Battle of Bud Bagsak

From Wikipilipinas
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Battle of Bud Bagsak was a battle during the Moro Rebellion phase of the Philippine–American War fought between June 11 and June 15, 1913. The defending Moro fighters were fortified at the top of Mount Bagsak on the island of Jolo, Sulu. The attacking Americans were led by General John 'Black Jack' Pershing. The Moros were entirely annihilated, including their leader, Datu Amil.[1]


Datu Amil (sitting left), an influential leader of the Tausūgs in discussion with Captain W.O. Reed, US 6th Cavalry Regiment during the American Moro Campaigns. Amil was later killed by the Americans which marked the beginning of the end of the sovereignty of the Sulu Sultanate when the Americans abolished its power after the end of this battle when their region fell under American rule.[2][3]

In March 1913, Datu Amil and 1,500 warriors negotiated with the Sultan of Sulu and other Moros allied with the Americans, pledging to surrender their weapons.[1] Two months later, having retreated to Bud Bagsak with his entire population of 6,000-10,000 in the Lati Ward, he told the Americans to "come on and fight".[1]

Noticing the Moros only fled to Bud Bagsak when provoked by government troops, General John J. Pershing devised a policy of keeping the troops in their island garrisons in the hopes the women and children would come down from the mountain cottas.[1] At the same time, Pershing secretly landed his force at the coastal town of Bun Bun, three and a half miles from Bud Bagsak.[1] Pershing's force consisted of the 51st and 52nd Companies of Moro Scouts from Basilan and Siasi, besides the Philippine Scouts from Jolo and fifty troopers from the 8th Cavalry Regiment.[1]

The horseshoe-shaped volcanic crater, open on the northwest at a knoll called Languasan, was protected by five cottas, Bunga, Bagsak, Puhagan, Matunkup and Puyacabao, ranging from 1,440 to 1,900 feet in elevation.[1]

Colt .45 pistol

In many other battles in the Morolands, the U.S. Army Colt .45 caliber pistol was tested and perfected as an effective "man stopper" against the Moro fighters, who often fought with berserker tendencies.

But the use of the .45 Colt Automatic in Bud Bagsak is still subject to debate since the first shipment of the .45 Colt Automatic pistols for the Philippines were still in crates in the harbor of New York in the early months of 1913, and the actual date of the arrival of the pistols in the Philippine Islands needs to be verified by researching the ship used to transport the pistols, the date it departed the Port of New York and its arrival in the Port of Manila as well as any and all existing shipping records, up to the moment the pistols were issued to the soldiers. Since no photographic evidence actually exists of an American soldier carrying a .45 Colt Automatic pistol in Bud Bagsak, and unless it is proven that the .45 Colt Automatic pistols were in the hands of the Americans in Bud Bagsak prior to June 1913, the use of the .45 Colt Automatic in Bud Bagsak remains subject to debate.

The real "man stopper" used against the "juramentados" or "berserker" Moros may very well have been the Winchester Model 1897 shotgun. This was issued to soldiers in Bud Bagsak.


Pershing made Languasan his first objective as a place for his artillery and to block any escape, sending Major George C. Shaw with Company M of the 8th Infantry and the 40th Company of Philippine Scouts.[1] Pershing also sent Capt. George Charlton and his 51st Moros to attack Matunkup while Capt. Taylor Nichols' Philippine Scouts attacked Puyacabao.[1] By 12:20 PM, Matunkup was in American hands, and earned 2nd Lt. Louis Mosher a Medal of Honor.[1] Puyacabao fell by 12:30 PM.[1] That ended the first day of fighting, 11 June.[1]

Early on the morning of 12 June, the American artillery fired on Puhagan while marksmen fired on its interior, killing Datu Amil.[1] Pershing then ordered Capt. Patrick Moylan to attack Bunga with the 24th and 31st Scouts, taking it by 1:30 PM.[1] Pershing, James Lawton Collins, and a ten-man escort scouted Bagsak, which convinced Pershing to bring up his artillery on 14 June and attack from the south.[1]

The attack began in Sunday morning fog, 15 June, with mountain howitzers and Charlton's Moros advancing at 9 AM.[1] When the assault stalled, Pershing joined other American officers in the forefront of danger, helping stop a Moro counterattack.[1] The final assault on the cotta occurred at 5 PM and Bagsak was captured after three and a half hours.[1]


General Pershing in a letter to his wife, he wrote: "The fighting was the fiercest I have ever seen. They are absolutely fearless, and once committed to combat they count death as a mere incident."[4]


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Arnold
  2. (1 October 2010) Swish of the Kris, the Story of the Moros, Authorized and Enhanced Edition. Cerberus Books, 228–. ISBN 978-0-615-38242-5. 
  3. James R. Arnold (26 July 2011). The Moro War: How America Battled a Muslim Insurgency in the Philippine Jungle, 1902-1913. Bloomsbury Publishing, 236–. ISBN 978-1-60819-365-3. 
  4. Sweeney, Patrick (2010). 1911 The First 100 Years: The First 100 Years. Krause Publications. ISBN 1-4402-1799-8.