Americans Occupy Manila, Aug. 13, 1898

After the American flag was raised over Intramuros, Aguinaldo demanded joint occupation. General Merritt immediately cabled Brig. Gen. Henry C. Corbin, US Army Adjutant-General, in Washington, D.C.:

“Since occupation of the town and suburbs the insurgents on outside are pressing demand for joint occupation of the city. Situation difficult. Inform me at once how far I shall proceed in forcing obedience in this matter and others that may arise. Is Government willing to use all means to make the natives submit to the authority of the United States?”

Gateway through the parapeted wall of Intramuros 1898
An American soldier and two native Filipino policemen posted at the Puerta de Almacenes, Intramuros district,  Manila.  PHOTO was taken in late 1898.

Meanwhile, by 10:00 p.m., 10,000 American troops were in Intramuros; the 2nd Oregon Volunteers guarded its 9 entrances. General Greene marched his 2nd Brigade around Intramuros into Binondo district.

Malacanan Palace, colorized photo, 1899
Malacaan Palace at San Miguel district, Manila; colorized photo was taken in 1899.

The 1st California Volunteers were sent east to the fashionable district of San Miguel and took over Malacaan Palace, official residence of the Spanish governor-general.

Malacanan Throne Room 1899
Audience room in the Malacaan Palace at San Miguel district, Manila.
1st California Volunteers in Manila, 1898
1st California Volunteers in Manila
First Colorado Volunteers
1st Colorado Volunteers marching in Manila

The 1st Colorado Volunteers were sent into Tondo district and the 1st Nebraska  Volunteers were established on the north shore of the Pasig river. General MacArthur’s 1st Brigade patrolled Ermita and Malate districts.

Color Guard of 1st Colorado Volunteers, Aug 13 1898_opt
Color Guard of the 1st Colorado Volunteers at Manila, Aug. 13, 1898. From left: Pvt. Claude West, Color Sgt. Richard G. Holmes [he stood 6’5 1/2″ tall, or about 1.97 m], Sgt. Charles Clark, and Pvt. Alfred Miller.
First Nebtaska Volunteers at Binondo 1898
1st Nebraska Volunteers in formation near their quarters at Binondo, Manila, 1898.
Generals Merritt and Greene at Ft San Antonio de Abad Aug 13 1898
Maj. Gen. Wesley Merritt and Brig. Gen. Francis Greene inspecting Fort San Antonio de Abad after the battle.

Aguinaldo must keep out

Aguinaldo must keep out, text 1

Aguinaldo must keep out, text 2On Aug. 17, 1898, General Merritt received the following reply from General Corbin:

“The President directs that there must be no joint occupation with the insurgents. The United States in the possession of Manila City, Manila Bay, and harbor must preserve the peace and protect persons and property within the territory occupied by their military and naval forces. The insurgents and all others must recognize the military occupation and authority of the United States and the cessation of hostilities proclaimed by the President. Use whatever means in your judgment are necessary to this end. All law-abiding people must be treated alike.”

Filipino batallion in Manila outskirts , Aug 1898 from Lopez of Balayan
A Filipino battalion in formation in the outskirts of Manila, shortly after the capture of the city by the Americans. Source: Lopez of Balayan

The Americans then told Aguinaldo bluntly that his army would be fired upon if it crossed into Intramuros.

US soldiers guarding Postigo del Palacio Intramuros Manila 1898
US soldiers guard the Postigo del Palacio (“Postern of the Palace”), Intramuros district, Manila, 1898. The gate, built in 1782, led to the Palacio del Gobernador and Palacio Arzobispal as a private entrance and exit; the dome of the Manila Cathedral is seen in the distance.
Postigo del Palacio, 2012
The Postigo del Palacio now exits on a golf course. The Palacio del Gobernador is on the left and the Palacio Arzobispal is the building on the right. The bell tower and dome of the Manila Cathedral can be seen in the distance

Intramuros sentinel box in1906 bookThe Filipinos were infuriated at being denied triumphant entry into their own capital. The hot-headed Filipino generals thought it was time to strike at the Americans, but Aguinaldo stayed calm and refused to be pushed into a new war. However, relations continued to deteriorate.

US soldier Santa Lucia gate 1899 olivares
A US soldier is photographed beside a stack of cannonballs near the Puerta de Santa Lucia at Intramuros district, Manila.
Puerta de Santa Lucia today
Puerta de Santa Lucia in contemporary times

Battery of old Spanish guns on the Manila city wall, 1898

Battery of obsolete Spanish guns 1898

fil am war us troops w intramuros bronze cannons_edited

Manila US troops and Honatoria gun 1898

Modern Krupp Gun, Intramuros, Manila 1898
A modern Spanish Krupp gun, 1898.
US troops with captured Spanish field piece 1898
US soldiers with captured Spanish field gun, 1898.
RP-US War 1898 Soanish prisoners held by Americans
Spanish POWs held by the Americans in Manila
1896-98 Captured Spanish soldiers in Tacloban
Spanish POWs held by the Americans in Manila
Spanish POWs with small boy Dec 1898
Spanish POWs held by the Americans in Manila
Spanish POWs receiving rations at Intramuros August 1898
Spanish POWs quartered in Intramuros, Manila, receiving their rations.
Feeding Spanish POWs 1898
Spanish POWs quartered in Intramuros, Manila, receiving their rations.
Spanish soldiers in southern philippines 1899_edited
Spanish soldiers in the southern Philippines awaiting repatriation to Spain; about 3,000 were shipped out
Captured Spanish arms, 2 US soldiers combo
Spanish arms captured by the Americans (20,000 Mausers, 3,000 Remingtons, 18 modern cannon and many of the obsolete pattern)
US troops guarding bridge after Spanish surrender
Original caption:  “American troops guarding the bridge over the river Pasig on the afternoon of the surrender.”
1898 US troops at the Escolta
US troops on the Escolta, Manila; not too far from here, on Calle Lacoste in nearby Santa Cruz district, an American guard shot and killed a seven-year-old Filipino boy for taking a banana from a Chinese fruit vendor.
Two US soldiers, studio, 45 70 Springfield Trapdoor rifles, ca 1898
Two American soldiers pose with their .45-70 Springfield Trapdoor rifles. Photo was taken at the Centro Artistico Fotografico (“Photographic Arts Center”) in Manila in late 1898.

Graves of US soldiers KIA Manila battle Aug 13 1898Graves of American soldiers killed in Manila. The “mock” Battle of Manila was not entirely bloodless. Spanish soldiers who were not privy to the “script” put up serious resistance at a blockhouse close to the city and in a few other areas. Six Americans died while the Spanish suffered  49 killed and 100 wounded. Overall, 17 Americans were killed fighting the Spaniards, 11 on July 31, August 1-2 and August 5 in skirmishes at Malate district.4th US Regular Infantry Regiment encampment at the Luneta, Manila

Jap attache V Tokizama 3 US officers
V. Tokizama, Japanese military attache to the Philippines with Colonel Harry Clay Kessler (CO, 1st Montana Volunteers),  Major Robert H. Fitzhugh and 1Lt. William B. Knowlton; photo taken in Manila, 1898

Americans watch cockfight ca 1899-1901A squad of American soldiers is enthralled by the Filipino “national sport” of cockfightingA cockfight (“tupada”) in progress; more than a dozen US soldiers are among the spectators

Ayuntamiento HQ of Eight Army Corps 1899
The Ayuntamiento in Intramuros district, Manila.   Photo taken in 1899.
American soldiers in different costumes Manila 1898
Americans in Manila.  Photo taken in 1898.

The arrogance of the Americans and their continuing presence unsettled the Filipinos.

Col. Alfred S Frost 1st SDak Reg at Presidio 1898
The 1st South Dakota Volunteer Infantry Regiment at rest at the Presidio, San Francisco. The regiment, consisting of 46 officers and 983 enlisted men, was commanded by Col. Alfred S. Frost. It left the Presidio on July 23, 1898 and arrived at Cavite Province, in Manila Bay, on Aug. 31, 1898.
38th Infantry Regt arrival Lumeta 1901
The 38th US Volunteer Infantry Regiment upon their arrival at Manila, Dec. 26, 1899.

Questions on their actual motives surfaced with the continuous arrival of American reinforcements, when there was no Spanish enemy left to fight.

Raid on opium den by 13th Minnesota police 1898
13th Minnesota Volunteers, acting as police, raid an opium den and arrest 4 Chinese addicts.  Photo was taken in Manila in late 1898.

It did not take long for the Filipinos to realize the genuine intentions of the United States: the Americans were in the islands to stay.

13th Minnesota Band
13th Minnesota Volunteers Regimental Band at Manila, 1898
Filipino officers n battalion 1898
Soon after the Spanish surrender at Manila, Pvt. Fred Hinchman, US Army Corps of Engineers, wrote his family about the Filipino soldiers: “We shall now have to disarm and scatter these abominable, semi-human monkeys.” [John Durand, The Boys: 1st North Dakota Volunteers in the Philippines, Puzzlebox Press, 2010, p. 132].

Aug. 24, 1898: First Filipino-American Fatal Encounter

Cavite Calle del Arsenal 1897
Calle del Arsenal, the main street in Cavite Nuevo, Cavite Province. Photo was taken in 1897.

On Wednesday, Aug. 24, 1898, the first fatal encounter between the Filipinos and Americans took place in Cavite Nuevo (now Cavite City), Cavite Province. The U.S. Army put it down as a street fight.

Pvt. George H. Hudson of Battery B, Utah Light Artillery Regiment, was killed; Cpl. William Q. Anderson of the same unit, and four troopers of the 4th U.S. Cavalry Regiment were wounded.

On Saturday, Aug. 27, 1898, the New York Times reported:

NY Times Aug 27 1898 1st Fil-Am encounter

Internal Filipino communications reported that the Utah artillerymen were drunk at the time.

Three US soldiers Filipino civilians in Cavite Nuevo
American soldiers and Filipino civilians at Cavite Nuevo. Photo was taken in 1898-1899.

Group of Filipino boys ang girls 1899 olivares

Aug. 29, 1898: General Otis Becomes New Commander of 8th US Army Corps, Orders Philippine Army To Leave Manila

1898 wesley merritt and elwell s otis and staff at malacanan
Major Generals Wesley Merritt (6th from Right) and Elwell S. Otis (4th from Right), and their staffs in front of Malacaan Palace, San Miguel district, Manila

Maj. Gen. Elwell S. Otis replaced Merritt on Aug. 29, 1898. Ten days later, on September 8,  he demanded that Filipino troops evacuate Manila beyond the demarcation lines marked on a map that he furnished Aguinaldo. Otis claimed that the Peace Protocol signed in Washington D.C. on August 12 between Spain and the United States gave the latter the right to occupy the bay, harbor and city of Manila. He ordered Aguinaldo to comply within a week or he would face forcible action. Aguinaldo’s emissaries asked Otis to withdraw his ultimatum; when he refused, they requested him to moderate his language in a second letter. The American commander agreed.

Maj. Gen. Elwell S. Otis and his staff on the veranda of Malacaan Palace, San Miguel district, Manila

On September 13, Otis wrote Aguinaldo an amended letter:

Otis letter to Aguinaldo Sept 13 1898

Filipino regiment preparing to leave Manila Sept 15 1898
A Filipino regiment preparing to leave Manila

On September 15, about 2,000 Filipino soldiers marched out of the zones. They did not know of the ultimatum, but were told about the succeeding “friendly request”. Their bands played American airs and they cheered for the Americans as they withdrew.

General Pio del Pilar

Otis acceded to Aguinaldo’s request that Gen. Pio del Pilar (RIGHT) and his troops continue to occupy Paco district. First, Aguinaldo asserted that Paco was traditionally outside the jurisdiction of Manila. Second, he was unable to discipline  Del Pilar who would surely refuse to move out in response to his orders. [The Americans called Pio del Pilar a “fire-eater”.]

In any case, he would gradually withdraw his troops from the command of Del Pilar, until his force was too small to be threatening.

[Twenty-five days later, on October 10, Brig. Gen. Thomas M. Anderson submitted to the Adjutant-general, US 8th Army Corps, an official complaint against Gen. Pio del Pilar:


“I have the honor to report that yesterday, the 9th instant, while proceeding up the Pasig River, on the steam launch Canacao, with three officers of my staff, the American flag flying over the boat. I was stopped by an armed Filipino guard and informed that we could go no farther. Explaining that we were an unarmed party of American officers out upon an excursion, we were informed that, by orders given two days before, no Americans, armed or unarmed. were allowed to pass up the Pasig River without a special permit from President Aguinaldo.

“I demanded to see the written order, and it was brought and shown me. It was an official letter signed by Pio del Pilar. division general, written in Tagalo and stamped with what appeared to be an official seal. It purported to be issued by the authority of the president of the revolutionary government, and forbade Americans, either armed or unarmed, from passing up the Pasig River. It was signed by Pilar himself.

“As this is a distinctly hostile act. I beg leave to ask how far we are to submit to this kind of interference.

“It is respectfully submitted that whether this act of Pilar was authorized or not by the assumed insurgent government, it should, in any event, be resented.”]

Aguinaldo's HQ at Bacoor, Cavite Province
Aguinaldo’s headquarters at Bacoor, Cavite Province. Photo was taken in 2006. Source:

Aguinaldo transferred his headquarters and the seat of his government from Bacoor (ABOVE) to the inland town of Malolos, 21 miles  (34 km)  north of Manila on the line of the railroad. Here he was out of range of the guns of the US fleet, and in a naturally strong position.

The American Soldier Spanish corrupt Nov 5 1898
The first American newspaper in the Philiipines, The American Soldier, reports on corruption under the old Spanish regime. This issue came out on Nov. 5, 1898.