Saturday, September 11, 2010

Pulang Lupa: Scanning Masagisi this time!

Ramon Madrigal's account of the Battle of Pulang Lupa, that first appeared in The Journal of History, published by the Philippine National Historical Society (September-December 1963 issue), entitltled "Marinduque: Its Role in the Wars for Independence" was probably the first ever published about this subject.

WHICH DIRECTION DID THE AMERICAN FORCES TAKE?

Excerpts from his account on the Battle of Pulang Lupa that was made as a reference for local narratives on the battle:

"The three Guerilla units (1st, 3rd and 4th), were arranged in groups at strategic points around the mountains of Pulang Lupa with the Militia men as sentinels located in such a way that no matter from what direction the enemy might be coming, they could be detected and seen easily even if they were yet very far away. Colonel Abad was only expecting enemy attack from the north as the Ameerican troops must necessarily come from Santa Cruz...

"The Militia sentinels were posted at different point from Santa Cruz to the barrios along the route to the mountains. These sentinels were composed of natives of Santa Cruz and Torrijos who knew well the wide area they were covering. They relayed intelligence reports about the enemy's activities to the Chief at Pulang Lupa. The main body of the Militia unit was distributed also in groups and stationed on the hills.

"A report was received that the American troops had left the town of Santa Cruz at night Torrijos-bound, and with such report the Revolutionary command was able to prepare and to estimate approximately the time they would arrive to attack.

"At dawn of the next day, the enemy was sighted to be approaching stealthily, and between 6:00 and 7:00 o'clock that morning, the American troops were in the mountain region of Pulang Lupa. As soon as they were within firing range, the first guerilla group just above them on the hills fired on them, and the battle began."


IT'S JUST INACCURATE.

The time and date of departure of the Americans from Santa Cruz, however, does not jive with the American Department Archive Record, and that of Capt. Devereux Shields' first-hand account. Wrote Shields: "On September 11th 1900, with fifty-one enlisted men of Company F, 29th Infantry, and one private of the Hospital Corps, U.S. Army, I left my station at Santa Cruz at 12:30 p.m. on the U.S.S. “Villalobos” and proceeded to Torrijos, a small town twenty-five miles distant, where we arrived at 3:30 p.m., disembarking without opposition.

I spent the night at Torrijos and, on the morning of September 12th, made a reconnoissance some five or six miles eastward over a mountain trail. During this march we discovered a band of guerillas about twenty strong at a distance of about one thousand yards upon whom I opened fire and advanced, on, but the character of the country prevented a successful pursuit. The guerillas did not return my fire although all were well armed. Shortly after this I burned their garrison and a large quantity of rice, and finding letters and other evidences of two American soldiers the insurgents had captured in a recent engagement with Company A, 29th Infantry, I made an unsuccessful effort to locate them.

"I then returned to Torrijos where I remained until 2:25 a.m. September 13th at which hour I took a mountain trail leading to Santa Cruz with the intention of returning to my station..."

RICE FIELD NEAR MASAGISI

The Shields account obviously is so detailed that even pinpoints the exact location, with the aid of maps, to which direction he retreated (north-east), and where he fell seriously wounded. The archive record stated: "After retreating for about three and a half miles, the beleaguered detachment entered a rice field near the barrio of Massiquisie". Hold it! That could only be a misspelling and the foreign inability to pronounce the rightful name of the barrio, "Masagisi" well. "Here renewed enemy fire forced the Americans to take cover behind some paddy dikes. Shields fell seriously wounded.", the report stated.

Shields wrote: "Finding that the enemy was moving to the north to intercept my retreat to Santa Cruz and slowly closing in on my right flank and rear, I was compelled to move rapidly. It now became necessary to march in a brook which gradually increased in width and depth and ran over an extremely rocky bed..."

More from Shields:"...After a retreat of about three and one-half miles we reached the valley where the water course widened into a small stream. I then moved to the north through rice fields. This course lead directly to Massiquisie, (there goes the name again - Eli), a small village about two miles distant; from which place I would have had a much better country to retreat through. After I had proceeded about a quarter of a mile the enemy opened fire from entrenchments on the left and from some small hills on my right flank to which I replied successfully diminishing their fire.

At this important moment I was again wounded the bullet passing through my neck and mouth..."

UP TO PULANG LUPA FANS

It should now be up to local (and foreign) Battle of Pulang Lupa fans, with the aid of first-hand accounts and the Shields and Anderson maps, to physically retrace the encounter. Maybe find other points of interest, through local stories and maybe tales, that could eventually lead to the exact burial sites of those who galantly fought and died there. From both sides.

Then maybe, another historical marker - based on accounts and evidence - could be erected there one day in the future, somewhere in the valleys or hills of Masagisi, with an eternal flame to match. Chatting with the old folks in Masagisi, and based on oral tradition, they actually talk about a long forgotten "Libingan", graveyard there, somewhere.

(The U.S.S. VILLALOBOS)

FOLLOWS THE AMERICAN WAR DEPARTMENT ARCHIVE RECORD:

On 11 September, Shields decided to take advantage of a visit by the gunboat U.S.S. Villalobos. Leaving Lieutenant Wilson and forty-one men to hold Santa Cruz, he loaded fifty-one enlisted men, a hospital corps-man, and his black servant onto the gunboat and sailed to Torrijos, disembarking that evening. The next day he had his first contact with insurgent forces since his company had been on the island, dispersing a band of twenty guerrillas and destroying their cuartel.

On the thirteenth, Shields led his detachment into the mountains with the intention of returning to Santa Cruz. Well informed about Shields's movements, Abad had concentrated nearly his entire force of approximately 250 riflemen and 2,000 bolomen along a steep ridge overlooking the trail. Shields walked right into the ambush. A fire fight ensued for several hours before Shields ordered a retreat into a covered ravine. What began as a slow withdrawal quickly turned into a race down a rocky stream bed, as the Americans scrambled to escape the pincers that were moving to surround them. After retreating for about three and a half miles, the beleaguered detachment entered a rice field near the barrio of Massiquisie. Here renewed enemy fire forced the Americans to take cover behind some paddy dikes. Shields fell seriously wounded.

After ordering that a message be passed to the senior NGO, Sergeant James A. Gwynne, to lead the command out of the closing trap, Shields raised a white flag to surrender himself and the other wounded. The insurgents thought the flag meant that the command was surrendering. So too did Gwynne, who later claimed never to have received the escape order, and thus the entire force lay down its arms. All told, the Insurgents killed four Americans and captured fifty, six of whom, including Shields, were wounded. Shields later claimed that the Filipinos lost thirty dead,
though this number was never confirmed. After months of hiding, Abad in a few short hours had destroyed nearly a third of the entire American garrison on Marinduque.


FROM CAPTAIN DEVEREUX SHIELDS 29TH INFANTRY REGIMENT, COMPANY F, UNITED STATES VOLUNTEERS

(THIS INFORMATION AND PHOTO COURTESY OF JULIA MILLS, HIS GRANDAUGHTER)

FIRST RESERVE HOSPITAL
The Adjutant General,
Department of Southern Luzon,
Manila, P. I.

Sir:

I have the honor, in compliance with the request of the Department Commander, to submit the following report of an engagement with the enemy on Marinduque Island September 13th 1900.

On September 11th 1900, with fifty-one enlisted men of Company F, 29th Infantry, and one private of the Hospital Corps, U.S. Army, I left my station at Santa Cruz at 12:30 p.m. on the U.S.S. “Villalobos” and proceeded to Torrijos, a small town twenty-five miles distant, where we arrived at 3:30 p.m., disembarking without opposition.

I spent the night at Torrijos and, on the morning of September 12th, made a reconnoissance some five or six miles eastward over a mountain trail. During this march we discovered a band of guerillas about twenty strong at a distance of about one thousand yards upon whom I opened fire and advanced, on, but the character of the country prevented a successful pursuit. The guerillas did not return my fire although all were well armed. Shortly after this I burned their garrison and a large quantity of rice, and finding letters and other evidences of two American soldiers the insurgents had captured in a recent engagement with Company A, 29th Infantry, I made an unsuccessful effort to locate them.

I then returned to Torrijos where I remained until 2:25 a.m. September 13th at which hour I took a mountain trail leading to Santa Cruz with the intention of returning to my station. At 5:30 a.m. after a difficult and trying march of three hours in the mountains, when about fourteen miles from Santa Cruz, my advance guard discovered what was believed to be an insurgent outpost upon which they fired. The enemy proved to be lying in ambush and immediately opened up a heavy fire from a position about three hundred yards above and extending in an arc of about 180 o around us. Finding myself entirely surrounded and largely outnumbered I took the best position available until I could select a safe retreat; I held this position for about two hours during which time three privates were killed and two wounded slightly and myself wounded in the left shoulder while two corporals had fallen out from heat prostration.

(Sketch of Engagement between Shields forces and the local forces)

About 7:30 a.m. I ordered a slow retreat instructing Corporal McCarthy to bring up the rear, with the disabled and wounded. I took a northeast course leading to the valley down a rocky gully well protected by a light woods of small trees on each side. The banks of the gully afforded excellent protection from the enemy’s fire. The enemy did not close in upon me after I gained this cover but continued to fire from a distance. I replied to this fire whenever I could locate their position.

Shortly after beginning this retreat one private was wounded. At this time three of my men were dead and seven missing, leaving my total strength at forty-two including the wounded and sick.

It was necessary to move cautiously and slowly so my flankers could keep informed of the enemy’s movements, and the exhaustion of my men at onetime necessitated a halt of one hour when I made an equal distribution of ammunition giving each man forty rounds.

Finding that the enemy was moving to the north to intercept my retreat to Santa Cruz and slowly closing in on my right flank and rear, I was compelled to move rapidly. It now became necessary to march in a brook which gradually increased in width and depth and ran over an extremely rocky bed, the retreat proved very severe and it was with difficulty that I kept up being very weak from loss of blood.

Corporals McCarthy, Williams and Maxwell, and Privates Johnson, Weigand and Kraft were now some distance in the rear leaving me thirty-six men one of whom had fallen and broken both arms and the hospital private being armed with a revolver only left my effective strength at thirty-four.

After a retreat of about three and one-half miles we reached the valley where the water course widened into a small stream. I then moved to the north through rice fields. This course lead directly to Massiquisie, a small village about two miles distant; from which place I would have had a much better country to retreat through. After I had proceeded about a quarter of a mile the enemy opened fire from entrenchments on the left and from some small hills on my right flank to which I replied successfully diminishing their fire.

At this important moment I was again wounded the bullet passing through my neck and mouth. I fell forward and a few moments later upon recovering consciousness and calling for assistance I was lifted out of the water and borne about one hundred yards by Privates Ilitz, Hospital Corps, and Robert D. Jackson, Henry McDaniel, Frederick Mass and Webster Cassell, Company F, 29th Infantry. An improvised litter was then made by these men upon which I was carried a hundred yards farther. I told Sergeant Woodward, who passed by me at this time, that they must cut their way
through to Santa Cruz which he states he immediately transmitted to Sergeant Gwynne, the ranking sergeant.

Recognizing that I was an impediment to the column, I instructed my men to place me under cover of a rice dyke. I then repeated to Private Ilitz
the order I had given Sergeant Woodward telling him to send word to the sergeant to take command and leave me on the field. I then instructed Ilitz to remain with me as my wounds did not seem fatal and I believed the wounded who were now cut off would be captured and need attention also.

As the enemy continued to fire upon me I instructed Ilitz to put up a flag of truce for our protection. For this purpose he used a triangular bandage from a first aid package, but after two shots entered the dyke above me and several passed through the flag I ordered it removed.

About this time Private Ilitz reported that Sergeant Gwynne reported that he was entirely surrounded and wished to know what he should do. For the third time I ordered him to proceed to Santa Cruz. I was growing weaker every moment from my last wound which had not been bandaged, lying on my back and unable to move I was absolutely helpless.

About fifteen minutes after my last order the firing ceased and I heard the shouts of the enemy in great numbers very near me. Soon I was told that the sergeant had surrendered and several of my men in the hands of the enemy were marched by me. I was threatened with death by several of the enemy some of whom began to rob me of my clothing and personal effects.

Nine of my men succeeded in cutting through the enemy’s lines and eight of them reached a swamp near the sea shore but were captured about six o’clock in the afternoon. Private Shew who was in this party received two slight bolo wounds and two severe bolo wounds. Private Poole, who in some way got separated from this party, was captured the same afternoon after receiving two slight bolo wounds.

The total number who were surrendered by Sergeant Gwynne was twenty-seven men, himself included, at about two o”clock in the afternoon.

Private Johnson who had been wounded early in the morning and was out off from the column was captured September 15th after receiving a severe bolo wound in the left forearm.

Private Kraft who had been cut off from the column was captured about midnight September 14th after getting within about five miles of Santa Cruz.

During the afternoon of September 13th the seven men who were missing united with Corporal McCarthy making a total of eleven men. Private Weigand who was in this party was killed in the afternoon of September 14th and the same evening the remaining ten men were captured.

The number of the enemy engaged I estimate from 225 to 250 armed with rifles and 2,000 armed with bolos. The number of his killed counted by my men after capture was 30 though I believe he suffered a heavier loss. I am unable to estimate the number of his wounded.

The enemy’s rifle-men were closely supported by his bolo-men and I could not reduce his fire as the rifles of the killed and wounded were at once put back into action. The enemy was aggressive and maintained good discipline throughout the engagement.

The night of my capture Private Ilitz induced the Filipino commander, Maximo Abad, to send to Santa Cruz for medicine which was received several days after. This was used with great ability by Private Ilitz upon the wounded and it was through his care, excellent judgement and faithfulness that the lives of the wounded were saved. The insurgents not only had no medical officer or supplies whatever but confiscated half of my medicine for their own use.

From the day of my capture until the afternoon of the 13th of October I was kept separated from my men with Private Ilitz, two wounded and one other enlisted man. I used every effort to induce Abad to put me with my men or to allow all my wounded to be with me but the most he would consent to was to permit Private Ilitz to visit the other wounded.

On September 13th I offered Abad twenty dollars each for the delivery of my dead to Santa Cruz which he refused to do. I was recently informed by William Huff, and American negro who was with me in the capacity of servant during the expedition, that he had seen the enemy mutilate the body of one or our dead and probably this fact caused Abad to refuse my offer.

Some days later Abad demanded of me an order on Lieutenant Wilson whom I had left in command at Santa Cruz to surrender that garrison to him, Abad. This, of course, I refused to do both because I had no right and no wish to do so.

My treatment for the first twelve days was considerate, after which I was continually moving, marching and sleeping in the mountains under varying conditions of weather and without shelter. My men report having undergone similar treatment.

(Col. Maximo Abad)

About October 9th Abad informed me that he had written to the commanding officer at Santa Cruz requesting him to designate a place where he would receive all the American prisoners as he, Abad had received orders from General Trias to release them. He stated that he had not received a reply and requested me to write to the commanding officer at Santa Cruz explaining the circumstances and request him to have all the troops remain at their stations pending our delivery. In reply to my letter I received a communication from General Hare instructing me to inform Abad that he would agree to his request and was ready to receive us at once.

This letter was delivered to me at two o’clock a.m. October 11th after having been opened by Abad. With it I received instructions from Abad to make an immediate reply; that I should say to General Hare that he, Abad, would deliver us in the afternoon of October 13th at Gasan. This letter was forwarded at once. Abad then addressed a letter to General Hare changing the place of delivery from Gasan to Buena Vista. In reply to my last communication I received a letter from General Hare October 12th telling me to urge prompt action upon Abad and that he would receive us at Buena Vista.

Later Abad came to me stating that he had received orders from General Trias to parole me and my men and in case I would not accept a parole to march us farther into the mountains and to keep us on the march our of the way of any rescuing party. This of course made me believe that the intention to deliver us to General Hare had been given up and there would be no further communication. All my men being much exhausted, almost destitute of clothing and without any subsistence except a short ration of native rice, and being without any kind of supplies for the sick and wounded, I considered that to march much more as we had been doing would be almost certain death to the wounded if not to some of the sick and being in the hands of semi-savages - these conditions induced me to give my parole and allow my men to give theirs.

On the evening of October 13th we were marched from the mountains to Buena Vista where we remained until the afternoon of October 14th when General Hare (who had been compelled on October 12th to put into Santa Cruz on account of bad weather) arrived on the U.S.S. “Bennington” and we were immediately taken on board the “Bennington” where I reported to General Hare.

Recommendations for medals of honor will be made for the following-named men for bearing wounded from the field under fire: Private Michael Ilitz, Hospital Corps, U.S.Army; and Privates Repard B. Caswell, Robert D. Jackson, Frederick Mass, Henry McDaniel and Webster Cassell, Company F, 29th Infantry.

Recommendations for certificates of merit will be made for the following-named men for exceptional gallantry in action:
Corporals Curtis E. Lowe and Thomas C. Williams, and Privates Juan B.
Poole, Toliver G. Johnson and John Shew, Company F, 29th Infantry.

The loss in killed and wounded is as follows:

KILLED:

Private William R. Andrews Company F, 29th Infantry, U.S.V.
“ Elmore E. Murray “ ” “
“ Erwin Niles “ ” “
“ Frank Weigand “ ” “

WOUNDED:

Captain Devereux Shields Company F, 29th Infantry, U.S.V.
Private Toliver G. Johnson " " "
” Livious S. Colvin " " "
” Juan B. Poole " " "
” John Shew " " "
” Robert D. Jackson " " "


Very respectfully,

Devereux Shields

Captain 29th Infantry, U.S.Volunteers.

(Photo of my friend, Curt Shepard. The Madrigal article, American War Archive Record, and Shields' first-hand account and photos were dug up by him and emailed to this blogger. Many thanks to Curt!)

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