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EXPEDITIONS TO THE SOUTHERN ISLANDS.
(CEBU, PANAY, NEGROS AND SULU.)
3 V NTIL the treaty of peace should be ratified or rejected by the
United States Senate, the political situation in the Philippines was uncertain, but under the instructions of President McKinley, Gen. Oiis was ordered to take and hold all the ceded territory. At this time the islands were entirely in the control of the natives, with the exception of the port and the city of Iloilo on the island of Panay. Here the Spanish force still held the city, but were closely besieged, and Gen. Otis had been notified by Gen. Rios that he could not hold the place
against the insurgents. With the uncertainties as to the disposition of the Philippines by the Spanish Cortez and the American Senate, neither the Spanish nor American commanders wished to disturb the status unless pressing need required it. It was for this reason that the command of Gen. Miller was left inactive and on board the transport off Iloilo so long.
OPERATIONS ON PANAY. On December 24, 1898, Gen. Otis, by order, created the “Separate Brigade," and assigned the command to Gen. Marcus P. Miller. The order directed that the command should proceed to Iloilo and there execute the special instructions which the commander might receive from headquarters. That part of the order relating to this matter is as follows:
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE PACIFIC GENERAL ORDERS,
AND EIGHTH ARMY CORPS.
MANILA, P. I., Dec. 24, 1898. ] 1. Brigadier-General Marcus P. Miller is assigned to the command of the following designated troops, viz: Light Battery G, 6th U. S. Art., 18th U. S. Inf., 51st Iowa Volunteer Inf., and will proceed with them to Iloilo, island of Panay, by transports, Newport, Arizona and Pennsylvania, under such naval escorts as the Rear-Admiral, commanding the Asiatic squadron, may furnish him, and there execute the special instructions he will receive from these headquarters. These troops will constitute the Separate Brigade within the meaning of the 73d Article of War, to be known and designated as the 1st Separate Brigade of the 8th Army Corps. They will be equipped and supplied as orders already and hereaster to be issued indicate. By command of Major-General Otis.
Assistant Adjutant-General. The importance of this Visayan group will be understood by reference to the chapter entitled, “The Philippine Islands and Their People.” The principal islands in the group are Panay, Cebu and Negros. The distance from Iloilo to Cebu is about 60 miles; from Cebu to Escalante on Negros, about 50 miles; and from Bacolod, on Negros to Iloilo on Panay, about 35 miles. This is by the
usually traveled routes, and the distance from the nearest point in the group to Manila is 355 miles. The military operations in these islands could not, in detail, be well directed from Manila, but they are in such close proximity that in any important movements there, the forces could support each other. While these islands, under Spanish rule, were divided into provinces, and had separate commercial centers, still there was such interchange of commodities and business that the inhabitants had become closely allied. The population of Panay is 781,325; that of Cebu 504,076; and of Negros 321,777; and the total population of the whole Visayan group is 2,384,142.
So closely affiliated are the people of these islands, that immediately after the surrender of the Spaniards, under Gen. Rios, to the insurgents, the people organized "a Visayan Republic,” with Iloilo as its capital. The governments in the different islands, however, were practically independent. The climate in these isiands is salubrious, and the country well adapted to nearly all branches of husbandry. Next to Manila, the great centers of trade of the archipelago are here. It is not only a fine grazing country and well adapted to stockraising, but sugar, hemp, tobacco, the cereals and a great variety of fruits are grown.
The expedition, under Gen. Miller, left Manila,
December 26th, convoyed by the cruiser Baltimore. On Prison at Malolos, where five arrival at Iloilo it was found that the Spanish garrison
nearly three months. I had withdrawn to Zamboango, and that the city was in possession of the insurgents. The expedition remained on the transports until February 11, 1899, pending instructions to meet the changed conditions. The 51st Iowa returned to Manila, and its place was taken by the 1st Tennessee, which arrived on February 10:h. The Baltimore was replaced by the Boston and Petrel.
On the morning of February 11th, after bombardment of the insurgent position, the Tennessee Regiment and 18th Inf. landed, and took possession of the city, driving the insurgents from their positions, on the outskirts of the town, along the river, and saving much valuable property from incendiary fires. Capt. Richmond of Company C, 1st Tennessee, was placed at some sandbag entrenchments, on the point, to prevent the insurgents on the opposite side from firing on the landing party. The remainder of the force, accompanied by Gen. Miller, marched to the Plaza and Custom House, beyond which point were the insurgents. Here Col. Childers, of the Tennessee, assigned Companies A, Capt. Reed; E,
Americans were kept for
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 Keller, consisting of Companies A, C, H and L, under the respective commands of 1st Lieut. A. E. Lewis, Capt. 0. 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
Unexploded shell fired from the Charleston, and picked up on the battlefield of Caloocan by K. J. 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 Oion, 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