hope as yet shines out for them. In the ruthless game of nations where the pawns are men, the Filipinos must play a losing game. The chains of Spain must be exchanged for the strong government which America, however unwillingly, in the evolution of history, must place upon these islands. The history of how this has come about is one of the romances of the nineteenth century.
There was a time when England trembled at Philip the Tyrant, called the Second of Spain. He was a supreme bigot and thief. He stole, among his many thefts, 114,000 square miles of island real estate in the Malay archipelago, and called them the Philippines. Spain never conquered them; Luzon, the largest, was never colonized; Mindanao, the second
largest, was never explored. Some of the flora and fauna of these
islands are at this moment no better known than
those of Mars. A fastidious gentleman in
the American navy said to a friend that
he was getting old and would like
just one voyage more before he
retired. This man was ap
pointed to a rather obscure
post in the Pacific. The
Pacific is quite large, and the
old gentleman might have
been lost in one of its many
monsoons. He had a sma 11
fleet, but it was well equipped.
Nobody knew a great deal about
this American sailor. He had been
in the Civil War, and had tied a certain
Farragut to the main top of the Hartford. At
last the fastidious sailor turned up at Hongkong with
about twenty dress suits. He was a perfect gentleman. Very difficult to snub this man. A German prince tried it once, but was severely taken down. A message of import having arrived shortly after our sailor reached China, he sailed away towards the Malay archipelago. The next heard from him was a story so astonishing that the world was shaken. It was said that this American gentleman, with his slim fleet, had entered a defended harbor at night, silenced its guns, and destroyed utterly and beyond remedy the fleet which guarded the entrance. Wilder than all was the incredible story that he had not lost a single man in the action. The man of many suits had played well. King Philip's real estate suffered a considerable jar. America had long been a sinister omen for Spain. In 1783 the United States were declared free; in that year Bolivar was born. By the time Bolivar died, Spain had lost South America. The Antilles alone were left her in the west. She could not reform. On February 15, 1898, the Maine was destroyed at Havana, and the war was on.
THE BATTLE OF MANILA BAY. On the 24th of April, 1898, the Secretary of the Navy of the United States sent the following cablegram:
DEWEY, HONGKONG, CHINA. War has commenced between the United States and Spain. Proceed at once to the Philippine Islands. Commence operations at once, particularly against the Spanish Aeet. You must capture vessels or destroy them.
That same day the British Commander of Hongkong, owing to the fact that his government had declared its neutrality, gave notice to the American squadron that it would have to clear port inside of twenty-four hours. The American fleet left Hongkong, China, under the command of Commodore Dewey in the flagship Olympia on Friday, April 25th, bound for the Philippine Islands, fully equipped as to ammunition, coal and provisions, and with an extra supply carried along in the transports Nanshan and Zafiro, recently put under the American flag. After a short stop at Mirs Bay the fleet got under way for the seat of future operations in the following formation: Olympia, Baltimore, Raleigh, Concord, Petrel and Boston, and after arriving off the Island of Luzon steamed slowly in the direction of Manila Bay. On the afternoon of Saturday, April 30th, the Boston, Concord, and later the Baltimore, were sent ahead to reconnoiter Point Subig. INTERIOR FT. SAN ANTONIO. Finding no sign of the enemy, our ships again assembled in the original formation, with the transports convoyed by the despatch boat, McCulloch, forming a separate column to the right. For the further operations of the fleet in the battle of Manila Bay, we quote from an article prepared for CAMPAIGNING IN THE PHILIPPINES, by Lieutenant-Commander G. P. Colvocoresses, executive officer of the Olympia.
“When the United States squadron was off Subig Bay on the afternoon of April 30th the captains were assembled on board the flagship, and on returning to their vessels it was learned that we go immediately to Manila Bay, anchor and
be prepared to bombard the arsenal at eight o'clock in the morning. We proceeded at a speed of eight knots in the following formation, single column, four hundred yards distance: Olympia (flying the broad pennant of George Dewey), Baltimore, Raleigh,
Petrel, Concord and the Boston, effect of shells On FORT SAN ANTONIO.
the despatch boat, McCulloch aud the transports Nanshan and Zafiro. The ships were cleared for action and the crews were at their guns. The entrance to Manila Bay was made at midnight. There were known to be batteries there, and it was probable that