This is the second article of a series about the 28sup>th Infantry Regiment of the United States Volunteers (USV) while on deployment in Batangas in 1900. Soldiers in the USV were recruited specifically to fight alongside the regular United States Army overseas from 1794 to 19021.
An introduction to the formation of the regiment and its subsequent arrival in the Philippines, ditto its deployment to Batangas and some initial encounters with Filipino “insurrectos,” as freedom fighters were called2, is contained in an earlier article entitled “The US Army 28th Infantry Regiment in Batangas in 1900 and their Operations in Taal, Lemery, Calaca and Nasugbu.”
This article, however, deals specifically with the movements of the regiment’s Company C, composed of about a hundred soldiers. The regiment was commanded by Captain Samuel D. Crawford from Erie, Pennsylvania. The two officers with him were Lieutenant Samuel Willits of Reading, Pennsylvania; and 2nd Lieutenant Marion B. Mabson of Montgomery, Alabama.
For easier reading, and because the source document was written with the abruptness typical of military reports, the movements of Company C will be presented in bulleted format below. The reader is advised that the source document was written but naturally from the American point of view.
|US troops undergoing drills in Batangas. Image source: Sandra Plummer Collection at the Fort Worth Library's Digital Archive.|
- From its camp in Dasmariñas in Cavite, on 18 January Company C first marched 16 miles to Indang before hiking another 15 miles the following day to Barrio Kaylaway in Nasugbu. On 20 January, the company was on the move again for the 17-mile hike to Balayan. From there, the soldiers moved again the following day to Lemery13 miles away. The company reached its final destination of Taal, 1½ miles from Lemery on 22 January. Taal would be its base in the next few months.
- Some soldiers of Company C joined others from Companies A and D in an operation in February against “a large force of insurgents” at the “Sinisian River trenches (between Lemery and Calaca).” The operation was led by Captain Peter Vredenbergh of Company D and Lieutenant Lewis Clark of Company B. The insurgents were “completely routed after a brief skirmish” with no casualties suffered by American forces.
- On 31 March, Captain Samuel Crawford, accompanied by Lieutenant Marion Mabson, three sergeants, six corporals and forty-one privates went on a march to the town of Calaca and put up camp there.
- In April, the company employed and supervised native labor for the repair of roads and bridges between the town of Calaca and the Sinisian River. The company also started to map out Calaca, inclusive of the names of residents and holders of properties.
- In May, with Captain Samuel Crawford and Lieutenant Samuel Willits on garrison duty in Calaca with fifty men, command of the rest of Company C in Taal was left in the hands of Lieutenant Marion Mabson.
- In June, the company continued to supervise the repair of roads. The mapping of Calaca was progressing well, by this time already having covered about seventy square miles.
- On the 6 July, the “city of Taal3” was attacked “by a strong force of insurgents.” The Filipino freedom fighters were driven out after a three-hour firefight. Before leaving, however, they burned the town “in a dozen places.”
- On 17 July, a detachment of troops from Company C under Lieutenant Marion Mabson joined other troops from Companies A, B and D, and were led by Regimental Commander Colonel William E. Birkhimer in moving against insurgent forces encamped at Barrio Talang (presently part of San Nicolas but in 1900 still with Taal). The insurgents must have been taken by surprise because “in less than 15 minutes after the first shot, the enemy’s center was broken by the detachment of this Company and sent flying in all directions.” Some 50 Filipinos were either dead or wounded, while there was no loss of American lives.
- On 13 August, Captain Samuel Crawford, accompanied by 37 men, went on a march to Barrio Payapa in Lemery in a reconnaissance operation against the insurgents. The group returned to Taal the following day not having located the Filipino freedom fighters.
- For most of August and September, reports on the movements of Company C were primarily on scouting operations in Barrios San Luis (presently a town in itself), Sambat (presumably the barrio in Balayan), Ypil (Ipil) and Ilog, both in Taal.
- On 26 September, a detachment sent on a scouting operation at a place called Buboy destroyed “a large amount of insurgent stores” (presumably arms and supplies) and captured twenty prisoners.
- On 8 October, Captain Samuel Crawford with 35 men engaged the insurgents in Barrio Payapa, killing two – including an insurgent captain – and wounding seven. The Filipino troops were dispersed.
- On 27 October, Captain Samuel Crawford led a group of forty men on a 5-day expedition through Barrio Payapa and Taal Lake. The detachment brought with it five days of ratio on pack mules and 150 rounds of ammunition for each soldier. The group passed through the Lemery road to Barrio Tubigan (still in Lemery). The following day, after having breakfast at Mahabundahilig (Barrio Mahabang Dahilig in Lemery), the troops reconnoitered Barrio Payapa and spotted small pockets of insurgent troops in the distance.
- On 29 October, the detachment reached Balaquilon (present-day Barrio Balakilong in Laurel) and spent the night there. The following day, the soldiers marched to Talisay, also to spend the night. The following day, they returned to Balaquilon, where they were attacked by insurgent forces numbering about 100 soldiers. The Filipinos were again “routed” without loss to American lives. Two Filipinos were killed – including one Lieutenant Colonel Laurel – and 16 were wounded.
- On 1 November, the detachment marched to Bosabosa (likely present-day Barrio Buso-buso in Laurel) and reconnoitered Barrio Bugaan (also in Laurel) as well as a place called Biñaga (present day Barrio Banyaga in Agoncillo?).
- On 2 November, an insurgent cuartel (barracks) was located in Biñaga. As the detachment moved along the trail back to Taal, they were engaged by insurgent troops belonging to the Talisay Company and Sungay Battalion, totaling about 400 men. The firefight lasted for two hours. There were three American casualties, while on the insurgents’ side, 45 men were killed and another 45 wounded. Short on food and ammunition, Company C returned to Taal rather than attempt to pursue the freedom fighters.
- On 29 November, Company C boarded the USAT (for US Army Transport ship) Sumner presumably at the port in Taal, to sail to Manila with a brief stop at the port in Balayan, for redeployment to Mindanao.
Notes and references:1 “United States Volunteers,” Wikipedia.
2 Since the source document was an American-written book called “History of the 28th Regiment Infantry, United States Volunteers, from Organization to Muster-Out, with Roster and Records of Events by Companies,” compiled by W. B. Conner, published in San Francisco in 1901, online at Hathitrust.
3 Presumably the poblacion or town center of Taal.