Elwell S. Otis

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Elwell S. Otis
ESOtis.jpg
2nd American Military Governor of the Philippines
In office
August 28, 1898 - May 5, 1900
Born March 25, 1838
Frederick, Maryland, United States
Died October 21, 1909
Rochester, New York, United States
Spouse None

Elwell Stephen Otis (1838 - 1909) was a United States of America general who served in the Philippines late in the Spanish-American War and during the Philippine-American War.

Staff and Assistants of Major General E. S. Otis at the Malacañan Palace in Manila

Otis was born in Frederick, Maryland on March 25, 1838. During the American Civil War|Civil War he served as a captain in the 140th New York Regiment and fought in many of the battles of the Army of the Potomac including Battle of Fredericksburg|Fredericksburg and Battle of Gettysburg|Gettysburg. During the siege of Petersburg, he was in command of a brigade in V Corps (ACW)|V Corps leading it into action at the battle of Peebles' Farm. A wound during the siege effectively ended his field career during the Civil War but he was promoted to brevet (military)|brevet brigadier general of volunteers. He continued serving in the army during the Indian Wars. In 1893, he was appointed brigadier general in the regular army.

In May 1898, he was appointed major general of volunteers and was sent to the Philippines with reinforcements for General Wesley Merritt. When he arrived, he assumed command of the U.S. VIII Corps|VIII Corps, replacing Merritt who had became the military governor of the Philippines. When Merritt left, Otis was appointed Military Governor.

He continued in command of the VIII Corps during the Battle of Manila (1899) and the opening phase of the Philippine-American War.

Otis's response when Emilio Aguinaldo tried to stop the war by sending an emissary to General Otis to appeal for an end to the fighting in the Battle of Manila was, "fighting, having begun, must go on to the grim end.".

Otis also oversaw many of the first atrocities of the Philippine-American War by American soldiers:

"The conduct of the Washington Volunteers has been the subject of special investigations for some time. They deny wanton burning or cruelties. And still there are strong indications that they practised these infractions to some extent." [1]

He was relieved of command in 1900 and replaced with Arthur MacArthur. He returned to the United States and commanded the Department of the Lakes. He was appointed major general in the regular army in 1906.

Otis was a skilled general and able administrator. However, he was generally disliked by his subordinates and peers and received harsh treatment in the press. He was known "Granny" by his troops because of his age and graying hair. He died in Rochester, New York on October 21, 1909 from painful angina.

Notes

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Further reading

(Full book online
Preceded by
Wesley Merritt
Military Governor of the Philippines
August 28, 1898May 5, 1900
Succeeded by
Arthur MacArthur, Jr
Preceded by
Newly created
Member of the Schurman Commission
March 4, 1899March 16, 1900
Succeeded by
Bernard Moses
(Taft Commission)

Original Source

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