Battle of Quingua

From Wikipilipinas
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Battle of Quingua was fought on April 23, 1899, in Quingua (now Plaridel, Bulacan), Philippines during the Philippine-American War. It was a two-part battle. The first phase was a brief victory for the young Filipino general Gregorio del Pilar over the American Cavalry led by Major J. Franklin Bell, where Bell's advance was stopped. But in the second phase, Bell was reinforced by the 134th Nebraskan Infantry and the Nebraskans routed the Filipinos, but not before they repelled a cavalry charge that killed Colonel John M. Stotsenberg.

The battle began when Bell and his men, while on a reconnaissance mission, were attacked by a strong force of Filipinos led by General Gregorio del Pilar. The Filipinos laid down a heavy fire, that halted Bell's advance. After a short firefight, Bell saw that he was in a badly exposed position, and if he did not receive help soon his force risked being captured or killed. Bell sent for reinforcements, and the 134th Nebraskans came to his aid under Colonel Stotsenberg.

Once he entered the field, Stotsenberg ordered a charge, and the Nebraskan Infantry, Stonsenberg at their lead with a dozen or so cavalrymen, rushed the enemy's position. Stotsenberg, taking into account that his enemy previously had displayed poor marksmanship, perceived that a charge from such a force would dislodge and route the enemy, which on most occasions, had been done before rather easily.

He was unaware, however, that General Hale had insisted upon an artillery bombardment before an attack to weaken the strong enemy position. The artillery only managed to fire off a few rounds before Hale had to halt the bombardment, from fear of hitting Stotsenberg and his men.

Contrary to Stotsenberg's belief that the enemy would be easily routed, the Filipinos held their ground and opened a heavy fire into the charging cavalrymen. Stotsenberg was one of the first to fall, along with 6 of his men, another 5 were wounded. Several of the cavalrymen's mounts were also slain. The Philippine soldiers sustained the heavy fire, forcing the 4th Cavalry to retreat.

The Nebraskans, only 200 strong, advanced under the withering fire by the Filipino rifleman, who displayed accuracy never witnessed in previous battles. The fire was heavy and effective, but the Nebraskan line did not waver, and soon the two forces clashed in close range combat. After a stiff fight in which both sides suffered heavy casualties, the Filipinos were driven into their secondary defenses. During the fight, the Nebraskan Infantry lost 4 killed and 31 wounded.

The Filipinos' secondary defenses seemed extremely formidable, and an American frontal assault might have resulted in extreme casualties. Having seen this the U.S. commanding General Irving Hale ordered an artillery bombardment on the enemy lines. Two artillery pieces were brought up and fired 20 shots into the Filipino positions. The powerful artillery barrage demoralized the Filipinos and they soon retreated before another attack by the Americans.