Filipino American War

Battles at San Fernando

Filipinos attack San Fernando, May 24, 1899 and June 16, 1899

Americans looking for trouble
American photographer’s caption: “Looking for trouble.” Photo taken in 1899, somewhere in Central Luzon.

On May 24, 1899, at about 7:00 a.m., the Filipinos opened fire on the line occupied by the US 1st Brigade, 2nd Division now commanded by Brig. Gen. Frederick Funston, at San Fernando, Pampanga Province.

1st Montana Volunteers on outpost duty cr 1899 bwk
1st Montana Volunteers on outpost duty, somewhere in Central Luzon, 1899.

Two battalions of the 1st Montana Volunteer Infantry fell on the Filipinos’ right flank while two battalions of the 20th Kansas Volunteer Infantry moved on their left. Two guns of the Utah Volunteer Light Artillery took up a position opposite the Filipinos’ center. The Filipinos retreated toward Bacolor, leaving 53 dead with 29 taken prisoner. American losses were 2 dead and 10 wounded.

San Fernandp Pampanga dead Filipino being hauled away June 16 1899
June 16, 1899: US soldiers haul away a dead Filipino, San Fernando, Pampanga Province

On June 16, 1899, at about 4:45 a.m., the Filipinos attacked the Americans at San Fernando anew. They employed several pieces of artillery and the Americans estimated that at least 4,000 infantry were in the attacking force. The Filipinos were driven back. The Americans reported 36 Filipinos killed while they suffered only 6 men wounded.

May 30, 1899: First observance of Decoration Day in the Philippines

Decoration Day was a United States federal holiday first observed on May 30, 1869 to honor Union soldiers who died in the American Civil War; it later expanded to commemorate all Americans who died while in the military service. In 1967, the name was officially changed to “Memorial Day”, and four years later, observance was moved from its traditional May 30 date to the last Monday in May. The change created a convenient three-day weekend.

20th Kansas boys on Decoration Day at Paco Cemetery May 30 1899
Soldiers of the 20th Kansas Volunteer Infantry laying flowers on the grave of a fallen comrade at Paco Cemetery, Manila, on Decoration Day, May 30, 1899.
Oregon Decoration Day May 30 1899 bw kilburn
Original caption: “Decorating the graves of the Oregon Volunteers in Battery Knoll Cemetery, Decoration Day, 1899, Manila, P.I.”
First Decoration Day Manila cr1900 bwk
May 30, 1899
DECORATION DAY Manila May 30 1900
May 30, 1899
First Decoration Day May 30 1899
May 30, 1899
Services over American remains June 2 1899
June 2, 1899: Services over American remains
American military cemetery Manila pic taken after Sept 18 1899
American military cemetery in Manila. PHOTO was taken in late 1899.

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