Siege of Catubig

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The Siege of Catubig (Filipino: Pagkubkob sa 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 Balangiga Massacre south of Catubig a year later.

Background

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 the conventional war in the Philippines had been abandoned and had entered the new phase of guerrilla 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.

Battle

On the morning of April 15, General Vicente Lukban gives an order to Col. Enrique Daguhob to attack the Americans in Catubig. Under the command of Col. Enrique Daguhob and hundreds of Filipino guerillas attacked American forces, armed with bolos, pistols, spears, and Mausers. The guerillas used cannon and rifles to drive the entire regiment into the church.

After two days of withstanding fire and attempts to set the church ablaze, the Americans retreated to the river. The American survivors reached the river bank and dug makeshift trenches with their bayonets. The Americans held out for another two days, though the Filipinos were only 100 yards away. They kept the guerillas in check until a rescue party in the steamer Lao Aug came to their aid.

Aftermath

The bloody battle was reported by the American media, and Henry T. Allen was criticized for his pacification campaign with its isolated garrisons. Allen directed that "a proper punishment be effected on the Catubig Valley."

It was said that all soldiers of the 43rd, 19 were killed and 3 were wounded, although some sources state the number of killed at 31. The Philippine losses claim to be at 150, US Army accounts claim it even higher. The survivors of Company C, who were nearly annihilated during the Balangiga massacre, also claimed extremely high losses on the Filipino side.

References