Siege of Catubig

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Siege of Catubig
Part of Philippine-American War
Date April 15-19, 1900
Location Catubig, Philippines
Result Filipino Victory
Belligerents
Filipino guerillas United States
Commanders
unknown unknown
Strength
200+ 31 Soldiers 43d Infantry Regiment (PS)
Casualties and losses
~25 killed 21 killed, 8 wounded

The Siege of Catubig was a long and bloody engagement fought during the Philippine-American War, in which Filipino guerrillas launched a surprise attack against a detachment of U.S. infantry, and then forced them to abandon the town after a four-day siege. It began on April 15, 1900, and lasted four days before the survivors were rescued. The attack was very similar to the infamous Balangiga Massacre farther south of Catubig a year later.

A few days before the battle, the U.S.43d Infantry Regiment (PS) was sent to Catubig, on the northern part of the island of Samar, to stop guerrillas from getting supplies from suspected sympathizers. This was a time when conventional war in the Philippines had been abandoned and had now entered the new phase of guerilla warfare. The 43rd were relatively raw recruits and had little experience in combat. In fact, they had only been in the islands for four months before they were ordered to Catubig.

April 15 seemed like a typical Sunday morning for the regiment, until suddenly, rushing down from the surrounding hills and town itself, came hundreds of Filipino guerillas well armed with bolos, pistols, spears, and Spanish Mausers. The guerillas let loose a tremendous volley of cannon and rifle fire that drove the entire regiment into their barracks.

For two days, the regiment withstood a withering fire with a loss of only two men, before their barracks were lit ablaze. Unable to extinguish the fire, they were forced to flee the burning building and face the attackers.

When they reached the open, the whole regiment lost all co-ordination, and broke up into two groups: one running for some boats on the river bank and another for the rear of the barracks. All 15 men running for the boats were killed, either cut down in the streets or shot in the boats. The others made makeshift trenches, dug with their bayonets, and for another two days kept the guerillas in check until a rescue party in the steamer, Lao Aug, came to their aid in the nick of time. The relief force managed to save the survivors under a hail of Mauser bullets, making it back to their base before the guerillas could regroup and attack again.

Of 31 soldiers of the 43d, 21 were killed and 8 were wounded. The Philippine losses were unknown. Enemy accounts claim as high as 150, but this was more than likely propaganda. The survivors of Company C, who were nearly annihilated during the Balangiga Massacre, also claimed extremely high losses on the Filipino side.

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