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Philippine-American War Begins: February 4, 1899

The Philippine-American War began February 4, 1899, when shots were exchanged between a small number of American and Filipino forces in a Manila suburb. The war would last three years and end with the Philippines under American control for decades.

Fold3 Image - Artist's depiction of US soldiers in Philippine-American War (from a fictional newspaper story about the war)
The Philippine-American War (sometimes called the Philippine Insurrection) was both a continuation of the Philippine Revolution against Spanish colonial rule and a consequence of the Spanish-American War. During the Spanish-American War (April–August 1898, in which the United States fought Spain over Cuba), the Spanish territories of Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines fell into American hands. Filipino fighters under Emilio Aguinaldo helped the Americans defeat the Spanish in the Philippines, as the Filipinos had been working to free themselves from Spanish rule since at least 1872 and saw this as their chance for independence.

However, as part of negotiations between the United States and Spain following the end of the Spanish-American War, the U.S. bought the Philippines from Spain for $20 million in November 1898. The Filipinos felt betrayed, since they had believed America to be on their side. Now, instead of gaining independence, the Filipinos believed they were simply trading one colonial power for another.

With U.S. forces controlling Manila and Filipino revolutionaries controlling the rest of the country, tensions were high between the two sides. Things finally came to a head on February 4, 1899, when shots were exchanged between the two sides outside Manila. The Filipinos launched a general offensive the following day. For the majority of the first year of the war, the Filipino revolutionaries fought in the conventional style, but they eventually shifted to guerilla warfare.

Before the war was even over, the U.S. began a pacification campaign, where they used promises of self-government, economic development, and social reform to win the support Filipino elites, in addition to providing schools and public services to gain the support of the average Filipino. These measures undermined the Filipino revolutionaries, and by the summer of 1902, things had calmed down enough for the U.S. to declare the war over, though smaller Filipino uprisings would occur for years to come.

In total, there were 4,300 American deaths, 1,500 of them from battle and most of the rest from disease. The Filipino toll was much higher: 20,000 Filipino fighters were killed, and an estimated 200,000 Filipino civilians died from hunger, disease, and other effects of the war. The Philippines would remain under various levels of American control until 1946, when it finally gained independence.


  1. trying to find L. Robenson was in the Virginia Cav. ??

  2. From a troop doggerel at the time:

    Underneath the Starry Flag
    Civilize ‘um with a Krag (infantry rifle)

    Seems to be the SOP in an America that claims exceptionalism.

    • ……A legitimate claim, I’d say!

    • The Philippines were better off under U.S. rule than Spanish, and in the long run fared better after their 1946 independence than they would have had they just become independent after the Spanish/American war.

    • And if you think it through, what did our control of the PI, do for the US, the PI, and indeed, the rest of the world? Just 40 short years later it allowed us to spread thin the Japanese invaders, and eventually push them back for both our benefits. The Filipino people have been a great ally then and now.

  3. ……A legitimate claim, I’d say!

  4. The USA, in its rush to be an empire, fought with a waning empire to claim the Philippines…and then fought a colonial war to overcome people who wanted freedom from empire.

    Wake up. We are not exceptional; we are no different from empires in the past, nor will we ultimately dodge responsibility for what we have done in the name of everything except our desire for power.

    Manifest Destiny, yellow journalism, Roosevelt corollary to the Monroe Doctrine EVEN THE rainbow Plans all evidence our ordinariness.

    • BS. Exceptionalism is not what you describe at all!

    • I was referring to the concept that the USA exists outside of history, that it differs from historical evidence. George Bancroft, the Jacksonian historian, is perhaps the first person (and best) to advance the case of American exceptionalism, and I suggest you read his early history of the USA.

      I cannot get around his vision and the vision seemingly shared by many even today, that the USA is the hand of god…or that the USA is somehow different than all the rest of the world.

    • Amen

    • Sorry, but history is very clear and self hatred does nothing to change that. Even when Ms. Aquino took power via a virtually bloodless coup, having the US in her backyard helped. That seems a pretty excexceptional outcome to me.

    • In the name of democracy & civilizing people all the colonial powers have used it to extend their empires and used their resources for their companies benefit. Take the present case of ridding them of dictators & bringing democracy what they have done to Libya , Iraq , Syria & in Iraq. It seems economic interests of any power takes precedent over the local people’s interest. Take even the UN where the old colonial powers have more power, where they can invade any country without any problems – take Yugoslavia,Libya,central Africa ,Iraq etc. While Iraq had to pay a steep price for invading Kuwait although it apparently was taking their oil through horizontal drilling.Though also we have to realize they also got rid of the old feudal systems and installed a system of traders superiority and a western education which incidentally benefited the trading community, and also benefited the western powers.

  5. Had something to add, but don’t have the patience to debate with a political wacko.

    • I second that.

    • The Mexican American War, Yes that was the first example of the hand of God in Control showing goodness and light to other countries And being friendly to our neighbors..

    • ¡Absolutamente!

    • Yup . I’ve always been more inclined to believe the US had closer ties to Hell.

    • Nah…just par for the course for empire builders.

    • Having spent time in quite a few countries in my long and adventurous life I have yet to see one that was better than the USA. Perhaps you have?

    • Depends upon the yardstick you want to use….Health care? infant mortality? gun deaths?

      But I find the leap you make from critique to an implicit love it or leave it amusing.

      And yes, I have lived overseas and also worked as an international student advisor for some 20 years. I learned more about the strengths of the USA from the outside…and also have seen exactly how the so-called leadership of the country has sold us out for a mess of potage. (look up the reference.)

    • I ” I worked as an international student advisor”…………Where?

    • Three schools, why?

    • I should have said “what country”.

    • lived in one; visited two…all three outside of the American bubble.

      Same question? Why? What difference does it make?

    • Because it gives the reader some idea of your experience. Simply saying “out of the U.S. bubble” say very little if anything at all.

    • Teddy Roosevelt sent his daughter on a tour of Asia and she told the Japanese that since they were willing to look Western and wear ties that they could pretty much run Asia including the Philippines. So when we beat Spain we then paid $20,000,000 for the Philippines and in Gore Vidal’s book he reminds us of the debates over Empire vs. Freedom for the Filipinos. Congress voted Empire and we got into the stupidest war ever. And we ran the country into corruption – as I live here – by allowing the Chinese-Filipinos to dominate the more original Filipinos though already mixed with the Spanish by their dominance. Absent corruption this country could pass California in everything – weather, beaches, fun, morals, family values, parks to go see, geothermal, clean water, few fires, etc. Only have to tax the land at 0.5% and appraise the land right.

    • Interestingly, some of our best, most industrious citizens are those we called boat people, from the south. It always seems a few claim to be so benevolent, yet are the first to demand that we run out on friends. As my dad used to say, “God help our friends, because we won’t.” I’m happy that at least we could rescue many thousands, but I’m sure even in this event, there were so many more sad stories. The world knows the truth, even if some of our citizens don’t. That America is provoked to try to rescue those who suffer from the tyrants of the world. This sounds very quaint, unless you are some of the ones who suffer, and are imploring the US to step in, to help. It doesn’t mean we are perfect, but neither are these “peace lovers” like antifa, or BLM. I guess when you choose to fight, sometimes there are mistakes. And you have to live with the successes and the failures. For instance, the Iraqis still have a chance to build a modern, freedom loving country from the fire that was Sadaam, but there are NO guarantees. When we revolted against King George, it could have gone badly. That is always the risk. I reject that this means we must fold our cards and quit playing.

    • Haha, Jerry, I think we have to amend that old adage: “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, get Ph’d’s.” The yardstick might be best showcased by something Ali learned, another self-important person which you might respect, Mr. Snell. He watched Haystack Calhoun fight and became impressed that even though most hated him, they came to see him. He was the greatest show in town! And Ali followed suit and made many fortunes. But he didn’t like his country much either. He knew better than fight in an unpopular war. That would be missing the chance to cause a stir and thus further pad his fortune. Of course, we are supposed to think it was for the earnestness of his beliefs. I have often thought that our mistakes have given our enemies more leeway to be even more wrong. “If the USA makes mistakes, then they are wrong!” Classic misuse of logic. “If the USA makes a mistake, then Jane Fonda must be a goddess, and perfect!” “If the USA makes mistakes, then it proves all of our motivations are wrong” AND then the MOST CLASSIC MISUSE: Snell Is correct to stretch those mistakes into proof of his distaste for his (or maybe not his) country. Haha, you could take this to all kinds of whacky conclusions: Trump did biz in Russia, therefore he is a traitor, or at least colluded, Obama didn’t do any biz, therefore how could he be.” But I do imagine that it impresses the inexperienced youngsters.

    • Hey now….

      I do worry that your resentment has made you assume WAY too much about me and others who have posted here.

      That critique means dislike is a real stretch, one that has been encouraged by our politicians and corporate leaders to avoid looking at the disconnect between what we DO and what we SAY.

      Moreover, you seem to buy into a yes/no or right/wrong view that says if someone critiques the USA then they think opponents are right. this also assumes that there are only two sides. How about people who critique ALL empires for having violated their own platitudes?

      Laugh all you want at the educated, you only make my point. but woe to the nation that devalues education, devalues thought and that values mere power. History is littered with these fallen empires hoisted on their own petard. (look it up)


    • I won’t blame nameless politicians or corporations for my dislike of you. I’ll own it. You use enough of the buzz words that you can’t hide behind some “educated” objectivity. Your research notwithstanding, you give yourself away. You are part of the “Criticize America First” crowd, and surprisingly for the amount of education that you have received from your country, you follow like another of the sheep. Without the “dis the empire” rant, I might actually admire your research and the help and comfort it provides.

      My only hope is, now that you have read all that is negative and adopted those beliefs, I am hoping you awake to the “rest of the story,” as Paul Harvey used to say. Our country is guided by us, not just an excuse for us. So when you lay 2018 mores upon 1890 acts, done in that time frame, then you hide the truth, rather than expose it. In 1890, there was less luxury for the high-mindedness you espouse. Truth be told, there is less luxury now than we suppose, convinced of our own invincibility. But we are not invincible now, nor were we then. If we didn’t consider those native Filipinos as we should have then, later we did, and I say it worked well for them. At least better than it might have otherwise.

      Maybe you can not accept a faith in One True God being over all, maybe your God is randomness interrupted only by education which foists on us, THE REAL TRUTH. I don’t assume, but it does seem to me that you are God in your own universe, condescending to enlighten me, and teach me the meaning of “petard,” as if all the unenlightened (your opinion, not mine)like me, don’t know the $5 words. Haha, but where you read your slanted histories of the world, I studied the world, in the world, and to be truthful, if I wasn’t paying attention during the last 45 years of adulthood, I would have missed it. I’m admittedly without letters, but I don’t consider that bad. My idols are graduates of the “School of Hard Knocks,” not those of Harvard or Princeton. I also admire those who, while not being fooled about the natures of us all, they assume that most Americans have given above and beyond when they were called to serve their country. No, they didn’t like it, but most often, they didn’t blame those they fought, or those whom they hoped to help, as they served their country. Many like me developed a great appreciation for the Filipinos, but that didn’t confuse us as to whose interest we were truly serving.

      Too often I have noticed that the town mechanic displays more common sense than the PhD. The school janitor has more of the valuable life experience, and therefore more wisdom. These more often draw better conclusions, as well. So, don’t pat yourself on the back, and accuse me of devaluing thought. I am not about that. But I do fear we will be hoisted on that petard when we let the education of those afraid to admire their own country whose teat they suckled, while criticizing her, convince us to abandon any faith in our country. Criticize away! We have gained power by our values, not the other way around. And it has been so throughout history. As I’ve said before, my country has NOT been perfect, but those imperfections come by way of our people making mostly honest mistakes. Such as our backing Marcos, who helped us fight Japan, and at one time was honored by his country. We thought he was honorable, and maybe he was, once. But this “empire” also supported Corazon, because she stepped up for her people. And this empire also left as a response to some Filipinos who called for it. Not very Empirely, I would say. Oh, and now we are partially back again, more as equals. Seems almost democratic!!

    • Your response makes my point re: resentment for me.

      You fly from point to point, from god to education to whatever.

      I know you do not know my background or what I studies or what I did to make a living. Too bad. you may have been riding next to me on the road or sitting next to me in the bar or working next to me at whatever.

      To be attacked because as a cultural historian I have researched and studied and earned a degree or two saddens me more than you can know. To be attacked because the records indicate that the USA has acted counter to its oft stated principles does not surprise me….but it does worry me.

      Sit high on your horse, but do not simply put me and others with whom you disagree into some sort of ash-heap of the educated. It does not become you.

    • haha, Thanks for calling you “a bull running through society” and in the same breath, retracting this statement? Do you know one another?

    • Huh?

      My last post in this sequence. I can’t quite follow up…way beyond me .

    • Albert Camus did say that educated men without ethics are like the running of the bulls in Spain crashing through society and causing trouble. But Theron Snell is NOT one of those people. Nor was my father – Dentist to Gandhi; nor am I who set up paramedics for Guam and lost $16,000 doing it.

      Chuck Phillips, MD – [email protected]

    • Thanks.

  6. My second great uncle, Elmer Ware, served in both the Spanish-American War and the Philippine-American War. He served in Company G of the 20th US Infantry. I’ve been able to find many records on him, so I’ve been able to piece together much of his story. He was left a paraplegic after serving in Manila. I found him in the 1900 US Census at the Manila Police Station. The census must have been taken just before his injury. Several newspaper articles I’ve found indicate he published his story attempting to make money to support himself. I’ve not been able to find a copy of “The Life of a Private Soldier.” He later became a shoe repairman. He lived until 1931 and spent much time in and out of Veteran Homes around the country, probably getting treatment. A sister and a brother spent much time caring for him too.

    • Have your tired the following for info:
      1. The National Archives and Records Administration for military records?
      2. ABE Books for a copy of the book
      3. US Army Military History Research center

      I suspect you have tried Ancestry……

      Good luck. I am a military history researcher, but have no experience working with this period.

    • No. I tried several others, but not those. I’ll add those to the list. I started at the Fort Leavenworth Library since Elmer was in the Veteran’s Home there when he wrote his story. That kicked me into the CARL system. I also tried the Library of Congress, but
      no luck there. I tried the Mid-Continent Library in Independence, MO, since that was Elmer’s hometown. Could not find it there, but I am not a member so I’m not sure I had complete access to searching everything. I tried Heritage Quest and WorldCat, but nothing there either. I’ll keep looking, but it was just a small booklet and was probably limited publication, so probably doesn’t exist any longer. I’ll check out the sites you listed. Thanks for the suggestions!

    • My great uncle David J Heaphy from Syracuse also served with your great uncle I have pictures of all the men in this Company.

    • David, Thanks for your reply. Is it possible to get a scanned copy of the men of Company G, that you have? I don’t have a picture of my 2nd great uncle. Does the picture include names?

  7. The following letter, was written by my grandfather, Serg’t Orlin Monte Jones of Co. I, N.D. Vol., who is the son of Mr. and Mrs. James M. Jones. He is an Olmsted county boy and was attending school at the Red River University when he enlisted:

    Manila, Philippine Islands,
    Aug. 19th, 1898
    Dear Mother,
    Your welcome letter was received the 14th, while we were in Cavite, and I tell you we were all glad to get mail as it had been almost two months that we had been without a chance to get any. Well, as you know by this time, Manila has been taken and we marched into the city, and are now quartered in barracks at the fort in New Manila. We heard yesterday that we would leave here for the United States in about ten days, but it is nothing but a report, as we may not leave here for two years. We have had a pretty hard time ever since we landed, as we had a great deal of moving to do and a great deal of guard duty.
    We landed at Cavite on the 5th of August, and were in barracks there four days. Then the 9th we went to Camp Dewey, which is between Manila and Cavite. Friday, the 12th, our company was sent out on outpost duty on the right of the American fortification, and in front of the Spanish firing line. Many a bullet went whizzing over our heads while we were at our posts. Saturday the bombardment took place. As soon as Dewey began bombarding, the American troops made a rush for the Spanish entrenchments. But we still held our position so as not to let them get away by the right flank.
    As soon as the town was taken the insurgents made a rush to get into the city, but the American troops kept them back so they would not ransack the town. This made the natives hostile. Co. I of N.D. was the only troop left out in the country, and as soon as the natives found out they could not get into the city, they surrounded our company, which was in an old church, and threatened to murder us, so we sent two men to get reinforcements. At 12 o’clock that night, three companies from the docks came to reinforce us. As soon as the insurgents saw them, they fell back and did not attack us. The natives are just as bad as the Spaniards, and if anything, worse.
    Sunday we marched back to Camp Dewey, and got our knapsacks and marched into Manila. By Sunday night, nearly all the Spanish troops had laid down their arms. On Monday all natives that would lay down their arms were allowed to go into the city. Wednesday and Thursday we were posted around the city to guard it. We searched every native that entered the city, and took their arms away from them. Last night we were relieved and so will not have to be out on guard duty for a week. I do not like the natives at all and am ready to leave here as soon as we get orders to go. The island is real pretty, and it is healthy here, considering how wet it is, and the way those natives live. It would disgust anyone. All the kids go naked and a good many of the older people too.
    There has been but one death in our regiment since we left San Francisco, and he was shot accidentally by his partner while on guard. He was unloading his gun when it was discharged and killed him instantly. He was a man from Co. C.
    While I was talking to one of the Minnesota boys the other day, I met Arthur March of Rochester. He knew me, but I did not recognize him. He seems to be a pretty nice fellow.
    I am feeling well and getting fleshy, but it is not from eating good grub.
    I did not get your letter in time to get a picture of us boys in marching order or I would have sent you one.
    We did not get any extra pay while at Fargo as was reported, but there is talk now about raising our wages for fighting in foreign lands. By the first of September I will have two months pay coming.
    Well, as the mail goes out this afternoon I will have to close. Give my love to all.
    Montie Jones

  8. Yes, a g great uncle died there in 1900 but of disease or battle I don’t know

  9. >>The U.S. began a pacification campaign, where they used promises of self->>government, economic development, and social reform to win the support Filipino >>elites, in addition to providing schools and public services to gain the support of the >>average Filipino “.

    This worked later on but unfortunately not for Vietnam, Afghanistan & Iraq.

    • We did not govern Vietnam, Afghanistan nor Iraq. We did govern the Philippines. Huge difference. We intended to give the Philippines their independence earlier but the Japanese interfered.

    • There were competing ideologies in the other three you mentioned. And sadly Vietnam has paid dearly for their ties to them, still trading fire with the Chinese, occasionally.

  10. The Japanese used Antiamerican sentiment in WWII to try to influence Filipino s

  11. My g-great grandfather was 1SG of Company M, 20th US Volunteer Infantry. Returned from the Philipines in JUN 1901. One of his brothers was there in a different unit as well.

  12. My great uncle Guy Clinton Dennis was killed in Manila during the Philippine American War. He served in the Navy during the Spanish and Philippine American Wars.

  13. I have an uncle and cousin. My cousin Richard died there as a Marine,

  14. Feel sorry for American self haters. Must be horrible waking up each day in a county one despises. The big question, “Is the human race not better for the influence and strength, and generosity of the United States?” Our Constitution protects our freedom to believe, say and write stupidly. Seems some Americans utilize that privilege more often than others!

    • Just keeping it local to the PI, I was honored to serve in the US Navy with many Filipinos. The ones I met were good, hardworking people, many of whom desired to become citizens of the US. They were going about it the “right way.” I was in Olangapo, when Marcos announced Martial law on TV. My gf at the time translated his words for me. I don’t think I truly understood all that it meant, but later, at home, when I heard that Ninoy Aquino had been assassinated, and that most believed Marcos was behind it, then I began to realize many of the nuances to our association with this country. I do feel bad that we couldn’t have done more to protect Ninoy. I have always felt that no one truly appreciated the miraculous change of power that happened before our eyes. Today, the PI has a sometimes raucous, but thriving democracy. So, I believe the answer to your question is obviously ‘yes.’ But I often wonder that some view it differently. Though I guess I held some stupid views when I was young as well.

  15. Both of my maternal great grandfathers fought in the Spanish American war in the Philippines for the US. My grandmother’s father Carlin McClure Sr. married my great grandmother who was the daughter of a Spanish general when the Spanish American War ended. He was discharged from I think the 23rd Infantry, though I can’t tell for sure since the record is so hard to read, in February of 1899, so right when the war started. He spent the rest of his life pretty much in The Philippines, with a few periods in the states. He eventually died in Santo Tomas in WWII. My grandfather’s father Frank Klar fought in both wars. He was discharged from the hospital corps in August of 1899. He never left the Philippines even after he was discharged. He also died in Manila during the Japanese occupation in WWII.

  16. My Great Grandfather Eugene Fortune LaHanier arrived in the Philippines right before the end of the Spanish American Ward and then served during the Philippine Insurrection. He was in Troop K of the 4th U.S. Calvary.

  17. Very interesting, especially the serviceman’s letter home mentioning the US effort to stop Aguinaldo’s troops entering the town!

  18. While researching my mother’s family, I discovered that my grandmother’s brother served for 2 years, 3 months in the Philippines as member of Co. D, 16th Infantry, U. S. Army. Cpl. William H. Calvert was compensated the sum of $200.00 for his service from 1/1899 to 1/1902 by the state of Pennsylvania at some point upon his return. He passed away in 1953. I would appreciate any information on his unit. Thanks

    • Hi…

      I recommend contacting the National Archives (NARA) by email and seeing what records they have. Give dates, unit and name. NARA holds unit records. They sometimes have a great deal, and sometimes there is very little…but they can guide you through what they have.

      It will take them a month usually for any answer, but they are helpful.

    • While checking with NARA make sure you check on your relatives’ pension records. These can be an incredible resource, but may not be online. I have discovered letters written home by my great uncle from the Civil War

  19. I have been researching the 27th USV unit for over a year now, and I can confidently tell those who are looking for records from the Philippines Insurrection that the NARA in D.C. has a lot of records from that war. However, it is like searching a haystack for a needle….

    • Ms. Samantha Riggin,

      Since you have been researching the 27th USV, may I ask you if you have encountered any information regarding their stay in San Mateo, Luzon, PI? This is the town where Gen. Henry Lawton died. I don’t have access to the NARA since I’m here in the Philippines. Need your help please. Thank you.

    • Herald Ian C. Guiwa – Happy to help, if I can. What are you looking for regarding San Mateo?


  20. Mark Twain was against this war. Later other author agreed.
    Spain did not have the right to sell the Philippines. I am here now and Dr. Rizal was right – it belonged to the people. But all countries want to control the people – China first in line.

    Chuck Phillips, MD

  21. Herald Ian C. Guiwa:

    What are you trying to find out about San Mateo? I’ll help, if I can!

    Samantha Riggin

    • Hi Ma’am Samantha,

      I am looking for any specific information about battles/engagements/operations in San Mateo, P.I. during the war (1899-1904).

      In particular, I’m more interested in socio-cultural life in San Mateo as observed by the soldiers of the 27th USV (how the local inhabitants treated the Americans (vice-versa), how the American soldiers remember the battles occurred in this town, how they honored/commemorated the death of Gen. Lawton, etc).

      Thank you very much for your kindness.

      Herald Ian C. Guiwa

    • Hi
      1. Have you been able to find an UNoffical history of the 27th?
      2. Any records at NARA? If you can get a roster, they sometimes had addressed.
      3. Have you used Local newspapers sometimes carried stories about individual members with quotes or published letters home.

      Doesn’t help much with the local views, but this might give some idea of US views.

    • Herald Ian C. Guiwa – please contact me on my email – [email protected]. We can go from there on the 27th.

    • Herald Ian C. Guiwa:

      I have conducted extensive research on the 27th USV, including manuscript collections at NARA, the Library of Congress, the Army War College, University of Rochester, UVA, online newspaper databases, and the West Virginia State Archives. I would very much like to correspond with you regarding your project/requests. I would prefer to share the information offline, as it is voluminous.

      Please email me directly at [email protected].

      Thank you,

      Samantha Riggin

  22. In that land of dopy dreams, happy peaceful Philippines,
    Where the bolo-man is hiking night and day;
    Where Tagalos steal and lie, where Americanos die,
    There you hear the soldiers sing this evening lay :

    Damn, damn, damn the Filipinos, cross-eyed kakiack ladrones,
    Underneath our starry flag, civilize ’em with a Krag,
    And return us to our own beloved homes.

    Underneath the nipa thatch, where the skinny chickens scratch,
    Only refuge after hiking all day long,
    When I lay me down to sleep, slimy lizards o’er me creep,
    Then you hear the soldiers sing this evening song:

    Damn, damn, damn the Filipinos, cross-eyed kakiack ladrones,
    Underneath our starry flag, civilize ’em with a Krag,
    And return us to our own beloved homes.

    Social customs there are few, all the ladies smoke and chew.
    And the men do things the padres say are wrong.
    But the padres cut no ice — for they live on fish and rice–
    Where you hear the soldiers sing this evening song:

    Damn, damn, damn the Filipinos, cross-eyed kakiack ladrones,
    Underneath our starry flag, civilize ’em with a Krag,
    And return us to our own beloved homes.

  23. My grandfather, William Bailey Anderson, from Augusta County Virginia, served in the Philippines c. 1900-1902, came home married his second cousin, took up farming and died in 1925 of TB. I believe he entered the US Army during a trip to Chicago to buy hogs for his farm in Augusta County, Va.

  24. Very good reads. I am researching my grandfather Henry Noble who was in the Spa-Amer. War and the war of Insurrection. I was able to trace him in the southern Philippines (Dumaguete) in the 1900 census. When discharged he was assigned to the 15th Infantry Co. B. Born Feb. 4,1862 in Jefferson County, Wisconsin. The biggest difficulty of researching this period is military records are scarce. For the most part, only enlistment papers. Would be nice if I can connect with anybody doing same research. Cheers.

    • A good deal of information is available at the National Archives in D.C., but it does take time and persistance to go through the records.

    • Be sure yo read the information on NARA’s site. If you go to DC, you can always set up the visit ahead of time, having records ready for you when you get there.

      If you cannot get to DC, NARA has a list of registered researchers you can contact to do the research for you.

  25. The parallels between the start of this conflict and that in Vietnam 45 years later are incredible. Just replace ‘Eduardo Aguinaldo’ with ‘Ho Chi Minh’, ‘Spanish’ Empire with ‘Japanese’ then ‘French’, and stir…
    Those who forget the lessons of history, etc etc…

    • Your point was made quite often in the ’60’s and early 70’s. And we still haven’t learned much since.

    • As a member of the U.S. Navy I spent time in the philippines and served as a Naval advisor in Vietnam in ’66 and ’67. Since retirement I’ve returned to both countries. I fail to see any similarities between our involvements in either country.

    • Similar only, Jerry, only in that we hoped to help the South establish a thriving, self-sustaining democracy, as has been done in the PI. What other nation sinks billions into a rising country, then leaves voluntarily and peacefully. We didn’t leave Vietnam peacefully because we knew what would happen to the people of the South. And, sadly, it did. But I also would say, Vietnam’s loss is our gain. Those I’ve met and read about are hardworking and industrious. The one family I know about in my hometown have been exceptional! The kids are straight A students, the father runs a Self-defense school, and his wife works with him. I’m happy to welcome Emma’s “tired…poor….huddled masses” legally,

  26. Haha, I think your point was “America was a country rushing to be an empire,” and I’m pretty sure I didn’t reinforce that point. My resentment was straightforward and meant to correct the way that you that you represent your country to others, whether Americans, or foreigners.

    I assume “flying” here is used to convey that you can’t keep up? But take heart, I can slow down. Those points of mine which you mentioned are meant to explain what I believe to be the truth about my country. And I am also fitting other things into my time as I respond to your objections.

    I don’t know your occupation or your family background. But for the sake of time (and lack of information), I was not trying to deconstruct your whole life. Just the parts which had led you astray. So, as to why you bring that up, I’m not sure. Be assured, my point was the point I was trying to make. But I’m sure that I didn’t make it according to the more “learned.” Also, proximity is not equal to agreeing nor is it relavent. I may have been to the palace in Tokyo, but I am not the emperor. And never shall be. It is true, that if we had spent some time together, I might have been able to take another tact, but that is not really the point either.

    You are misrepresenting your country online, and I’m expressing my objection. So, if you have points to make concerning this, this is my interest. As I see it, our country has been soundly criticized for many things: 1. our youth and inelegant manner, 2. our overbearing manner (unless you are the one asking for that superior power), 3. our lack of charity, all the while receiving our charity. 4. Our lack of capitulation to other tyrants, and then our mistakes while resisting those tyrants. 5. Our corporations which have provided many of the newest advances at every stage in the world, because we dared to also improve our “firepower” to bring a certain safety to the weak of the world. These are JUST A FEW of the criticisms that we have entertained in our short history. And to hear some Americans “pile on” disturbs me more than the rest!

    Have no doubt, we are Americans, and I would be mildly surprised if we didn’t have a few things in common, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Hitler were both Germans (I’m using an extreme) so I am sure they had something in common also.

    When a person makes so many irrelevant points one has to wonder why? Distraction or hurt, would be the only two guesses that I can make. I hope your point is not so weak as that you would have to distract me. And, as to hurt, well that is the pain possibly of offending someone, and taking fire for that offense. You were correct, I don’t know you.

    Is that succinct enough?

  27. TO; Herald:

    You can access NARA on-line at They will respond via email too.

  28. Kudos to Mr. Keith. He is a true American.

    • Curious, but how is Keith a “True American?” Who are you comparing him to?

    • Let me try this – age 75 as an MD retired to full time writing after seeing 200,000 patients in 6 countries and living in the Philippines. A True American is one who believes that all governments are instituted among men for the common defense and for the encouragement for all possible to have life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness … on the planet. That has to include honesty in retelling histories so that we give value to each person past and present. This is not moving a lot of money around but rather apologizing for times we have gone Empire rather than catalyst for positive change. The Philippines like America – a least the 2/3rds not of mixed Chinese background (often disguised was they took their Filipino mother’s last name once the parents died). The 1/3rd treat the Philippines as part of China’s Empire so that of doctors graduating – and I paid for one – only my student was not of Chinese dissent. A True American sees the human in every person and gives them rights on the spot – health care coming off this phrase and not encased as a right in the constitution. Today I paid $40 for the med of a Filipino woman who might otherwise have facial scaring because … it is her right and my obligation to my God to help her if I can. I told her God would pay me back – a tennis court in Heaven will do. A mansion might get boring.

      Chuck Phillips, MD

    • Thank you for your kind words. Hopefully, we can all contribute to improving it just a little.

  29. Damn, Damn, Damn the Filipinos (to the tune of “Tramp, tramp the boys are marching”)

    ln that land of dopy dreams, happy peaceful Philippines,
    Where the bolo-man is hiking night and day;
    Where Tagalos steal and lie, where Americanos die,
    There you hear the soldiers sing this evening lay :

    cho: Damn, damn, damn the Filipinos, cross-eyed kakiack ladrones,
    Underneath our starry flag, civilize ’em with a Krag*,
    And return us to our own beloved homes.

    Underneath the nipa thatch, where the skinny chickens scratch,
    Only refuge after hiking all day long,
    When I lay me down to sleep, slimy lizards o’er me creep,
    Then you hear the soldiers sing this evening song:

    Social customs there are few, all the ladies smoke and chew.
    And the men do things the padres say are wrong.
    But the padres cut no ice — for they live on fish and rice–
    Where you hear the soldiers sing this evening song:

    *Krag-Jorgenson rifle. Standard bolt-action rifle issued to US Army regulars

  30. In the introductory statement, the last sentence is: “The Philippines would remain under various levels of American control until 1946, when it finally gained independence.” It would be informative, from those commenting here who know the interesting policy battle ‘history’ beginning 20 Oct 1944 to 4 July 1946, & even after this later date between General McArthur & the US Government (Congress & Roosevelt / Truman Administrations) regarding granting independence to the Philippines. “— On July 4, 1946, full independence was granted to the Republic of the Philippines by the United States —“. On a brief look on the INet I did not find the story I read years ago that w/ flawed memory, that McArthur forced the US Gov to grant independence or face a Philippine insurrection. I had never seen the actual communiques nor news reports, between McArthur & US Gov, but as I recall McArthur placed his stature on the line that either the US grant the independence that US Gov had promised for their support against Japan after the Japanese attack on the Philippines on 8 Dec 1941, or face consequences. That some or much of the US Congress & President Truman was incensed that McArthur had openly supported & promoted Philippine independence. And that this was an initial divide between Truman & McArthur that culminated 5 years later (11 Apr 1951) when Truman relieved General McArthur as commanding general of the allied United Nations forces in the ‘Korean War’, i.e., ‘Police Action’, over conduct of war policy methods.

  31. Hi Folks-
    I have written the history of the 4th United States Infantry regiment from 1898 to 1906
    Researching a soldier of the Spanish-American war and Philippine Insurrection
    Begin with:
    National Archives Records Group 94 M-665 available on Microfilm and
    U.S. Returns from Regular Army Infantry Regiments, 1821-1916
    Regimental returns or rosters of officers and men assigned to a regiment; if they were sick; temporary
    Duty; or present for duty for the month. Here is probably the best resource for beginning to research a soldier from this war if you know the regiment. It will also give a summary of activities for the month and in some cases an amendment with an after action report of any maneuvers or battles a particular regiment or company participated in.
    I found this source as indispensable place to start.

    Once you have determined where and when a soldier served another source of information
    In the US Census records. The US conducted the cencus for military formations outside of the United States just like in Conus. Here is an example:

    Cavite, Cavite Province, Philippines
    30 June 1900 Census
    Company or Troop: Field Staff and Band
    Regiment: Fourth
    Arm of Service: U.S. Infantry

    Name Rank Residence Place of Birth
    Frank Baldwin Lt. Col. Mi USA
    Butler Price Major Penn USA
    Austin Brown Capt. & Adjt. Ill. USA
    Frank Andrus Capt. & Qm. Mi. USA
    John H. Hughes 1st. Lt & Comm. NYC USA
    Patrick Quinlan Sgt. Major Col. Ireland
    James H. Pirie Qm. Sgt. Mass. Scotland
    Alexander Campbell Comm. Sgt. Ohio USA
    Joseph Novelle Chief Musc. Neb. Italy
    Gaylord Caldwell Prin. Musc. Mi. USA
    Barney Warrick Drum Mjr. Mi. Germany
    John A. Sabowski Sgt. – Germany
    Gustav Vairiuer Sgt. Ill. Bohemia
    Fred S. Jenkins Sgt. Penn. USA
    Michael Kintniss(?) Sgt. NY Germany
    Francis Wosucka Cpl. Neb. USA
    Harry Boomer Cpl. Ill. USA
    Martin Cooney Cpl. NY Fort Saunders!
    Michael Hartman Cpl. NY Canada
    Charles Houghton Cpl. Wa. England
    Otto Josefson Cpl. Ill. Denmark
    Fred Habis Cpl. Ill. Germany
    Alfred Webster Cpl. NYC USA
    Albert Aust Cook – Germany
    William Bueckner Pvt. Ky. Germany
    Edward H. Jennings Pvt. Ia. USA
    Wilbur Randall Pvt. Mi. USA
    Claud Stephenson Pvt. Mi. USA
    Gustav O. Utka Pvt. Ill. Germany „Otto Straus“….

    I will follow up with information about how to research particular battles and operations from the same period.

    • As a WWII era researcher, I want to thank you for sharing this very important information. It is always better to learn from someone who has gone through the records and knows what can be found.