The Philippine Insurrection of 1896-97
The Filipino insurrection of 1896-97 was planned and carried out under the auspices of a society, local to the Philippines, called the Katipúnan. According to Spanish writers on the subject, this organization was the outgrowth of a series of associations, formed by what afterwards became the revolutionary clique with the expressed purpose of securing reforms in the government of the Philippines, but whose unexpressed and ultimate object was to obtain the independence of the archipelago. In order to accomplish this purpose, a systematic attack was made on the monastic orders in the Philippines to undermine their prestige and to destroy their influence upon the great mass of the population. Among the societies actively opposed to the friars and perhaps to Spain the first formed was the Tagálog Center of the Spanish Orient, lodges of which had been established in the islands some five or six years before this formidable insurrection by Miguel Morayta and others, who had used similar methods to combat the influence of the friars in the Spanish peninsula. The Spanish Orient, which has no affiliation with and is not recognized by English and American Masons, may be regarded as the source of that propaganda in the Philippines which afterwards developed into the sanguinary Katipúnan. A grand master of the Spanish Orient presided over the Carbonari of Italy. Its proselytes formed the Katipúnan of the Philippines.
The native, with all the oriental susceptibility to ritual and to secrecy, was attracted and held as he could have been in no other wav. The attraction of the Catholic influence was successfully neutralized. The rapid growth of the lodges of the Spanish Orient convinced the leaders of the movement that secret societies were the proper medium for disseminating their influence. Accordingly, José Rizal, the Filipino author and reformer, came into the islands and organized from among the more intelligent classes what was called the “Philippine League," a society whose platform consisted of the round and sonorous sentences usual in the announcements of Filipino propaganda and of customary vagueness. Generally speaking, a system of education and reforms was to be provided which should teach the Philippines to stand alone. Its ultimate purpose was stated by the Spanish Government, when shortly after its foundation its existence was
discovered by the authorities, to be to secure the independence of the Philippines from Spain. Its president was deported. Rizal, himself, had already been exiled to Dapitan, a lonely village in the southern islands. The society dissolved, or, perhaps, better said, shrank back into the Tagálog lodges whence it had originated.
Marcelo del Pilar, Rizal's most formidable rival, set out to organize in the Philippines a similar society to work for the same end, but which he believed he could make more successful by limiting his recruiting to the less intelligent classes, who would form a more powerful and more easily wielded body than the one formed from the timid theorizers and wealthy half-Spaniards of the earlier project had proved to be. Only a few of the well-to-do middle class were admitted; its members believed in action and action of the most drastic character, and felt a fierce scorn for mere political agitation not backed up by the rifle and the knife. Thus in 1894 or in 1892 the Katipúnan was born. In two years its lodges were the controlling factor in every Tagálog town. Its officers, as well as members, were drawn from the uneducated classes. Its directorate passed from the control of one to another, until it was seized on the 1st of January, 1896, by the most powerful and radical member, one Andrés Bonifacio, a night watchman in a warehouse on the Pásig River, a man of little education, keen intelligence, passionate and courageous. The poor were to have their brother's wealth distributed among them; the native priests were to succeed their Spanish preceptors, and the native clerk his peninsular superior; the ambitious Spanish or Chinese mestizo would no longer have to give way to men of unmixed Spanish blood; out of race hatred and envy and blood lust there was to be born, by slaughter and pillage, a Malay republic.
The plans of Bonifacio were far-reaching. He attempted to negotiate with Japan. He brought all the other influential Filipino exiles into his fold and sought to win the support of Rizal. He sent an agent to the place of exile of that leader to aid him to escape and to ask him to return and lead the Katipúnan in open revolt. Doctor Rizal refused. He did not favor open and bloody revolt, and thought the Philippines were not yet ready for their independence. Bonifacio resolved to proceed without him.
The time was propitious. The army of the Philippines which, at the beginning of 1896, had consisted of 18,000 men, of whom only 2,000 were Spaniards, was to be increased to a force of 21,600 men, including the civil guard. The strictly military force was to be composed of 17,659 men, of whom 3,005 were to be Spaniards. This reorganization was being made. Apparently the increase was largely in the Spanish noncommissioned officers serving in native regiments, which must have caused dissatisfaction among the native soldiers, as it limited their opportunities for promotion. Such discontent caused by similar changes was at least one of the causes of the mutiny in Cavite in 1872. Bonifacio probably reckoned on such discontent increasing his adherents in the army, and assured his followers that when he gave the signal for the uprising the native troops would
join him with their arms. What was of at least equal importance to the success of the plot was the fact that the army, as in 1872, was engaged in operations against the Moros in Mindanao. At the end of August, 1896, there were available for use in Manila only some 300 Spanish artillery, Spanish detachments amounting to some 400 men, including the sailors which could be landed from the ships of war in port, and about 2,000 native soldiers, the greater part of whom belonged to detachments of the regiments in the field. A force so constituted is hardly available for anything but guard duty, and in case of a serious outbreak a force so small would be immobilized by the necessity of preventing an outbreak in the city of Manila and an attack on the arsenal, the treasury, and the foreign banks.
Reports had been made to the Spanish authorities during the summer of 1896 of an extensive conspiracy among the natives, but that they did not consider it serious is shown by the fact that no troops were withdrawn from Mindanao. On August 19 a native denounced the plot to the Spanish parish priest of Tondo, one of the districts of Manila, and the next day documentary evidence of a far-reaching conspiracy was in the hands of the authorities. This time the evidence was of such a nature that it could not be ignored; link after link of the hidden chain of intrigue revealed itself to the investigators, and when the extent and murderous character of the plotting were revealed arrests and trials followed swiftly. Many Europeans in Manila, rightly or wrongly, believed that all men there of white blood had been marked for murder. Documents were captured which, if authentic, showed this. Bonifacio escaped. Hundreds of others marked by the local authorities for their membership in secret societies were forced to flee for their lives.
Bonifacio was thus able to commit a large faction to an openly hostile position, but the native troops, on the whole, stood firm. He fled to Caloocan to avoid capture. The Katipúnan came out from the cover of secret designs, threw off the cloak of any other purpose, and stood openly for the independence of the Philippines. Bonifacio turned his lodges into battalions, his grand masters into captains, and the supreme council of the Katipúnan into the insurgent government for the Philippines. He himself was dictator. The insurrection declared, he put himself at the head of those of his people whom he was able hastily to collect about him at Caloocan, and sent out order!; for a general uprising on August 29 throughout such portions of the island of Luzón as the Katipúnan had organized.
The governor-general, realizing that if the insurrection was not promptly crushed it would be joined by a constantly increasing number of the disaffected, on August 25 sent a small column to attack the rebels at Caloocan. The Spanish force in the city was so small that nearly half of this column was composed of sailors from the flagship. No decisive result was obtained; the rebels scattered only to unite again, and on August 30 made a daring attempt, under Bonifacio, to seize the powder magazine at San Juan del Monte in the suburbs of Manila, but
were repulsed by the detachment which guarded it. They then attacked Santa Mesa, but the detachments of Spanish and native troops which had been hurried there succeeded in driving them back. Some leaders of the rebels were captured, brought before a military court and publicly executed. So few Spanish soldiers were available for this action that a body of 100 men was under the personal command of the Spanish general next in rank to the governor-general. This attack, in which the rebels had been led almost into the streets of the city, made the authorities realize how serious were the conditions by which they were confronted. The governor-general ordered troops from Mindanao, asked for reinforcements from Spain, called upon the Spaniards of Manila to volunteer for the defense of the country, and proclaimed 8 provinces of Luzón in a state of war .
[Scrawled at this point on the margin of the third proof is the following: Map No. 1 here.]
In Cavite, on August 31, the seacoast towns rose under the leadership of Emilio Aguinaldo, a young radical, who was already a recognized leader among the local disaffected. The Spaniards had not expected this outbreak in Cavite. Aguinaldo had personally assured the governor of the province of his devotion to Spain (p. --), and when it came isolated Spanish officers were killed and their families carried into captivity. A conspiracy was discovered in the town of Cavite to release the prisoners and kill the Spaniards. Thirteen men found to have engaged in it were at once tried and shot. By the middle of September Manila Province was in ablaze, and Cavite Province, beyond the walls of the port, was in the hands of the insurgents. The Spaniards had taken refuge in Manila and the town of Cavite, where they could be safe within the walls from the attack of the rebels, who, as yet, had few firearms, and were armed chiefly with lances and with knives. The difficulty of the situation was much increased by the fact that the defense of these two places -- until reinforcements arrived from Spain -- would be chiefly in the hands of native soldiers, among whom it was known that agents of the Katipúnan had been at work. The silence with which the propaganda of revolt had been carried on, and the success which it had met, must have filled the Spaniards with the gravest doubts of the fidelity of the native troops which, for nearly the first month of the insurrection, were the chief guarantee for their lives. The troops of the old native regiments -- the men who for years had followed Spanish officers -- were, on the whole, faithful, and it was largely due to them that Manila and Cavite were held until the arrival of reinforcements.
By the end of September all the troops which could be spared from the south had been concentrated in Manila and Cavite, but Governor-General Blanco, although he probably had some 6,000 men, did not consider himself strong enough to move against Cavite Province, which was rapidly being turned into an intrenched camp ; the towns, rivers, defiles, and a multitude of positions in the interior were being fortified by more or less united works, depending upon the strategic loca-
tion of each point, while an infinite number of parapets and every kind of obstacle were being thrown up to render the roads of communication useless. Two lines of trenches, one continuous and one with intervals, occupied the frontiers. Intrenchments were constructed on the banks of streams and such places where roads and defiles leading into the interior could be enfiladed, and usually there were several parallel lines of intrenchments, those in the rear commanding those in their front. Within these exterior lines the towns were defended by intrenchments constructed at points commanding the roads leading to them; pitfalls were dug and barricades were built in the streets. The defensive possibilities of stone buildings were made use of and increased. Sluices in the dams across the rivers were contrived so as to produce inundations when desired. A continuous line of intrenchments was built along the seacoast, and at intervals there were casemates where the defenders, the sentinels, and even the fishermen could take refuge from the fire of Spanish war ships.
All of these preparations greatly increased the defensive strength of the province, whose natural features are such as to render difficult the operations of any but native troops . It abounds in rivers which run parallel to each other at short distances, their beds being the bottoms of deep ravines, which present excellent positions for defense. The roads are few and bad. In many places troops would be forced to move upon trails and foot paths. The trails and roads alike are crossed at frequent intervals by streams and bordered by dense growth, affording opportunity for the ambush of small parties. There were a number of well-constructed bridges in the province, but on the approach of the Spaniards these were partly or wholly destroyed by the insurgents. Cavite Province was the center of the insurrection. With its reoccupation by Spain organized resistance could be crushed down.
The population of Cavite Province was about 141,250. According to the system of organization employed by the insurgents, everyone of these people had his place in the scheme of defense. For military purposes, the territory was divided into five parts, called zones of war, having as capitals Siláng, Imus, Bacoor, San Francisco de Malabon, and Alfonso. Each of these zones was defended by an army, which was divided into an active and a volunteer force, the former comprising all the fighting men and the latter all those engaged outside of the ranks in works of a mechanical character. The active army was organized into regiments, companies, and batteries, performed duties in the trenches, towns, and on the roads, and also patrolled the territory to check desertions and disaffection. In turn, the companies were divided into soldiers with firearms and those without, the duty of the latter -- in the proportion of some five to each rifleman -- being to keep themselves close to the rear of the firing-line and secure the guns of men who became disabled, it being also required that such reserves should be provided with spears and bolos (a native knife), to attack with the riflemen when the order was given to charge the Spaniards. To the batteries were committed duties pertaining to the care and use of the rude na-
tive cannon, or "lantakas," the firing of mines and fougasses, and the preservation of the gunpowder. According to Spanish writers, the insurgents had obtained their firearms from deserters, from the detachments which they had overpowered at the outbreak of the insurrection, by capture, and by purchase. The statement has been made that at the beginning of 1897 they had 15,000 of all descriptions. The estimate is probably too high. Gen. Primo de Rivera stated that at the close of that year he did not think that they had more than 1,500, which estimate is undoubtedly too low .
The function of the volunteer army was the gathering and storing of food supplies and obtaining iron and copper from every possible source for the construction of arms. It was also their duty to search the surface of the fields for projectiles which, fired by the navy at the trenches along the coasts, had failed to explode; to carry food to the troops on guard or on duty in the defenses, and with those of the active army; and the women and children; since when works of this kind were concerned neither age, sex, nor condition could procure exemption, to strengthen daily the defenses and throw up others on suitable sites.
Some Spanish writers on the subject think that, owing to the influx of the disaffected from other provinces, there were 105,000 men in arms in Cavite Province. The estimate is high, but it is undoubtedly a fact that the Spanish forces operating there were opposed, not by an army, but by a people in arms.
Within these lines the men of greater intelligence dreamed of a government to be conducted for their exclusive benefit under the name of a republic. The great mass of the people who had gathered there knew nothing of a republic. There is no word for it in Tagalog, Bicol, Visayan, Ilocano, or any of the languages which the natives speak, and which the far greater part of them speak alone. The longing of this great mass was to be rid of the restrictions and the centralized form of government established by Spain. They wanted to be free, which meant that they wanted to go back to the wild life of the hills. The Malay of pure blood is not a dweller in large towns. If left to himself, he builds his house -- in many cases hardly more than a shelter -- upon some stream, and gathering his family about him, lives upon what fish he has caught in his own nets and the crop he has raised with his own hands. But even then he must have a leader -- a man who can speak to him in his own tongue and awaken that longing to obey, that lust of devotion which smoulders in his soul. These men -- the "taos" -- form the great mass of the people. Many of them have lived for generation after generation upon the same land, and when not under the control of the friars, under the domination of that class of natives who call themselves “ilustrados" (enlightened men), whose blood is, in almost every case, partly Spanish or partly Chinese. The supremacy of the friars was passing, and men of this class intended to be, in all things, the heirs to their domain. The control exercised by this class of “ilustrados" is absolute, and it is outside of the law. It is not possible for an American to understand why it is that a Filipino who happens to be rich and to know
Spanish and to have been educated in Manila, is, from the possession or those advantages, able to exact absolute and willing obedience, from the men who live about him, an obedience which extends in many cases to a perfect willingness to commit murder, under the conviction that the "ilustrado" is responsible and not the murderer, who has done his mere duty in passively obeying the orders of the man whom he looks up to, and who, in some things at least, seems to have succeeded to the absolute and paternal power of the tribal chiefs who now rule in Mindanao and Joló, and who, prior to the coming of the Spaniards, ruled on all the seacoasts of the wide-flung Archipelago.
The idea of forming a republic or of adopting the titles appropriate to a republic to designate the functionaries of a Malay despotism was an afterthought. The men who, in August, 1896, raised the standard of revolt, the fighting men like Bonifacio and Aguinaldo, did not know enough of the outside world to realize its expediency. Aguinaldo learned it when he was joined by men who had been better trained than he in Spanish methods of thought, and who had read the history of France and Spain. They found it was expedient to cover their system of absolutism with the name of a republic. It was probably a republic as they understood it, but there seems no reason for doubting that in September, 1896, Vito Belarmino, one of the most prominent of the insurgents, called himself Vito, viceroy of Siláng, one of the largest towns of Cavite Province, and to the very end of the so-called Filipino Republic the "royal family" was a common form of reference to the mother and wife and child of Emilio Aguinaldo, and over and over again the orders of the President of the Republic were spoken of by his followers as "royal decrees."
Such a blind devotion to their leaders on the part of the great mass of the people does not make for the security of government. There is always the probability of the appearance of a new enchanter able to weave a more powerful spell, and such men did appear in 1898 and 1899, whose opposition to Aguinaldo had to be suppressed by arms at a time when it was of the utmost importance to the group about him to show that they, and they alone, represented the aspirations of the Filipino people.
A republic is a government founded upon the consent of the governed. To be anything more than a name it must embody, in working form, the aspirations of the people. To found one it is not sufficient to juggle with words and call the grant of such rights as a clique in power finds it expedient to bestow upon the people whom they rule the establishment of a republican form of government. Republics are the result of a slow growth. To exist in anything more than name they are the expression of the aspirations of the whole people to be partners in the State; the establishment of a republic in fact is something more than a feat of political legerdemain.
By the end of September, 1896, the government within the insurgent lines was in the hands of Emilio Aguinaldo, who called himself the “generalissimo;" next in rank was Andres Bonifacio, “el supremo" (the supreme master) of the Katipúnan, who, as delegate of the generalis-
simo, ruled the three districts into which Cavite Province had been divided -- the vice-royalty of Siláng, a district with a capital at Imus, and a district with its capital at San Francisco de Malabón. Each of these districts had a head. assisted by a council of government, among the members of which were many of the future generals of the Filipino Republic.
Until the 1st of November General Blanco did not consider himself strong enough to take the offensive, but the few troops in Manila and Cavite did not remain inactive. They made some reconnaissances in the vicinity of those cities, but their numerical inferiority exposed them to checks which increased the audacity of the insurgents. In a short while it was seen that the only possible thing to do was to wait, and in the meanwhile restrain the people of Manila and Cavite, who were being excited by insurgent emissaries.
Although the nature of the territory in the hands of the insurgents was favorable to defense, yet the manner which that territory lay with respect to the surrounding provinces made it comparatively easy to isolate Cavite Province and the portions of Laguna and Batangas provinces to which the insurrection had spread. The Spaniards were masters of the sea and of Lakes Taal and Bay. General Blanco had the town of Cavite put into a condition of defense and works were constructed on the neck connecting it with the mainland. Two passages from the insurgent territory were partly barred by the Pásig and Pansipit rivers, which connect Lakes Bay and Taal with the sea. General Blanco established a line from Lian to Balayan, intended to cut off from the insurgents the eastern part of Batangas Province. Then he strongly occupied Taal and Saint Nicolas in order to guard the passage of the Pansipit. North of Lake Taal, where the country was more difficult to observe, he garrisoned San Domingo and established in advance of it the line Calamba-Tanauan-Bañadero, intended to protect the provinces of Laguna and Batangas.
On the side of, Manila he had the Pásig patrolled and further covered the approach to the capital by placing in a state of defense the line Parañaque-Las Piñas.
Daily reconnaissances were made from the points thus occupied; on their side the rebels made constant attacks on the circle which enclosed them. The capture of Nasugbu, the defense of Lian, combats at Pansipit and to the north of Lake Taal, the capture of Talisay by the insurgents, attacks on Bilog-Bilog and on San Domingo, are the principal military events during this period of expectation.
Reinforcements arrived from Spain and, little by little, grew accustomed to the war. The daily operations developed cohesion in the different commands, in which the commanders and soldiers, taken right and left in the Peninsula, had not had time to know each other. By the end of October, when General Blanco must have had a force of 6,000 Spanish troops and 3 native regiments available for active operations against the insurgents, the latter were in possession of Cavite Province and the immediately surrounding territory, and the insurrection had spread to all the central provinces of Luzón, where, however, the rebel
forces were widely scattered and deficient in organization and equipment, only a few having firearms of any description. Nevertheless, under Llanera, they were able to gather as many as 5,000 men to raid along the railroad and the towns about Manila, plundering and burning. A small column was kept moving against them, but although it usually scattered the bands it attacked, they came together again to resume their marauding expeditions.
On November 1, 1896, General Blanco decided to assume the offensive in Cavite Province. He collected considerable quantities of supplies at Dalahican, a village on the peninsula of Cavite, where he had established his camp, and at Calamba.
He formed the forces concentrated at these points into three columns. The first one, under command of General Rios, marched from Cavite on Noveleta; the second, transported by sea to Binacayan, was to take possession of that village. and the third, that of Calamba, was composed of 1,500 men under the command of General Aguirre, commanding in the provinces of Laguna and Batangas. The duty of the latter was to march on Siláng by Talisay, and to join there a column then formed at Bañadero. These operations began on the 9th. They were not successful. The command which bad moved on Binacayan was forced back with heavy losses, and the column directed upon Noveleta failed to take possession of the trenches covering the approaches of the town, and also lost heavily. The heaviest losses in these engagements were the Seventy-third, a native regiment. The two columns had to fall back on Cavite. Talisay was taken on the 12th, but the, check which he had suffered near Cavite decided General Blanco to suspend the movement, and General Aguirre was ordered to return to Calamba, from which place he proceeded to Santa Cruz to suppress an uprising which had just taken place. Laguna Province was pacified in a few days, and on December 1 the command was again concentrated at Calamba and Santo Domingo, where a camp for 4,000 men was
prepared; General Rios’s brigade was reorganized in Cavite on December 1 and was also ready to take the offensive.
Weeks had passed, and the insurrection held its own. Blanco was the subject of bitter attack by the clerical party for his previous protection of Rizal, for his alleged connection with Masonry, and for his too great leniency in punishing the rebels. The Spanish press was filled with complaints of his inactivity, and finally an order was issued for his relief by General Polavieja, then on his way to the islands. Some days before the order was issued this telegram was published in the Madrid press. The immediate result suggests the influence of the friars in the conduct of Philippine secular affairs at Madrid.
Hongkong, October 31.
Situation growing more serious. Rebellion spreading. Apathy of Blanco inexplicable. In order to avert danger immediate appointment of a commander necessary. We agree in this.
General Polavieja assumed the supreme command on December 13, 1896. The force at his disposal for operations against the insurgents must have been nearly 13,000 Spanish soldiers and probably three native regiments. It is probable that the remainder of the native regiments were retained in their usual garrisons to prevent outbreaks at new points. The new governor-general proceeded to carry out the plans of his predecessor. He intended to strongly occupy the lines which shut off the center of the insurrection in the province of Cavite in order to finish with the scattered centers in the neighboring provinces. After that he intended to employ the majority of his command in Cavite Province to finally trample out the insurrection there.
In consequence he changed the assignment of troops in Laguna, Batangas, and Tayabas provinces and formed a division under the command of General Lachambre composed of two brigades in Laguna Province and one in Batangas Province, while Cavite was held by an independent brigade and another occupied Manila and covered the line of the Pásig. Numerous light columns rid the provinces of central Luzón of the scattered groups of insurgents which occupied them. The rebels were held in about Cavite in spite of their repeated attacks upon the lines which confined them. Attacks on Santo Domingo and Las Piñas and a daring offensive movement toward the line of the Pásig followed by a hasty retreat on Pamplona were the principal manifestations of the activity of the enemy. General Polavieja laid a heavy hand upon the men charged with aiding and abetting the insurrection. A permanent court-martial sat in Manila charged with their trial. A number were shot, and by the end of December about 1,000 men, many of them rich and influential, had been tried and deported to various penal settlements and their property seized. On December 30 José Rizal was shot in Manila for conspiracy against the State.
As reinforcements continued to arrive, the month of January, 1897, was one of great activity, and constant combats took place in the center of Luzón, the most important of which was an attack upon the insurgent leader Llanera in Bulacán, who was forced to take refuge in Nueva Écija, while the majority of his followers availed themselves of an amnesty proclamation and surrendered. By the end of the month Bataan, Zambales, and Batangas provinces were reported free of insurgents. The time was fast approaching when it would be possible to move upon Cavite Province.
Spain, by February 1, 1847, had succeeded in transporting to the Philippines 15 battalions of infantry, 4 battalions of marine infantry, the men necessary to increase the companies in each battalion of infantry from 6 to 8, one battery of artillery, 9 cm. guns, and one squadron of cavalry. In all, some 25,000 officers and men had been sent to the Archipelago since the beginning of the insurrection, but the resources of the Peninsula were being severely tried by the war in Cuba, and the troops sent to the Philippines were young conscripts -- boys of 18 or 19 in most cases. Spain. exhausted by two rebellions, was drawing upon her last reserves.
Nearly all of the reinforcements received from Spain, the Seventy-fourth Regiment and battalions of the Sixty-eighth, Seventieth, and Seventy-third native regiments, a small force of cavalry, three batteries and some 2,000 native volunteers, raised in provinces remote from the centers of insurgent activity, were available for an attack upon the insurgent positions. The period of preparation had passed and the governor-general prepared to engage in offensive operations.
The staff had been informed of the dispositions of the enemy by spies and frequent reconnoissances. The three principal centers were known to be Siláng., Nov[e]leta, and Imus. General Polavieja resolved to finish first with Silang. At the same time he had to hold the insurgents at the other points by means of vigorous demonstrations.
General Polavieja, captain-general, and as governor-general in supreme command, organized the following commands, which on February 7 were stationed as follows:
Division of La Laguna, Batangas and Tayabas, Major-General Lachambre. Under his immediate command were 16 guns, 200 cavalry, and organizations of volunteers and the civil guard, which gave him a force of under his personal command of 1,363 men. His three brigades were as follows:
First brigade. -- Brigadier-General Cornel; 4,001 men; headquarters at Calamba.The first and second brigades had detachments amounting to 1,563 men on the lines Santa Cruz-Calamba and Tanauan-Bañadero. These dispositions gave General Lachambre a total force of 13,580 men, of which 10,922 were available for the offensive. These commands were composed of infantry.
Second brigade. -- Brigadier-General Marina Vega; 3,913 men; headquarters at Biñang,
Third brigade. -- Brigadier-General Jaramillo; 1,645 men and 2 guns; headquarters at Taal, Batangas Province. It had also detachments along the line Lian-Taal, in Batangas Province, which amounted to 1,095 men.
A fourth brigade under Brigadier-General Galbis, operating under the immediate command of the governor-general, with a strength of 100 cavalry, 5,869 infantry, and 14 guns, was extended along the northern bank of the Zapote River. The lakes of Bay and Taal were guarded by launches and small craft, while the gunboats of the squadron patrolled the seacoast.
Brigadier-General de los Rios held Cavite and Dalahican with a force of about 3,812 infantry and 100 cavalry, and Major-General Zappino held Manila and Morong provinces with a force of about 2,754 infantry, 216 heavy artillery, 200 cavalry, the Manila volunteers, and the civil guard of his provinces. His command included the city of Manila.
On February 14, General Lachambre, with Cornel’s and Marina Vega's brigades, moved on Siláng, which he took on February 19 and put in a condition of defense. On February 26, the division took Dasmari-
ñas, which was defended by Aguinaldo in person. After beating off incessant attacks, the division moved on Salitrán, which it occupied on March 8. On February 16 Jaramillo took Bayuyuñgan and drove the insurgents from their intrenched positions in Batangas. On February 15, Galbis took Pamplona. On March 7, the first line of works about Imus was taken, but the resistance met was of such a nature that it was not considered advisable to attack the main position without reinforcements, and the troops which had occupied them were withdrawn.
On March 10, 1897, the division marched for the Zapote River and effected contact with the Fourth Brigade, then commanded by General Barraquer. On March 24 the division moved on Imus from Salitrán with a force of about 12,000 combatants, obtained by adding the Fourth Brigade and detachments to the First and Second brigades. By evening the first line of works about Imus had been taken; the next day the town was occupied and garrisoned. On March 26 General Polavieja offered amnesty to all who would surrender their arms before April 11. The same day the insurgents abandoned Bacoor on the approach of the Spanish troops, and an attack was delivered on Binacayan which failed, and the brigade making it fell back on Bacoor. On March 30 the division was concentrated at Imus, which it left next day, directed upon Noveleta, which was taken, and the insurgents abandoned Binacayan and Cavite Viejo. On April 6 Lachambre moved on San Francisco de Malabon, which he took after an obstinate resistance by the insurgents under the command of Bonifacio, head of the Katipúnan. Santa Cruz and Rosario were occupied without resistance, and the natives flocked jn from every direction to take advantage of the amnesty offered by the governor-general. Organized resistance in Cavite Province had been broken. The campaign had lasted fifty-two days, 57 combats had taken place, and the division had lost 15 officers and 168 men killed, and 56 officers and 910 men wounded. Probably a larger number had died or been invalided from disease.
It is impossible to say what the insurgent casualties were; the Spanish reports give their dead as about 3,450, which was probably as exaggerated as such estimates usually are. Reports of killed and wounded drawn up by the force which has suffered losses in action are accurate, as the men are known and must be accounted for on rolls of some form. No one in the victorious army has any personal interest in the dead of the enemy. The estimates of their number are influenced by the natural tendency to exaggerate the effect of fire directed by the officer making the report, even if it is not considered expedient to exaggerate the estimate for its effect upon the people of the country of the enemy when published. Even when count is made of the enemy's dead it is usually done in a perfunctory manner. There are other and more important things to be attended to after an action, and the totals are obtained by adding the reports and estimates of many men, who frequently report the same dead which have been reported upon by others. In these actions the insurgents evidently fought gallantly and lost heavily. The loss which, with a most imperfect armament, they had inflicted upon the Spaniards shows that they fought well. Nearly 12
per cent of casualties in the attacking force, during operations lasting less than two months, shows a capable resistance on the part of the defense. They fought well; almost as well as the people of Achin, a Malay tribe which for thirty years has, from their hills and intrenchments, defied a Dutch force almost as large as that which the Spaniards employed against Cavite Province.
On April 25 General Polavieja, who had applied to be relieved from his command on account of illness, was succeeded by Gen. Primo de Rivera as governor-general of the Philippines. At the time of this change in the supreme command the insurrection had been almost extinguished in the provinces north of Manila, as, with the exception of a few hundred insurgents who had taken refuge in the mountains, all armed resistance had disappeared. In Batangas and Cavite provinces the eastern part had been pacified, but in the mountainous western part the insurgents still held the towns in the foothills of the Sierra de Tagaytay and the towns of Ternate and Naic, near the seacoast, and prevented the inhabitants of the neighboring towns from appearing to take advantage of the amnesty, although elsewhere in Cavite, on April 13 alone, 24,000 had presented themselves for that purpose.
Among the insurgent leaders the pressure of common adversity was not sufficient to destroy old rivalries. At the end of April they broke out into sudden flame and the band of Bonifacio fired upon the band of Aguinaldo. Bonifacio was taken and stripped of his rifles, his wife narrowly escaped rape by one of his rival's leaders, and after trial he was sentenced to death for conspiracy against the life of the president. On May 8, 1897, Aguinaldo commuted the sentence to solitary imprisonment for life, but since that time no man has seen the supreme leader of the Katipúnan. Aguinaldo later stated that he had had him shot. His action upon the sentence must have been for the purpose of avoiding the alienation of the adherents of Bonifacio. He could say in public that he had spared his life, as proven by a written record (Exhibit 30), while some secret emissary, under private instructions, made away with his rival. While the leaders were thus struggling for the mastery of the Katipúnan the Spanish authorities were preparing to sweep their bands from the towns which thev still held.
Shortly after his arrival Gen. Primo de Rivera issued a proclamation of amnesty, to run until the King’s birthday, May 17, and proceeded to Cavite Province to take the field in person. On May 1 operations began by the three brigades of that province moving forward in concert, while the fourth brigade in Batangas was charged with preventing the beaten force from taking refuge on the precipitous slopes of the Suñgay and Tagaytay mountains. In two weeks the last intrenched insurgent positions were occupied with but small loss, and Cavite Province was declared conquered and pacified.
The governor-general drew up a plan by which troops were to be so stationed and such measures were to be taken as would prevent the recrudescence of the insurrection. This plan was never put into effective operation, probably because men could not be spared, and the
troops, without having remained long enough in their stations to accomplish anything permanent in the way of tranquilizing their various districts, were withdrawn to Manila on May 18, leaving a single battalion under the orders of the governor. As the province was thus stripped of troops the members of the Katipúnan, seeing the time opportune, renewed their activities and formed plans to revive the insurrection.
Aguinaldo, conquered in Cavite Province, took refuge in the almost inaccessible mountains which divide it from Batangas, and gathered about him the insurgents who had refused to avail themselves of the amnesty granted by the governor-general. As he had rid himself of his ablest rival, his authority seems to have been everywhere recognized by the insurgents, who saw that in his hands were now the formidable powers of the Katipúnan.
In the districts bordering on Cavite and Manila provinces, the insurrection, in place of dying out, revived. In Bulacán many insurgents appeared in arms and frequent encounters took place between them and the Spanish forces, which were kept moving incessantly. On May 30 Malvar took possession of Talisay, on Lake Taal, and had to be driven out from the intrenchments which he had built.
On June 10, 1897, Aguinaldo, with some 500 men, crossed the Pásig River almost within sight and hearing of Manila, proceeded to Biac-na-bató, some 60 miles from the capital in the foothills of the mountains of Bulacán, where he was joined by other bands. On June 14 a Spanish column had to withdraw with heavy loss from the northern part of Manila Province.
From his mountain fastnesses, Emilio Aguinaldo, now installed as president of the revolutionary government, with the additional title of generalissimo of the army of liberation, proceeded to perform various acts of supreme authority, and appointed as vice-president Mariano Trias. who remained in Batangas and Cavite provinces at the head of a small force.
When Aguinaldo reached Biac-na-bató, resistance had not ceased but its character had changed. Guerrilla warfare had been adopted by the insurgents, and the Spanish commands were forced to follow an enemy who was never dangerous to large bodies, but who always was to small ones -- an enemy who, wearing no uniform, upon the approach of a large body, became peaceful laborers in the fields along the road, ready to pick up their rifles or bolos and use them against a small party or a straggler. The leaders had not been killed or captured, and, although the result of the campaign in Cavite had been to sweep the organized insurgents from that province, yet, in spite of their heavy losses, enough were left to act as centers for the guerilla warfare which continued to extend from that province as from a single point of infection. The Spaniards had cut wide and deep, but they had not cut wide and deep enough.
Men who adopt the methods of guerrilla war thereby abandon the restrictions which international law has placed upon indulgence in
the more base and cruel passions to which war gives rise, and have decided to cross the line of delimitation, which the public sense of civilized nations has drawn between the belligerent and the noncombatant; or else the men who adopt these methods have never heard of international law, and are guided by no sense except that of apparent immediate expediency. And yet guerrilla warfare is not a warfare of despair. Its cruelty is a calculated cruelty, and its adoption, except by savages, is a conscious and willful return to savag[e]ry. It or submission was the only choice left to Aguinaldo, and he did not choose it without some hope, for Spain had sent her last reinforcements. General Polavieja at the close of his campaign in Cavite had asked for 20 battalions to garrison the places which he had captured and to complete the pacification of the disaffected provinces. Spain had no more reinforcements for the Far East, and his request had been refused. Upon his arrival, Gen. Primo de Rivera had informed the Spanish authorities that he would need no reinforcements and had disbanded the Spanish volunteers. Aguinaldo must have realized that, although he had lost heavily in men and arms, yet the Spaniards, too, had lost, and that unless the country was won over to them their loss of men could not be replaced, while his could. He, however, could replace his loss in firearms and ammunition only by capture from the Spaniards, while they could draw upon Spain.
Failure to adopt the methods of guerilla warfare is almost always due to a desire to avoid the suffering which it inevitably causes among noncombatants. In Aguinaldo's theory of war there were no noncombatants. Although there could have been no reasonable expectation that the prolongation of the conflict would secure the recognition of the independence of the Malay States these men hoped to found, yet by adopting it there was a reasonable expectation of obtaining such measure of recognition as, in fact, they did obtain. Whatever they may have fought for at first, the leaders were fighting now for their own safety. From their point of view their policy was a wise one. The Spanish force in the Philippines could not be increased until the chances of the campaign in Cuba permitted the withdrawal of troops from that island. Until troops could be withdrawn from there it would be impossible to compensate for the diminution of the effective strength of the army in the Archipelago caused by [ca]sualties and disease, which Gen. Primo de Rivera said amounted to nearly 40 per cent a year, a drain which would be inevitably increased by the necessities of guerrilla warfare, forcing the divisions of the command into smaller and ever smaller detachments, difficult to supply, and with diminution in size exposed to increasing danger of attack by a hostile population. And then Aguinaldo probably reckoned upon an increase in his force from the acts of retaliation which accompany guerrilla warfare, and, which, when permitted by subordinate commanders, are so ill advised, for every village which is burnt and whose people are allowed to remain unfed sends its men to join the guerrilla bands. But Gen. Primo de Rivera had commanded before in the Philippines, where he was personally popular, and knew the country well. He saw the
expediency of treating with humanity the population not openly engaged in hostilities, and by degrees won it over to himself and the Spanish cause, enabling him to fight Filipinos with Filipinos.
He himself said (46) that it was not sufficient for an army to triumph over guerrilla bands; to conquer the support of the country itself is necessary. Unless this is obtained, even when the country is occupied by soldiers, the war continues and grows. It is not sufficient to kill and to destroy; a desert is not necessarily at peace. A people who have risen in arms submit only of their own will, and only when the majority has been induced to believe that their property and their lives are safer in the hands of the leaders of the conquering army than in the hands of the leaders who have called them to the field.
In the month of July, 1897, no actions of importance were fought. Miguel Malvar exercised command over the Batangas insurgents, while Llanera was the principal chief in Central Luzón. In August Spanish troops had to disperse insurgents in Cavite Province, showing that the fires of insurrection were still smoldering there. Aguinaldo and Llanera made repeated attacks upon the town of San Rafael, Bulacán, but were repulsed, while in Batangas the insurgents had to be driven from an intrenched position near Lake Taal. In Laguna bands of insurgents armed with Remington and Mauser rifles went about attacking small towns and isolated "haciendas," but were usually overtaken and dispersed. On September 4 some 5,000 insurgents attacked Aliaga, Nueva Écija, and the small garrison there succeeded in holding its position only owing to the exhaustion of the attacking force. There were engagements in Pampanga, Tayabas, Laguna, and Batangas provinces, and a serious plot was discovered in Manila. By October the zone of guerrilla activity had spread to Pangasinán, Tarlac, Nueva Écija, and as far as Principe Province.
By this time the necessity of additional troops to take the place of those unfit for service was apparent. As the governor-general was not able to obtain troops from Spain, he was compelled to again resort to native volunteers, who, indeed, he said were to be preferred to the raw recruits which had been sent from the Peninsula. These by a decree of October 16, 1897, were called for from the provinces of Luzón, the Visayas, and the Christian parts of Mindanao. The decree called for two classes of volunteers --local and mobilized. The local volunteers were to be employed in the defense of their own towns and for patrol service. When in service they were to receive the same pay and allowances as native troops. The mobilized volunteers were to be armed, equipped, and fed by the Government, and were to act in combination with the regular troops. They were to receive slightly greater pay and allowances than the native troops, and those who remained in the ranks for more than six months were to be entitled to certain privileges, including exemption of themselves and their first-born sons from military service, exemption from the payment of taxes in kind, and from payment for “cédulas" or certificates of identity. Land bounties were provided for both classes of volunteers, and medals to commemorate their serv-
ice. The call for volunteers wa[s] everywhere responded to with enthusiasm. Gen. Primo de Rivera says that he used all possible precautions to see that these volunteers were volunteers in fact, for only then could he feel secure of their fidelity. When 22,000 men or both classes had been enrolled enlistment was stopped. According to the governor-general there were only 5 desertions from this force prior to his departure from the islands, when he left 4,400 men of the mobilized militia.  Thus by degrees the devotion of the people drifted away from the insurgent leaders, who were forced to adopt measures of spoliation to live, and in December Gen. Primo de Rivera assembled a force of 8,000 Spanish soldiers, with which he invested the insurgent stronghold of Biac-na-bató, where were assembled Aguinaldo and many of his leaders.
In order to obtain this force the governor-general replaced the Spanish troops with volunteers in the positions from which the former had been withdrawn. The archbishop of Manila cooperated in the investment by placing at the disposal of Gen. Primo ,de Rivera between 20,000 and 30,000 men to carry supplies to the besieging army. These men were adherents of the church and were led to offer their
services through the exercise of the influence of the archbishop upon the parish priests. In fact, the rapidity with which volunteers were obtained was probably largely due to the influence of the parish priest, and as these volunteers were of great value to Spain in crushing out the embers of the insurrection it is evident that the friars had given another reason for their hatred by the class of natives represented by Aguinaldo. It must have been evident to them that they still stood between them and their control of the masses of the people. Their attack upon the Spanish clergy the following year was largely inspired by the desire to succeed to their influence upon these masses, an influence which the followers of Aguinaldo desired to exert and to exert untrammeled and alone.