Page images

Lieut. Abernethy of the 3d Art. distinguished himself for gallantry, but every man in the command was equally worthy of high praise. In a trench in front of the Kansans, there were thirty Filipinos. These men fought till twenty-six were

dead, two mortally wounded, one slightly wounded, and only one man got away. Owing to the thorny thickets, dense jungles, bamboo belts, difficult streams and deep morasses, the Montanas were delayed, but they fought a terrific fight, and joined the line as the evening lights were beginning to soften the land. In the first day's fight our loss in this brigade was sixty-eight killed and wounded. Information of the burning and evacuation of Malabon came to us here among the cane brakes. The brigade bivouacked at the Tuliahan River.

On the morning of the 26th as we started out towards Polo and Malinta we saw a cloud of smoke like a great volcano towering up into the air. All along the sun-beaten track of road our men reclined in the shade where they could get it; or tried their luck in the empty houses along the march looking for water. The natives usually left a fine supply

of good water in earthern jars. We lay still STREET IN TONDO DISTRICT AFTER BATTLE for several hours in a hot tropic forenoon. OF FEBRUARY 23d.

A party of correspondents found two bushels of ripe tomatoes. They happened to be in the Pennsylvania lines just then and went down the lines with the tomatoes, the excellent find lasted till they had gone along a line of 200 men.

At last the order was given to advance. I saw one old grizzly captain, if I remember rightly it was Capt. Baltwood of the 20th Kansas, watching his men and carefully keeping them under the trees whenever there was a chance to find retreat from the pursuing rays of the sun. I noted also, that he and his men were like untamed panthers when the battle was on. Well, down a hot dusty road we rushed; soon firing, and by the tack-tack sound we knew that it was a Mauser; then an angry roar as of unchained lions where the penned martyrs are; then a confusion of such sounds punctuated by the snarl of the cannon—then a hush. In the headquarters a party are waiting. Around are the officers and the reporters and foreign attachés. The attaché from Japan is making careful notes; of how the Krag penetrates, of how the Mauser carries, of how the Springfield kicks, of how superb and accurate is the firing of the American soldier. He starts suddenly and well he may; death came near enough his door to have made a call. A Remington in an angry way drilled a hole on the under side of his leg and after burrowing in the ground came out a foot away from him. The men across in the reserve are lying low, for bullets are barking the trees all around them—yet they talk and joke as if this was only an April holiday.


The reserves are ordered up. Out of the woods and into the wide rice-fields they go; they deploy to the right; Wheaton's Brigade is on their left cutting its way through woods afire and fields aflame. Already the brave Col. Egbert of the 22d Regulars, is down with his death wound, and other hearts are going to break in far away America. Down the road we looked in the edges of the woods and the grass for any man that might need help. On a cot a man lay full six feet, a big brave boy ten minutes ago. He drew a few breaths and then reported for duty in other fields.

Smashing us from one side and another the insurrectos retreated inch by inch stubbornly contesting the ground. At the close of day we had Polo and Malinta. Both towns had been fired by the signed order of Gen. Luna.

This day the brigade lost eleven in killed and wounded. We passed the night near Polo. The 10th Pennsylvanias were detached for service in the 1st Brigade.


BRIDGE AT MALABON, SHOWING SPAN BLOWN OUT BY INSURGENTS. On the 27th of March the brigade advanced at 7 A. M. When they reached the next town, Meycauayan, they found it in flames, fired by the orders of Gen, Luna. Passing on up the railroad track in the Jirection of the insurrecto capital. they arrived at Marilao early in the day. The enemy was here discovered in unknown strength, and Col. Funston with three battalions went after him. It was a hot fight but the indomitable Colonel and the unsubdued Kansans drove him back. As before, the enemy fought well at first, but was overcome by the white man's nerve, skill and staying power, and by his immense superiority in weapons.

In the afternoon the Kansans crossed the bridge which had already been crossed by the 3d Art., which Gen. Otis calls “a small, but effective regiment,” with the loss of eighteen in killed and wounded. The Montanas, as a train and artillery guard, came up to mend the bridge. Camp was made for the night at the Marilao River. The loss of the command at the bridge was four.

On the following day the Bocaue and Bigaa Rivers were crossed. The horses were made to swim. The column flanked Bulacan, lying west near the bay, and reported to be occupied by Aguinaldo's troops. The leader here was said to be Gen. Gregorio del Pilar with 500 men.

Guiguinto was reached on the afternoon; the 10th Pennsylvania and the Kansans crossed the bridge, and the 3d Art, and Montanas camped on the south side of the river. Indications of demoralization among the enemy were frequent. Yet from later knowledge of them, they were evidently conducting a rear guard fight and doing it with great skill, as they had done on former occasions.

[graphic][merged small][merged small]

All the bridges were saved, but many houses were destroyed. Sometimes the rebels set fire to them; sometimes they were burned after our army came into the towns. March 30th, we marched to the rebel trenches, two miles from Malolos. There we found a small party strongly entrenched near the railroad. The railroad had been the vertebra, as it were, of the advancing division. On either side of this were long, low stretches of level grounds, dotted with villages and settlements, and interspersed by bamboo belts about every mile of the way. On this railroad then, the insurgent forces suddenly opened on Otis and his staff. Gen. MacArthur was also on the ground at the time with his staff. One company of the 10th Pennsylvania and one company of the Kansans repelled this attack; the 2d Brigade with the rest of MacArthur's Division marched on Malolos at the break of day on March 31st. The 20th Kansas were on the right of the brigade, the Montanas in the center, and the 3d Art. on the left. The advance uncoiled itself slowly, like a great python, across the lagoons and marshes. On the right there was some heavy firing, but Malolos was taken with scarcely a blow, the army of Aguinaldo having evacuated the place. Smoke and flames were seen issuing from the palace of the President of the Filipino Republic. The “nipa " huts were also in flames. The frenzied inhabitants were determined to destroy their homes and die for what they considered their sacred liberties.

The Montanas were nearest the town, and Otis sent them forward to occupy it, which they did at 9:40, according to Gen. Otis' report. At 9:45 the Montanas came to the public square. The house of the Filipino Congress was in flames. Col. Kessler, of the 3d Art., came up at once; Col. Funston and the Kansans had entered at 9:30, going in at a point near the railroad line. At ten o'clock the Kansans reported, and shortly after the 1st Brigade flag, surmounted by the nationaal colors, floated from the staff, erected in front of the headquarters of the insurgent government. The flag was given by Company G of the Montanas. When it was raised a mighty cheer went up.

No burning by our troops was allowed. Looting was strictly forbidden, and all public and private property was put under guard. Perfect order was maintained in the city. The Montanas and the 3d Art. were sent to guard the town. Scouting parties and outposts were posted.

The total loss of the brigade in the march to Malolos was 285 killed and wounded, being more than ten per cent of the strength of the whole command.

Col. Funston, Col. Kessler, and Maj. Kobbe were mentioned for gallant conduct, and special distinction was asked for them from the War Department. After seven days of hard fighting the insurgent capital was taken. Of the men under him Gen. Harrison Gray Otis writes: “They have shown in an eminent degree the qualities of good soldiers, obedient to discipline, enduring in courage, in steadiness, in patriotism, and magnificent order in battle."

OPERATIONS OF WHEATON'S BRIGADE.* On March 22d, Gen. Wheaton received orders from Headquarters Department of the Pacific and Eighth Army Corps to report for temporary duty with his brigade to Major-General MacArthur. The brigade consisted of one battalion 3d U. S. Inf., just landed from transport, 22d U. S. Inf., and eleven companies 2d Oregon Volunteer Inf., in all 2241 officers and enlisted men effective for duty. The night of March 24th, this brigade relieved the 1st Brigade, second division, BrigadierGeneral Otis, in the trenches extending from the left, west of Caloocan, to the vicinity of La Loma church. This disposition was made in the darkness, without the enemy gaining any knowledge of it, although his entrenchments were close in

[ocr errors]


Photo by Lillie. front and our movements exposed to his short-range fire. The 2d Oregon was placed on the left, 22d U. S. Inf. on the right, the battalion 3d Inf. in the enclosure, or wall, about Caloocan church, and near the center. March 25th, soon after daylight, Major-General MacArthur commenced his movement by advancing his right brigade to attack the enemy in the trenches on his front, and to advance his right on Polo. Soon after, his left took up the movement and advanced to the front and left his artillery near the center, advancing with his lines.

* Written by an officer of the brigade.

As soon as the left brigade moved, Gen. Wheaton advanced one battalion of the 22d Inf. on his right to cover the movement of the 3d U. S. Art.-foot-on Gen.


SECTION OF FIRST RESERVE HOSPITAL, USED FOR WOUNDED FILIPINOS. Photo by Lillie. MacArthur's left. The turning inovernent having sufficiently developed to threaten the rebel entrenchments on their left flank, Gen. Wheaton directed that fire be opened on the rebel entrenchments on his front by the guns of the Utah Light Artillery, 1st. Lieut. George W. Gibbs, and at 8:30 A. M. directed his whole line to advance in the following order: 22d U. S. Inf., Col. H. C. Egbert, on the right to endeavor to keep in touch and communication with the 3d U. S. Art. on the left of Otis' Brigade; MacArthur's Division, one battalion 3d U. S. Inf., Capt. Cooke, center; two companies on the east side of the railroad track and two on the west side. Second Oregon Volunteer Inf., Col. O. Summers, left extending to near the channel separating Malabon from the mainland. The rebels were found in their entrenchments in great force, and line after line of their works was carried with the utmost gallantry. The roll of the infantry fire was now continuous and intense; the heaviest fighting at this time falling on the 2d Oregon and two companies of 3d U. S. Inf. By 11:30 A. M. the enemy was thrown to the line of entrenchments along the Tuliahan River, he having been driven from his successive lines of entrenchments with great slaughter. The two guns of the Utah Light Battery were now brought up from the line of works in front of Caloocan to a point on the railroad track, nine hundred yards from the bridge across the Tuliahan; a Hetchkiss revolving cannon was sent to the extreme left to keep down the fire of the enemy coming from across the channel near Malabon. His block-houses and entrenchments along the river on the north bank were shelled. A battalion of two companies of the 23d U. S. Inf., one hundred and fifty-nine officers and enlisted men, Capt. S. B. Pratt, having been sent out from the city, were placed on the right with instructions to connect with the left of Otis' Brigade, which was done by fording the Tuliahan. Late in the afternoon, a despatch was received from

« PreviousContinue »