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THE REVOLT OF THE FILIPINOS.
COR some time previous to the 4th of February, 1899, the tension
between the Americans and the natives had been great, both in the city of Manila and along the lines of the army surrounding it. Within the city incidents were continually occurring which made it evident to the Provost Guard that important events were anticipated by the natives. Without the city the American outposts were subjected to continuous insults which daily were more marked as the Americans continued to endure them with patience. The restraints of discipline were misunderstood by the natives as manifestations of cowardice, and there was an evident and growing desire on the part of the natives to provoke a conflict in which they anticipated ar
easy victory. Upon the part of the rank and file of the Americans, and doubtless, also, upon the part of many of the officers, there grew up a feeling of intense personal hatred of their tormentors, and an earnest desire to be turned loose upon them and kill them. While many refused to believe that Aguinaldo would really reach the point of ordering an attack upon the American army, it was a general opinion among the officers of the Provost Guard that existing conditions could not long continue, and that they would end in a fight. The commanding generals, however, while fully alive to the danger of the situation, were powerless, until actually attacked, to make any movement to end it. It was felt that the Americans must not make the first hostile move against those who had been so lately their allies, and of whose liberty they had been proclaimed the champions. They could and did, however, take every precaution not to be taken unawares at any point. The little army was disposed in a thin line completely encircling the city, and facing the natives at all points. The division, brigade and regimental commanders all had their instructions, and were prepared to act at a moment's notice. If an outbreak should occur, signals were arranged for directing the fire of the fleet.
THE MILITARY SITUATION. The military situatiou was a very simple one. The old Spanish line of defense against native attacks was a series of block-houses, more or less connected by trenches or other works, completely enclosing the city on an irregular semi-circle extending from the shore of the bay on the north to the shore on the south, and with a radius of from two and a half to three and a half miles from a center in the
mouth of the Pasig River. These block-houses were from one-half to three-fourths of a mile apart, and were numbered regularly from 1, on the railroad, near the shore on the north, to 15, a little south of Malate, on the shore on the south. All
the block-houses, from 1 to 9
The American army was disposed on a much smaller irregular semi-circle within these lines and facing outward from the city. The object of the natives, in any attack, would be to find a weak place in our line, break through it and rush into the city, where their compatriots were all ready to rise, join them, and begin an orgie of massacre and plunder. The object of the Americans, on the contrary, should an attack be made, would be to repel it, maintain their line intact, assume the offensive, and pursue the natives wherever they might go, so far as they could do so without exposing the city to an attack from a new army which might spring into existence at any moment from the dense population of hostile natives. The natives had the advantage of overwhelming numbers, and better arms for their infantry, but the Americans had the advantage of discipline, good artillery and the smaller interior line, permitting rapid re-inforcement of threatened points, but again the disadvantage of operating from a city the great majority of whose inhabitants were intensely hostile and treacherous. The guns of the ships commanded all the entrenchments of the natives as far inland as they could reach, and really rendered any attack upon our lines hopeless, except in the event of a sudden rush, overpowering our troops in their defenses, and so mingling the men that the ships would not dare to fire. This was doubtless what was expected by the natives. But it did not happen.
DISPOSITION OF OUR TROOPS. Our army was divided into two divisions of two brigades each, the first division, under Major-General T. M. Anderson, being stationed south of the Pasig River, and the second division, under Major-General Arthur MacArthur, on the north.
Beginning on the north, in the Tondo district, on the shore of the bay, the troops of the second, or MacArthur's Division, were distributed as follows:
The 1st Brigade, under Brigadier-General H. G. Otis, extended from near the shore of the bay easterly to a point about 400 yards southwest of block-house No. 4, in the following order: 20th Kansas, 3d U. S. Art., 1st Montana, 10th Penn
sylvania, facing northerly; on their right, and facing northeasterly, was the 2d Brigade, under Brigadier-General Irving Hale, extending from its connection with the 1st Brigade to block-house No. 8, near the junction of the San Juan and Pasig Rivers, in the following order: 1st South Dakota, at San Miguel, occupying the line about half way to block-house No. 5; 1st Colorado, at Sampoloc, opposite block-houses Nos. 5 and 6; 1st Nebraska, from the right of the Colorados, through Santa Mesa and McLeod's Hill to block-house No. 8, near the river.
The two brigades were supported by the Utah Light Artillery.
The 1st Brigade, under Brigadier-General Charles King, was made up of the 1st California, 1st Washington, 1st Idaho, and during February 5th, a Wyoming Battalion. This brigade occupied a line from near the river to block-house No. 12, and faced easterly or southeasterly; the 2d Brigade, under Brigadier-General Samuel Ovenshine, was composed of the 14th U. S. Inf., 1st North Dakota, and six troops of the 4th U. S. Cav., and occupied the line from block-house No. 12 to Fort Malate, on the bay, and faced southward.
There were also in this division, two batteries of artillery, one, of six guns, under Capt. A. P. Dyer, 6th Art., and four mountain guns of the Astor Battery. The artillery was under the direction of the division commander. There was also one company of U. S. Engineers, acting as infantry
A PERIOD OF SUSPENSE. During all the latter part of January, the two armies had faced each viher substantially as has been described. The Filipinos were gathering their forces, organizing, drilling and fortifying, undisturbed by our generals. The orders against foraging or other misdemeanors were strictly enforced in the American army, and every effort made to avoid cause of collision. The Filipinos freely came and went through our lines, and were fully informed of the disposition of our troops and their entrenchments. The attitude of the natives and their insulting actions and words have been described,
ON THE FIRING LINE.
Photo by Lillie. and gradually it was felt that the lines must be drawn a little closer, and the armed Filipinos be somewhat restricted in their movements. A line of delimitation was arranged between the American and Filipino commanders which should not be crossed by armed men of either side. As the Americans, however,
did not in all cases fully occupy the ground assigned to them, the Filipinos were disposed to pass the limit aid themselves occupy ihe ground. This led to correspondence between Gen. MacArthur and the Filipino commander, who agreed to order the withdrawal of his troops. *
* The details of this correspondence are interesting and are given, as follows: [From the report of Gen. MacArthur.]
“ The pertinacity of the insurgents, in passing armed parties over the line of delimitation into American territory, at a point nearly opposite the pipe-line outposts of the Nebraska Regiment, induced a correspondence which, in the light of subsequent events, is interesting, as indicating with considerable precision, a premeditated purpose, on the part of somebody in the insurgent army, to force a collision at that point. The original note from these headquarters, which was prepared after conference with the Department Commander, was carried by Maj. Strong, who entered the insurgent lines and placed the paper in the hands of Col. San Miguel. The answer of Col. San Miguel was communicated in an autograph note, which was written in the presence of Maj. Strong, who also saw Col. San Miguel write an order to his officer at the outpost in question, directing him to withdraw from the American side of the line. This order Maj. Strong saw delivered to the officer on the outpost. The correspondence referred to is as follows, the original of Col. San Miguel's note, which was written in the Spanish language, being enclosed herewith:
HEADQUARTERS SECOND DIVISION,
EIGHTH ARMY Corps.
MANILA, P. I., February 2, 1899. “ COMMANDING GENERAL, PHILIPPINE TROOPS IN THIRD Zone-SIR: The line between your coinmand and my command has been long established, and is well understood by your. self and myself.
It is quite necessary under present conditions that this line should not be passed by armed men of either command.
"An arme:l party from your command now occupies the village in front of block-house No. 7, at a point considerably more than 100 yards on my side of the line, and is very active in exhibiting hostile intentions. This party must be withdrawn to your side of the line at once.
"From this date, if the line is crossed by your men with arms in their hands they must be regarded as subject to such action as I may deem necessary. Very respectfully, (Signed
SAN JUAN DEL MONTE. February 2, 1899. “MAJOR-GENERAI, MACARTHUR-MY VERY DEAR Sır: In reply to yours dated this day, in which you inform me that my soldiers have been passing the line of demarcation fixed by agreement, I desire to say that this is foreign to my wishes, and I shall give immediate orders in the premises that thiey retire. Truly yours,
L. F. SAN MIGUEL, (Signed)
Colonel and First Chief.
“At about 8:30 P. M., February 4th, an insurgent patrol, consisting of four armed soldiers, entered our territory at block-house No. 7 and advanced to the little village of Santol, which was occupied from the pipe-line outpost of the Nebraska Regiment. This, it will be observed, was precisely the point referred to in the correspondence above quoted. The American sentinel challenged twice, and then, as the insurgent patrol continued to advance, he fired, whereupon the patrol retired to block-house No. 7, from whence fire was immediately opened by the entire insurgent outpost at that point.
“At 9 P. M., Col. Stotsenburg, 1st Nebraska Inf., U.S. V., reported considerable firing at his outposts, which extended gradually along the entire front of the division. At 10:10 P. M., it was evident that hostilities had been commenced in earnest by the insurgents, and accordingly a:1 order was issued from these headquarters to call out everything on the firing line according to a program which had been pre-arranged for such an emergency"