Page images
PDF
EPUB

APPENDIX D.

FIELD OPERATIONS.

[Extracts from reports of Maj. W. D. Beach, inspector-general, U. S. Volunteers, concerning his services with troops in the field in the northern campaign under General Lawton, October, November, and December, 1899, and in the southern campaign under General Bates, January, 1900, dated February 2 and August 1, 1900, respectively, and of Maj. R. A. Brown, inspector-general, U. S. Volunteers, of active operations, dated July 1, 1900.]

1. REPORT OF MAJOR BEACH-NORTHERN CAMPAIGN.

MANILA, P. I., February 2, 1900. On October 24, in compliance with Special Orders, No. 153, Headquarters First Division, Eighth Army Corps (copy appended, marked A), I proceeded to Calumpit and thence up the Rio Grande de la Pampanga to San Isidro, reaching that place at noon October 25 and reporting to General Lawton, who placed me in charge of outposts, besides giving me instructions to the effect that all inspections of troops contemplated by General Orders, No. 32, Headquarters First Division, Eighth Army Corps, August 25, 1899 (copy appended, marked B), must be carried out during the campaign. Later I was placed in charge of the San Isidro ferry and approaches and the crossing of troops and wagon trains. The last duty was by far the most arduous, since frequent rains raised the river so as to make ferrying extremely hazardous. Various expedients were resorted to in order to facilitate the forwarding of troops and trains, and, with a party of 40 natives, the work was accomplished to the general's satisfaction, without the loss of a life or a pound of supplies.

While at San Isidro I was detailed, in division orders, as senior member of a board for the purchase of ponies, several hundred of which were obtained at an average price of $65, Mexican.

An investigation into the alleged opening of graves by soldiers was also made by General Lawton's direction.

On November 15 I left San Isidro en route to Tayug, distant about 60 miles, where the division commander had established headquarters. While on this march I had charge of putting in a bridge over a stream at Santa Rosa, and also put in a rope ferry over the Rio Grande de la Pampanga at Cabanatuan.

On reaching Tayug, November 24, and until leaving there on December 3, my duties were varied and continuous, part of the time requiring me to be out with small detachments carrying out special instructions of the division commander, and at other times sending out rations and supplies to detachments in the field.

On returning with division headquarters to Cabanatuan, December 5, I was sent (December 6) with a troop of cavalry to Bongabong (16 miles) to investigate the alleged killing of a soldier by ladrones; this was accomplished without accident, and the next day we returned to Cabanatuan.

From December 9 to 14, inclusive, I accompanied 5 troops of the Fourth Cavalry, under Lieutenant-Colonel Hays, as engineer officer and in charge of security and information, on an expedition to the east and south of Cabanatuan, along the foothills through Sibul. (See copy of instructions attached, marked C). This movement resulted in a skirmish near Sibul, in which we had 2 men wounded, 1 afterwards dying; but the roughness of the country prevented successful pursuit, since the enemy soon scattered. The insurgents opened the fight, and on riding forward quickly I counted 25 or 30, part of them mounted, passing across our front and at the same time firing on us. Reporting the circumstance to Colonel Hays, he gave me permission to use my detachment of 6 men independently, which was done, we succeeding in getting into action some minutes before the others. Our surgeons dressed 2 of the enemy's wounded found on the field. About 2 miles beyond this point our advance entered the town of Sibul, driving out the insurgents and capturing 3 bull carts loaded with stores, consisting in part of 8 rifles, a quantity of powder and reloading material, and a lot of official papers pertaining to General Pio del Pilar's headquarters.

We having heard nothing from General Lawton, and it being necessary to carry our wounded, our advance from this on was slow. The next morning the head of our column was fired on as we continued moving south, but a reconnoissance failed to develop an enemy. About noon we were again fired on, but the insurgents, although in some force, would not stand.

On December 11 we communicated with General Lawton, who, with Colonel Kobbé's command, had reached San Miguel that day, and sent our wounded in to that place, where they could have rest and better attendance.

Information obtained from guides and other natives pointed to a concentration of insurgents at or near Biac-na-bato, for which point the command started next morning. Arriving near the Biac-na-bato, which has always been considered impregnable by the Spaniards, and at which point the last treaty between them and the Spaniards was made, a telegraph line was noticed and cut. Pushing rapidly on, the head of our column was fired on as we approached the stronghold by what was apparently an outpost across a ravine. This outpost had allowed our advance guard to pass unmolested, but as soon as the head of the column appeared in the open'it was fired on with the evident intention of disabling the commanding officer. Fortunately no one was injured, and it took but a few minutes for a few men to dismount and drive the outpost off. Our advance guard, under Lieutenant Arnold, Fourth Cavalry, then pushed rapidly through the vacated insurgent station and up the canyon of the Boloon River, where they found and burned a storehouse containing a large quantity of rice, dynamite, and stores of various kinds, including several rifles. The next morning at daybreak I accompanied a detail of 70 officers and men under Major Morton, Fourth Cavalry, who thoroughly explored thecanyon, destroyed a quantity of ammunition and a partially completed military post.

The same day orders came to join General Lawton at San Miguel and the return march was commenced, the place being reached about noon December 14.

On December 15 headquarters returned to Manila, arriving there on the 16th, and the accumulated office work was immediately commenced. Two days later (December 18) the General sent me to Camp Alva to inspect the Eleventh Volunteer Cavalry as to their fitness for field work. The inspection over I returned to Manila (8 miles), arriving there about 8.30 p. m., and met the General on his way to the governorgeneral's residence. He indicated his intention of returning at once, and told me to wait at his house. He soon returned, and, after listening to my report, dismissed the subject with the remark that one squadron of the regiment would accompany him on the trip to San Mateo.

Orders had previously been issued for this movement, and the staff officers who were to accompany him designated. Not being selected for this trip I returned to my quarters.

The following evening, about 9 p. m., the message announcing the General's death reached us, with request that troops be sent up the east bank of the Maraquina River to meet the escort returning with the General's body, as it would be necessary to come back by that route through the city of Maraquina, and it was reported that the place was held by the insurgents. It being impossible to reach Pasay Barracks, 3 miles to the south, by telegraph, I rode there and carried General Schwan's message to Colonel Hays to go with a squadron at day break and report to General Hall. This was accomplished without incident, General Hall directing Colonel Hays to go to a point on the river opposite Maraquina and if impossibleto cross, which he predicted, then to afford such protection as was possible from the west bank. Arriving at the ford it was found impassable, and judging that there were no insurgents there because there were women in sight I crossed with three men in a banca in order to convey the instructions to the commander of the escort, which was erroneously reported in view about a mile from town. After waiting there three hours the escort appeared with General Lawton's body, and I returned, accompanying the escort to Manila.

During the whole time that I have been on duty at the First Division Heedquarters I have made numerous investigations and inspections of property, which have been duly reported, so that I will not repeat them here.

2.-REPORT OF MAJOR BEACH-SOUTHERN CAMPAIGN.

MANILA, P. I., August 1, 1900. This (southern) campaign for the subjugation of the insurrectionary forces in southern Luzon was undertaken by two "expeditionary brigades" under Generals Schwan and Wheaton, respectively, the troops for these brigades being part of the First Division, Eighth Army Corps, Major-General Bates commanding. The operations in connection with this campaign consisted mainly in a movement to the southward along the Laguna de Bay by General Schwan's brigade as far as Binan, thence southwest, west, and northwest through Silang and Indan to Naic, the cavalry moving in advance.' Meanwhile, General Wheaton's brigade moved directly south from Manila and was to act as a containing force until the other brigade was in position to cut off the retreat of the insurgents, when it was to attack vigorously and drive the insurgents to the southward, the latter being at the time in the vicinity of Imus and Novaleta. The plan was not carried out exactly as devised, although entirely successful, for the Twenty-eighth Infantry, United States Volunteers, under Colonel Birkhimer (General Wheaton's brigade), attacked so vigorously at Putol Bridge, where they met intrenched insurgents on January 7, that the enemy were so completely defeated and demoralized that they hardly made another stand in Cavite province. This was two days before General Schwan's cavalry reached Naic. Had the custom of the insurgents been to make a continuous retreat, rather than to scatter and become “amigos” for the time being, the results of this combined movement would have been more apparent. As it was, the complete defeat and large casualty list completely demoralized the insurgents of Cavite province, and they made no farther resistance worthy of the name.

From Cavite province part of General Schwan's brigade went southward into Batangas province by way of a mountain pass to Talisay, thence eastward to Tanauan and San Pablo, and southward to Lipa, Batangas, and Taal, having frequent combats, which invariably proved successful for us, with very few casualties on our side and not many on the part of the enemy.

Meanwhile part of General Wheaton's brigade had moved southward on the west of Lake Taal and occupied all towns of any importance.

General Schwan’s next move was into Laguna and Tayabas provinces, which he overran and occupied, maneuvering the insurgents out of what was probably the most formidable intrenched position on the island of Luzon, viz., that at Majayjay.

This campaign ended in February by leaving a garrison at each important town, since which time the work of pacification, of hunting ladrones, and of dispersing bands of insurrectos when they get together has been going on continuously. Many peaceably disposed natives who want to be our friends are afraid to come out openly and say so, since they know they will be killed should we abandon the towns we hold.

Certain recommendations for what were believed to be improvements in the service and in this particular department have been submitted from time to time and have always received favorable action at the hands of the department commander.

3.--REPORT OF MAJOR BROWN.

MANILA, P. I., July 1, 1900. Beginning October 1, 1899, the enemy at that time still maintained an organized resistance along the whole front of the Second Division. Headquarters of the division and the main body were at Angeles on the railroad, 50 miles from Manila. Our lines curved back on the left, through Santa Rita, to Guagua, with Bacolor as a support to these two places strongly occupied by our forces. Our right extended straight back along the railroad through Calulut, occupied by a battalion, to San Fernando, the headquarters of the Second Brigade. From this latter point the troops of General Lawton's division were moving out along the line to Mexico, Santa Ana, Arayat, and San Isidro, and until the troops on this line should be sufficiently advanced no formal movement was to be made by the Second Division.

This condition of affairs lasted throughout the month of October. On the 11th and 16th of the month the enemy made two night attacks on Angeles. That on October 11 was a feeble effort, but the attack on the night of the 16th was quite a determined attempt on the part of the enemy to overwhelm the town and our forces with fire of small arms and artillery from 2 a. m. until 5 a. m. The affair was very spectacular. The enemy's fire came from about 270° of the circle; but although bullets fell like rain over the whole town the number of our casualties was l enlisted man killed and 9 wounded. The enemy did not advance close enough to make their fire effective and retired before daybreak to avoid a counter attack.

The time during the month was occupied with drills and target. practice. The sanitary conditions received special attention, and under instructions from the division commander I made inspections regarding boiling and filtering of water, laundering, bathing, barbering, and disposal of garbage and excreta. Irregularities in this respect were corrected and there was a constant improvement during the month in the health of the command.

On November 2 the left wing was advanced to Porac and beyond, and the enemy in that direction was severely punished and pretty thoroughly disorganized by the operations of the Thirty-sixth United States Volunteer Infantry and two troops of the Fourth Cavalry, all under command of Col. J. F. Bell.

On November 5 the right wing was advanced to Magalang. The movement consisted in the march of two columns, one from Calulut, consisting of the division scouts, two troops of the Fourth Cavalry, and one battalion of the Seventeenth United States Infantry, under command of Maj. Lyster M. O'Brien, Seventeenth United States Infantry, and the second column, two battalions of the Seventeenth United States Infantry, Col. J. H. Smith commanding, the latter officer likewise commanding the two columns when they united at Magalang.

The advance of the two battalions under Colonel Smith direct from Angeles to Magalang involved an attack on the extreme left of the enemy's line and the sweeping of it aside and likewise a flank march for these two battalions. To guard against an effort on the part of the enemy to throw a heavy force against Colonel Smith's command, the whole division was formed with the troops in position for battle, ready to deploy in a moment’s notice should any movements of troops toward the enemy's left flank indicate any aggressive action on their part. The formation of the lines ready for attack answered the desire and without any advance, the enemy remaining entirely on the passive defensive. The column from Calulut met with considerable resistance from successive forces of the enemy, but these were small in number and were defeated, driven back and aside; 49 insurgents actually counted dead on the field were killed by the column. The column from Angeles under Colonel Smith met with slight resistance until near Magalang, where the enemy were in sufficient force to cause the deployment of the whole command; but the Seventeenth Infantry advanced promptly, captured the town, and drove the enemy beyond on the road north to Conception.

These two movements of the left and right wings, respectively, rectified the line for a direct advance along the line of the railroad. The 6th and 7th were occupied in organizing a system of supplies to the right wing and to the front, the rails and ties being removed from the line of the railroad for 10 miles north of Angeles. The enemy continued to occupy the line in front along the railroad in considerable force. On the 7th I accompanied Lieutenant Slavens, Fourth Cavalry, aid, in command of division scouts, on a reconnoissance to develop the left flank of the enemy, to select an artillery position and to acquaint myself with the ground, so that I could conduct a flanking force of the Ninth Infantry the following day. Our troops were all in position before daylight on the 8th, but our advance promptly developed the fact that the enemy had retired during the night. Our troops on our left flank had been unable to obtain contact on the 7th until at nightfall they reached Mabalacat in rear of the enemy in our front at Angeles. Our advance, therefore, to Mabalacat was unopposed, the enemy retiring to their strong defensive position at Bamban. Our main force advanced to Mabalacat only, but the cavalry advanced 3 or 4 miles farther and reconnoitered the position of the enemy in their trenches.

The movement of our troops thus far had been merely for the purpose of rectifying our line, and to be in position to advance promptly when General Lawton's troops should be considered sufficiently advanced on the line of operations to the east of us. The railroad had been the means of transport to Angeles, but between Angeles and Bamban the railroad was destroyed. The iron bridge at Bamban had been destroyed, partly by dynamite used by the enemy and partly by flood.

The quartermaster was therefore compelled to organize a means of supply to cover this gap, and allow for continuing such system north of Bamban till the rolling stock should fall into our hands in quantity to render the railroad of use to us. This work went on during the 9th and 10th, and was far enough advanced to warrant the forward movement on the 11th. On the 9th and 10th the enemy's position was carefully reconnoitered by Colonel Bell on the left and by Lieutenant Slavens on the right. The enemy's position had been prepared with great care. The Parao River flows through deep banks, and their position was selected on the far or north side of the river, and the trenches extended for 2 or 3 miles along a high crest. The right of their line abutted against high and difficult mountains. In front of their right and on the south side of the river was a high hill commanding their trenches and a little over a mile distant from them. Col. J. F. Bell reconnoitered this part of the position on the 9th, and after a circuitous route he reached the top of the hill to find that he was in rear of a force of the enemy in trenches on the side of the slope. Colonel Bell had with him a total of 19 men in all this, including a number of officers of his own regiment, and Lieut. Hamilton S. Hawkins and 10 men of Troop E, Fourth Cavalry. He maneuvered carefully for position and attacked the enemy in their trenches, defeated and drove them from their defenses without the loss of a single member of his party. This had a most important bearing on the final advance on the 11th. On the i0th Colonel Bell made further reconnoissance to find a practical

a

more.

trail around the enemy's right flank, and he succeeded so far that when the advance was made on the 11th one battalion of his regiment was conducted by himself as a flanking party and two battalions occupied the high hill in front of the right of their line, and which his attack of the 9th had cleared of the enemy.

The morning of the 11th the main line was formed and deployed under cover at a distance of 1,000 yards from the enemy, and in continuation of the line formed by the two battalions of the Thirty-sixth Infantry on the high hills. The action was opened at 9 a. m. by a gun of the light artillery. This was the signal for the Thirtysixth Infantry to open fire from their commanding position, the plan being that a frontal fire should be delivered at long range to occupy the enemy until Colonel Bell should appear with his flanking party, when the whole line would advance. The plan was entirely a success. Afterabout an hour of firing the flanking party appeared, but the enemy at once ceased all opposition and fled precipitately to the rear through Bamban, where many of them were able to embark under cover on a train standing on the track waiting for them. The enemy had entirely disappeared and our troops occupied Bamban by 12 o'clock. These operations had also been considerably influenced by the operations of the right wing under Colonel Smith at Magalang, which had advanced on the 10th on the road to Concepcion and on that date had driven back a force of the enemy, killing 29 of their number. On the 11th Colonel Smith continued his advance through Concepcion to Capas, meeting considerable resistance. He arrived at Capas about 2 p. m., too late to intercept the insurgent train from Bamban, but he cut off and dispersed a small force of the enemy marching along the railroad track. This stand at Bamban was the last made by the enemy to resist our advance along the railroad. From Bamban to Dagupan many difficulties had to be overcome, but they were mostly such obstacles as nature offered in a country of heavy rains and swollen rivers and impassable roads. The rolling stock of the railroad was all burned and wrecked, stations destroyed, and one bad break divided the road north of Bamban in two sections. Just north of Tarlac the Tarlac River had left its bed and swept across the railroad track, carrying the latter entirely away for a mile or

The night of November 11 the advanced forces occupied Capas, and the night of the 12th Tarlac was entered without resistance. The roads were so bad that the transportation, with supplies, did not reach Tarlac until the 14th. The four days from the 13th to the 16th, inclusive, were occupied in bringing up supplies, clearing the railroad wreck at Tarlac station, and rescuing a wrecked engine and repairing it for use. On the 16th an engine and a number of trucks of cars were in condition for service, and a supply of rations was guaranteed as far as Tarlac.

It had been the intention to continue the advance on the 16th, but the heavy rains made the Tarlac River impassable. On the morning of the 17th the river was low enough to be forded, but the ford was a mile in width at the crossing, and impracticable for all transportation except pack mules. This day the advance reached Gerona, from which Lieutenant Slavens, with the division scouts, made a reconnoissance to Panique. He returned before midnight to report that two engines and a number of cars were wrecked at Panique and that prompt action would probably render them of service. A company of the Thirty-Sixth Infantry, with Captains Stone and Hegeman, were sent at once to Panique, and by noon the next day, the 18th, an engine and enough trucks had been gotten in condition for use, and one battalion of the Seventeenth Infantry and two battalions of the Thirty-Sixth Infantry were entrained and proceeded to Moncada, where a wreck of 2 engines and 54 cars blocked the track. This wreck was cleared by noon on the 19th, and the advance continued to Beautista and Bayamban, the latter place reached at 5.30 p. m. Colonel Bell with one battalion of his regiment continued on up the railroad until further advance was stopped by finding the track removed 1 mile from Calisao and 5 miles from Dagupan. The next day the commanding general went over the same course and the division scouts were sent into Dagupan in an effort to communicate with General Wheaton at San Fabian. It is important to note that every town north, to and including Tarlac, was completely abandoned by their inhabitants upon the approach of our troops. This fact had an important bearing upon the comfort of our troops; the vacated houses furnished ample and most excellent quarters. North of Tarlac a large proportion of the people remained in their houses and showed all possible evidence of being glad to see us.

As the troops were advanced along the railroad, detachments of considerable strength were left at all the stations and at the important bridges. From this time on the line of the railroad was used as a long base of operations, and from it the troops operated to and occupied the country to the east and west-east to the country occupied by the troops of General Lawton's line of operations, and west, first to the mountains, and thence by three columns penetrating the mountains to the China Sea. One of these columns penetrated the mountain chain south at Dinaloupijan to

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »