Philippine-American War, 1899-1902

by Arnaldo Dumindin

Americans Advance To Malolos, March 24-31, 1899

The city of Manila is located in the lower right corner of this 1899 US Army map.

Brig. Gen. Arthur C. MacArthur Jr.'s column advanced along the Manila-Dagupan railway to the north. Malolos, the Filipino capitol, and the capture of Aguinaldo were the prime  objectives. But it had to overcome defenses put up by the Filipinos along the way.

The Manila to Dagupan Railway Terminus on Azcarraga St. (now Claro M. Recto Ave.), Manila (also known as the Tutuban Railway Station). Photo was taken in late 1898 or  early 1899. The building still stands, although it has been converted into a shopping mall.

US troops starting north via the Manila - Dagupan Railway, 1899.

Original caption: "Members of the Seventeenth Infantry head for action in the Philippine Islands."

Filipino soldiers packed on wagon trains as they head for the war front. [Photo taken in 1899, somewhere in Central Luzon]

March 1899:  US-based Munsey's Magazine features General Emilio Aguinaldo, describing him as "The Filipino Dictator" and "Self-appointed President of the Philippine Republic".

General MacArthur's formidable pursuit force consisted of about 12,000 men drawn from the following units:

VOLUNTEER INFANTRY REGIMENTS (8):  1st Montana, 1st Nebraska, 1st South Dakota, 1st Washington, 1st Wyoming, 2nd Oregon, 10th Pensylvania, 13th Minnesota and 20th Kansas.

REGULAR INFANTRY REGIMENTS (3):       17th, 20th and 22nd. 

ARTILLERY (3):                                       3rd (as infantry), 6th and Utah Light.

CAVALRY (1):                                         4th

The Americans estimated Filipino strength at about 30,000 men.

Battle of The Tuliahan River, March 25-26, 1899

Malabon:  American skirmish line, March 25, 1899.

The Battle of  the Tuliahan River comprises 6 related engagements: Malabon (March 25-26), parts of Caloocan (March 25), San Francisco del Monte (March 25), Polo (March 25), Malinta (March 26) and Meycauayan (March 26).

Ten US regiments were engaged. At Malabon, the Americans suffered 16 killed and 130 wounded; the Filipinos lost 125 men killed and 500 wounded.

Utah Light Battery firing on Malabon

On March 25, the Americans advanced towards Malabon (near Caloocan). Describing their adventures in Malabon, Anthony Michea of the Third Artillery wrote: "We bombarded a place called Malabon, and then we went in and killed every native we met, men, women, and children. It was a dreadful sight, the killing of the poor creatures. The natives captured some of the Americans and literally hacked them to pieces, so we got orders to spare no one."

Original caption: "Hotchkiss Quick Firing Gun shelling Filipinos as they were leaving Malabon, March 26, 1899"

Filipinos KIA at Malabon

Filipinos KIA at Malabon

Dead Filipino at Malabon


Original caption: "Sadness in victory - our 'Boys' caring for dying Insurgents - Battlefield of Malabon, P.I."

More Filipino wounded at Malabon

American photographer's caption:  "On the road to Malabon. Huts that had to be burned to keep natives from re-entering the same and doing a bushwhacking."  US army commissary wagons are seen on the right half of the photo.

March 25-26, 1899: Bridge at Malabon showing span blown out by Filipinos


Peter MacQueen, correspondent of The National Magazine, covered the Malabon battle. PHOTO was taken at Malabon, March 26, 1899.

SAME SCENE AS PRECEDING PHOTO. Peter MacQueen and an American soldier enjoy a meal on a bamboo table. This Filipino family was displaced by the fighting.  Note the white flag of truce they had put up.

Malabon:  Filipino prisoners; these men appear to be innocent non-combatants.

Malabon:  Filipino prisoners captured by the 2nd Oregon Volunteers

The Atlanta Constitution of Georgia, USA, issue of March 27, 1899, reports on American victories at Malabon, Polo and Malinta

Filipinos destroying the railway between Polo and Meycauayan towns, Bulacan Province

A white US soldier wrote home:  "The weather is intensely hot, and we are all tired, dirty and hungry, so we have to kill niggers whenever we have a chance, to get even for all our trouble."

March 1899: Troops of the 3rd US Infantry Regiment resting near Malinta, Bulacan Province

March 26, 1899:  US troops at Malinta, Bulacan Province

March 26, 1899: Col. John M. Stotsenburg, 1st Nebraska Volunteers, conferring with his officers. He would die in combat a month later at Quingua, Bulacan Province.

March 26, 1899:  Dead Filipino at Malinta, Bulacan Province.

March 26, 1899: Wounded Filipino POWs at Malinta, Bulacan Province

Original caption: "Signal corps operating on the field, P.I."

General MacArthur's orderly, Valentine (on horseback), receiving message from a signal corpsman instructing advance on the Tuliahan River, March 1899.

Filipinos lie where they fell near the Tuliahan River, March 1899

Filipino killed by shrapnel, 1899

Original caption: "Have you a pass? Scene on the firing line, P.I."

Filipino prisoners being brought into the American encampment, March 1899.

Original caption:   "Filipino prisoners and their captor."  Photo taken in 1899, location not specified.

1899: U.S. soldiers and Filipino POWs gather on Postigo Street near the Manila Cathedral, Intramuros district, Manila.

The Filipino POWs in preceding photo march out of Intramuros through the Postigo del Palacio ("Postern of the Palace"); the dome of the Manila Cathedral is visible in the background.

Postigo del Palacio today: the pathway leading from the gate has been covered over by parts of a golf course. The dome of the Manila Cathedral is seen in the background.

Company H, 2nd Oregon Volunteers, drawn up in front of the Postigo del Palacio, Manila, 1899.

Filipino troops retreating from Americans; photo taken in 1899, location unspecified

Filipino civilians with flag of truce; photo taken in 1899, location unspecified

Original caption:  "Amigos coming in from the insurrecto's line." Photo taken in 1899, location unspecified

Original caption:  "How the Twentieth Kansas boys were met by conquered natives, Philippine Islands."  Photo was taken in 1899.

Two mortally terrified Filipino women are being brought in for interrogation. Photo was taken in 1899, location unspecified. The Manila correspondent of the Philadelphia Ledger reported, “Our men have been relentless, have killed to exterminate men, women, children, prisoners and captives, active insurgents and suspected people from lads up to 10, the idea prevailing that the Filipino was not much better than a dog . . .” (In Cabugao, Ilocos Sur, on June 21, 1900, five US soldiers ---John Wagner, Edward Walpole, Harry Dennis and John Allance and a Private Meeks---who were sickened by the atrocities perpetrated by their fellow Americans, deserted to the Filipino side; on Nov. 25, 1900, in the same town, another American, Private William Hyer, joined the Filipinos).

The Bulletin of San Francisco, California, in its March 27, 1899 issue, reports imminent capture of Emilio Aguinaldo. The Filipino leader was actually captured nearly two years later, on March 23, 1901

Battle of Marilao River, March 27, 1899

Colorized photo of Filipino POWs at Marilao

General Pantaleon Garcia (RIGHT) came down from Dagupan, Pangasinan Province, by train with about 1,000 riflemen and 4,000 bolo men, and took positions at Marilao.

On March 27, 1899, seven US regiments assaulted Garcia's entrenchments. The 1st South Dakota Volunteers and the 3rd US Artillery, acting as infantry, were thrown forward.

The South Dakotas charged across an open space on the east of the railway to the edge of some woods. They lost 10 killed and 11 wounded, including 3 lieutenants.

The 3rd US Artillery charged on the edge of the railroad and lost 2 killed and 7 wounded.

On the left the Filipinos in a trench east of the Marilao river offered a stubborn resistance. But they were soon forced to retreat.

Overall, American losses were 14 killed and 65 wounded. Filipino losses were 90 killed and 30 taken prisoner.


1st Nebraskans resting along the railroad line near Marilao, March 27, 1899.

The Atlanta Constitution,  in its March 28, 1899 issue, reports stiff resistance put up by the Filipinos

Americans Close In On Malolos, March 29-31, 1899

Bocaue burns

On March 29, Brig. Gen. Arthur C. MacArthur, Jr. advanced to Bocaue, and at 11:45 am he advanced toward Bigaa (now Balagtas), and at 3:15 pm he turned toward Guiguinto, 3 1/2 miles (6 km) from Malolos.  There was some fierce fighting in the afternoon.  Troops crossed the river at Guiguinto by working artillery over the railroad bridge by hand and swimming mules against fierce resistance.

Original caption: "For the Stars and Stripes! Death in the ranks of the Kansans" [Photo was taken in 1899, somewhere in Central Luzon]

Original caption: "A 'hot time' on the firing line -- the famous 20th Kansas in action". [Photo was taken in 1899, somewhere in Central Luzon]

Filipinos in their trenches

Americans carrying a dead comrade from the battlefield, somewhere in Central Luzon Island, 1899.

Original caption: "Work of the Kansas boys."  A Kansas soldier wrote, "The country won’t be pacified until the niggers are killed off like the Indians." [Photo was taken in 1899, somewhere in Central Luzon Island]

Ellis G. Davis, Company A, 20th Kansas Volunteers:

"They will never surrender until their whole race is exterminated. They are fighting for a good cause, and the Americans should be the last of all nations to transgress upon such rights. Their independence is dearer to them than life, as ours was in years gone by, and is today. They should have their independence, and would have had it if those who make the laws in America had not been so slow in deciding the Philippine question. Of course, we have to fight now to protect the honor of our country but there is not a man who enlisted to fight these people, and should the United States annex these islands, none but the most bloodthirsty will claim himself a hero. This is not a lack of patriotism, but my honest belief."

Original caption: "Burial of the enemy."  [Photo was taken in 1899, somewhere in Central Luzon]

Cpl. Robert D. Maxwell, Company A, 20th Kansas Volunteers:

"Sometimes we stopped to make sure a native was dead and not lying down to escape injury. Some of them would fall as though dead and, after we had passed, would climb a tree and shoot every soldier that passed that way. Even the wounded would rise up and shoot after we passed. This led to an order to take no prisoners, but to shoot all."

American soldiers fording a river.  Photo was taken in 1899, somewhere in Central Luzon.

Troop B, 4th U.S. Cavalry Regiment, crossing over pontoon bridge somewhere in Central Luzon. The troop commander was 1Lt. Samuel Rutherford. Photo was taken in 1899.

American troops are conveyed upstream into the interior of Luzon by an armored steam launch, navy boats, and "cascos" (Filipino house boats), 1899.

US troops taking guns across the Bigaa River on the bridge constructed by their engineering battalion

March 29, 1899: 20th Kansas Volunteer Infantry Regiment in action against Filipinos at Bigaa 

March 29, 1899: Wounded Filipino POWs at Bigaa, Bulacan Province

March 29, 1899:  American soldiers bringing Filipino POWs across the Bigaa River.

March 29, 1899: Filipino prisoners at Bigaa, Bulacan Province

Issue dated March 29, 1899

American author J.D. Givens's caption: "Carrying tenderly those who have tried to slay us".  American soldiers load a wounded Filipino POW onto a train. [Photo was taken in 1899, somewhere in Central Luzon]

American photographer's caption:  "Died in action. These words are simple, but they speak volumes. They tell the sublimest act of one's life; of his death for his country. The view of the battle field strewn with dead. The central figure is that of a hero as he died defending his country's honor". [Photo was taken in 1899, somewhere in Central Luzon]

20th Kansas Volunteers attend to a wounded comrade. [Photo was taken in 1899, somewhere in Central Luzon]

US troops returning with their dead and wounded. [Photo was taken in 1899, somewhere in Central Luzon]

Americans conveying their dead from the battlefield. [Photo was taken in 1899, somewhere in Central Luzon]

Americans transporting a wounded Filipino. [Photo was taken in 1899, somewhere in Central Luzon]

13th Minnesota Volunteers, 1899

Original caption:  "This is an army supply train en route to Malolos. The wagons are hauled by a species of buffalo peculiar to the Philippines. It is a patient animal somewhat livelier than the American ox. It does the hard labor of the islands."  Photo was taken in late March 1899.