|Consequences of the Battle of Pulang Lupa
Marinduque comes under control of the U.S. Government
|The Journal of Military History 61 (April 1997)
The U.S. Army's Pacification of Marinduque, Philippine
Islands, April 1900-April 1901
by Andrew J. Birtle
(with pictures and additional information from the 1901
U.S. War Department's Report of the Lieutenant
General Commanding the Army and soldier's letters,
The severity with which the inhabitants have been dealt would not look well if a
complete history of it were written out.
Lt. George L Byroade
Captain Robert N Getty
Lt. L.W. Jordan, Jr
Lieutenant Colonel A.W. Corliss
|Captain Harry H. Bandholtz
|Lt. George Michael Holley
Captain H.H. Benham
Governor Ricardo Paras
General Luther Hare
The 1st Infantry Crossing the Boac River
TOWNS OCCUPIED BY TROOPS IN DEPARTMENT OF SOUTHERN LUZON JUNE 28 1901
FOURTH DISTRICT - ISLAND OF MARINDUQUE
Boac Col Dempsey Hdqrs 4th Dist., Hdqrs. 4th Batt., B and C 30th Inf.
Gasan D, 30th Infantry
Santa Cruz A, 30th Infantry
Torrijos Lieut. Shinkle, det, 30 men, 30th Inf. From Boac
STATION OF TROOPS IN DEPARTMENT OF SOUTHERN LUZON, JUNE 29, 1901.
HEADQUARTERS, 417 CALLE NOZALEDA, PACO, MANILA, P.I.
BRIGADER GENERAL JAMES F. WADE COMMANDING
30th Inf. Hdqrs Col Dempsey Boac Marinduque
1st Batt Major Evans Boac Marinduque
2nd Batt B Capt Smith Boac Marinduque
A Santa Cruz Marinduque
C Capt Bell Boac Marinduque
Det. C Lt Shinkle Torrijos Marinduque
D Gasan Marinduque
TROOPS BY DISTRICTS JULY 6, 1901
BRIGADIER GENERAL S.S. SUMNER, U.S.A. COMMANDING
HEADQUARTERS, SANTA ANA, MANILA, P.I.
Colonel Charles A. Dempsey, 30th Infantry,Commanding
Headquarters, Boac, Marinduque, P. I.
2nd Infantry 3 companies
30th Hdqrs 4 companies
Battalion of Engineers 1 company
TOWNS OCCUPIED BY TROOPS IN THE DEPARTMENT OF SOUTHERN LUZON
AUGUST 24, 1901
ISLAND OF MARINDUQUE
Boac – Col Dempsey, Hdqrs. 4th Dist.,Hdqrs. 30th Inf. and A, B, and E, 30th Inf.
Gasan – Lt. Hadsell, D, 30th Inf., and K 30th Inf.
Santa Cruz – Lt. Sweeney, A, 30th Inf.
Torrijos – Capt. Bell, C, 30th Inf.
STATION OF TROOPS IN DEPARTMENT OF SOUTHEN LUZON
HEADQUARTERS 417 CALLE NOZALEDA, PACO, MANILA P.I.
BRIGADER GENERAL JAMES F. WADE COMMANDING
30th Inf. Hdqrs Col Dempsey Boac Marinduque
A Capt Wilcox Boac Marinduque
Det Lt Sweeney Santa Cruz Marinduque
B Lt Singleton Boac Marinduque
C Capt Bell Torrijos Marinduque
D Lt Hadsell Gasan Marinduque
I Lt Lewis Boac Marinduque
K Lt Krueger Gasan Marinduque
TROOPS BY DISTRICT AUGUST 24, 1901
BRIGADER GENERAL S.S. SUMNER, U.S.A. COMMANDING
HEADQUARTERS, SANTA ANA, MANILA, P.I.
Colonel Charles A. Dempsey, 30th Infantry, Commanding
Headquarters, Boac, Marinduque, P.I.
2nd Infantry 3 companies
30th Infantry Headquarters and 6 companies
Marinduque and the Philippine War
It is important to note that Shields's defeat was not the cause of the Army's imposition of
policies on Marinduque. True, this event focused MacArthur's wrath on the island and
generated the failed incarceration campaign. Yet Abad's fair treatment and quick release
of his prisoners took much of the sting out of the defeat. Moreover, officers like Captain
Jordan had been calling for the adoption of harsh measures even before the Shields
affair. Rather, the program initiated by Corliss and expanded upon by Smith represented a
calculated attempt to come to grips with an elusive, shadowy foe that had nothing to do
with a thirst for revenge. In the process, Corliss and Smith followed Captain Wright's
recommendation to turn Marinduque into a laboratory in which to experiment with the
numerous schemes suggested for the pacification of these islands.
Devastation had proven a powerful tool, but one that had to be managed discreetly lest it
spiral out of control. When linked with concentration and other measures designed to
secure and regulate die inhabitants, it produced quick results against a war-weary
population. Marinduque represented the most ambitious of the Army's early ventures into
concentration, and the fact that Smith succeeded in suppressing all overt resistance within
two months of its imposition must have made others take notice.
Of course, by mid-1901 many areas had already been pacified, but the remaining
holdouts, most notably the provinces of Batangas and Samar, underwent
concentration/devastation campaigns on a massive scale. The success of these
operations ensured that the technique would be incorporated into the Army's pacification
repertoire. Even Taft seems to have been impressed by concentration. In 1903, as
governor of the Philippines, he signed into law a provision permitting the use of
concentration, and during the four years that followed, American authorities imposed
concentration in nearly a dozen provinces to help suppress postwar upheavals. Two of
these campaigns; those waged in Albay Province in 1903 and Samar in 1907 were run by
Marinduque veterans Harry H. Bandholtz and Frederick A. Smith respectively. The
success of the Army's experiment on Maiinduque thus had an immediate effect on U.S.
pacification operations over the next decade.
Nor was this influence short-lived. As a result of the Philippine experience, the General
Service and Staff College expanded its course on military government to include guerrilla
warfare and concentration, while two influential postwar textbooks written by Army
generals William E. Birkhimer and George B. Davis, endorsed concentration and the
laying waste [of] a portion of the territory of the enemy.
As time passed and memories faded, the Army began to forget the role that concentration
and devastation had played in the Philippine War. Nevertheless, as late as 1926,
curricular materials used at the Infantry School listed concentration as a viable method of
population control, albeit one that needed to be carefully managed. Thus concentration
remained a part of the Army's counterinsurgency repertoire up to the eve of World War II,
when preparations for the global conflagration to come pushed the study of Small Wars to
the outermost periphery of Army thought.
The Marinduque campaign also sheds light on the nature of the Philippine War. It is
evident, wrote Secretary of War Elihu Root about the war as a whole, that the insurrection
has been brought to an end both by making a war distressing and hopeless on the one
hand and by making peace attractive. The campaign on Marinduque illustrates the Army's
dual approach to pacification. As long as the guerrillas remained viable and the population
was not unduly discomforted by the war, the policy of attraction proved unpersuasive.
Once the Army began to make the people feel the hard hand of war, however, they
grasped at the hand of friendship. In fact, coercion dominated the pacification equation, for
during the period of active hostilities the Army did very little in the way of attraction other
than trying to restore civil governments and maintain a favorable relationship between the
soldiery and the population. It neither reopened Marinduque's schools nor undertook any
public works projects until after Abad had laid down his arms. Thus the Army pacified
Marinduque not by winning the allegiance of the people, but by imposing coercive
measures to control their behavior and separate them from the insurgents in the field.
The Marinduque campaign indicates that one must approach with caution interpretations
of the Philippine War that overemphasize the importance of the policy of attraction.
Ultimately, military and security measures proved to be the sine qua non of Philippine
pacification. Unfortunately, the reluctance of Taft and others to openly discuss the
Philippine experience tended to obscure the degree to which coercion was responsible for
America's victory. This reticence in turn helped give rise later in the century to strategic
theories that unduly emphasized the importance of the political/nation-building aspects of
counterinsurgency at the expense of more practical military measures. As Philippine
veteran Robert Bullard wrote, pacification requires a judicious mixture of force and
persuasion, of severity and moderation. Only by realizing the uneasy, yet symbiotic,
relationship between attraction and compulsion can one shape a viable
The Price of Pacification
Although the Army garrisoned Marinduque for twenty-six months, active operations had
lasted only twelve months, with truly concentrated campaigning occurring in only six of
those (October 1900-March 1901). Operationally, the Army's performance was mixed.
The 29th USVs were totally ineffective, due largely to lackluster leadership. On the other
hand Corliss and Smith enjoyed several advantages over the initial garrison, most
notably a centralized command, a core of experienced officers, greater numbers, and
dedicated naval support. Both men maximized these advantages to wage an aggressive
campaign that harassed the guerrillas, disrupted their control over the island's inhabitants
and resources, and imposed a heavy price on the insurrection's supporters.
Altogether, the Army conducted 142 operations between April 1900 and April 1901,
during which the two sides exchanged fire on only 16 occasions. The Army initiated nine
of these actions and the Filipinos seven, a respectable ratio for any counter-guerrilla
force. Perhaps the most revealing statistic is that 88 percent of all engagements initiated
by the Americans occurred as the direct result of a night movement. Clearly, night
operations were the Army's most effective answer to the guerrillas' superior intelligence
and warning system.
Because battle was rare and the insurgents were fairly passive, victory came relatively
cheaply for the Army on Marinduque. U.S. losses amounted to eight dead, nineteen
wounded, and forty-five captured, with the Army regaining all of the prisoners in short
order. Shields's defeat accounted for half the dead, a third of the wounded, and all but
two of the prisoners. Filipino loses are harder to calculate. The Army verified the deaths
of forty-eight Filipinos and the wounding of sixteen. It estimated that it killed another
fifty-three and wounded forty-six, but there is no way to gauge the accuracy of these
numbers. The Army took nearly 1,800 Filipino men as prisoners, although most of these
individuals quickly regained their freedom. While Abad's losses were much heavier than
his opponent's, they were not critical. The fact that a total of 235 regulars surrendered to
U.S. authorities in 1901 indicates that Abad was able to make up his loses by recruiting
replacements from the militia. Of the known Filipino dead, twenty (41 percent) were
unarmed males who ran at the approach of Army troops.
Of course the losses suffered by the people of Marinduque far exceeded the number of
individuals struck by American bullets. It is difficult to measure the full effects of the
Army's incineration campaign. Commanders doubtlessly did not record all their activities,
and many of the numbers given in reports must have been estimated. Moreover, Army
reports typically contain unquantifiable phrases like many houses and considerable rice
destroyed. Still, based upon a thorough examination of the records, the statistics in Table
I on the Army's activities are available. These numbers reflect property reported
destroyed by the Army and do not include unquantified reports. They therefore should be
regarded as the minimum amount of damage done by the Army.
According to Smith, the Army destroyed almost all of the houses outside the six
concentration zones. Livestock losses were also significant. In the space of just two
months, Corliss's men killed approximately 3 percent of Marinduque's cattle, 4 percent of
its carabao, and 17 percent of its ponies before suspending the slaughter campaign.
Even more telling is the fact that by mid-1901 Marinduque, which had been a rice
exporter prior to the war, had become a rice importer. The only thing that saved the
people from famine was an influx of capital generated from the sale of the island's high
quality hemp after the Army reopened the ports in May 1901. This money allowed the
impoverished islanders to procure rice.
Unfortunately, war was not the only calamity the people faced. Two typhoons in October
1900 destroyed the island's coconut crop, while a scorching sun and a swarm of locusts
damaged much of 1901's rice crop. By 1902 an outbreak of rinderpest had killed many of
the island's remaining cattle and carabao. Finally, between 1901 and 1903 several
thousand people died in successive outbreaks of typhoid, cholera, and malaria. Although
the Army cannot be blamed for the ravages of nature, the stress and dislocation of the
war must have heightened the island's vulnerability to these calamities. The fact that by
1902 the amount of land cultivated on Marinduque had declined by 46.3 percent from
prewar levels is particularly significant. Only three other provinces in the Philippines
experienced an equal or greater decline; Benguet, Batangas, and Capiz. Since the Army
waged destruction campaigns in both Batangas and Capiz, it would appear that such
techniques were largely responsible for the decline of agriculture in those provinces.
By the time Wotherspoon and Smith were done, four former insurgent officers Maximo Abad,
Pedro Lardizabal, Fausto Roque, and Pedro Torres, three ex-insurgent soldiers, the mayor
of Torrijos, and a number of lesser civil officials had been tried, convicted of sedition, and
sentenced to prison terms of from one to ten years. Another former insurgent officer was
convicted of murder, while a sixth fled to Hong Kong. Governor Paras resigned under a
cloud of suspicion, and shortly thereafter American authorities stripped Marinduque of its
autonomy, placing it under Tayabas Province. With much of the insurgent leadership
incarcerated and most of the hidden weapons found, the Army withdrew the 30th Infantry
from Marinduque in June 1902, leaving only the Constabulary to maintain order. The
following month President Theodore Roosevelt declared the Philippine War to be officially
over. Peace, at long last, had come to Marinduque.
Wotherspoon was convinced that dark forces were at work beneath the island's outwardly
calm veneer. He suspected that the very marked quiet at present prevailing on this island
may be due to the enemy desiring to use It as a base from which to draw funds and
supplies, as well as a place of refuge when hard pressed on the other islands. He also
clashed frequently with Governor Paras over matters of jurisdiction and troop conduct.
Although drunkenness and misbehavior do appear to have been serious problems in the
30th, Wotherspoon believed the allegations of misconduct represented an attempt by
unreconstructed Filipinos to use the powers of the civil government to persecute their
conquerors and impede military operations. In fact, an Army intelligence document of the
period concluded that Paras was without doubt in sympathy with the insurgent cause, a
suspicion deepened by Paras's close friendship with Abad, whom he appointed to the post
of court clerk.
Tensions escalated In September, when civil authorities established a unit of the
para-military national police force, the Philippine Constabulary, on Marinduque.
Marinduque's top Constabulary officer, Thomas Embry, sided with Paras against the Army
over charges of military drunkenness and misconduct. In October, Wotherspoon briefly
disarmed the Constabulary in response to rumors that they planned to murder their
American officers and revolt. Marinduque's newly established civil court, however,
acquitted the plot's alleged ringleader.
Tensions eased somewhat in December when Benjamin L. Smith took command of the
Constabulary on Marinduque. Smith and Wotherspoon worked well together, especially in
searching for arms that Wotherspoon suspected the guerrillas had hidden before their
surrender. Wotherspoon believed the guerrillas might have had up to 300 weapons,
including the arms taken from Shields's party, yet by mid-1901 the Army had recovered
only 186 rifles and 12 revolvers. Abad vehemently denied that he had hidden any arms,
and though Paras pledged his utmost cooperation in uncovering the missing weapons,
neither he nor any of Marinduque's other civil officials did anything to help.
Undaunted, Wotherspoon and Smith stepped up their efforts, and in early 1902 their
persistence was rewarded. In January, they discovered arms and ammunition secreted In
caves, a hollow tree, and several homes. Altogether, American security forces found over
fifty rifles and seven brass cannon. The Constabulary played a leading role in this last
campaign on Marinduque, though its methods were at times questionable. In one instance,
Constabulary soldiers tortured the justice of the peace of Torrijos by forcing him to drink
large quantities of sea water in order to gain information about hidden arms. The
discoveries resulted in a large number of arrests.
Major Smith and the six companies of the 1st and 2nd Infantries that had pacified
Marinduque were not far behind. In June, Manila transferred them to more active theaters
of the war, replacing them with a battalion from the 30th U.S. Infantry under the command
of Major W. W. Wotherspoon.
Marinduque in the Last Year of the Philippine War, May 1901--July 1902
Two days after Smith declared the campaign on Marinduque over, the Philippine
Commissioners returned to Boac. Pleased with the new state of affairs, they elevated
Marinduque to a province and established a civilian government, thereby terminating military
rule over the island. After choosing Ricardo Paras as governor, the commissioners sailed
away, leaving the island to get on with the work of reconstruction.
New Albany Tribune, New Albany, Indiana June 21 1901
Of the Filipinos on Marinduque Island
The Tribune has received a letter from Walter Hixson, of Company I, 2nd United States
Infantry, who enlisted in this city and is now stationed on the island of Marinduque in the
Philippines, He relates the last fight with Filipinos on that island. He says: We left the town
of Santa Cruz at midnight and marched until morning. After breakfast we started on the
march again and kept it up until noon when we rested until night and had hard tack and
bacon for supper. It commenced raining but we started out again and at midnight reached a
deserted barrio. From the barrio we marched through swollen streams of water up to our
waists with Filipino prisoners for guides. We had not gone far when we heard the sound of a
Spanish bugle and the keen crack of a Mauser. When the bullets began whistling through
our line every man dropped under cover the best he could. Heavy firing was kept up for four
hours on both sides and the insurgents finally retreated with heavy loss. Our loss was one
killed and three wounded. This was the last fight on this island, the insurgents surrendering
a few days later.
The Daily Gazette, Janesville, Wisconsin May 23 1901
SOLDIER'S LETTER FROM PHILIPPINES
Charles Caniff, a Janesville boy, Writes of Scenes and Incidents at Boac
Boac Marinduque P.I. April 14, 1901
Editor Gazette- As there is a little news out of the ordinary I will try and let you know what I
can about it. The Filipino Peace Commission of Judge Taft of Cincinnati, O., president,
several regular officers and several representatives of the islands besides members from
several European nations, were here this afternoon inspecting the barracks and listening to
the band concert when they adjourned to the transport Sumner, which is at their disposal.
Two officers of the garrison here have been out for two days rounding up the presidents of
the different cities and villages on the island also several insurgent leaders and they all
expect to meet here, in Boac, tomorrow and hold a session to discuss the future of the
island and it's form of government.
March 15 - Well the peace commissioners have gone and I guess did not transact much
business as some of the village presidents and insurgent leaders were not notified in time,
so they did not get here.The commissioners and their ladies were given a banquet this noon
in the officer's quarters and it seemed good again to see an American woman. I have seen
women of all nationalities since leaving home but none to compare with the American
We had two fairly brisk skirmishes in the last two weeks and succeeded in killing twenty-five
or thirty natives besides wounding a good many and capturing several rifles and
ammunition, one of the rifles being a Krag-Jorgensen that the Insurgents got when they
captured F Co. of the 29th U.S.V. We had one man killed and four wounded, but your
humble servant has been able to dodge them so far, although they have come too close for
amusement some times. We expect about two more months of this and then the rainy
season will put a stop to our mountain trip.
I received a number of Gazettes this morning and have been busy all day reading them and
finding out what going on in the old town.
As there is no more news of interest I will close with regards to all friends.
Your,CHAS. L CANNIFF Co. G 2nd Infantry
On 29 April 1901, Smith officially proclaimed the insurrection on Marinduque over. He
revoked his concentration order, directing all to return to their homes, to resume their
peaceful avocations, and by earnest work endeavor to recover from the effects of war. He
further expressed the hope that the misfortunes and desolations of war be soon forgotten
under the new conditions of peace. The pent-up inhabitants streamed out of the
overcrowded camps in a race to rebuild their homes and plant a new crop before the onset
of the rainy season. How quickly they would forget and forgive was unanswerable, but the
populace of Marinduque would never again take up arms against the United States.
Over the next two weeks Smith and Abad traveled the island together accepting the
surrender of the 3rd and 4th Guerrillas. Stragglers continued to come in over the next three
months, but for all intents and purposes, the battle for Marinduque had ended when Abad
On April 26th Major Smith, 1st Infantry, received the surrender at Santa Cruz of Lieutenant
Aleinao Pareno and fifty two insurgent soldiers, five insurgent cabezas and forty-three
armed followers. Twenty seven rifles, one revolver and 240 rounds of ammunition were
surrendered by the soldiers.
Apparently Abad proved hard to convince, for he made no move to surrender. By 6 April,
Smith was losing his patience, and warned Trias's agents that if Abad did not surrender
soon, he would be forced to take the most stringent and severe measures . . . which
unfortunately may affect many innocent people and sacrifice lives and property. Four more
days passed before Abad submitted his conditions for surrender. Abad requested that he
and his men receive the full honors of war, that they be immediately set free, without
deportation or further punishment except for those against whom specific crimes could be
proven, and that they receive the customary payment of $30 for each rifle turned in. He also
demanded that the Army immediately release the Filipino leaders whom Corliss had shipped
to Manila. Smith refused all these terms, insisting upon unconditional surrender. Abad, who
was in no position to bargain, reluctantly agreed.
On 15 April, Abad, Fausto Roque, eight other officers, eleven insurgent agents, and seventy
men of the 1st and 2nd Guerrillas entered Boac's central plaza and laid down their arms in
an impressive ceremony witnessed by the citizenry. Though Smith had refused to negotiate,
he acceded to most of Abad's demands. After Boac's padre administered the oath of
allegiance, Smith released Abad and his men and eventually arranged to pay them a bounty
for the fifty-one firearms they had brought in. Such leniency may seem incongruous given
Smith's stern campaign, yet generosity was undoubtedly the wisest course and reflected the
U.S.'s overall policy of endeavoring to bind the wounds of war as quickly as possible.
The Commission's prospective return set a target date for Filipinos and Americans alike.
Smith redoubled his efforts, launching forty-nine hikes during March, more than double the
number carried out in any previous month. He pushed his men so hard that many
operations were hindered by sickness and exhaustion. Abad also came under increased
pressure from the island's elite, especially after it became known that General Mariano
Trias, Abad's superior officer in southern Luzon, had surrendered to American forces on 15
March. Eight days later American forces captured the leader of the Philippine Republic,
Emilio Aguinaldo. These two events, coupled with MacArthur's aggressive action
throughout the archipelago over the previous few months, pushed the entire insurgent
movement to the brink of extinction. Trias dispatched emissaries to his subordinates to
encourage them to lay down their arms, and on 26 March two such messengers arrived at
Marinduque. What they said to Abad has not been recorded, but they likely echoed Trias's
view that the military situation was hopeless and that continued resistance would mean
severe social disruption, hardship, and the ultimate destruction of the propertied classes.
The populace was tired of the war, and given the harsh implications of continued
resistance, Trias believed that acquiescence to American rule offered the best chance to
make genuine progress toward modernization. He therefore counseled an end to
resistance. Trias believed that acquiescence to American rule offered the best chance to
make genuine progress toward modernization. He therefore counseled an end to resistance.
While the dough boys proceeded with their work, news of the Corliss-Smith campaign
reached Washington in the form of a letter written by William H. Taft to the Secretary of War
on 24 February 1901. This letter, which is quoted at the start of the article, seems not to
have aroused any particular interest in Washington, but on 19 March, Army Adjutant General
Henry C. Corbin saw a press dispatch about Smith's concentration policy and immediately
wired MacArthur to verify the story. MacArthur defended Smith, stating that concentration
was exclusively a military measure carried out without objectionable or offensive features.
This seems to have satisfied Corbin, and Washington made no further inquiries.
The triple press of concentration, devastation, and harassment led Abad on 25 February to
request a truce to negotiate surrender terms. He expressed particular concern over the
possibility of being sent to Manila. Smith, however, insisted on unconditional surrender in
accordance with the Army's general policy at the time. Abad therefore stayed out, but two
days later Lieutenant Antero Madrigal and eleven haggard soldiers surrendered at Boac.
Smith made a point of releasing them after they took the oath of allegiance, hoping thereby
to undo some of the apprehension created by the January deportations.
Having dangled this carrot, Smith promptly wielded the stick once more. On 5 March he
called for the initiation of the most severe and active measures ... to render the sections of
the Island frequented by the insurreotos untenable in every possible way. Food, shelter
and everything which can be used by them, for their maintenance or comfort will be
destroyed and a most vigorous campaign made against them from all points where troops
Three days later, he Issued guidelines for what was meant to be the final push of the
campaign. He urged his subordinates to employ stratagems to outwit and surprise the
guerrillas, and suggested they make maximum use of concealment, forsaking trails in favor
of cross-country movement along ridges and stream beds. By keeping as many men in the
field as possible, he sought to keep the insurgents on the move and apprehensive about
their safety, especially since the concentration program interfered with their warning and
Over the next few weeks the island's inhabitants came down from the hills and into the
coastal concentration sites in increasing numbers. By the end of the month, for example,
12,000 people were in Santa Cruz and more than 7,000 each were at Mogpog and Gasan.
Thousands of ordinary people either took the oath of allegiance or enrolled in the Federal
Party, both of which were seen as tickets to American protection. In an effort to capitalize on
the population's war weariness, Smith arranged for the leading citizens of Boac to sign a
declaration stating that the insurrection was ruining the island and urging the guerrillas to
In the meantime, military operations continued. In eighteen hikes during the month of
February, the 600 men of the 1st and 2nd Infantries drove the population toward the
concentration camps and kept the guerrillas on the move, destroying their means of
subsistence in the process. To achieve greater coverage, Smith encouraged his
subordinates to employ somewhat smaller patrols than in the past, move off the trails
whenever possible, and establish temporary base camps in the mountains from which to
investigate remote areas. These methods, together with the extensive use of night
movements, seemed to pay off, with the Americans initiating eight out of the ten contacts
that produced casualties during the month.
The Smith Campaign, February-April 1901
On 6 February 1901, Corliss turned command of Marinduque over to Major Frederick A.
Smith. A veteran of several Indian campaigns and the 1898 war, Smith had participated in
Hare's expedition and was therefore familiar with the island. He was determined to
capitalize on Corliss's success and essentially adopted his predecessor's strategy, with two
modifications. First, he halted the destruction of cattle and hemp, the island's two most
valuable commodities. Why he did so is not known. He may have acted in response to
concerns raised in Manila over the loss of such items, or his decision may have been a
concession to the wealthy Filipinos who had shifted their allegiance to the U.S. In either
case, it was a wise decision, as the embargo was already limiting the ability of the
resistance movement to utilize these resources, and there was nothing to be gained by
totally destroying the island's wealth.
Smith's second alteration to Corliss's program was the introduction of population
concentration. Concentration was not a novel idea. Spain had used it during the Cuban
insurrection, but it had gained such a distasteful reputation from that war that the U.S. Army
had heretofore refrained from resorting to it in the Philippines. By early 1901, however, it
was one tool that advocates of hard war measures suggested be adopted. In fact, at about
the same time Smith imposed concentration on Marinduque, a few commanders were
experimenting with it elsewhere in the Philippines. But Smith's use of concentration for a
population of 50,000 was by far the most significant up to that time.
The concentration concept was simple and, as some officers pointed out, similar to that of
Indian reservations during the North American Indian wars. Such schemes helped identify
friend and foe by separating the loyal and peaceful Inhabitants from the disloyal. Through
concentration, Smith would sever the link between the population and the guerrillas,
thereby denying the insurgents access to recruits, intelligence, and supplies. Without
these, the guerrillas would be extremely vulnerable to Army columns which, unfettered by
the restraint of operating among a civilian population, could pursue the guerrillas by all.
On 7 February 1901, the day after he assumed command, Smith initiated concentration on
Marinduque. He ordered all citizens to move to the American-occupied towns of Boac,
Santa Cruz, Mogpog, Gasan, Torrijos, or Buenavista. Once inside the zones, no one was
to be allowed out without a pass. Unarmed Filipino guards enforced the order. All who
failed to come in or who provided the guerrillas with information, contributions, or supplies
were to be treated as enemies. On the other hand, Smith directed his subordinates to do
everything possible to gain the confidence of the people by treating them in a very judicious
and careful manner. The 2nd Infantry band would entertain them, while officers distributed
captured rice to the growing number of indigent refugees. Nevertheless, the thrust of the
measure was to control, and not to uplift, the civilian population.
Disturbed by the devastation and demoralized by the knowledge that some of their
influential kinsmen had turned against them, Major Pedro Lardizabal, Captain Teofilio
Roque, and live other officers surrendered in late January 1901. In the following days a
number of citizens and militia officers voluntarily swore oaths of allegiance to the United
States. Among them were the cream of Boac-Mogpog society, including members of the
influential Roque, Nepomucena, and Nieva families all of whom had relatives among the
officers who surrendered on the twenty-third. These developments severely damaged the
insurgent organization at Boac, the heart of the resistance, and dealt Abad a stunning
blow. Still, the fact that no rank and file had surrendered, and that no arms had been
turned in, raises questions as to the sincerity of some of the oath takers and suggests
that some of them covertly continued to support the insurrection, just as Martin Lardizabal
had done in May 1900 when he had ostensibly surrendered to Major Muir.
If the surrender was a ruse to fool Corliss into reducing the pressure, it failed. Not only
did he not relent, but much to the consternation of the citizens of Boac, he refused to
release the officers as the Army typically did when individuals voluntarily surrendered.
Instead, he sent them, together with Martin Lardizabal and the other insurgents who had
been captured in January, to Manila on charges of being guerrillas and war rebels.
These were the first prisoners dispatched to Manila from Marinduque and the action,
while demonstrating toughness, may well have deterred others from surrendering.
With the Army making the interior of the island increasingly inhospitable, people began to
return to the coastal towns. At Santa Cruz, for example, the town's population leapt from a
mere 100 individuals at the start of the year to 8,000 by the end of January. As the
people returned, Corliss, who had made the population feel the heavy hand of war,
extended the hand of peace. He reestablished civil governments and Filipino police
forces in the five major towns, all of which had collapsed after the mass flight that had
occurred during the summer of 1900. Initially he appointed the new officials, but quickly
shifted to elections because the appointees believed that they would be more secure
against retaliation if their collaborationist roles were sanctified by a public vote. He also
encouraged the development of the Federal Party, a Filipino organization dedicated to
converting the people to the American cause.
Although Corliss was gratified by the growing number of people in the towns, difficulties
did arise. The closing of the ports and the Army's destruction campaign created a food
shortage. Illness too was a problem. Recognizing that it would be greatly to our
advantage for the U.S. to provide some humanitarian assistance, Corliss requested that
the Army send medicines. Finally, in late January Corliss tempered his destruction order,
stating that all supplies, Insurrecto storehouses and cuartels will be destroyed, but
houses of private persons not containing supplies will not be destroyed. Still, conditions
were destined to get worse before they got better.
During Corliss's two months on Marinduque, Abad stuck to his strategy of avoiding combat.
All contacts between American and Filipino forces during this period were initiated by the
Americans, including two actions in early January 1901 in which Army columns overran
base camps of Teofilio Roque's 2nd Guerrilla. The consequences of these actions were not
long in coming. The officers of the 2nd Guerrilla were tightly linked to the ruling families of
Boac and Mogpog whose assets in land, livestock, and trade were literally going up in
smoke. The oligarchs undoubtedly conveyed to the officers their dismay over the
consequences of continued resistance. Moreover, some of Boac's inhabitants, either from
war weariness, opportunism, or because of a genuine belief in the ultimate benefits of
American rule, had turned informer. Among them were several leading citizens of Boac,
including Tomas del Mundo, the former head of the Katipunan Society on Marinduque,
Gasimiro Contreras, another ex-insurgent, Saturnino Trinidad, Boac's energetic padre who
preached peace despite repeated threats of assassination, and Calixto Nieva, a former
captain in the revolutionary army and a person of great influence. Sources like these
Indicated how successfully Corliss's, campaign had fragmented Marinduque's elite. Their
assistance had made possible both the arrest of Martin Lardizabal and the string of
American successes in January.
Commanders enforced strict discipline during expeditions, barring looting and
mistreatment of the inhabitants. Although the troops routinely shot at any adult male who
ran at their approach, they never fired on any group that included women and children.
Nevertheless, Corliss's policies meant that many expeditions took on an apocalyptic
quality. For example, over the course of five days in mid-December Captain Francis E.
Lacey, Jr., and 127 men destroyed 364 houses, 45 tons of palay, 600 pounds of rice, 30
bushels of corn, 188 bales of hemp, 330 ponies, 100 carabao, 233 cattle, and killed one
Filipino who ran at the column's approach. Lacey saw no guerrillas, and none of the
destroyed property was specifically linked to the insurgents. The column's only casualty
was a private gored by a vengeful carabao.
Army officers occasionally experimented with other techniques. Combined land and sea
operations patrolled the coast, destroying boats and ship-building facilities to prevent
smugglers from evading the blockade the Army had begun in October. Converging columns
were sometimes fruitful, but the tactic was hard to execute since the island's trackless
terrain made it difficult to approach an objective from other than a single, well-defined (and
hence well-watched) trail. Cordon-and-sweep operations were rarely employed because
they absorbed more manpower than Corliss could afford. Some officers also attempted to
lay nighttime ambushes, none of which succeeded.
The Corliss Experiment
A veteran of the Civil and Indian Wars, Corliss was due to retire in a few months and was
determined to end his career in a blaze of glory. Since Hare had been unable to either
bring the insurgents to battle or arrest all the island's male inhabitants, Corliss decided to
do neither. Rather, he would bring the island to its knees through mass devastation. The
inhabitants of the five major garrisoned towns and their immediate barrios were not to be
disturbed. Everything in the interior that could help sustain the insurrection; especially rice,
cattle, water buffalo (carabao), and ponies was to be destroyed. This policy would make
life miserable for both the insurgents and their civilian supporters, sending a clear signal
that there would be a price to continuing the cat-and-mouse war. Had Jordan still been on
the island, he would have been delighted. The spirit of Sherman had come to Marinduque.
Corliss' plan may seem excessive given Abad's relative passivity, but it was very much in
the spirit of the times. Initially, the Army had hoped that benevolent measures like a lenient
amnesty policy, cash payments for weapons, public works, and school programs, and the
establishment of efficient local governments would persuade Filipinos to abandon their
quest for Independence. By the fall of 1900, however, many officers had come to agree
with Jordan's view that this business of fighting and civilizing and educating at the same
time doesn't mix very well. Peace is needed first. In the opinion of many officers, only
severe measures could obtain such a peace. On 20 December, with McKinley safely re-
elected, MacArthur gave his blessing to the hard war advocates by authorizing
implementation of the more stringent provisions of General Orders No. 100, the 1863 code
that governed the conduct of American forces in the field.
General Orders No. 100 was a generous document that insisted upon the humane, ethical
treatment of populations in occupied areas. However, the code envisioned a reciprocal
relationship between the population and the Army. As long as the population did not resist
military authority it was to be treated well. Should the inhabitants violate this compact by
taking up arms and supporting guerrilla movements, then they were open to sterner
measures. Among these were the imposition of fines, the confiscation and/or destruction of
property, the imprisonment and/or expulsion of civilians who aided guerrillas, the relocation
of populations, the taking of hostages, and the possible execution of guerrillas who failed to
abide by the laws of war. In practice, the Army would focus its harshest penalties on
guerrilla commanders and leading civilian sympathizers, particularly those of the middle and
upper classes. Since evidence was usually hard to come by, MacArthur authorized his
subordinates to arrest and detain individuals on the basis of suspicion amounting to moral
certainty rather than proof. Actually, Bates had directed such a policy for Marinduque two
months earlier, but Hare had never utilized it. Now, the highest military authority in the
islands had given his blessing to this and other stringent measures. Corliss' plan thus
reflected the new mood and won the endorsement of Bates's personal observer, Captain
Wright, who reported that Marinduque is an excellent place to experiment with the
numerous schemes suggested for the pacification of these islands. In mid-December
Corliss launched the experiment.
The Corliss Campaign, December 1900- January 1901 - One of the first casualties of the
new policy was Martin Lardizabal. Citing MacArthur's proclamation as justification, Corliss
arrested Lardizabal on the suspicion of covertly aiding the insurrection, a suspicion that
was probably true but for which there was little proof. In January, he also filed charges of
“Being a Guerrilla and Being a War Rebel” against several captured soldiers, militiamen,
and civilian agents. These charges gave notice that the rules of the game were changing.
After establishing an intelligence system and apportioning the newly constituted garrison
(two companies of the 1st and four companies of the 2nd Infantries) among the island's five
major towns, Corliss sent more than thirty expeditions into the interior over the next seven
weeks. Most expeditions ranged in size from 25 to 125 men and remained in the field less
than twenty-four hours, although some stayed in the interior for up to five days, using pack
ponies to carry supplies. Corliss coordinated these operations with the aid of the harbor
launch Kansas City, which he succeeded in getting permanently assigned to Marinduque.
American operations on Marinduque fell into several categories. Many were blind
excursions to search for and destroy insurgent bases and supplies. Others involved raids
against guerrilla base camps, the locations of which were reported by friendly Filipinos.
The Americans often launched raids at night in order to surprise the cuartels at first light.
Faulty intelligence and unreliable guides, most of whom had been pressed into service,
frequently foiled these operations, as did Marinduque's rough terrain, which hampered
attempts to surround enemy encampments. Encirclements were more successful in the
open terrain that adjoined many barrios. There the Army performed roundups in which a
detachment of soldiers would make a night march in order to surround a barrio at dawn.
The troops would search the village for contraband, round up the entire male population,
and escort them back to the post for questioning. Unlike Hare, Corliss released most
prisoners within twenty-four hours, detaining only those suspected of being guerrillas or
active sympathizers. Sometimes the Army raided a barrio for the purpose of seizing a
specific individual who was reported to be hiding there, but none of these efforts captured
the targeted person.
Over the next three weeks American columns combed the island. In most barrios the soldiers
found only a few women and the aged. Hare did not capture a single verified guerrilla,
though by month's end he had rounded up over 600 males. In the process the soldiers shot
and killed four men who attempted to escape and put to the torch several barrios and rice
storehouses. Private Ralph L. Bitting described one such expedition:(We) captured all the
men, rations, and ammo we could get, burned all the houses and villages in sight. We had to
shoot several who tried to run away. It was sad to see some old woman turned into the road,
her rice (which is their chief food) scattered in the mud and her house burnt down. We left
desolation in our trail; talk about American liberty and humanity, it makes me sick.
After releasing about 140 men due to illness, the Americans transferred the remaining
prisoners to Polo Island for internment. Bitting reported the scene: The friends and familys
[sic] of the captured Gugus were allowed to bid them good-by before we loaded them on the
boat ... You could not hear your own ears for the women and children crying and groaning.
Just before we started them to the boat one woman who had no doubt come dressed for the
occasion threw her dress over her husband and sat down on him. The sentry saw it though
and so her ruse did not work. Just as we got them to the beach several tried by making a
sudden rush to get away. Two were shot dead and several wounded right before their
familys [sic] eyes.
The new American policy received divergent reviews from the troops in the field. Some, like
Bitting, were appalled by the campaign. Others, like Captain Jordan, rejoiced, believing that
there would be good results now that there will be none of our 'friendly policy' business but
some straight shooting. If anything, he feared the Army's actions to be too lenient, and
advocated a more liberal use of the torch in order to make the property-owning class who led
the resistance feel the pressure of war. Captain William M. Wright, Bates's aide-de-camp
and personal observer on Marinduque, agreed. Based upon the pathetic scene at Gasan,
Wright concluded that the deportation of all suspected guerrillas throughout the Philippines
would be extremely beneficial.
By early November, however, Hare's campaign began to wind down. Clearly much work
remained to be done, especially considering that not a single guerrilla or rifle had been
captured. Nevertheless, Shields had been rescued, several hundred men were in custody,
and higher-priority theaters required some of Marinduque's 1,200 dough boys. Moreover,
Bates had just appointed Hare to a higher command, and Hare was anxious to leave the
island to assume his new duties. Consequently, he virtually suspended operations during the
month as he shuffled troops to produce a new, leaner garrison of 600 men. Among those
leaving the island for good were the men of the 29th, who before their departure paid a visit
to Paye, the site of the campaign's first ambush. In an act of retaliation they burned the
barrio to the ground, destroying forty houses and over two tons of rice.
The 29th Infantry was not the most important element of Hare's force to leave Marinduque.
All of the ships that had supported the expedition left as well, including the two that were
guarding the detainees on Polo Island, and by mid-month all of the unattended prisoners had
made good then- escape. An enraged Bates chastised Hare for blithely undoing all the work
of the past few weeks. Disgusted but undeterred, he enjoined Hare's successor, Lieutenant
Colonel A.W. Corliss, to arrest all men of military age and to “exercise severity towards these
natives, excepting only such measures as may be contrary to the dictates of humanity or in
violation of the recognized laws of war”.
The consequences for the people of Marinduque of the Battle of Pulang Lupa did not take
long to materialize. MacArthur had been embarrassed; Shields's defeat sent shock waves
through the American high command. The episode was one of the worst reversals suffered
by U.S. forces in the Philippine War. Press reporter Martin complained to the U.S.
Government as seen below. It was especially significant given its proximity to the upcoming
election between President William McKinley and his anti-imperialist opponent William
Jennings Bryant, the outcome of which many believed would determine the ultimate course
of the war. Consequently, the defeat triggered a sharp response. Military leaders wanted to
turn Marinduque into a laboratory in which to experiment with the numerous schemes
suggested for the pacification of these islands. Marinduquenos were forced from homes,
property destroyed, the province dissolved all in an attempt to end resistance on the island.
The U.S. Army was determined to transform Marinduque into a showplace to show that the
Filipinos could be transformed into peaceful subjects of the American Government. Even
the Taft commission visited Marinduque to support the Army's efforts here. One could make
the case for saying that Abad won the Battle of Pulang Lupa but lost the war in Marinduque
as a result. Read on and you decide.......
MacArthur gave Major General Luther Hare extraordinarily strict orders to regard all the
male population over fifteen years of age as enemies, and that whenever it is possible to
round them up and treat them as prisoners of war it should be done, and they should be
thus held until the situation is entirely cleared up. These prisoners, (i.e., the entire adult
male population) should be held as hostages until the hostiles are killed or captured, and
all arms on the Island are surrendered. Bates added the authorization to arrest and ship to
Manila anyone suspected of providing moral or material aid to the insurgents, even if there
was no legal proof of their guilt.
When the truce expired and Abad, to no one's surprise, failed to surrender, Hare complied
with his orders and initiated a campaign to arrest Marinduque's entire adult male population.
The scheme was easier to devise then to execute. Most people had already fled the coastal
towns for the interior, and those remaining in the barrios naturally ran from the approaching
troops. Moreover, there remained the problem of how to guard and feed the island's
estimated 7,000 to 10,000 males of military age. Hare's solution was to ship his prisoners to
Polo Island, 400 yards off the coast of Santa Cruz, turn them loose without guard, and feed
them captured rice. Two American ships would watch the island and prevent escape.
With over 1,200 men at his disposal, Hare launched his campaign on 22 October, the day
after the armistice terminated. Columns of roughly 100 men radiated out from the occupied
towns, while five ships patrolled offshore. Hare instructed the columns to arrest all male
inhabitants between the ages of fifteen and sixty; and to destroy any village or house from
which hostile fire emanated. Any male who acted suspiciously or who ran at the Army's
approach was to be shot.
In the meantime, on 15 March Taft himself visited Marinduque together with the rest of the
Philippine Commission which was touring the islands to establish civilian provincial
governments. The Commission met with the island's leading citizens to determine whether
Marinduque, which before the war had been subordinated to the province of Mindoro,
should be elevated to the status of a province. The Filipinos strongly supported the idea,
and the Commission promised to institute a civilian provincial government in May when it
planned to return to the island, but only if Marinduque was peaceful. Interestingly, Taft filed
no more reports criticizing the Army's tactics on Marinduque. Instead, he used the Army's
rule as a club, pointing out to the Filipinos that they could expect the severity to continue
until such time as tranquility had been restored.