The Philippine War 1899-1902

November 19th, 2004  
Duty Honor Country

Topic: The Philippine War 1899-1902

Since I have read that the Philippine War is quite like Operation Iraqi Freedom, I have decided to read up on that war. I've come accross some good stuff in my reading so far, so I am going to post some quotes. The Author, Brian Linn did over 20 years of research on this book. The content of the book is 328 pages with 90 pages of sources.

Here we go

before the war

"While the result of of a conflict with our troops could not for a minute be in doubt, yet if such a conflict should break out it would engender jealousy abd hatred on the part of the natives which could not be overcome for many years" President McKinley

"[Merritt] rendered it send an army of occupation to the Philippines for the two fold purplose of completing the reduction of Spanish...and giving order and security to the islands while in the possession of the United States." US General Merritt

"to occupy the Philippine islands"

"to command the harbor of Manila [and was not] expected to carry on a war to conquer an extensive territory." McKinley's confusing messages to the military over the nature of the operation

"[General Dewey] gave top priority to 'the severance of former political ralations of the inhabitants and to the establishment of a new political power'" book

"the military governor's authority was to be 'absolute and supreme and immediately operate apon the political condition of the inhabitants.'" General Merritt's proclaimation that he would give after landing.

"[millions of Filipinos] will regard us with the intense hatred born of race and religion." General Merritt

"We will go to the far away islands of the Pacifit to plant the Stars and Stripes on the ramparts where long enough has waved the cruel and merciless banner of Spain." Lt COL Edward Little, 20th Kansas Volunteer REG

"God bless you boys." What the Civil War veterans told the men going to the Philippines during a parade.

"But the ill-considered haste of the army in advancing cost the lives of a score of men."

"[the soldeirs] were of use simply to police the city after it was reduced to submission by our gallant fleet." The press reports that came in when the Americans landed. The commander of the US forces met with the commander of the Spanish forces to negotiate a surrender before the battle. The Americans would attack while the Spanish troops put up enough resistance to make their surrender "honorable."

more to follow later. My lunch break is almost over
November 19th, 2004  
Cool, this one is especially interesting....

We will go to the far away islands of the Pacifit to plant the Stars and Stripes on the ramparts where long enough has waved the cruel and merciless banner of Spain." Lt COL Edward Little, 20th Kansas Volunteer REG
November 19th, 2004  
The more you get into studying the Philippine Insurrection/War and occupation of the archipelago the more you will discover how the tactics used by the U.S. forces and the values held by them were flawed.

This was a "war" that was widely protested at home in the U.S. and was a great deal like the Pacifaction of the native Americans.
December 27th, 2004  
Charge 7
Fortunately we were able to turn that around through good common sense and fairness so that the Filipinos became our friends and allies. The sacrifices those people made during WWII are legend. The one that comes closest to home for me was the people who risked death and dismemberment from the Japanese to bring food and water to our troops during the Bataan Death March. My uncle was in that march and survived.
January 2nd, 2005  
This was America's first true colonial war as a world power. After defeating Spain in Cuba and in the Philippines in 1898, the U.S. purchased the Philippines, Puerto Rico and several other islands from the Spanish. However, the Filipinos had been fighting a bloody revolution against Spain since 1896, and had no intention of becoming a colony of another imperialist power. In February of 1899, fighting broke out between the occupying American Army and the Filipino forces.

"I am not afraid, and am always ready to do my duty, but I would like some one to tell me what we are fighting for."--Arthur H. Vickers, Sergeant in the First Nebraska Regiment

"Talk about war being 'hell,' this war beats the hottest estimate ever made of that locality. Caloocan was supposed to contain seventeen thousand inhabitants. The Twentieth Kansas swept through it, and now Caloocan contains not one living native. Of the buildings, the battered walls of the great church and dismal prison alone remain. The village of Maypaja, where our first fight occurred on the night of the fourth, had five thousand people on that day, -- now not one stone remains upon top of another. You can only faintly imagine this terrible scene of desolation. War is worse than hell."--Captain Elliott, of the Kansas Regiment, February 27th
January 2nd, 2005  

The basic causes of the Philippine-American War can be found in the U.S. government's quest for an overseas empire and the desire of the Filipino people for freedom. In other words, this war was a clash between the forces of imperialism and nationalism.
After centuries as a Spanish colony, a revolution led in part by Emilio Aguinaldo broke out in 1896 in the Philippine Islands. After fighting a savage guerilla war for two and a half years, the Filipinos suddenly found themselves in a seemingly advantageous position as allies of the United States. In 1898, Spain fought a losing war with the United States in which her colonies of Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Guam were overrun with relative ease by the U.S. Army and her Atlantic Fleet devastated outside of Santiago, Cuba. Similarly, Spain's Pacific Fleet was wiped out in the Battle of Manila Bay, and American troops landed on the outskirts of the capitol city.

Following the surrender of the Spanish colonial government in the Philippines to American military forces in August,1898, tensions developed between U.S. and Filipino forces near Manila. The American government decided to keep the Philippines as a colony, thereby denying independence to the Filipino people. Aguinaldo and his army of nearly 80,000 veteran troops realized that their "allies" in the Spanish War would soon become foes.


As early 1899, U.S. and Filipino forces faced off as a tense situation became worse. American forces held the capitol of Manila, while Aguinaldo's army occupied a trench-line surrounding the city. On the evening of February 4, 1899, Private William Grayson of the Nebraska Volunteers fired the first shot in what would turn out to be a very bloody war. Grayson shot at a group of Filipinos approaching his position, provoking an armed response. Shooting soon spread up and down the ten-mile U.S.-Filipino lines, causing hundreds of casualties. Upon the outbreak of hostilities, U.S. troops, supported by shelling from Admiral Dewey's fleet, quickly overwhelmed the Filipino positions while inflicting thousands of casualties. Within days, American forces spread outward from Manila, using superior firepower, mobile artillery and command of the sea to full effect.

By November of 1899, Aguinaldo and his forces had been pushed further and further into central Luzon (the main Philippine island) and he realized he could not fight the Americans with conventional military units. At this point, he ordered his followers to turn to guerilla tactics to combat the American army. From this point on, the war became a savage, no-holds-barred guerilla conflict made up of ambushes, massacres and retribution. Both sides engaged in wanton violence and slaughter. Villages were destroyed, civilians murdered, prisoners tortured and mutilated along with a host of other atrocities. Many American officers and non-coms had served in the Indian Wars, and thus applied the old belief that "the only good Indian was a dead Indian" to their relations with the Filipinos. This attitude of course was reciprocated by the native forces.

Emilio Aguinaldo was captured in March, 1902, and organized opposition from his followers soon faded. Despite the official end to hostilities proclaimed on July 4, 1902, individual tribes in Luzon and the Muslim Moros of the southern islands launched further uprisings for another decade or so.


1. Independence for the Philippines was delayed until 1946.
2. The United States acquired an overseas colony which served as a base for U.S. business and military interests in the Asia/Pacific region.

3. Following the conclusion of major hostilities, the U.S. did it's best to "Americanize" the Philippines. Through successful civilian administration, the Islands were modernized and the nation prepared for eventual independence. The Philippines became an independent nation on July 4, 1946.


U.S.-- 4,234 dead and 2,818 wounded.
Philippines-- 20,000 military dead and 200,000 civilian dead. (approximate numbers). Some historians place the numbers of civilian dead at 500,000 or higher.
September 8th, 2005  
Duty Honor Country
“War in its proper meaning had ceased to exist.” Gen. Otis, US Commander, declaring that war was over, DEC 1899

“The objective was not to vanquish [the US Army], a difficult matter to accomplish considering their superiority in numbers and arms, but to inflict on them constant losses, to the end of discouraging them and convincing them of our rights.” Rebel General Francisco Macabulos

“Let us for a little while longer put forth heroic deeds of arms…because McKinley falls by the waist side, the people abandon him and incline to the political party of Mr. Bryan whose fundamental teaching of the recognition of our independent party.” General Mascardo on trying to influence the American election in NOV 1900

“The fighting was relatively minor, but it caused a steady trickle of dead and wounded that soon passed the number of casualties for the entire campaign. This harassing, hit-and-run guerrilla war both puzzled and infuriated the soldiers.” Quote from the book.

Guerrilla tactics were “to constantly harass the enemy, causing him loses and avoiding such to our people,…to prepare ambushed avoiding combats, and to take rifles, ammunition, and prisoners.