Battle of Manila (1899)

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Battle of Manila
Part of the Philippine-American War
1Manila646 1899.jpg
US soldiers of the First Nebraska volunteers, company B, near Manila in 1899
Date February 4-5, 1899
Location Manila, Philippines
Result U.S. victory
United States Philippines
Elwell S. Otis Emilio Aguinaldo
12,000 15,000
Casualties and losses
50-60 killed, 225 wounded, 2 artillery pieces captured 2000 killed, wounded, or captured

The Battle of Manila was fought on February 4th and February 5th 1899 during the Philippine American War, between 12,000 Americans and 15,000 Filipinos. It was the first and largest battle fought during the war. For the Spanish-American War battle of the same name, see: Battle of Manila (1898)

It began when Private William Grayson and Private Miller of B Company, 1st Nebraska Volunteers encountered a four man Philippine Army patrol. The Filipinos refused to halt when challenged. Grayson fired and killed the Filipino lieutenant who did not halt the second time a challenge was issued. Soon after, firing broke out across the sixteen mile Filipino and American lines. Although some alleged Grayson was following orders, the Filipino soldiers had been provoking the Americans for months because of their resentment at being denied recognition of their country's independence.

Caught off guard by the sudden outburst, the Filipinos remained in their trenches and exchanged fire with the Americans. A Filipino battalion mounted a charge against the 14th US Artillery, routed a company of American soldiers, and succeeded in capturing a few artillery pieces for a little while. During this time, nearly all of their high ranking officers were attending a dance, celebrating their victory over Spain. The soldiers were for the most part leaderless.

Even when their officers did arrive to the field, many influential leaders tried to stop the fighting. Aguinaldo sent emissaries to negotiate a peace treaty, but when they arrived, General Elwell Otis replied: "Fighting having begun, must go on to the grim end."

At day break the Filipinos were shocked when the Americans attacked. They were used to the Spanish tactics of retreating into fortified cities after a night time raid. Brigadier General Arthur MacArthur's attack in the north captured the ridge overlooking Manila. (MacArthur was later promoted to Major General and became Governor General of the Philippines.) After initial confusion, Brigadier General Thomas M. Anderson's attack in the south captured the village of Pasay and Filipino supplies stored there.

The Filipinos were counting on an uprising by the citizens of Manila to divide American forces and interrupt American supply lines. Although some fires were set inside the city, no general uprising occurred. However, some small units of Philippine soldiers who had not been part of the force that routed, skirmished with the Americans for several days on the outskirts of Manila before being driven out.

While both sides suffered losses, the Filipinos suffered far greater casualties. The Americans suffered 50-60 killed and more than 200 wounded. The Filipinos in turn, suffered hundreds more, around 2,000 killed, wounded, or captured. The high casualty figures are due mostly to the Americans lethal use of artillery and warships, along with superior marksmanship and firearms.


Order of Battle

Utah Battery in action on McCloud Hill.


VIII Corps - Major General Elwell S. Otis

  • 1st Division - Brigadier General Thomas M. Anderson
    • 1st Brigade - Brigadier General Charles King (general)|Charles King
    • 2nd Brigade - Brigadier General Samuel Ovenshine
  • 2nd Division - Major General Arthur MacArthur
    • 1st Brigade - Brigadier General Harrison Gray Otis|Harrison G. Otis
    • 2nd Brigade - Brigadier General Irving Hale


Emilio Aguinaldo

See also

Original Source

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