Today in AFJ History

September 22, 2013  

1899: COIN in the Philippines

Wounded U.S. soldiers at Santa Mesa, Manila, 1899.

From the archive: September 23, 1899

Editor’s note: As the U.S. tried to take control of the Philippines in the wake of the Spanish-American War, Filipino nationalists launched a war for independence. The fighting lasted from February 1899 to 1902.

New Ordnance for Otis

Secretary of War [Elihu] Root has shown the country what can be done by a man of determination.

When he assumed the war portfolio he announced his intention of waging a vigorous campaign against the insurrectionists. This was less than two months ago. Today ten infantry regiments previously authorized are thoroughly organized and equipped, ten more are being rapidly recruited, two are partly organized in the Philippines, one cavalry regiment has been raised and two colored regiments have been authorized. This has all been accomplished in less than two months, and in addition the Secretary has decided upon field artillery that will certainly do much to bring the campaign to a speedy end. He has availed himself of every opportunity to investigate the latest artillery devices, not with a view to its future adoption by the Army, but looking to its immediate use in the coming campaign. He has not sought to give contracts for material to be delivered months hence when it will be of no use against the Filipinos, but on the contrary has announced his intention to purchase whatever guns may be needed provided they can be immediately delivered. It is proposed to end the business of palavering with the insurgents. This was tried during the last season and failed. A campaign will be waged with the sole purpose of compelling unconditional surrender.

Among the preparations made by the War Department is the purchase of a number of Maxim mountain guns of the same type as were used in the Omdurman and Khartoum campaigns by England. At Sandy Hook the Secretary was much impressed with this type of gun, and gave an order to Thomas F. Lane, agent for Vickers Sons & Maxim, of England, for twelve. They are ready for delivery and will soon be at Manila, where the batteries will be formed. The order provides also for nearly 8,000 rounds of ammunition.

Some weeks ago Lieut. Mervyn C. Buckey was ordered to go to England, Paris, France and Amsterdam, Holland, to investigate the organization of these mounted batteries, and be prepared to report to General [Elwell Stephen] Otis on his arrival at Manila.