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LAWTON'S LAKE EXPEDITION.
N HILE the 2d Division, under Gen. MacArthur, was actively
engaged north of the Pasig, in its move on the insurgent capital, the 1st Division, operating south of the Pasig, was occupied with a series of expeditions, whose object was the exploration of the country, the disposal of armed bands of insurgents, the capture of supplies intended for the rebel army, and, if it should be found possible with the force at command,
—which it was not—the permanent occupation of the coun
try visited. With the occupation of Manila, Gen. Otis had
: nó military reason for the occupation of Camp Dewey, or indeed any of the country between Manila and the peninsula of Cavite. Both these places were securely held and the line of communication was by water, and so long as there were to be insurrectos at all they might just as well be along the bay shore between Manila and Cavite as anywhere else; perhaps better, as being more conveniently found when wanted. The small size of his force compelled Gen. Otis to contract his lines so as to include only Manila and a small district about it, and upon the south the line was substantially that occupied by the Spanish before the surrender of Manila, resting on the bay at Malate. All the bay shore and country between our lines and Cavite was promptly occupied by the insurrectos. As already stated the 1st Division, after the return of Gen. Anderson to America, was in command of Major-General H. W. Lawton, with BrigadierGenerals Charles King and Samuel Ovenshine in command of the 1st and 2d Brigades respectively.
OBJECT OF THE LAKE EXPEDITION. The first expedition undertaken was to the towns along the shore of the large lake known as the “Laguna de Bay,” of which the River Pasig is the outlet. The district to be reached was a beautiful rolling country, raised above the lowlands which immediately surround Manila, densely populated and very wealthy, the principal towns being ranged along the shore of the lake, from which the products were transported to Manila by water. Besides the main Pasig, which is navigable for small steamers, the lake has a large number of shallow outlets which unite with each other, and then with the main stream below the city of Pasig. These outlets which are navigable for cascos, are interconnected and form a series of islands, of which some portions are swampy, but for the most part are high and dry, and densely populated. The distance from Manila to the lake, at the outlet of the Pasig, is about ten miles. The possession of so populous and wealthy a
district was of course of most importance to Aguinaldo, not only as a source of supplies, but as affording a point from which to make flank attacks upon our advanced posts at the water-works. The lake country, therefore, was obviously
the first district to be occupied in a movement of the 1st Division, auxiliary to the attack upon Aguinaldo's main army at Malolos.
The special objects of the expedition were three in number; first, to secure several launches and cascos still in possession of the insurrectos, and to cut off their most northerly fortress on
the lake, the town of Santa GEN. LAWTON AND STAFF IN THE FIELD.
Cruz; secondly, to distribute the proclamation issued by the American commissioners; thirdly, to sweep back overland, and in conjunction with Gen. Ovenshine's command to crush the enemy at Paranaque. The first two were brilliantly and successfully accomplished; the third was delayed by the recall of the expedition, after eight days, to Manila, for other military movements.
Lawton's expedition on this occasion comprised 1509 men, and as it was led through a portion of Luzon hitherto unvisited by our soldiers, it united to some extent, the element of exploration as well as of military operations. The land on either side of the Pasig River from Manila to the Laguna de Bay, is varied and beautiful. First, there are the rich rice-lands bordering the river as far as San Pedro Macati, then there are six miles or so of green banks and over-hanging trees. As you near the island on which Pasig town is built, the view expands into a fine vista of far hills, and near rolling fields. The air is sweet with the odor of wild flowers; and the traceried branches of the palms and the bamboos cut clear silhouettes against the sky, while the burned villages, and the ruined Guadalupe church, suggest the stern rigor of war.
THE DETAIL FOR THE EXPEDITION. On the 6th of April, 1899, the following order was issued from the Headquarters of the 1st Division, 8th Army Corps:
The following named organizations will be immediately prepared to take the field on a special expedition. They will be equipped in light marching order and will be supplied with 200 rounds of ammunition per man and ten days' rations, two of which will be “travel rations," and will be carried in the haversack: 4th U. S. Cav, Gale's Squadron, Troops C, G, and L, 219 men; 14th U. S. Inf., Hasbrouck's Battalion, A, G, L, and K, 311 men; Patten's Battalion, Companies C, D, E and I, 290 men; 1st Idaho Volunteer Inf., Linck's Battalion, Companies A, C, D, and F, 225 men; 1st North Dakota Volunteer Inf., Fraine's Battalion, Companies C, D, I and K, 248 men; two mountain guns, Hawthorne's Battery, Lieut. Koehler commanding, with necessary equipment, etc., and sixty rounds of ammunition for each piece (shell and shrapnel) sixteen men.
For the purposes of this expedition, the authorized sharpshooters, whose names have been reported to these headquarters, with the officers selected to command them, will be temporarily organized as follows:
First Company-14th U. S. Inf., nine squads, forty-five enlisted men, and 4th U. S. Cav., three squads, fifteen enlisted men, commanded by Lieut. W. C. Geiger, 14th Inf., sixty men.
Second Company-1st North Dakota Volunteer Inf., eight squads, forty enlisted men, commanded by Ist Lieut. H. J. Gruschus, 1st North Dakota Volunteer Inf.
Third Company - 1st Idaho Volunteer Inf., eight squads, forty enlisted men, commanded by 1st Lieut. R. H. Hartman, 1st Idaho Volunteer Inf.
Fourth Company - 1st Washington Volunteer Inf., twelve squads, sixty enlisted men, commanded by 1st Lieut. W. E. Weigle, and 2d Lieut. R. T. Hazzard, 1st Washington Volunteer Inf. Making a total of 1509 enlisted men.
With the exception of those belonging to the 1st Washington Volunteer Inf., sharpshooters will remain for rations with their respective companies, and those detached from companies not taking part in this expedition will be assigned for rations to companies of their regiment above designated, but will be held under charge of squad leaders and the officers assigned to command them, in readiness to respond promptly to calls for service in their special duties. The Washington detachment will be equipped as a separate company.
Maj. Weisenburger, Ist Washington Volunteer Inf., is assigned to command the battalion of sharpshooters. Brigadier-General Charles King, U. S. V., is assigned to command the forces as thus organized, and will report in person to the Major-General commanding the division for detailed instructions.
The Quartermaster and Medical Departments, and the Signal Corps, will furnish the necessary personnel and material.
Brigade Commanders are charged with the concentration of the troops of their respective commands at a point and time to be designated by telegraph from these lieadquarters.
No transportation other than by boat will be provided except from camp to the place of embarkation. As the journey by boat will probably be made during the night, company commanders will arrange to have coffee made and served during the night or just before landing, which will doubtless occur about daylight or before.
It is the desire of the Major-General commanding the division that this expedition have a thorough and complete organization, and, to that end, the companies will be divided into squads and a non-commissioned officer as chief will be assigned to the charge of each. This assignment to squads will be made permanent, and the men remain attached to the squads to which they are assigned, except when changed by direction of the company commander, and the chief of squad will keep in his possession a list of names of men in his squad, and he shall know at all times the whereabouts of each man and be able to account for him.
In battle, the men of each squad will constitute “comrades in battle," and will support and assist each other. In no case will a man be abandoned, except when specially so directed by the company commander in each case. When a member of a squad is killed, wounded, or otherwise disabled, the fact will be immediately reported by the chief of the squail to his next superior. In case it becomes necessary to detach individual men from squads, they will be sent in pairs, and the chief of squad will know that all his men are accounted for.
One of the purposes of this special expedition is the fulfillment of a desire and determination of the United States government to prove to and reassure the Filipinos that a campaign conducted by Americans, through a hostile country, can and will be prosecuted according to the most generous rules of civilized warfare. To this and General Orders No. 7, series 1898, and No. 7, current series these headquarters, and paragraph No. 2, General Orders No. 15, current series, Headquarters Department of the Pacific and 8th Army Corps, will be rigorously executed. (These orders refer to looting, etc.)
Capt. F. A. Grant, L'tah Volunteer Light Artillery, is assigned to command the gunboats forming a part of this expedition; he will also arrange, prescribe and superintend the formation of the flotilla and the order of the sailing of same, taking due and proper precautions against accident.
During the absence of the Major-General commanding the division on this expedition, the line of entrenchments from Pasig to Pasai will be in charge of Brigadier-General Samuel Ovenshine, U. S. V., commanding 2d Brigade, who will assume control of all the troops remaining of the 1st Division.
CLARENCE R. EDWARDS, Assistant Adjutant-General. By command of Gen. Lawton.
These orders are quoted at length, to show how complete and careful was the preparation. Accompanying the expedition, were a number of war-correspondents, and Hon. H. A. Ramsden, the English Vice-Consul, a man of very agreeable companionship, and thoroughly in sympathy with out-door life, and with our American boys. Brigade Surgeon Maj. George Shiels, with twelve assistants, constituted the Hospital Corps. Early in the move, Gen. King had to be relieved from his command, owing to an attack of heart trouble.
THE COMMAND BEGINS THE MOVE. On April 8th, at 5:15 P. M., Lawton, with eight launches, seventeen cascos, and two bancas left San Pedro Macati. The journey up the Pasig River, to the lake, consumed the night until 4 A. M. next morning. The winding narrow channel and inexperienced pilots caused much loss of time through the frequent grounding of the launches and cascos, which had to be floated by the launch Maria, acting under Capt. Grant's orders. Through the indefatigable and intelligent efforts of Capt. Grant, the entire flotilla was formed at the entrance to the lake
SOUTH DAKOTA PACK TRAIN CROSSING THE RIO GRANDE. an hour before daybreak of the 9th. The Associated Press boat Orient volunteered its aid as a tug boat, and the three gunboats, Laguna de Bay, Oesta and Napidan, also acted in the same capacity.
It was an interesting sight to watch the hulks of the black cascos lying between us and the rising sun; to hear the men chat and chaffer with one another from boat to boat. They all went into the day's work as if they were going out among the hills for a holiday. “Who are you?”' one boat would ask another in the gray light. “We are the 4th Cavalry.” “Who are you?” “Oh, we are the Heavy First; we do all the scrappin', and we get all the praise.” “Here you fellows keep quiet, I can't hear the orders,” yelled the Sergeant, as one casco crashed into another. It was all taken in good part, and by daylight the whole flotilla started up the lake.
Before noon we lay in front of Santa Cruz, a fine town strongly defended. The winds come suddenly on lakes which lie among mountains, and a stiff breeze swept the waters as the men prepared to land. The infantry and battery were landed on a beach in front of a wide meadow. The wind interfered a good deal with the landing, many of the men having to wade ashore in water shoulder deep. From the Associated Press boat, we could see the whole of the maneuvers on lake and shore as on a chart.
THE EXPEDITION LANDED. Soon all the boys were on the land, except the 4th Cav. We could see the long line form and the march begin. Soon a sharp fire opened on the right of our advancing line. The boys started “the grinning guns,” and after half an hour, quietness fell on the scene. Darkness came quickly, as it does in the tropics, and the soldiers bivouacked for the night. The insurgents were seen to be well fortified on the beach where the cavalry were to land, so they stayed on the cascos all night.
At daybreak of the 10th, Gen. Lawton, in person, landed on the left flank of the line, walked along to the right, which he found resting on the main road leading from the south into the town. A telegraph line was cut, thus destroying the connection with Malolos. Owing to the illness of Gen. King, Maj. Weisenburger of the 1st Washingtons, was put in command of the expeditionary brigade. The companies were at once put into position; three companies of the Idahos on the right of the road, the artillery section on the road supporting Company I, of the Idahos; on the left of the road, Capt. Hasbrouck's Battalion of the 14th Inf.; the Washington sharpshooters; Capt. Patten's Battalion, 14th Inf., and North Dakota Battalion in the order named, the last resting its left flank on the beach. The advance toward the city was then begun, Gen. Lawton, himself personally supervising the right of the line; Maj. Edwards, the center, and Maj. Starr the left.
In his report of the fight, Gen. Lawton highly commends these two staff officers and Maj. Weisenburger. Meanwhile little opposition was met until the command reached the main bridge of the city. Here Capt. Hasbrouck's Battalion of the 14th, and some of the Idahos and Washingtons made a beautiful charge, completely routing the enemy, who put up a plucky fight. On the north side of the field of operations, the 4th Cav., were successfully landed by Capt. Gale. The gallant Captain not only landed in the face of an
WOODEN GUNS USED BY INSU'RGENTS. insurgent fire, but dislodged thc enemy and took their fortifications on the north. As the rebels fled from the city, the gunboats under Capt. Grant did good execution; for the Filipinos had to cross an open field, where they were exposed to the
Photo by Lilie.