The Battle of Bayan and Other Battles Being a History of the Moro Campaign from April 17, to Dec. 30, 1902. A Record of Events Occurring during a Period of Eight Months' Service in the Lake Region of Mindanao. Also Letters of Congratulation from His Excellency the President of the United States, Major General Adna R. Chaffee, and Others. ====== BY JAMES EDGAR ALLEN, (War Correspondent) AND JOHN J. REIDY. MANILA E. C. McCULLOUGH & CO. 1903.
Minor typographical errors have been corrected without note. Archaic spellings have been retained.
A table of contents, though not present in the original publication, has been provided below:
The Battle of Bayan. (Part First.) Rewards. (Part Second.) Battle of Gauan. The Battle of Maciu. The 27th Infantry. The 25th Battery of Field Artillery.
NOTE BY THE AUTHORS.
The facts, as related in this little volume, actually occurred on the dates herein mentioned, and anyone doubting the authenticity of this statement can easily verify it by communicating with any of the persons mentioned within these pages, or by consulting the files of any leading Newspaper or Magazine, nearly all of which published accounts of the affairs shortly after they occurred.
THE SOLDIER'S DEATH IN MINDANAO.
(By John J. Reidy.)
The lone shades of evening have fallen o'er the white tented plain, And the sun has sank deep in the horizon of the watery main. The Camp is all silent, the banners are waving no more, And the sound of the waves are echoing from the far distant shore.
The tire-worn soldier, fatigued from the march of the day, Is silently sleeping and dreaming of scenes far away. Of his own Native Land where he spent many jovial hours, Of the sweetheart with whom he has roved by the shady green bowers.
He sees in his dreams the cherished home of his boyhood so dear, And the mother he loved as she sits by the fireside in tears. She is thinking of him who has gone from her side to the war To fight the bold Moros in Mindanao's island afar.
She is patiently waiting for the bright day of gladness to come, When with arms outstretched she will welcome the warrior home. But lo, as the darkness grows denser in Mindanao's heights, The loud pealing of cannons is heard in the dark stilly night.
The trump'ter's call, echoing loud through the hills and ravines, Has aroused the brave soldier from the joy of his whimsical dreams. He has joined his brave comrades who have formed in line for the fray, Then he thinks of his mother, his sweetheart and home far away.
The battle commences, loud crashes the bolos and spears And the gleam of the bayonets shine forth like the stars in the sea. Colonel Baldwin's command is now heard by the brave and the bold, As onward they charge like lions leaping mad at a fold.
They meet in hot conflict, they bleed in the midst of the strife, For their country's freedom, for their glory, their honor and life. The battle is over amid cheers from the victors of war, But alas, one brave hero has fallen with many a scar.
Bleeding he lays on the field in his anguish and pain, Whose dreams were of home, of the loved one he will never see again. He pictures, in anguish, his mother in sorrow and gloom, Vainly waiting for him who will never return to his home.
The black cloud of death darkens o'er the young soldier so brave, Then he dies, and with honor is borne to his rest in the grave. But the mother waits on, no news from the young hero comes, For he sleeps with the brave where he fell, in a warrior's tomb.
In after years, especially when one has lived to survive a great battle, it is sometimes a pleasant thing to be able to recall to memory the scenes of by-gone days. But this cannot always be done in the desired form without some outside aid. Accordingly, this little volume is published for that very purpose, and the authors earnestly hope that it will meet with the approval of all those who were fortunate enough to survive those memorable events.
It has been the aim of the authors to give an unbiased description of the Battles, just as they occurred, and it is expressly desired that the public as well may derive some satisfaction from a perusal of the following pages.
THE BATTLE OF BAYAN AND OTHER BATTLES.
THE BATTLE OF BAYAN.
MEMORIES OF THE PAST.
As I sit here on the demolished walls of Fort Pandapatan, contemplating the magnificent scene spread out before me, my mind reverts to that awful Battle fought on the 2d of May of this year, which was rightfully designated by General Adna R. Chaffee as the hardest fought battle of the entire Philippine insurrection. And as I look down the grassy slopes of Pandapatan hill, and across the open towards Binidayan hill, on which once stood that impregnable Moro stronghold, Fort Binidayan, I can see in fancy those advancing lines of determined men and hear the awful screech of flying projectiles, just as if that terrible drama of reality were being enacted over again for my own especial benefit.
And while I am in the mood and have the inspiration to do so, I shall endeavor to convey to the reader a slight conception of what the Battle was like, and how it appeared to me on that eventful day, and which will go down in history as one of the most glorious feats of American arms.
I can see again, in fancy, that column of determined fighting men, at the head of which rode General (then Colonel) Frank D. Baldwin, struggling over the slippery mountain trails, fording the swift running rivers, and sweltering in the hot tropical sun, just as they did on April 17, 18, and 19, 1902.
It does not seem that several months have elapsed since General Chaffee issued an ultimatum to the Sultan of Bayan and other leading Moros of the Lake region, demanding the surrender of several Moro tribesmen for the murder of Pvts. Lewis and Mooris of the 27th Infantry, in March last, and for the return of several horses which had been deliberately stolen from Lieut. Forsyth, 15th Cavalry, at Buldoon, a small village in the mountains along the south coast of Mindanao.
When General Chaffee visited the little town of Malabang in the early part of April, inviting the Sultans and Dattos of the Lake region to come in and hold a friendly conference with him, little did he dream that he was taking the first step in what was to be one of the most aggressive campaigns ever inaugurated.
But when, instead of complying with the terms of the ultimatum, the Moros insolently replied to it and defied the Americans to come and fight, General Chaffee realized then that the situation was grave indeed, and accordingly telegraphed to Washington immediately for permission to proceed to the Lake region and administer a lesson to the recalcitrant Sultans and Dattos.
But it was not until after much delay that the War Department reluctantly gave permission to proceed against the Moros, and General Chaffee was cautioned not to go to the extreme of warfare, until every peaceful method had been exhausted.
THE FIRST ADVANCE.
Preparations were at once begun; an expedition was formed and got in readiness, and on April 17, 1902, six companies of the 27th Infantry, two troops of the 15th Cavalry, and the 25th Battery of Field Artillery started for the interior of Mindanao, which had, as yet, never been explored by white men.
The troops constituting that column were, for the most part, raw material, having been organized but a short time previous to the time of which I write, and had as yet seen but little of active service.
But it must not be imagined that they were all inexperienced in warfare, for in its ranks were many who had either transferred from other organizations or who had voluntarily enlisted in these organizations, and who had seen service in more than one war.
It is needless to narrate how the column marched over the first great mountain range which follows along the southern coast in a parallel line, and then on to the enemy infested region about Lake Dapao, which is but a forerunner of a more impregnable region, and which is now gradually resuming its former peaceful aspect, and which in time will develope into one of the most productive regions in the Philippine Archipelago.
THE ENEMY ENCOUNTERED.
Suffice it to say that after three days of hardships and privation, those troops, constituting what was known as the "Lake Lanao Expedition," encountered the enemy on a bit of rising ground at a place known as Gadungan, and after two engagements fought, one there, and one at a place known as Fort Pualos, a camp was established in that vicinity and negotiations with the Moros were renewed.
These were but preliminary engagements and were merely forerunners of what was to come.
After a useless delay and fruitless attempt to restore peace, the column again advanced, this time for the Bayan Forts.
On May 1 the little army of American troops arrived at a point on the south-eastern shore of Lake Lanao, overlooking the Lake and in sight of the enemy's stronghold.
At this juncture Brigadier General George W. Davis, commanding the Seventh Separate Brigade, and who had been designated by General Chaffee to personally accompany the expedition, arrived from Malabang after making a flying trip across the mountains.
A temporary camp was established and General Davis prepared messages in Arabic writing, which were immediately sent to the Sultan of Bayan, demanding his surrender by noon of May 2, or suffer the consequences.
These messages are known to have been delivered but they were not replied to.
During the night of May 1, the American outposts were fired upon frequently by the Moros, but they did not reply to the fire of the enemy.
At daylight camp was broken, and the column pushed ahead in the direction of Bayan.
The column was halted about one half mile from the first fort.
The Moro outposts opened fire on the Americans, but they were not replied to.
The Americans were waiting for twelve o'clock.
About one thousand yards to the right and front was a small clump of bamboo, several natives appeared there, firing a few shots and flourishing their weapons, all the time yelling like mad.
It was now plainly seen that the Moros were determined to have war.
The Artillery was brought into play and trained on the clump of bamboo on the right, also Fort Binidayan, which was situated on the crest of a high hill about fifteen hundred yards distant.
Those were indeed moments of suspense for those gallant troops, but not a shot was fired by them, although they were under an almost constant fire from the enemy.
But just at twelve o'clock, General Davis stepped forward, watch in hand, and took one long, lingering look in the direction of Fort Binidayan, and then, not seeing any signs of a peace envoy, but, on the contrary, every indication of hostility, he turned slowly to Captain W. S. McNair, of the 25th Battery, and gave the signal to "let her go."
"Boom," echoed the little mountain guns, and away went a shrapnel screaming across the open and just three and six-tenths seconds after, exploded immediately over the fort.
Instantly figures were seen hurrying to and fro about the fort.
"Boom!" went another, this time at the clump of bamboo on the right.
A puff of smoke, and then,—a cloud of dust immediately in front of the bamboo—told the tale only too well to the gunners.
The battle of the Bayan forts had begun.
Quick movements were observed here and there, companies were being assigned their positions, orders were being transmitted like lightning from point to point, and in less time than it takes to narrate it, that body of men were swung into action like the pendulum of a clock.
DESTRUCTION OF BINIDAYAN.
The work of demolishing the Binidayan Fort had now begun in earnest, companies "F" and "G" of the 27th Infantry advanced in line of skirmishers, while the Artillery continued a slow fire on the Fort, company "H" joined "F," and crossed the intervening ridge and then through the little valley, while "G" went off to the right, to flank Binidayan and at the same time to make a demonstration against Fort Pandapatan, which was to the right and rear of Binidayan.
Fort Pandapatan was the second fort known as the system of Bayan forts, of which there are four.
At the base of the Binidayan hill the Infantry halted for an instant, and then started up the hill in a long, thin line of skirmishers, with determination written in their faces.
It was the initial event of the kind for many of them, but every head was erect, every man in his place.
There was not a bit of confusion, simply an orderly line of men coming up to do battle.
They were under a constant fire from the enemy while they were advancing but they did not reply to them until they were close enough to plainly distinguish the heads of the Moros bobbing up and down in the trenches which surrounded the Fort.
They laid down prone on the ground then and poured a withering fire into the fort and trenches, which quickly routed the enemy.
Suddenly, back on the ridge where the Artillery were stationed the clear notes of a bugle were heard, sounding "Charge."
Instantly those blue shirted figures away up on the grassy slope, rose as if by magic, and then pressed forward and upward, with a yell that was sufficient in itself to route the enemy, and it did route them, for the Moros were fleeing and falling back on Fort Pandapatan by hundreds.
The troops reached the very walls and there paused for an instant—to gain breath, then a command rang out, clear and cool, and it seemed that one mighty wave swept on and over the walls, and in an instant more, those standing back on the ridge where the Artillery was, saw "Old Glory" unfurled to the breeze from the shattered walls of Fort Binidayan.
The first position of the enemy had been taken without loss to the Americans.
But not so fortunate for the Moros, for here and there a mangled body of a dusky warrior dotted nature's carpet, some already dead, others breathing their last, but stubbornly defying the Americans to do their worst.
At this stage of the battle there came a distinct lull in the firing, and both sides took advantage of it to "take a hitch" and prepare for the real battle, which was yet to come.
During this lull the Artillery closed up and took their new position on Binidayan hill, a little to the south of the fort.
Floating over Fort Pandapatan there were no less than twenty large red flags.
Most of the Moros had already fallen back on this stronghold and they could plainly be seen, throwing up extra intrenchments.
It was now two o'clock and the real work was about to begin.
Companies "E" and "F" started straight down the Binidayan hill in the direction of Pandapatan, while "B" Company was sent to the right.
After the Infantry had crossed the little valley in front, the Artillery opened up and the big fight was on.
THE REAL BATTLE BEGINS.
The shell and shrapnel flew fast and furious from those little mountain guns, accompanied by the music of the "Krags."
On and on, nearer and nearer up the hillside came the crash of advancing troops, smothering other unseen trenches on their way, until by nightfall there was not a rifle but could shove its muzzle into the very face of the trench behind which the Moro warriors laid in waiting, peering down the slope between the explosions for something they feared more than the whistling fragments of Krupp shells—the blue-shirted form of the silent American soldier, with whom the Moros knew the ultimate issue rested.
On they came, however, up the hill, silent and straight, hundreds of them, right into the open below the trench from behind which the Moros delivered a withering fire and gasped at the folly of the Americans.
Up and up they came, the lower lantacas blasting them off the face of the earth, but still they rushed on and upward against the frowning walls.
The mountain guns howled and roared over them, the walls grew troubled and shaky, falling in and falling out, dimly seen between the curtain of smoke and sheet of flame whirling about the leaping stones.
But steady eyes were gleaming where they could through the sheets of fire, and steady fingers were pulling triggers rapidly and incessantly.
The crash came unbroken and clearly heard from the midst of the uproar thundering up at the trench, as if the shells were bursting with a million rattling fragments, and down the slope were tumbling the blue-shirted figures, one under that tree, two over there by the big boulder, another here and a dozen more down there, and during the next two hours there was the most magnificent display of true courage and grit ever heard of or seen.
The Artillery roared in anger and anguish, but apparently of no avail, for the long streams of fire continued to pour from the fort with regular intervals, and more blue-shirted figures went tumbling down the hill.
But this did not continue very long, for the Artillery turned loose all its little dogs of war and they barked fiercely and hurled death projectiles into the fort and trenches with renewed vigor.
Think how you would feel if a person should hurl a stone at you with a tremendous shout.
Multiply the stone and shout by twenty millions, add fire and smoke and nauseous vapors, and imagine the earth trembling beneath your feet, with the air filled with screaming projectiles, even then you cannot imagine the terror of that Artillery assault.
DEFIANT TO THE LAST.
But the fanatical Moros would not give up; there they stood in the very midst of that hurricane of death, calm, immovable, and indifferent to it all. Their resistance could not help but be admired as they stood there calm and defiant, against that advancing, enveloping thunderstorm of musketry. But it must not be imagined that they were idle; far from it. If one can imagine taking a handful of pebbles and hurling them with a strong force against a pane of glass, then, and then only, can one imagine the whirlwind of bullets which the Moros were pouring into that little army of Americans out there in the open.
When it is considered that the Americans were out in the open storming this fort while the Moros were strongly fortified and deeply intrenched, the fierceness of the battle and the heroism of the troops can be imagined. Nothing like it had ever been seen before and nothing like it ever will be seen again. Regardless of bullets and the flying fragments of shell and shrapnel, Baldwin's men kept steadily onward and upward, until they were within a few yards of that impregnable wall, through whose portholes there poured a constant stream of fire. It was like gazing through the doors of a red hot furnace. And all the time the swarm of blue-shirted figures rolled on and upward until they could have dropped a stone over the wall.
They had now gone the limit, as they were very near the dangerous zone of the exploding shrapnel and were compelled to halt to keep from being struck by their own men.
THE WALLS TREMBLE.
Suddenly, back on the hill where the little dogs of war were barking, a command was heard, "Battery, Fire!" and the air was filled with flying projectiles which went screaming and screeching across the open and striking the walls of the fort with a mighty impact, that structure was shaken to its very foundations. Even untouched, one felt shaky and uncertain on that hillside, and one would have felt his body rending to pieces as he looked where a shell burst in the midst of a trench, and heard the filthy squelch and sharp cries above the roar, and saw the awful faces through the red glare and curtain of smoke, and the mangled corpses of dead bodies hurled high in the air.
It would make a thrilling scene for some great war drama. The history of war has had few situations as thrilling as this day's battle.
The artillery "let itself go" again and it was impossible to stand on that hillside, so fiercely was the breath of the shells blasting across it in hot, staggering gusts, the tall dry grass bending before it, and the air filled with flying debris, which followed in the wake of a shell in little circling whirlwinds. Skimming but a few feet over the heads of the American fighting line, the shells would burst upon the trenches or on the ground below them, when attackers were so close to attacked that the gush of oily smoke hid both, and both the death yell and the yell of triumph were mingled in one mighty shout and ceaseless roaring.
THE ENEMY'S COLORS FALL.
Boom! went the little war dogs, then boom,—boom—boom—boom, in quick succession, and then the wall crumbled, vanished in parts, and lo! behold! the flags were down! Their crimson colors were dangling in mid air for an instant, then were caught in the shower of a bursting shrapnel and hurled to the ground.
Oh! the grandeur of that last few moments' bombardment! Not a shell went astray; the parapet received them all full in the face. In one great explosion the Moros stood and fired, in one atmosphere of blasted air and filthy fumes, in one terrible shadow of the coming darkness, in one continual earthquake. They seemed to go mad, as well they might, for annihilation loomed in the distance for those who yet remained. As the soldiers of America drew nearer, many of the Moros actually leaped from their cover on to the top of the parapet and were seen against the sky background, wildly firing down at the advancing troops, in the very midst of the bursting shells.
Hell was surely let loose on those dusky fanatics who manned the portholes of Pandapatan. Truly, war is hell!
They fought with a fanatical frenzy, but nothing on earth could stop that line of advancing, invincible soldiers. Up they went, until at last, it became necessary for the artillery to cease firing.
The troops reached the very walls, and there remained, for entrance was impossible.
However, after fighting hand to hand until dark, the outer trenches were taken. With the capture of these trenches the enemy's position was practically won. But the Moros did not yet give up; on the contrary they made preparations to resist to the death. They had sworn to die in battle, and they were admirably carrying out the oath.
SUFFERINGS OF THE WOUNDED.
Darkness had fallen now and it began to rain in torrents. Night fell terribly for the wounded out there. That awful cry, "Doctor! This way. Help!" can be heard to this day. It continued throughout the night, but not in vain, for the artillerymen were out there all night carrying the wounded off the field and rendering valuable aid to the surgeons. These men worked like heroes every one, and deserve the greatest credit for the magnificent gallantry shown during that terrible night's work while under a constant fire from the enemy.
THE DEFIANT SULTAN'S DOWNFALL.
It seemed that a difficult problem lay before the Americans that night. It was proposed that a number of scaling ladders be made and that the place be carried by assault. Accordingly, construction on these ladders was begun at once, but they were destined never to be used, for at daylight the white flags were fluttering over the fort and Pandapatan had fallen.
A GRUESOME SIGHT.
At last the big fight was over. After nearly twenty-four hours of continual firing the Americans had conquered. It had been a splendid battle, and what manner of death the vanquished had suffered only those who looked into the fort and trenches after the battle, can say. The mangled bodies of the Moro dead were piled up eight and ten deep in places, and only those acquainted with the technicalities of a slaughter house can imagine the sight as it appeared the next morning after the battle. But these people would have war, and war they got, in all its glory. Just eighty-three survivors remained out of the hundreds that resisted the Americans.
But it must not be imagined that this great victory had been achieved without loss to the Americans. Their casualties were far greater than those of an ordinary battle, numbering close to a hundred.
With the break of day the gruesome task of burying the dead began, and continued throughout the day, and by nightfall of May 3d the Battle of Bayan was over and passed, but I cannot say forgotten, for that can never be, for the memory of that battle will ever dwell in the minds of those who witnessed or participated in that never-to-be-forgotten event.
JAMES EDGAR ALLEN.
To receive praise for work accomplished, no matter in what form, is certainly pleasing to every phase of humanity. And to be rewarded for our work gives us a certain feeling of satisfaction, and assures us that our work along a certain line has been appreciated and admired. But to a soldier, whose duty is to do battle, praise for his victories is more than pleasing—it is exalting. And when after struggling along almost indefinitely at a certain task, and finally accomplishing it with overwhelming success, he is commended by anxious relatives and friends, usually the height of his ambition has been reached.
But to be especially commended and congratulated for his achievements, and by his superior officers and his commander-in-chief especially, is one of the highest honors that could be conferred upon him.
When he has performed deeds of true valor and courage, wherein he exhibits exceptional bravery, and is almost overwhelmingly besieged with letters of congratulation and praise, he has received one of the greatest of earthly rewards. But there are other rewards, such as promotion, for instance, and one has but to consult our army records at Washington to find that many of those who constituted what is known as the Lake Lanao Expedition have been fittingly rewarded for their gallant services on the 2d day of May, 1902.
That the reader may judge of the magnificent gallantry shown by those troops on that eventful day, a few of the letters are hereby published in full.
COPY OF CONGRATULATORY MESSAGES.
CAMP VICARS (Mind.), P. I., May 7, 1902.
The troops of the Lake Lanao Expedition have been paraded in order that the following messages may be read to them:
MANILA, May 4, 1902. TO GENERAL DAVIS:
Order that the following message of the President of the United States be read to every company and troop in your Brigade. It will be published in Division Orders for the information of other commanders, and as a special mark and tribute to the assaulting force of the Battle of Bayan.
WASHINGTON, D. C., May 5, 1902. TO GENERAL CHAFFEE, MANILA.
Accept for the Army under your command, and express to General Davis and Colonel Baldwin especially, my congratulations and thanks for the splendid courage and fidelity which has again carried our flag to victory. Your fellow countrymen at home will ever reverence the memory of the fallen, and be faithful to the survivors, who have themselves been faithful unto death for their country's sake.
(Sgd.) THEODORE ROOSEVELT.
MANILA, May 4, 1902. TO GENERAL DAVIS:
Please accept my congratulations for yourself, and express to Colonel Baldwin and all the officers and men engaged in the Battle of May 2, my high appreciation of their bravery, gallantry and soldiery conduct. My congratulations to both officers and men. I sincerely regret the death of some and the wounding of others. Let no comfort be withheld from the latter that can be supplied them.
(Sgd.) GENERAL A. R. CHAFFEE, Commanding Philippines.
CEBU, May 4, 1902. TO GENERAL DAVIS:
My sincere congratulations to Baldwin, and to the officers and men engaged yesterday. Also to yourself for your energetic and skillful conduct of the whole affair, from first to last. It was necessary to give the Moros a lesson, and it seems to have been done in such a manner that it will not have to be repeated.
(Sgd.) BRIGADIER GENERAL WADE.
REMARKS OF GENERAL GEORGE W. DAVIS.
Words at my command fail to convey an adequate expression of admiration for the gallantry and self-sacrifice which I saw displayed by the assaulting lines and investing cordon on the 2nd of May. The memory of this sanguinary action will be treasured by all participants and observers as long as they live. For the 27th Infantry and the 25th Battery of Field Artillery, Bayan will always be an inspiration. At this moment of exaltation and triumph do not forget the vanquished foe, whose persistent gallantry commanded the admiration of all who saw the magnificent defense of their stronghold. A race of men who have been able to make such a fight, and who have turned this wilderness into a garden, have many qualities which if guided right will make them and their posterity valuable citizens. None can doubt who have seen what they have accomplished without the aid which civilized people enjoy. Let no word or act be brought home to the American soldier that discredits or disparages these Moros. Let it be the unremitting effort of every officer and soldier to assist and elevate them, a sacred duty which is devolved upon the Army, an added burden which must be borne; and every American relies upon our troops to execute this sacred trust. So far there has been no act of wanton despoilment, injury or insult; let none ever be charged to an American soldier. Our flag is an emblem of freedom and honor, and it remains with you that it shall become such an emblem to the Moros, and ever so remain.
(Sgd.) GEORGE W. DAVIS, Brigadier General, U. S. A., Commanding Seventh Separate Brigade.
HEADQUARTERS LAKE LANAO EXPEDITION, CAMP VICARS (Mind.), P. I., May 7, 1902.
The commanding officer appreciates the gallantry of his regiment. The encounter of the 19th, 20th, and 21st of April, ending in the capture of Fort Pualos, and on May 2d in the capture of nine fortified positions and the final overcoming of a most desperate enemy, in a thoroughly equipped fortification known as Fort Pandapatan, where our losses were far greater than those of an ordinary battle, is the initial event in the history of the Regiment, and has set a high standard of valor and courage which will never be lowered as long as the 27th Infantry exists. He also desires to express his high appreciation of the gallantry and devotion to duty of the 25th Battery of Field Artillery, and desires that they consider the foregoing remarks concerning his regiment apply equally to them.
(Sgd.) F. D. BALDWIN, Colonel, Comd'g 27th Infantry.
SERMON ON "COURAGE."
Following is a copy of the admirable sermon preached by Chaplain George D. Rice of the 27th Infantry, to the troops of the Lake Lanao Expedition, on the Sunday following the battle of Bayan:
"I am going to speak to you to-day on courage, and how I saw it displayed on May 2d, while you were engaged in open combat with the Moros.
"There was a time when I thought that true courage was the absence of fear. But after witnessing the battle of this week I have seen that which has caused me to think differently now, because you demonstrated to me on that day that true courage is not the absence of fear, but the conquest of it. Surely, yours was the highest order of courage.
"I recollect when 'E' Company came to re-enforce. I turned and watched three men in skirmish line coming through the tall grass under heavy fire from the fort. They knew they were coming into the thickest of the fire, but the interval in that line was correct, every piece right, no shouting or noise of any sort. Simply a perfect line of determined men coming up to take part.
"'Tis more than courage, I thought. It is order, it is discipline and coolness. And the wounded! Such courage! One man struck in the leg. We would help him to the rear; but no, he could crawl and refused help. Another hit in the right arm, and he laughed. Then a bullet struck his left arm and he only smiled and said: 'They did not treat me like this in the Panay campaign.'
"Lieut. Wagner was shot in the stomach and leg, and said to me: 'My only regret is to leave the fort with my work unfinished.' I saw one soldier whom I supposed was dead, I pulled a shelter-half over him; just then a soldier came running by. An officer shouted, 'Where are you going?' 'My ammunition is all gone,' replied the man. I saw the shelter-half move. In a moment my supposed dead man was sitting upright. He removed his belt containing a few cartridges and gave it to the soldier. I wish I could remember this man, but there were twenty or thirty dead and wounded near there, and they were doing brave and unexpected things like this all the time.
"Brave Vicars fell, mortally wounded, leading 'F' Company. Lieut. Jossman had hardly time to assume command when he, too, was shot, leaving 'F' Company without an officer, yet his finely disciplined company held its line perfectly. A bullet struck Captain Moore in the head, and as he rolled into one of the ditches he was heard to say, 'Do not retreat.' I saw a wounded soldier making a noble effort to get out of the line of fire. Who would help him? 'I'm going to help that man if I die for it,' I heard someone say, as the man repeatedly tottered and fell, with a terrible wound in his side. I looked, and in a moment brave Lieut. Bickham, tall and strong, was facing the numerous shot and shell to save his man, and he succeeded. A bullet passed through Major Scott's hat, grazed his head, and brought the Major to his knees, but this officer remained on the line.
"During that awful fight I saw officers and men leave their positions in front of those terrible portholes for two reasons only—either because wounded or to get more ammunition.
"There were hundreds of instances of heroism occurring about that fort. When Lieut. Fulmer called for volunteers to scale the walls, dozens of men responded. Lieuts. Hawkins and Wilson performed noble service, and were a credit to themselves and their regiment. Battalion Adjutant Drum, with his face smeared with powder and the dust of battle, was as cool as he was courageous. Captains Phillips, Rogers, Lyons and Hutton were with their respective commands, encouraging their men and doing excellent service.
"It was surely a high order of courage that caused Sgt. Graves to swing himself over the outer stockade of Binidayan when the fanatic Moro and his knife could be seen above. It was courage of the most godly type that took Corporal McGoveren down into the trenches to prop up the heads of wounded men and give them water, while fighting, biting, dying Moros occupied the same trenches. It was kingly courage on the part of Corpl. Keeler, who, when shot in the leg, refused help, and said to me, 'I can get to the rear alone, sir; help someone else.' It was courage of the Christian soldier that inspired Sergt. Major Ingold and Sergt. McCarthy, both wounded, to speak words of hope to their comrades.
"The courage displayed by the Moros was very different. The Moros were caught in a trap. They knew it, and they fought the desperate fight of their lives. You can drive a mouse into a corner like this, and he, too, will turn. Bravery through necessity is not the true courage which comes of Christ.
"Officers and soldiers of the 27th Infantry, I congratulate you to-day. You have been tested and shown what you can do. You deserve credit for what you did, and it is my earnest desire that the credit be equally divided. When you write home to your people and tell them of the gallant victory of the 27th Regiment, I want you to remember to speak of others whose presence and deeds rendered it possible for you to accomplish what you did. I want you to remember the officers and enlisted men of the 25th Battery. After the work of the battery was done, the members of the battery came to the front with litters made of rifles, bamboo poles, ponchos, and shelter-halves, with which they picked up many wounded and took them to the surgeon. These men came to the line in squads, each with litters, asking for wounded men, and several wounded men owe their lives to these brave batterymen. They would go anywhere to get a wounded man. They faced the thickest of the fire. A wounded man was pointed out in a bunch of grass, and the bullets struck there so fast that one could see the grass cut off. But these Artillerymen went there, and in a few moments had the man safe in a litter. And all night these noble fellows kept up the work. They took wounded from the jungles, the trenches and the open, and carried them to a place of safety. Let us never forget the work of the officers and men of the 25th Battery.
"Captain McNair, and Lieutenants Clark, Sunderland, and Deems of this battery are worthy of our praise and thanks. Major Porter, surgeon, tried to get on the line to treat a wounded man when a shot struck him and brave Porter had to be taken to the rear. Just behind him I saw hospital corps man Johnson also trying to reach a wounded man when Johnson fell into one of the terrible and dark pitfalls of the enemy, but got out later and did good work with the wounded. Young Dr. Allan deserves credit for dressing numberless wounds of officers and men in the trenches close to the fort and under fire that day. Drs. LeCompte and Grabenstatter worked like heroes. Major Anderson, chief surgeon of the expedition, made every preparation possible for the care of the wounded officers and enlisted men. The entire medical corps remained up all night attending to the wounded. They deserve great credit for their work on that rainy, chilly and dark night under the fire of the enemy.
"And do not forget the men of the pack-train. Do you know that these men brought a pack-train of ammunition to you over the slippery dangerous trail that night?
"Captains Shuttleworth and Andrus, Lieutenants Peck and Fries and their packers worked hard for you. They toiled constantly until they had every wounded officer and man supplied with tentage, cots, blankets, and clean clothes. Likewise, kindly remember the engineers and signal corps men. Their work in this expedition will never be forgotten. Our commanding officer, Colonel Baldwin, never rested that night. He was up and planning for the morrow and for you. General Davis and his orderly and a small guard rode many miles that night to the next camp below to arrange for more troops to come up."
Thus spoke Chaplain Rice, equally dividing the credit of the victory, and praising all for their part taken in the battle. But in all his words there is one thing that he failed to do, which is characteristic of this noble man. He failed to mention his own gallant services, of which too much praise cannot be given. Almost from the beginning of hostilities he was on the firing line, and up near the fort, speaking words of cheer and comfort to the men in the trenches, and "God bless the chaplain," are the words of every man of the Lake Lanao Expedition.
JAMES EDGAR ALLEN.
BATTLE OF GAUAN.
It is night again, the battle of Bayan is now fought and indeed very gloriously won. The last reports of the yet warm cannon have ceased to echo through the distant hills and ravines. The khaki-clad warriors and laurel-crowned victors, blood stained and weary from the struggle of the recent battle, have sought a well earned and much needed repose. But their sleep is not one of comfort or rest, for they have contentedly lain down uncovered on the cold damp ground.
The shrill notes of the bugle call them from their dreamy slumbers at an early hour and their first duty is to finish burying the dead and lend what aid is possible to the sick and wounded, who were too sick and exhausted at this time to be removed over the rugged trails to the hospitals at Malabang.
To do this it was absolutely necessary to establish a camp, somewhere adjacent to the centre of hostilities.
It was then that the post of Camp Vicars, now so widely known throughout the nations of the earth, first had its origin. It was so named in honor of the brave and ever dauntless soldier, Lieut. Vicars, who unfortunately lost his life from a wound received, while heroically engaged in the capture of the stronghold.
Everything is now placid, hostilities had ceased for a time at least, the Moros driven as they were from their forts, and stockades, which had been their sole protection for centuries past against all foreign invasion, had sought shelter from the yet unconquered tribes wherever it could be had, offering scarcely any resistance or hostilities to the troops then at the camp.
GENERAL CHAFFEE ARRIVES.
General Adna R. Chaffee soon afterwards paid a visit to the recently established camp, arriving with his escort May 10, 1902.
He was given a full account of the battles hitherto fought in that region—Bayan included—from officers who themselves had been daring participants in all the fights.
He immediately decided to send messages to the principal sultans and dattos, who were then commanding tribes of savage bolomen along the most impassable regions of the lake shores. The subject matter of his messages were authoritative invitations to come into the camp and hold a friendly conference with him.
He received favorable replies from many of them and two days later the following named sultans and dattos decided to respond to his invitation: Sultan of Genassi; Sultan Amai Tampugao of Tubaran; Sultan of Binidayan; Datto Sa Bayang of Bayan; Datto Pedro of Uato; Datto Agar of Makadah; Datto Agato of Madatlum; Datto Amay Mala-Mala of Taburan; Datto Amay Magatano of Binidayan.
After they had reported it was thought that the greater part of the Moro trouble had subsided. But this was not so—far from it. Their terms of peace were, to say the least, short lived, for in the early part of the month of July a detachment of men was brutally and unexpectedly attacked by a band of bolomen on the trail. They were outnumbered by the enemy, and consequently many of the Americans were wounded and some three or four killed outright.
It was now very evident, judging from their recreant action, that the natives had broken all treaties of peace and violated the laws of friendship, so honorably laid down by the Americans.
This evidence of their recriminating and rebellious nature was doubly substantiated, when on August 1st the Sultan of Bacolod, who until then had remained peaceable, sent to Captain J. J. Pershing, commander of the troops at Camp Vicars, the following insolent message, which is translated below for the benefit of our readers:
We ask you to return to the sea because you should not be here among civilized Moros, for you are not religious. If you stay here we will fight you this month, and in no event will be your friends, because you eat pork. We say to you that if you do not leave this region, come here and the Sultan will sacrifice you, and if you do not wish to come we will come to you and fight.
This was followed in a few days by another message to the commanding officer, from the Sultan of Maciu, which was also of a defiant nature.
Circumstances now began to look rather grave at Camp Vicars. The Americans had endeavored by every means in their power to prevent further hostilities and trouble, but had failed in all their efforts to bring about peace between themselves and the dark-skinned natives of the trackless plains of Mindanao.
A BLOODY DEED.
The Moros did not, however, make any advances until the night of August 12, when the most appalling and most ghastly murder that has ever been witnessed took place about two hundred yards from the camp. The moon had disappeared temporarily behind a dark cloud, the men had all retired for the night, and everything seemed tranquil, when suddenly the camp was aroused by the firing of shots in rapid succession by the members of the outpost.
The trumpeter was now calling every slumberer to arms, and in a few moments the entire garrison was ready for action. The cries of the men for help and the crashing of the bolos and spears could be heard in the calmness of the dark stilly night. There was no time for idle thoughts, no time to be wasted, for it was evident from their appealing cries that the members of outpost No. 4 had been attacked by the blood-thirsty Moros.
Lieut. Bickham, commanding Company "F," proceeded in all haste to cross the deep ravine and re-inforce the brave men, who, though outnumbered by a large majority, were nevertheless fighting desperately for their lives.
They arrived on the scene too late to prevent the massacre and death of their fallen comrades, for the savages had by this time made well their escape, after performing one of the most savage, most treacherous and most blood-curdling deeds, that has ever hitherto been recorded in the pages of bloody history.
Not content with killing their victims, they had cut them with their bolos and long spears, until their bodies were beyond recognition. The killed were Sergeant Foley and Pvt. Carey of Co. "G," 27th U. S. Infantry, men whose gallantry, kindness, bravery, and social disposition had won for them the admiration of not only the members of their own company, but of everybody who knew them.
The wounded were Pvts. VanDorn and Christianson, also of Co. "G."
A BRAVE STAND.
Perhaps never in the history of battles and wars did men fight with such grim determination and fearlessness in the very face of death, as did VanDorn and Christianson of Co. "G." Having fallen to the ground from loss of blood and exhaustion, they still bravely clung with untiring tenacity to their rifles and never once flinched or even thought of retreating to a place of safety until the re-inforcements had arrived on the bloody scene and the natives had vanished in the underbrush. An investigation ensued which disclosed the fact that the attacking parties belonged to the tribes of Datto Amay Grar.
Immediately afterwards what was to be the last ultimatum was issued to the Moros of the Lake region, particularly to the Sultan of Bacolod and the Sultan of Maciu demanding, rigidly, an explanation regarding the recent attacks upon the Americans, as well as the immediate surrender of the murderers in their tribes who were guilty of committing various acts of injustice and cruelty since the historical battle of May 2.
Their replies were, as usual, of a defiant, insolent, and sullen nature.
The Americans, seeing that the restoration of peace in the island of Mindanao could not be brought about by fair and honorable means, decided to administer a lesson to them that they would not very readily forget.
An expedition was organized on short notice, commanded by Capt. J. J. Pershing, of the 15th Regiment of Cavalry, a man whose never failing courage, valor, and ability as an officer and commander is unexcelled in the American Army.
Every preparation was made for the coming events, and on September 17, at midnight, what was known as Captain Pershing's expedition left Camp Vicars under cover of darkness and proceeded through rugged trails to Maciu's strongholds and neighboring principalities.
The expedition consisted of Companies "F," "G," "C," and "M" of the 27th Infantry; Troop "L" 15th Regiment of Cavalry; and the 25th Battery of Field Artillery.
On the morning of the 18th, as the first refulgent beams of "Old Sol" had begun to illuminate the eastern horizon, the column had reached and halted close by Fort Gauan, and ere another hour had elapsed the entire fortification was surrounded by our troops.
The 25th Battery had halted directly in front of, and about 300 yards from, the fort, while companies "M" and "F," "G" and "C" had formed skirmish lines on the left and right of the fort. The command was given for the first shot to be fired and everybody waited in silent expectancy for the outcome. In an instant there was a flash, and "bang" went the projectile with lightning velocity, hitting the outer breastworks of the enclosure, from which rose vast clouds of smoke and fragments.
The firing from the fort was rapid at first, but gradually diminished as the outer bombardment continued, and finally ceased altogether, for the Artillery onslaught had been terrible while it lasted, and nothing remained of that once impregnable fortress save a few shattered walls, with here and there the mangled corpse of a dead Moro.
The day was gradually drawing to a close, which made it necessary for us to establish a temporary camp for the night.
This was done, and very fortunately, adjacent to a small river, which proved to be a great convenience to both men and animals.
Natives fired frequently into the midst of the camp, but fortunately without any serious casualty to the Americans. The first faint glimmer of dawn that broke over the eastern hill-tops found us again in readiness and, after partaking of a hurried breakfast, we broke camp and again took up the trail, this time in the direction of Bayubao.
The trails were, in a great many places, almost impassable, making marching with equipments very laborious. However, we arrived at Bayubao about 2 p.m. and rested for refreshments on the top of a high hill, which over-looked the fort and the unruffled waters of Lake Lanao.
We had not been long in the enjoyment of our much needed rest, when the natives, who were until then concealed in the brush, poured a volley into our midst. The entire column was immediately summoned to action, and a grander sight could not be witnessed than to see that body of brave and disciplined soldiers taking their respective places and falling into line for action.
The Battery was brought into action on the hill-top, with the guns carefully trained on the fort by reliable and experienced marksmen, then a noise arose which seemed to echo back from the very firmaments as if the giant and mighty mountains had left their very sockets and were tumbling in a confused mass into the deep waters of the lake below.
The Battery had cut loose and "let her go," and projectile after projectile was sent from the guns on the hill-top "straight home" and into the very midst of the fort, enveloping everything for a moment in clouds of smoke and flying fragments, which was almost suffocating.
Oh! what a strange feeling influences the soldier when he hears the first "Boom" of a cannon, for full well he knows that it is only a stepping stone leading to the midst of the fray.
The natives returned the fire slowly but steadily, and in a manner that was creditable, for they were not only taken by surprise but were at a critical disadvantage owing to the elevation. Still the firing kept up and more than one dark-skinned foeman could be seen falling, rifle in hand, lifeless on the green sward.
They were now growing confused, ungovernable, and were firing recklessly like savage maniacs at the unflinching column of brave American soldiers, who were cooly aiming and firing at the commands of the valiant officers whenever a well directed shot was to be had. It now appeared evident that before this rain of bullets from the Infantry and the bursting of shrapnel from the Artillery they could not withstand much longer, and our position was such that to hit us at such a range and elevation was almost impossible.
Again the Battery opened up with one last and mighty sheet of solid shot and shrapnel, which made the very walls tremble and shake like the leaves of a forest before a hurricane, and then deathlike shrieks could be heard from within, the stout walls had crumbled to a thousand atoms, and the Sultan of Bayubao, with many of his tribesmen, had fallen to rise no more.
IN SIGHT OF MACIU.
But was this to be our last battle with the Moros? Was this to be our last fight in the desolate island of Mindanao? No! No! far from it. There yet remained another, and the stumbling block of them all, who was at this time bidding defiance to all invaders, in his fort across the lake, where we could see, from our present position, the red flags of battle waving before the gentle zephyrs of the orient.
This was the Sultan of Maciu, Maciu the warlike, who had hitherto held his stronghold and expansive territories with creditable success for centuries against even the haughty Spanish soldiers. But his day of gloom was fast approaching, when he and his clan of bolomen would be compelled to submit to the sons of America, as will be seen by the ensuing pages.
Soon after Fort Bayubao had been taken the column pressed onwards, down the rugged slope of the trail, leading into the fort, and here, being dust-stained, weary, and footsore, we were glad to encamp for the night. But only a few of us slept, for the Moros delivered a steady fire on us from the surrounding brush through the night.
The welcomed morning broke bright and clear over the waters of Lake Lanao, and the soldiers of "Columbia" awoke from a dreamy and restless slumber at the first notes of the bugle. Preparations for the attack on the Sultan of Maciu were immediately begun, but with little or no success, as the trail leading through the thickly wooded flats was blocked in such a way that it was an impossibility for even the Infantry to force their way through.
The Moros, having seen the column advancing on them, set to work to block the trail leading from Bayubao to the Maciu fortress, thinking that the Americans might on reaching this now impassable entrance, decide to return again to Camp Vicars after failing to reach the much talked of stronghold.
FOOD SUPPLY EXHAUSTED.
Seeing that all else had failed, the Americans began to construct rude rafts with which to cross an arm of the lake which separated them from the Maciu territories. They succeeded in building one in which a detachment of Companies "C" and "M" attempted to cross under a continued fire from the Moros, who were entrenched on the opposite side.
They kept on, however, seemingly regardless of the rain of bullets until, after a sharp and lively encounter with the enemy, they found it would be impossible to make a landing, so decided to return, but not before they had succeeded in driving the Moros back.
This was the 22nd day of September, we were now five days on the trail in pursuit of the Moros, but had not as yet begun to show any signs of exhaustion from the march or exposure.
It was now evident that our supply of provisions could not last much longer, and in consideration of the fact that the trail, now blocked by the Moros, should be re-opened before we could reach Maciu, it was deemed advisable by Captain Pershing to return to Camp Vicars, in order to rest the troops and to procure more rations.
Consequently on the morning of the 23rd, the column began the long march from the Maciu and Sauir territory to the Camp, arriving in good military order at 7 p.m. same date, with no loss to the Americans.
Lines on the Death of Sergeant Foley and Private Carey, Company G, 27th Infantry.
(By John J. Reidy.)
Here, cold in their graves, near the spot where they fell, In the darkness of night's dismal gloom, Rest two soldiers whose valor could not be excelled, Slumbering in their desolate tombs.
Far away from their kindred they are sleeping to-day In Mindanao's untrodden plains, Where their comrades have laid them to moulder away Into dust, in their cold silent graves.
By Camp Vicars they fought at the dead hour of night Outnumbered by the savages wild; Until they fell, overpowered, on the sward at the feet Of their foemen, where like soldiers they died.
Perhaps far away in their own native land, In the homes of their childhood so dear, Are their mothers awaiting to grasp their kind hands— But alas! they shall wait many years.
For their loved ones will never return again To greet them through life's pleasant way, For they are laying in the grass-covered graves where they fell, And are sleeping long ages away.
But though death has overtaken those heroes so brave Who fell for their Country's fame, Yet their memory shall always live on the breasts Of their comrades, whom they perished to save.
THE BATTLE OF MACIU.
A MUCH NEEDED REST.
The troops were given five days in which to rest and recuperate, for the reader can easily imagine the hardships, privations, and sufferings which are undergone by soldiers while on the march, especially where there are no roads of any description, save the narrow, rugged, and, in many places, impassable trails, which are met with all through the island of Mindanao.
Therefore it was practically necessary that, after six days of continual marching through the thick brush of this island, they should be given ample time in which to attain that standard of physique which is the most characteristic mark of the American soldier.
It was the morning of the 28th of September, the bright sun had risen gorgeously over the white tented plain, the azure blue sky was now clear, save a few clouds that still rested lazily on the hill-tops, and all nature's splendors and attractions were everywhere to be seen.
To the inexperienced observer it would seem that the Moros and Americans were living together in happy unison with each other in this, the most remote of American garrisons. But this was not so, for ere another hour had dragged itself lazily into the dim, misty past, the sons of fair Columbia were in complete readiness to march from the camp over many a weary mile to measure the cold steel with the defiant, haughty, and semi-savage Sultan of Maciu, and proud to state, under command of Captain John J. Pershing, to whom is justly attributed the success, the achievements, and all conquering abilities of the brave soldiers under his command at Camp Vicars.
THE EXPEDITION STARTS.
The expedition is complete and after being inspected by the Commanding General is not only complimented by him on their general uniformity and appearances, but are also pronounced fit to compete with the most sanguineous and daring adversary.
At 8 a.m. the command "Forward March" was heard by every anxious soldier who was to be a participant in the coming event, and amid the cheers, farewells, and good wishes of our comrades, we advanced in single file from the camp over the now well known trail leading to the territories of the Sultan of Maciu.
The expedition was composed of the same troops as that of the preceding campaign, except in addition there was Troop "A," 15th Cavalry.
The men were by this time beginning to grow accustomed to this singular style of marching from previous experiences, and that, together with the impatient anxiety they had to meet Maciu's tribe in battle, added new strength and vigor to every man as onward they pressed over high hills, through deep ravines and swift-flowing rivers until, with the fire of military and true national determination written on every face, the column arrived and halted once again on the hill-top overlooking the now fallen stronghold of Bayubao with which the reader is already familiar.
ENCAMPED FOR THE NIGHT.
No time was lost until we were again encamped at the foot of the hill about 100 yards from the lake shore. We immediately set to work to cook our much needed supper, which was devoured greedily by every dust-stained warrior of the command, regardless of the rules of etiquette, after which we sought a "soft spot" on nature's expansive bed, in which to lay our weary bones for the night.
But even a soldier's life has, despite its many seemingly insurmountable obstacles, many a romantic charm, for who would not like to lay gently upon the lap of earth with the soft side of a haversack for a pillow, and the green foliage of the graceful bamboo trees for a canopy, and be lulled to sleep by the wild rustling of the leaves wafted to and fro before the gentle zephyrs. Everything remained at a peaceable standard during the night with nothing to break the "chain of silence," save the rippling of the waters in the lake below.
But even a sleep such as this, under such unusual and unaccommodating circumstances, has an unwelcomed limit, and ours came with the first streaks of grey dawn that broke through our foliaged canopied beds, and again each soldier of American loyalty began to kindle his fire, with which to cook his breakfast, for on such occasions as this each soldier is his own cook, waiter, and dishwasher combined.
Soon after breakfast the real work of opening the trail began, rifles were quickly supplanted by shovels, picks and axes, and in a very few moments every soldier was equipped with tools, which they began to use with unanimous energy and willingness during the greater part of the day. And it was truly wonderful to see those brave soldiers working untiringly, chopping heavy trees, digging and filling deep ravines, leveling stout barricades, all working diligently for that one aim which was to be the downfall of Maciu.
This work was kept up unceasingly until the passage or trail was opened to the Maciu peninsula, a distance of two miles. It was the afternoon of the second day, which was the 30th of September, before we finally reached our destination, where there was an unexpected surprise in store for us.
The natives, having known that our object was to cross through this skirt of woodland, had awaited our arrival on the opposite side. And as soon as the first file of the "advance guard" passed from the woods into the open plain beyond, they met with a storm of bullets from the enemy. They then moved forward into the open beyond as quickly as possible, after which they unanimously returned the enemy's fire. The firing was fast, and not without effect, for ere the gloom of night began to descend upon us, many a native of Mindanao had sacrificed his semi-barbarous life for his freedom.
It now began to grow dark, and fearing lest we should be overtaken by the shadows of night in the dense woods, Captain Pershing gave orders to the column to return to Bayubao for the night.
The trail, our most important obstruction, was now cleared and it was with impatience and sleepless expectancy we awaited the first glimmer of dawn. At last came the day when the true, fearless soldiers were to march against Maciu's tribe. We shared together a hurried breakfast and about 7 a.m. we advanced under the cool shadows of the interwoven foliage, over many a rough boulder, until after two hours of rough marching we arrived in the open space beyond the woods.
We had not marched over three-hundred yards of this new territory when the natives began firing at the head of the column, but without effect, for as soon as the smoke from their rifles could be seen, a volley was fired at them by the soldiers. In a few moments we had gained the summit of the hill, and here we halted to await the arrival of the Battery, which was some distance in the rear, for not more than 400 yards in front of the skirmish line was a fort from which shots were fired at regular and frequent intervals. We did not return the fire this time, knowing as we did that rifle fire was of no avail against a fortification such as this proved itself to be.
The Battery soon arrived, and, in less time than it takes to relate it, they were ready for action, being about 400 yards from the fort. As soon as the first shot from the Artillery was fired the Moros began to abandon the fort and were going in the direction of Maciu. The Infantry had formed a semi-circular skirmish line around the stronghold and now, the Battery having ceased firing, they began to move forward, closing around the fort. At last they reached it and after scaling its high walls, they found that the greater part of its inmates had fled, taking their arms with them. The soldiers soon began to destroy the fort, and in a very few moments it was reduced to ashes.
The column again took up the trail leading towards the lake front destroying, as they went, everything in the shape of forts or strongholds which they encountered, and from which they had been fired upon.
Perhaps the reader may think or imagine our dealings with the Moros of the Lake region to be of a cruel nature. To this I can only state that having been amongst them since the origin of hostilities in the island of Mindanao, up to the present date, and having become rather familiar with their treachery and cruelties to American soldiers, wherever they could get a chance, I think as far as my judgment is concerned that they have been given a lesson which, to say the least, they richly deserve.
We captured some five or six minor fortifications during this day, and towards evening we proceeded towards the lake front, to encamp for the ensuing night, for it was an absolute necessity to procure water for the men and horses, as quickly as possible.
That night was spent in thought, and in anticipation of the doings of the approaching day, for it was the day designated for the capture of the Maciu stronghold. We broke camp at an early hour and at 7 a.m. we were again on the march, this time in a new direction. We had not been marching over two hours when the word was quietly passed along the line that the Maciu stronghold was in sight.
We now began to think more seriously as we were nearing our long looked for destination, for well we knew that the Moros, having consolidated here were determined to fight to the last.
We were, however, perfectly willing and ready to face Maciu and his tribesmen in open combat, and meet whatever fate awaited us, without a murmur.
The column was ordered to deploy right and left in skirmish line, and advance towards the fort, in order that they could more easily and readily command a view of the outer surroundings of the enclosure, and prevent, if possible, the escape of any of the blood-thirsty Moros whose wild cries we could now hear within.
The Battery, having halted in front of the fort, was immediately brought into action. Then suddenly a deafening noise was heard by all, the noise which, though too familiar to many of us, was nevertheless to make even a brave soldier tremble. The Artillery had opened up on the left. "Boom! Boom!!" went the cannons, and a rain of solid shot and shrapnel was hurled at the fort, and for a space of a moment nothing could be seen but the flying fragments, and splinters of bamboo and debris hurled high in the air.
The clouds of smoke soon cleared away and then something happened unexpectedly, and which surprised every American soldier in that vicinity. A thick, black volume of smoke arose in the direction of the fortress, then a flash, and a deafening noise, as if the merciless waves of the Pacific were beating against the granite ribbed cliffs.
They had replied to our firing. Boom! went the lantacas, followed by a volley from the rifles, and then it behoved every true American to "lay low" for a few moments.
It now looked as if our expectations were going to be fulfilled to the last. There was a moment of silence and again the Battery opened up in real earnest, and a more exciting scene could not be witnessed than to see the havoc wrought on that fort by the guns. Bang! Bang!! went the shots in rapid succession, and bamboo, rocks, and flying fragments were hurled hundreds of feet in every direction, but still the Moros kept firing and crying in wild religious ecstasy to their Mohammedan God.
Captain Pershing, who had been coolly riding about the fort to Artillery, Infantry, and Cavalry, now decided to order two of the guns brought to the right of the fort. This was done immediately and from right and left they cut loose, determined to accomplish their aim.
But instead of this, they were surprised, when the Moros poured a withering fire at them and crude lead balls and fragments of iron were dropping in the midst of the troops.
It was now 2 p.m. and it looked as if Maciu's stronghold was impregnable indeed, for we had been firing steadily since 9 a.m. and nothing of importance had, as yet, been accomplished.
The Battery now moved towards the fort from both sides, until they were within fifty yards of them, and it may be well to mention that it never has been known in the history of battles where Artillery has engaged an enemy at so short a range. They had now taken up their new positions and began to fire at the fort from both sides, this time with great effect. But still the Moros remained obstinate to the last singing wildly their religious songs to their God "Allah" in the very midst of the struggle.
The day was now drawing to a close and yet the firing kept on. However, at 4 p.m. the command "cease firing" was given, and with that ended that day's struggle for us, but not for the natives, for they, thinking that the Americans were about to abandon the fort at the approach of night, still kept up the firing. But in this they were mistaken, for instead of returning to the camp, the Americans still held their position, closing in gradually on the fort, in order to prevent the escape of any of the Moros during the ensuing night.
The commanding officer, seeing that they were determined to hold out until the bitter end, now issued orders for the construction of scaling ladders with which to gain admittance to the fort. Work was immediately begun on them but they were destined never to be used for that purpose at least, for about midnight the Moros, finding that we were still determined to hold our positions, decided to attempt an escape from the enclosure.
The night was unusually dark, and the clouds were hanging low over the lake, rendering it almost impossible to see or distinguish an object at a greater distance than fifty feet. The Americans had anticipated their escape, and consequently were in constant readiness at all times during the night. Then suddenly a shot was heard which had been fired by some vigilant sentinel on guard, then another, and another.
It now became evident that they had charged the lines and were making a dash for liberty. In an instant every soldier was on the alert. They kept on coming, however, seemingly regardless of death or the rain of bullets. But few of them escaped or even lived to tell the tale, for as fast as they left the fort they were being shot down by a constant stream of fire from the Infantry, and when the morning dawned it was found that the Sultan of Maciu, with many another leader and tribesman, had fallen, never to breathe again.
During the struggle, the Sultan Cabugatan of Maciu, seeing that his efforts to suppress the Americans were in vain, rushed into camp, bolo in hand, in wild, frenzied excitement, determined to slay in cold blood everybody wearing an American uniform. But his savage intentions were brought to a speedy termination by the troops, who, on seeing him approach them, rushed towards him and overpowered him. However, he unfortunately succeeded in seriously wounding one of the best and bravest soldiers in the command, Private Richard G. Macbeth, of Co. "F" 27th U. S. Infantry, whose bravery in time of danger had made him an unanimous favorite among his comrades. Another victim of this savage Sultan was Pvt. James Nolan, Jr., of Co. "G" 27th U. S. Infantry, who, having been detailed as a scout, had fearlessly advanced upon one of the forts in order to secure, if possible, some information regarding their position and strength. He had reached the outer entrance when he met a storm of bullets from within, one of them hitting him in the right eye, inflicting a wound from which he suffered great pain.
But their sufferings were doubly avenged, for many a hitherto unconquerable Moro has fallen upon the green and now deserted territories of the Sultan of Maciu, with the bones of his mortal composition bleaching on the green sward, under the tropical sun of his native skies.
"Where once in triumph on his trackless plains The haughty Moro Sultan loved to reign, With shacks proportioned to his native sky, Strength in his arm, and lightning in his eye, He roamed with uncovered feet, his sun-illumined zone. The dirk, the bolo, and the spear his own; Or lead the combat wild without a plan An artless savage, but a fearless man. But his 'sun' of triumph, has set to rise no more O'er the quiet waters of Lake Lanao's shores."
It is now January 1, 1903, and the Moro campaign is drawn to a successful and favorable close, and "Old Glory" of fair "Columbia" is now unfurled to the gentle touch of the oriental zephyrs on the hill-tops of Mindanao, for all time to come.
The Trumpeter's "Last Call" at Fort Maciu.
(By John J. Reidy.)
Bleeding, sore, and wounded, and by my foes surrounded, The Trumpet once I sounded, no longer can be heard, For it lies dust-stained and gory, and by the dust corroding, Where once I blew melodious that call that cowards dread.
No longer in the battles will I call the boys to rally Through dark ravines or valleys, for freedom and for right, For my life's blood fast is flowing, and I am left alone To die and to bemoan my fate at Maciu's fight.
"Stay, Comrade, do not leave me alone upon the field Where the savage Moros wield their bolos and their spears, For I may yet survive to see Maciu's tribe— Like savage cowards—beat a long retreat."
Again I see in fancy the scenes in dear old Boston, Where in childhood days I wondered free from care and strife; The unforgotten homestead, surrounded by the foliage. Where oft my welcomed footsteps have echoed through the night.
My last hour is approaching: death's dismal cloud is o'er me; But being a true-blue soldier, I murmur not to die. To-morrow's sun shall find me far from the skirmish line— So to comrades left behind, I bid a long Good-bye.
THE 27TH INFANTRY.
It is with feelings of pride and national patriotism we have watched through many a stormy year the steady growth and accomplishments of our immortal Army, whose splendid display of true valor and military discipline has attracted the attention and well-deserved admiration of all nations through the universe, whether exhibited on the expansive parade ground, under the balmy, azure blue skies of our Western Continent, of perpetual freedom, or on the far away "Eastern Isles," under the warm rays of the tropical sun, where many a true and stout-hearted son of "Fair Columbia" has sacrificed his young life for his country's cause. And as we look back to the long misty vale of tumbled years, in silent perusal and contemplation of the pages of our nation's history, we cannot help being for the moment awestruck, as we read from those cherished pages of the many bloody battles and more glorious victories, which have been won at all times, adown the ages, since first the cold, haughty invader sought to enter and deprive us of that freedom for which so many of our revered ancestors so nobly fought and died. But although those brave warriors of olden days have all passed away, and the regiments, by whose gallantry our "Stars and Stripes" was borne to victory, are now known to us only by name, yet we are more than proud to be able to acknowledge to the world, that they have been supplanted by regiments as noteworthy as ever faced in combat a mortal foe. And among them, and perhaps the most illustrious of them all, is the gallant 27th Infantry, whose distinguished achievements since its organization at Plattsburg, New York, and Fort McFerson, Ga., in the early part of the year 1901, are unexcelled and unequalled by any regiment that has been ordered forth in defence of our country and flag.
In December 1901, the 27th Regiment of U. S. Infantry was ordered from Plattsburg Barracks, N. Y., to proceed with all haste to Manila, P. I., and thence to the Island of Mindanao, to aid in suppressing and overthrowing the semi-civilized savages, whose defiant, inhuman, and brutal treatment of the American soldiers was in every sense appalling.
They arrived in Manila on February 3, 1902, and after encamping there for a few days, proceeded to the very centre of hostilities, which was at that time in the Island of Mindanao.
And since then the broad road to civilization has been opened to the hitherto savage Moro tribes, and chiefly by the brave officers and men of the 27th Regiment.
And in conclusion we can only say that the memories of the true, loyal, and ever dauntless heroes of this new, though historical regiment, who gave and sacrificed their lives in the defence of, and for the glory of, their country, shall be indelibly printed on the tablets of our memories adown the annals of time.
JOHN J. REIDY.
THE 25TH BATTERY OF FIELD ARTILLERY.
Under the Army Reorganization Bill, passed in 1900, provision was made for an increase in the number of Field Batteries, three of which were to be equipped entirely with mountain guns. These were to be known as the 14th, 25th, and 28th Batteries of Field Artillery. Two of these Batteries were to be organized in the Philippine Islands. These were the 14th and 25th, and were organized by equally dividing the number of members in what was formerly known as Light Battery "C" of the 7th Artillery.
The two Batteries were given their authorized strength of 120 men each by transferring the additional number of men required from the Coast Artillery.
They were not organized, however, until Sept. 23, 1901. About one month later they were fully equipped as "Mountain Batteries," and on April 1, 1902, the 25th Battery, under command of Captain W. S. McNair, was ordered to the Island of Mindanao, where trouble with the Moros had long been expected.
The 25th Battery of Field Artillery is equipped with four guns, which are known as the Vickers-Maxim 75 mm. quick firing mountain guns.
This calibre, 75 mm., or 2.9 inches, will be seen to be a very little less than that of the field gun in use in our service viz., 3.2 inches, but the power of this gun is much less than that of the field gun, for the following reasons:
It is necessary to make a carriage and gun whose parts shall all be within suitable limits of weight for packing on mules. This limit, placed on the weight, limits the strength that can be obtained, and also the length of the gun itself. Therefore the amount of powder used in these guns is much less than the amount used in the field guns, and the velocity of the shot when it leaves the gun is much less (about one-half) than it is for the field gun. The Vickers-Maxim gun is mounted in a cradle which has on either side a cylinder of oil, through which the gun draws a plunger in recoiling, and by this device the force of the recoil is taken up gradually and the carriage does not run back several feet as it would otherwise do, so that it is at once ready to load and fire again after each discharge.
The loading of the piece is very simple. The gunner grasps a lever which he pulls around to the right, thereby bringing out the breech-block and withdrawing the empty cartridge shell last fired. The new round is pushed into the gun, the gunner moves the lever in the opposite direction, or to his left, and the gun is ready to fire.
When the gun is to be moved it is taken in parts for packing as follows: The gun itself, the cradle, the trail, and the wheels and axle, each of which is a load for one mule.
The men get expert at this maneuver, and pack up the guns at command in a period of a little less than one minute, while they unpack and set up the gun ready for action with greater speed, the record for the 25th Battery being 20 seconds.
This gun is provided with various kinds of projectiles, the ones usually carried being shell, shrapnel and cannister, and are known as Krupp prepared ammunition, which can be used in the same manner as an ordinary rifle cartridge. The shrapnel for this, as well as all field guns, is the projectile mainly depended upon, and like all field guns, the main work for them is to fire at the personnel of the enemy.
It is a common error amongst military men and others not well versed in the use of Artillery, to suppose that a field gun is intended for the purpose of making breaches in walls.
The fallacy of this idea can be seen at once by making an examination of the projectiles, which will be found to contain only the quantity of powder which you could hold in the palm of your hand. The shells contain 10 ounces, the shrapnel 3, the cannister a little more than 2. Thus it may be readily seen that the guns used by the 25th Battery are not such destructive engines of war after all, but to those who would doubt their effectiveness, we should simply say: "Go and witness them in action."
Enough has been said to give the reader a correct idea of what a "Mountain Battery" is, with the history of what is known as the 25th Battery of Field Artillery, and thereby the object of the writer has been accomplished.
JAMES EDGAR ALLEN.
"THE MOUNTAIN BATTERY."
(Dedicated to Captain W. S. McNair and command.)
The stout-hearted warriors who have fallen in battle In defence of their country, its freedom to save, Whose memory shall live and will ne'er be forgotten Though long have they mouldered to dust in their graves,
Could they but look back from their graves of cold slumber, Where in silence they are sleeping long ages away, And see their successors, brave, bold, and undaunted, Who have fought the proud Moros on Mindanao's plains.
For foremost in the ranks of victorious honor, Are the heroes who founded the illustrious name Of the 25th Battery, and one may well ponder, On the name of its Commander, with world renown fame.
He has led with envious credit and valor, Over many mountain trails, through swamp and ravines, That same immortal "Battery," whose presence in battle Made the wild Moros tremble, like cowards in fear.
The walls of Pandapatan's impregnable fortress, Which withstood all assaults from invaders of old, Went down like the leaves in a storm. When "Fire!" was his order, brave and bold.
Even famed Bayan forts were shaken, And crumbled to pieces, before him that day, When he sent the projectiles in rapid succession Against those giant walls, on the second of May.
Forts Maciu and Butig, whose histories were warlike, By Lake Lanao's still waters defiantly did stand, Until this brave Commander and his khaki-clad heroes Blew them to fragments, all over the land.
In history's pages his name is recorded, To be linked with the memory of the true and the brave, Who for the honor and freedom of their glorious country, Have fallen to slumber in numberless graves.
Nor must we forget the brave men he commanded, Whose fearlessness, heroism, and unequaled might, Is fresh in the memory of all Dattos and Sultans, And the dark-colored tribesmen of Mindanao's rugged heights.
For to them is attributed our success in battles, That were fought with such glory and national pride, In Mindanao's valleys and on forest-covered mountains, Where countless Moro warriors fought and died.
JAMES EDGAR ALLEN.