Filipino American WarHistory

War Escalates

War Escalates: Battles in Manila and Suburbs, Feb. 5-6, 1899

US troops in action vs Filipinos 1899
1899: US troops battling Filipinos. Location not specified.

At daybreak of February 5, the reinforced Americans counterattacked and retook their original positions. Soon after, firing broke out across the 16-mile Filipino and American lines involving 15,000 Filipinos and 14,000 Americans (3,000 of whom were assigned to provost or police duty in Manila). Admiral George Dewey’s navy artillery pounded the Filipino positions.

General Hughes sent his Provost Guard out in the streets, blocking off thoroughfares, dispersing crowds, and keeping a close watch on suspected neighborhoods.

Filipino POWs near San Miguel Church Feb 5 1899
Feb. 5, 1899: A view of the church at San Miguel district, Manila, and a group of Filipino POWs.

Large numbers of suspected “insurgents” were arrested; Hughes grimly noted that “when the police company got through with them the undertaker had enough business for the day.”

Aguinaldo tried to stop the war by sending Gen. Carlos Mario de la Torres to Maj. Gen Elwell S. Otis, commander of the US Eight Army Corps, to propose peace talks and a demilitarized zone. But Otis responded, “fighting, having begun, must go on to the grim end.”

la loma church 1899
The church at La Loma (“The Hill”) in 1899

Jose Torres Bugallon

Brig. Gen. Arthur C. MacArthur, Jr., commander of the 2nd Division, Eight Corps, attacked the Filipinos in the north and captured La Loma, on the Santa Mesa Ridge overlooking Manila, on February 5. [Santa Mesa Ridge is now known as Santa Mesa Heights in Quezon City]. After capturing the blockhouses, he seized their fortified strongpoints at the Chinese hospital and cemetery and La Loma Church. (La Loma is now a part of Quezon City).

Major Jose Torres Bugallon (RIGHT, image) defended La Loma. He was born on Aug. 28, 1873, in Salasa (now Bugallon), Pangasinan Province. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at the Colegio de San Juan de Letran in 1889 with high scholastic ratings. In 1892, he went abroad as a pensionado of the Spanish government to the world-famed Academia Militar de Toledo in Spain. He graduated in 1896 and commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 70th Infantry Regiment of the Spanish Army. He fought several battles against Filipino revolutionaries and after the Battle of Talisay on May 30, 1897, he was promoted to Captain. He was also awarded the coveted Cross of Maria Cristina and the Red Cross for Military Honor (Cruz Roja del Merito Militar). After the Treaty of Paris on Dec.10, 1898 ended the Spanish American war, Bugallon joined Gen. Antonio Luna’s staff as aide-de-camp and recruitment officer for Spanish war veterans. At that time, General Luna urgently needed instructors for the training of officers at the Academia Militar in Malolos, Bulacan.

Utah Gun near La Loma before the advance Feb 5 1899
A gun of Battery A, Utah Volunteer Light Artillery, is sighted before the advance on La Loma. Cpl. Noble McDonnel, Utah Battery A: “The enemy numbered thousands and had courage, but could not shoot straight… If these natives could shoot as accurately as the Spanish, they would have exterminated us.”
1899 feb 5 battle of la loma_edited
US artillery in action at Battle of La Loma
Capt Frank A Grant battery firing on Filipinos La Loma Feb 5 1899
Capt. Frank A. Grant’s battery shelling Filipino trenches at or near the Chinese hospital at La Loma.
Feb 5 1899 Filipinos killed at La Loma by 10th Pennsylvania Volunteers
Filipino soldiers killed on La Loma Hill by the 10th Pennsylvania Volunteers. The Filipinos fought from behind earthworks, barbed wire, and cemetery headstones.
1899 Feb 5 Pennsylvania ambulance at La Loma
10th Pennsylvania Volunteers ambulance at La Loma
US soldiers conveying their wounded at La Loma, Feb 1899
Retouched photo of 10th Pennsylvania Volunteers conveying their wounded at La Loma
10th Pennsylvania headquarters at La Loma, February 1899
10th Pennsylvania Volunteers headquarters at La Loma, February 1899

Upon learning from Lt. Colonel Queri, that Bugallon was wounded, General Luna ordered: “He must be saved at all costs. Bugallon is worth 500 Filipino soldiers. He is one of my hopes for future victory.” Too weak to keep his strength any longer due to profuse bleeding, he died on the breast of Gen. Antonio Luna, a few hours after he was withdrawn from the battlefield. General Luna wept unashamedly before the lifeless body of his aide-de-camp. To perpetuate his memory, a law sponsored in 1921 by Congressman Mauro Navarro of Pangasinan changed the name of Salasa to Bugallon. His remains now lie inside the Sampaloc Church in Manila.

San Juan Utah Light Battery Feb 5 1899 coll by BGen Adolphus W Greely
Feb. 5, 1899: Battery A of the Utah Volunteer Light Artillery on McCloud Hill, Santa Mesa district, Manila, shelling Filipino positions in the San Juan Bridge area (Santa Mesa and San Juan del Monte). A soldier was killed near this gun a few minutes after the photo was taken.
First Nebraska Volunteer Infantry behind wall Manila outskirts Feb 5 1899
Feb. 5, 1899: 1st Nebraska Volunteers battling the Filipinos in the San Juan del Monte-Santa Mesa area. Sgt. Arthur H. Vickers, 1st Nebraska Regiment: “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.”
1st Nebraskans firing on Filipinos at Santa Mesa, Feb 5 1899
Feb. 5, 1899: 1st Nebraska Volunteers firing on Filipinos in the San Juan del Monte-Santa Mesa area.
San Juan Bridge Feb 5 1899
The San Juan Bridge. Photo taken on Feb. 5, 1899.
Co F 1st Nebraska took San Juan Bridge Feb 5 1899
The San Juan Bridge and Company F of the 1st Nebraska Volunteers that took it.

The 1st Nebraska Volunteers captured the San Juan Bridge, powder magazine, waterworks, and San Juan del Monte church and convent; the Utah Volunteer Light Artillery occupied Santa Mesa.

San Juan ruins Feb 5 1899
Feb. 5, 1899: Ruins of war at San Juan del Monte
Singalong Feb 5 1899
Filipino dead at Singalong, Manila. The American who took this photo noted: “After the battle of February 5th raged around Manila in every direction, every one with a camera took snapshots of the more impressive scenes.”
Dead Filipino fighters at Singalong Feb 5 1899
Filipino dead at Singalong, Manila.
Filipino dead at Santa Ana circular trench Feb 5 1899
Feb. 5, 1899: Filipino dead in a trench near Santa Ana. The trench was circular. After the Battle of Manila, the members of the U.S. Army hospital corps were startled to discover several women, in male dress and with hair cropped, among the Filipino dead.
1899 feb 5 after the battle of santa ana, manila_edited
1st California and 1st Wyoming Volunteers view Filpino dead at Santa Ana

Brig. Gen. Thomas M. Anderson, commander of the 1st Division, Eight Corps, routed the Filipinos at Santa Ana, San Pedro de Macati, Guadalupe and the village of Pasay and captured Filipino supplies stored there.

Dead Filipinos in trench before Santa Ana
Dead Filipinos in a trench before Santa Ana. Charles L. French of the 13th Minnesota Volunteers wrote: “…at some trench …most of them were shot through the head, some of them had the tops of their heads blown off, others parts of the face, in fact, the bullets seemed to reach all parts of the body. It must have simply rained lead.”
Santa Ana 4 dead Filipinos Feb 5 1899
Filipino dead at Santa Ana

Capt. Albert Otis describes his exploits at Santa Ana in a letter home:

“I have six horses and three carriages in my yard, and enough small plunder for a family of six. The house I had at Santa Ana had five pianos. I couldn’t take them, so I put a big grand piano out of a second-story window. You can guess its finish. Everything is pretty quiet about here now. I expect we will not be kept here very long now. Give my love to all.”

Pvt. Edward D. Furnam, 1st Washington Volunteers, on the battles of February 4th and 5th:

“We burned hundreds of houses and looted hundreds more. Some of the boys made good hauls of jewelry and clothing. Nearly every man has at least two suits of clothing, and our quarters are furnished in style; fine beds with silken drapery, mirrors, chairs, rockers, cushions, pianos, hanging-lamps, rugs, pictures, etc. We have horses and carriages, and bull-carts galore, and enough furniture and other plunder to load a steamer.”

Americans on Pasig riverbank

The 1st Idaho and 1st Washington Volunteers massacred hundreds of Filipinos who tried to cross the Pasig River. An American officer estimated that about 700 Filipinos who attempted to cross in boats and by swimming were killed, drowned, wounded or captured. Not a man was seen to have gained the opposite bank. One American soldier explained, “picking off niggers in the water” was “more fun than a turkey shoot.”

GUN & CREW USS OLYMPIA MANILA BAY 1899
Gun and crew of the USS Olympia, 1899

The coastlines were pounded continuously by Admiral George Dewey’s naval guns. An English resident commented about Dewey’s role: �This is not war; it is simple massacre and murderous butchery. How can these men resist your ships?� �The Filipinos have swollen heads,� was Dewey’s reply. �They only need one licking and they will go crying to their homes, or we shall drive them into the sea, within the next three days.�

1Lt. Henry Page, Asst. Surgeon, of the Regular Army:

“The recent battle of February 5th was somewhat of a revelation to Americans. They expected the motley horde to run at the firing of the first gun. It was my good fortune to be placed�about ten hours afterward�near the spot where this first gun was fired. I found the Americans still held in check. Our artillery then began to assail the enemy’s position, and it was only by the stoutest kind of fighting that the Tennessee and Nebraska Regiments were able to drive him out… A frequent exclamation along our lines was: ‘Haven’t these little fellows got grit?'”

1899 americans fighting on manila st
Americans in Manila street fighting
Colgante suspension bridge 1899
The Puente Colgante, or suspension bridge, spanning the Pasig River. PHOTO was taken in 1899.

From Manila, wrote Pvt. Fred B. Hinchman, Company A, United States Engineers:

“At 1:30 o’clock, the general gave me a memorandum with regard to sending out a Tennessee battalion to the line. He tersely put it that ‘they were looking for a fight.’ At Puente Colgante (ABOVE), I met one of our company, who told me that the Fourteenth and Washingtons were driving all before them, and taking no prisoners. This is now our rule of procedure for cause.”

White American troops referred to Filipinos as �niggers,� �Black devils,� and �gugus.� They told friends and relatives that they had come “to blow every nigger to nigger heaven” and vowed to fight “until the niggers are killed off like Indians.”

1899 Feb 5 US soldiers on Filipino forces from Block House No. 13 Manila
Feb. 5, 1899: Americans fire on Filipino forces from Blockhouse No. 13 in Manila while a Filipino boy —seemingly oblivious to the fighting behind him— ponders the camera

One white soldier wrote: �Our fighting blood was up, and we all wanted to kill niggers. This shooting human beings beats rabbit hunting all to pieces.”

1899 feb two wounded Filipino pows at us first reserve tent hospital in manila
Two wounded Filipino POWs inside the Americans’ First Reserve Hospital grounds in Manila

Wounded Filipino POW First Reserve Hospital 1899

Old woman shot through leg while carrying ammo to the insurgents being treated in hospital 1899
February 1899: Old woman shot through the leg by US troops while carrying ammunition to the Filipinos. She is shown here being treated by American medics in Manila.
Filipinos captured by 1st Nebraskans at Santa Mesa on Feb 5-6 1899
Filipinos captured by the 1st Nebraskans at Santa Mesa district, Manila, on Feb. 5-6, 1899.
wounded Filipino POW Santa Mesa 2 5 1899
A wounded Filipino POW at Santa Mesa district
Sta Mesa color US troops carry wounded Feb 5 1899
US troops carrying their wounded at Santa Mesa district
wounded americans at santa mesa
Wounded American soldiers at Santa Mesa district
San Pedro de Macati Dyer's battery 1899
US battery at San Pedro de Macati
Battery near San Pedro Macati Phil Islands 1899
US battery near San Pedro de Macati
San Pedro de Macati church scene of heavy fighting
Feb. 5, 1899: The Filipinos tried to hold the church but the 1st Wyoming Volunteers forced them to break and withdraw
San Pedro de Macati Church by Joel C. Yuvienco
The San Pedro de Macati Church in contemporary times. Photo by Joel C. Yuvienco.
San Pedro de Macati church Feb 5 1899
Another view of the church at San Pedro de Macati. Photo was taken on Feb. 5, 1899.
San Pedro de Macati view from church tower Feb 5 1899
San Pedro de Macati: The view from the church tower
WOUNDED US SOLDIERS UTILIZING CHURCH OF SAN PEDRO MACATI AS A HOSPITAL FEB 1899
Wounded US soldiers utilizing church at San Pedro de Macati as a hospital
1st California Volunteers at San Pedro de Macati 1899
1st California Volunteers at camp near the church at San Pedro de Macati. Photo was taken after the Battle of Manila.
1st Idaho Troops, San Pedro De Macati Feb 5 1899
1st Idaho Volunteers at San Pedro de Macati
1899 Former hq of Gen Pio del Pilar, now headquarters of General Charles King, San Pedro de Makati, Manila,
Former headquarters of General Pio del Pilar in San Pedro de Macati taken over by Brig. Gen. Charles King, commander of the 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 8th Corps
Aguinaldo and staff at Paco Feb 1899
Philippine army officers at Paco district, Manila. PHOTO was taken shortly before the war broke out.
Paco church combo pic 1899
Feb. 5, 1899, Battle at Paco Church. The Filipinos were positioned in the upper story of the church; Col. Victor D. Duboce and his men of the 1st California Volunteers dashed inside under heavy fire, scattered coal oil, set fire to the oil and escaped. Capt. Alexander B. Dyer’s Sixth Artillery then bombarded the church, dropping a dozen shells into the tower and roof. A company each of the 1st Idaho and 1st Washington Infantries, stationed on either side of the building, picked off the Filipinos as they were smoked out. Twenty Filipinos were killed and 53 captured.
Paco church ruins, 1899
Paco Church ruins, 1899.

Duboce charge at Paco church

Removing dead from Paco Church Feb 5 1899
US troops removing Filipino dead from Paco church, Feb. 5, 1899.
US field telegraph office Feb 5 1899
Feb. 5, 1899: A US Volunteer Signal Corps field telegraph office near Paco bridge.
Blockhouse No. 11 at Paco Feb 5 1899
Feb. 5, 1899: Americans pose with a captured Filipino flag at Blockhouse No. 11, Paco district, Manila.
Pasay Filipino soldiers marchring through
Filipino soldiers marching through Pasay
1899 us sixth artillery gatling gun in action in pasay_edited
US Sixth Artillery Gatling gun rakes Filipino positions in Pasay
Gatling guns trained on the Filipinos near Manila Feb 1899
Original caption: “Gatling gun trained on the Filipinos near Manila.” Photo taken in Pasay on Feb. 5, 1899.
Sixth Artillery clearning the Woods near Pasay Feb 1899
Original caption: “Sixth Artillery clearing the Woods near Pasay, Philippine Islands.” Photo taken on Feb. 5, 1899.
Pasay, 14th Inf fighting from Filipino trenches Feb 5 1899 underwood
Troops of the 14th Infantry Regiment (Regulars) fighting from captured Filipino trenches in Pasay, Feb. 5, 1899.
14th Infantry entrenched at Pasay, P.I. Feb 5 1899
Troops of the 14th Infantry Regiment (Regulars) entrenched at Pasay, Feb. 5, 1899.
Pasay 1st South Dakota await orders fire Feb 5 1899
Pasay: 1st South Dakota Volunteers, armed with Krag-Jorgensen carbines, await orders to fire, Feb. 5, 1899.
Pasay, dead Filipinos in trench
Filipino dead at Pasay
Brig Gen Thomas Anderson viewing Filipino dead, 1899
Brig. Gen. Thomas M. Anderson viewing Filipino dead
Pasay captured Filipino ammunition Feb 5 1899
Pasay: The Americans found large quantities of ammunition, most of which the Filipinos had taken from sunken Spanish ships. Several marine guns were captured, one of them showing here. Photo was taken on Feb. 5, 1899.
Pasay 1899 Filipinos entering American-held territory
Pasay: Filipino civilians entering the line manned by Company D, 14th U.S. Infantry Regiment. Photo was taken in February 1899.
Company M 20th Kansas on firing line, Manila, Sunday Feb 5 1899
Colorized photo of Company M, 20th Kansas Volunteers, on the firing line at Manila, Feb. 5, 1899.
Manila waterworks Santolan Pasig 1st Neb Feb 6 1899
Feb. 6, 1899: 1st Nebraska Volunteers entrenched at the Manila Waterworks, Sitio Escombro, Barrio Santolan, Pasig (Marikina Valley portion of the town).
US Rapid fire Guns at Manila waterworks Santolan Pasig Feb 6 1899
Feb. 6, 1899: American rapid fire guns at the Manila Waterworks, Sitio Escombro, Barrio Santolan, Pasig (Marikina Valley portion of the town).
Manila waterworks Santolan Pasig dead Filipinos burial Feb 6 1899
Feb. 6, 1899: 1st Nebraska Volunteers supervise the burial of dead Filipinos at the Manila Waterworks, Sitio Escombro, Barrio Santolan, Pasig (Marikina Valley portion of the town). A Nebraskan said: “We came here to help, not to slaughter, these natives�I cannot see that we are fighting for any principle now.”
Burial Filipinos waterworks Santolan Pasig Feb 6 1899
Feb. 6, 1899: Another view of the burial of Filipinos killed at the Manila Waterworks, Sitio Escombro, Barrio Santolan, Pasig (Marikina Valley portion of the town).
Negritos captured Manila waterworks Feb 5 1899
Feb. 6, 1899: Negritos in the Philippine Army captured by US troops at the Manila Waterworks, Sitio Escombro, Barrio Santolan, Pasig (Marikina Valley portion of the town).
Negrito POWs at Manila Waterworks Feb 6 1899
Feb. 6, 1899: Negritos in the Philippine Army captured by US troops at the Manila Waterworks, Sitio Escombro, Barrio Santolan, Pasig (Marikina Valley portion of the town).
Filipino army beaten at Manila, SLH Feb 6 1899
Issue of Monday, Feb. 6, 1899
Fil-Am War outbreak montage Feb 6 1899
Issues of Monday, Feb. 6, 1899
THE BULLETIN Wild Rout San Francisco CA Feb 7 1899
The Bulletin of San Francisco, California, reports on the Americans’ Manila victory, Tuesday, Feb. 7. 1899.

In the 2-day battle of Manila, Harper’s Encyclopaedia of United States History, published in 1901, listed 57 US soldiers killed and 215 wounded; it estimated Filipino dead at 500, with 1,000 wounded and 500 captured. [ Most Filipino historians believe that owing to the heavy firepower unleashed by the Americans, the true number of Filipino dead ranged from 1,000 to 3,000].

Agoncillo moves to Canada, SFC Feb. 7, 1899
The San Francisco Call, issue of Tuesday, Feb. 7, 1899. The photo of Felipe Agoncillo, Aguinaldo’s chief envoy to the United States, was not a part of the original news report.
Aguinaldo declares war on America SFC Feb 8 1899
The San Francisco Call, issue of Wednesday, Feb. 8, 1899
THE BULLETIN Otis to capture Aguinaldo Feb 8 1899
The Bulletin of San Francisco, California, issue of Wednesday, Feb. 8, 1899

General King and staff on firing line before Paco, Feb 5 1899

Bgen Charles King receive 2 Filipino commissioners Feb 8 1899
Feb. 8, 1899: Brig. Gen. Charles King, with his staff, receiving two Filipino peace delegates. The Americans turned down Aguinaldo’s proposal for a ceasefire and peace talks. On this day, General Otis wired Washington: “The situation is rapidly improving. The insurgent army is disintegrating, Aguinaldo’s influence has been destroyed.”
American burial at Paco Cemetery
Americans fire volley over graves of fellow US soldiers at Paco Cemetery, Manila. Undated photo.
Burial at the Presidio 1899
Burial of slain US soldiers at the Presidio, San Francisco, California, U.S.A. PHOTO was taken in 1899.

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