« PreviousContinue »
Capt. Hager, and F, Capt. Gilaen, all under Maj. Bayless, to that portion of the city along the river front and Progresso street, where they engaged the insurgents who occupied the entrenchments and houses on the opposite side of the river. By their prompt movements this command saved much property from destruction by fire.
Companies B, D, L and M, under Maj. Cheatham were sent up the river to Jaro Bridge, which position they occupied. Companies B, H and K, under Maj. McGuire, were instructed to encircle the town for the purpose of flanking the insurgents, which was done by a movement to the left until the beach was reached, and then up the bridge to the old cemetery which had been fortified by the insurgents, while they changed position to the right through the native village and through rice-fields, to the barracks on the Iloilo River and Molo Road. Here the insurgents were found in force and were driven hurriedly across the bridge to Molo by the American force.
On the morning of February 12th, Companies B, D, L and M, under Maj. Cheatham, made a reconnaissance through Molo, but found no armed insurgents. On the same day the 1st Battalion of the 18th Inf., under Maj. Charles Keiler, consisting of Companies A, C, H and L, under the respective commands of 1st Lieut. A. E. Lewis, Capt. O. B. Warwick, 1st Lieut. D. H. Wells and Capt. E. E. Hatch, were ordered to make a reconnaissance toward Jaro, to which place the enemy had retired. The reconnaissance led to the sharp engagement at Jaro and the capture of that city. The battalion lost one killed and five wounded, including one officer. Nine of the enemy killed were buried.
Up to February 26th, all of these captured positions were held by the American forces, who were continually harassed by the picket firing of the insurgents, and there were numerous outpost skirmishes. On that date a reconnaissance in force was made, under command of Maj. Cheatham, marching to Molo, where the troops crossed the Iloilo River, and proceeded to Mandurriao. While resting there, a scouting party reported an insurgent outpost. After driving in this outpost, an advance was made on the main body of the force. This was attacked and dislodged, and rapidly driven through the woods and rice-fields for a distance of three miles, when a halt was ordered and the force returned through Jaro to Iloilo. The insurgent loss was reported heavy, but nothing definite as to this
Upexploded shell fired from the Charleston, and picked up on the battlefield of Caloocan by K. I. Faust and John
Photo by K.I.F.
1st, reconnaissance was made to the W. Taylor. north of Jaro by the 18th Inf., and the Battle of Jaro River was fought. The insurgents quickly gave way to the onslaught of the American force and retreated in great disorder and confusion. The only loss on the part of the Americans was one killed and two wounded. On March 16th, a force of insurgents, estimated at over 1000 men, suddenly precipitated itself upon the town of Jaro, now occupied by the 18th Inf., which they attempted to carry by assault. Five companies of the 18th, under Maj. Keller, crossed the Jaro River and engaged them. Companies B, C, L and M, and the Tennessees, under command of Col. Childers, with Maj. Cheatham, were sent as re-inforcements. Crossing the Jaro River, and forming with their left on the river, the Tennessees came in on the right flank of the enemy, who were driven back towards Pavia, the insurgent force continually retreating until dark, which prevented our further advance. The insurgent's loss was known to be 150 killed and many wounded.
Having learned that Gen. Araneta, with 800 insurgents, had occupied Oton, a city about seven miles from Iloilo, an expedition was made, with a view to effecting their capture. Sending Maj. Cheatham, with Companies L, D and K, of the
Tennessees, by boat to a point about one mile beyond Oton, Col. Childers, with Companies A, B and F, with Maj. Bayless and Capt. Bridgman, of the 6th Art., with two guns, started before daybreak on the morning of the 8th of April, and proceeded to Molo and Aravelo, where they made a junction with troops sent by boat, and surrounded Oton at 7:30 A.M. The insurgents, however, decamped.
The Tennessee Regiment had a peculiar aptitude for winning the favor of the natives. The authority was tempered with a kindness which made itself soon felt and respected. It was no uncommon thing for the officers and soldiers to be seen in the native houses of worship, and their commingling was of that character so observable in our own south between the whites and the blacks. The obedience and respect of the latter was very evident, while the former yielded much to the little whims of the blacks. Such methods gained the good will of the blacks, who at the same time retained their self-respect. The same spirit exhibited throughout the Philippines would do much to the restoration and maintenance of peace. To the discretion of the Tennessee Regiment may be attributed the peaceable occupation of Panay up to this writing. There have been occasional outpost skirmishes, but rather with the marauding class, who at all times have infested the country. There is a rebellious spirit in the island, but, up to this time, it has not broken out. Besides Iloilo the Americans have taken possession of the towns of Molo, Trinidad, San Juan, Arizalo, San Nicoias, Gagarman, Oton, Cagbran, San Diego, Butang, Mandurriao, San Roque, Jibadan, and other small places. The administration of civil affairs is proceeding with little friction.
OPERATIONS IN CEBU.
The instructions to Col. Miller were, after establishing American authority at Iloilo, to proceed immediately to Cebu and occupy that place. Pursuant to this instruction the Petrel was despatched to Cebu. Resistance was expected, but it was thought advisable to disclose to the native population the purposes of the government.
The situation in Cebu at that time, is disclosed in the following statement made by the German Consul to the writer:
Cebu was surrendered under protest by the influence of Majie and Llorente, the two ablest Filipinos in the island, on February 17, 1899. There was a stormy meeting of the townspeople upon hearing of the approach of the Americans. The young men advised the burning of the town and fighting to the bitter end, but the older men advised calmer councils. There was a second meeting at noon and the wiser heads prevailed. On the 21st of February, the U. S. Petrel was seen, and Llorente, Garardo, Qui and Chimaco, leaders in Cebu, went out to meet her. When told by Mr. Sidebottoin, the English Consul, acting for the American government that the American Commander desired to treat, Majie said that “the people of Cebu, finding themselves abandoned by the Spaniards, have joined the Filipino Republic.” The Commander of the Petrel gave them until eight o'clock on the 22d to surrender. A great many were in favor of burning the place, but at seven o'clock on the night of the 21st of February it was agreed to yield to superior force and to give up the town, protesting against doing so, and stating that they had no order from Aguinaldo to that effect. At 8:30 on the morning of the 22d they sent this word to the Cominander of the Petrel. At 9:30, forty sailors were landed, and at 9:40 the Stars and Stripes were hoisted at Cebu.
On the 28th of February, the 1st Battalion of the 23d Inf., under Maj. Goodale, left Manila for Cebu to complete the American occupation. While the natives demurred to occupation, by the Americans, of territory outside the city of Cebu, the objections were overcome and the American occupation resulted in the establishment and maintenance of order under Col. Hamer of the Idaho Regiment, as Military Governor of the island, and for the period intended to be covered by this history there was peace in the island.
The wriier, during that time, visited the island for the purpose of observing the local conditions, and there met Lieutenant-Colonel Bayless, of the Tennessee Regiment. He said :
There is a little trouble in Cebu, but it is not serious. Dissatisfaction exists in certain quarters. The Secretary of the Treasury for the Filipino government, Señor Majie, has been stabbed, and the murderers cannot be found, because the native police will not give them up. They have fled into the mountains to a place named Sudlon, which is surrounded by an amphitheater of hills. They have 150 stands of Mausers and Remingtons, and some old rifles, and 1000 bolos. There is only one road into this town. I can take it any time. The native policemen are unreliable, so I have to place night patrols of Americans.
Col. Hamer, the Military Governor, said to the writer that “Señor Flores, who was President of the island at first, was a weak and vacillating man, so the Americans put him on the retired list, and Llorente was elected. Llorente is not a very strong man, he is a Mestizo, half Spanish and half Visayan, and has been appointed by Gen. Otis one of the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of Manila.”
In regard to the future government of the islands, the Colonel remarked:
What the conditions will be when the Governor has perfected his functions, I do not know. Some of thes, people are still for Aguinaldo, and it will be hard to make them discard him. The better class are shrewd enough to see that sooner or later the Americans will take possession of the archipelago, and have quietly changed their political belief without exciting unfavorable comment. The Filipino Governor is in the same building with myself, and we have the anomaly here of American Governor and Filipino Governor in the same building, and getting along on a very friendly basis. The native police are not reliable, and we cannot ferret out the crimes of the Bolo men. They are suspicious of us, especially the lower classes, which are the most numerous. I have a theory of the government of these islands. I do not believe the native government should be general at first. I think it would be better to begin at the bottom and organize upward; for example, organize the town first, and not the Provincial government. Preferably, let the Americans appoint a president of the town, let the natives elect and make a selection, subject to the American approval; leave the qualifications of voters for future consideration, elect a president and justice and clerk from the natives; but let their records and official acts pass under American inspection. Make the towns“ kindergartens" to give the people a chance to learn the art of self-government; divide them into wards, some to be American wards absolutely. Permit the people to elect aldermen aud councilmen, and make the city council a “kindergarten"in which to give these people a chance to learn the American system of self-legislation. I would give the president, or mayor, of the towns the absolute veto right, supervised by tlie United States authorities. My impression is that these officials should be required to report all their acts in writing to some Central American Supervisor or Governor of the islands.
There are several classes of people here to be considered. The rich and intelligent, and a few Spanish, would favor the American control. Majie was our best friend and was the best man in the island. There are certain ambitious fellows, without property interests, looters and highwaymen and pirates by nature; they get a crowd around them and by intimidation and bribes, make trouble, in order that they may be able to levy tribute in the dress of the Filipino army, and make people take off their hats to them. There is a third class of citizens in Cebu, the hill-folk, they are a still lower class, both in intelligence and property. They want the opportunity to make a living, but are easily led, and very susceptible to military influence. They seldom visit large towns and then only on market days. They seldom go even to the local villages, and then only to procure necessities. The hill-folk are deceived by monstrous stories circulated by the military party. Some of them actually believe that the Americans are black, and eat children and live on babies, and many join the insurgent army because they are afraid to do otherwise. There are few schools here, and the well-to-do send their children to Hongkong or Manila, especially to Hongkong, because they have there the advantage of learning the English language. The poor class have no education to speak of, and not twenty-five per cent of the inhabitants can speak Spanish, they speak Visayan and nothing else. The young men and women of Cebu are very anxious to learn English. For the present, religion should be let alone, absolutely as it is. The priests here are mostly Mestizos.
Governor Llorente received me with the politeness which characterizes the Spanish Mestizo. He was very frank, and spoke in an interesting way of the change which the coming of the Americans had made in Cebu. He thought, as Col. Hamer did, that the best people of the island favored American control. “What elements are against the Americans?" I asked. He replied that there were only a few, and generally the most ignorant. Their leader was Arcadio Maxillon.
They were not strong in rifles, having less than 200. “What about religion?" I inquired. “The Filipino government,” he answered, “wishes its church and state separate. It would be a pity, however, to introduce the discussion of a Protestant Mission at this time, because the public mind is pretty well unsettled just now. I would favor absolute freedom of religion, when things are in a settled condition. The Spanish rule here was very rigorous. They treated us like slaves. There are about 100 Spaniards here in Cebu.”
The discontent of the natives of late, has created some apprehension that an uprising was imminent, and to prevent this, the Supreme Justices from both Negros and Cebu visited their respective islands and good results followed for a time, but in Cebu the insurgents have become active again, and at the date of the publication of this volume, there is fighting going on with what results cannot yet be ascertained.
OCCUPATION OF NEGROS. The American occupation of the island of Negros was similar, in character, to that of Cebu, with the exception that the local authorities at that time, were more amicable and more in hearty accord with American domination than those
Photo by Darecy. of Panay and Cebu. The inhabitants of this island had been in revolt against the Spanish government, and had practically overturned all Spanish authority, so that, on November 12, 1898, a Provisional government had been established by the inhabitants with Anissitto Lacon, President, and José Luis Luzuriaga, President of the native Congress. A Cabinet was also created with functions similar to that in ali republican governments, and the Congress was made up of thirty-six deputies. Preceding the American occupation, a deputation composed of many of the representatives of this government, including its President, waited upon Gen. Otis in Manila, and expressed their desire to co-operate in the amicable establishment of American rule on the island. Indeed, so hearty was this concurrence, that previous to the advent of the Americans on the island, the American flag had been raised there by the natives, and the subsequent coming of the Americans was distinguished by an ovation rather than the reluctant submission of a defeated people. It was apparent that with such manifestation of fealty and submission it behooved the command to maintain its prestige by giving to the people the largest liberty compatible with the military occupation of the country by the United States.