Battle of Santa Cruz (1899)

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For the WWII battle of the same name see: Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands

Battle of Santa Cruz
Part of Philippine-American War
Date April 9-April 10, 1899
Location Santa Cruz, Laguna
Result U.S. victory
United States Philippines
Henry W. Lawton  ?
2nd Division  ?
Casualties and losses
1 killed
5 wounded
68 killed
40 wounded

This Battle of Santa Cruz was a battle fought in the early stages of the Philippine-American War during General Henry W. Lawton's Laguna de Bay Campaign.



After defeating the Filipino nationalists at the second battle of Manila, General Elwell S. Otis, commander of the US VIII Corps, sent the 1st Division under Arthur MacArthur to the north to threaten the Filipino capitol at Malolos. At the same time, the 2nd Division under Henry W. Lawton was sent south into the Laguna province, to the Filipino stronghold located in the town of Santa Cruz.


On April 8 1899, Lawton's division boarded a small fleet on the Pasig River east of Manila and sailed towards Laguna de Bay. The flotilla did not reach the opposite shore of the lake because the pilots were unfamiliar with the river and frequently grounded the boats. On April 9 at 10:30 a.m., landing craft began offloading Lawton's troops south of the stronghold of Santa Cruz. A strong breeze forced some of the landing craft off their course, and the troops had to wade ashore in shoulder deep water. Darkness fell before all the troops could be landed, and a minor skirmish broke out to the Americans' right.

Advance on Santa Cruz

Early on April 10, General Lawton personally went ashore and, after cutting the telegraph line into Santa Cruz, advanced the U.S. troops along the main road leading into the town. The road was lightly guarded until the approach to a bridge just outside of the town, which was heavily guarded by the Filipinos. Lawton ordered a charge and a regular battalion supported by Idaho and Washington volunteers routed the local force. In the meantime, the remaining U.S. forces which had not gone ashore the night before were landing under enemy fire just north of the town. These forces drove off the Filipinos on the beach while the gunboats from the U.S. flotilla made short work of the Filipino navy guarding Santa Cruz. That same day Lawton took control of Santa Cruz as the local units withdrew to Pagsanjan.


While Gen. Lawton consolidated his forces in Santa Cruz, he planned to push on to Pagsanjan where he figured the Filipinos had retreated. After capturing Pagsanjan on April 11, he again defeated the Filipinos in a stiff engagement at the Battle of Paete, then returned to Manila where he was to launch a new expedition, this time against San Isidro.

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