[Keywords: United States Volunteers, 29th Infantry Regiment, Philippine-American War, Western Batangas, Nasugbu, Tuy, Lian, Calatagan, Balayan, Calaca, Taal]
We continue to follow the activities of the United States Volunteers 28th Infantry Regiment, several companies of which were assigned to western Batangas in 1900 during the Philippine-American War. For this article, we devote our attention to Company E1, which was under the command of Captain John D. Croasmun. The company’s other officers were 1st Lieutenant Harry A. Porter 😊 and 2nd Lieutenant Joseph C. Wilson.
[For more information on the 28th Infantry Regiment’s stateside operations and crossing of the Pacific to the Philippines Islands, read this article: The US Army 28th Infantry Regiment in Batangas in 1900 and their Operations in Taal, Lemery, Calaca and Nasugbu.]
Like all the other companies of the 28th Infantry, Company E was initially stationed in Cavite before being farmed out to assignments in Laguna and Batangas. Although the company would see the most action in western Batangas, its initial venture into the province was to escort a wagon train from Calamba to Santo Tomas on the first of February 1900.
|American troops stationed in Batangas during the Philippine-American War. Image from the Sandra Plummer Collection at the Fort Worth Library's Digital Archive.|
On the 11th of February, Company E hiked 69 miles from Calamba to Naic for a change of assignments. There, it stayed until 6 March, when it was ordered to proceed Nasugbu. The company travelled 40 miles over “difficult trails.”
On the second of April, Captain Croasmun, Lt. Porter and a detachment of 40 men scouted barrio Looc, passing through the other barrios of Putud2, Munting Indang (known as Munting Indan in the present day), Utud (spelled Utod in the present day) and Daludug. At Utud, they chanced upon five Filipino “insurgents3” and captured them, including one Captain Cuestra, along with their cache of arms.
Company E finally arrived in the town of Nasugbu on 5 April. The following day, Captain Croasmun and Lt. Wilson, accompanied by 32 men, reconnoitered the barrios of Utud and Tubigan. They returned having captured 22 of Captain Cuetra’s men.
On 10 April, Croasmun and Wilson, again accompanied by 32 of the company’s men, scouted the barrios of Boloc-boloc and Prensa (there is a present-day barrio in Lian named Prenza). They captured five “insurgents.” Wilson left 12 of the company’s men to guard Boloc-boloc. The following day, Croasmun, accompanied by four of Company E’s men, went to the barrio to search for rifles that the “insurgents” had hidden in the fields.
On 16 April, Croasmun and one Lt. George Wood of Company G, accompanied by selected soldiers, scouted Lian and the surrounding countryside. They captured “3 rifles and a quantity of ammunition.” They returned back to camp (in Nasugbu) that same day.
Company E changed stations with the Second Battalion on 22 April and travelled 18 miles to Balayan. There, they took up quarters at the Cuartel4 de Bombon. Five days later, Croasmun, Wilson and some 50 men left quarters to scout the countryside east of the town of Tuy.
On 15 May, Croasmun and Wilson led a detachment of several men from Companies E, F, G and H on a scouting mission to Alfonso, which is likely the town in Cavite. The party engaged a small force of “insurgents” near the town, killing two of them. The soldiers returned to Balayan on 29 May via Calaca for a total march of some 70 miles.
Throughout May and early June, the company primarily performed scouting sorties in Tuy and Calatagan. On 13 June, Croasmun and Wilson along with 24 men, all mounted on native ponies, scouted Botocan and captured seven men belonging to Captain Barcelona’s “band of ladrones” (meaning group of thieves, probably the so-called “tulisanes”).
On the way back to Balayan via Lian and Nasugbu, the party encountered “an enemy force in Prensa” and, in the ensuing engagement, killed 6 and wounded 12 whilst driving the “insurgents” from the field. On 22 June, a detachment from four companies captured four men in Binabisan (likely Binubusan in Lian) and returned to Balayan the following day.
The company continued to scout Lian, Nasugbu and Tuy. On 24 June, Quartermaster Sergeant5 George Snyder and Sergeant Louis Schucker accompanied a party of mounted men to Taal, returning later as part of Colonel William E. Birkhimer’s6 escort.
On 12 July, a detachment of 37 men led by Lt. Porter was sent to Taal via gunboat (which must have sailed across Balayan Bay) to strengthen the garrison there. This same garrison must have been where battalion command was located.
For the rest of July, Company E mostly conducted scouting sorties around western Batangas. On 25 September, a scouting party led by Wilson captured the “ladrone” chief (likely head of a tulisan group) named Olarte in Nasugbu. Returning back to Balayan via Lian, the group encountered a force of “insurgents,” in the process “killing 17 of their number.”
On 19 October, some members of Company E were part of a group that “was attacked by a strong force of the enemy” near the barrio Dalugdug in Nasugbu. Captain George W. Biegler, commanding officer of Company G, was among the wounded. Three days later, Lt. Porter was sent to Nasugbu with a party of men to relieve Biegler’s group.
On 26 October, Company E boarded the United States Army Transport ship Petrarch in Balayan to sail for Manila Bay. From Manila, the soldiers would sail along the Pasig River and across Laguna de Bay for their new deployment at Los Baños in Laguna.
Notes and references:1 Most of the details of this article has been taken from “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.
2 Some of the names of the barrios of Nasugbu mentioned in the source document are no longer used in the present day. It is possible these barrios were abandoned, merged with larger barrios or were simply renamed.
3 We refer to Filipino freedom fighters in this article as “insurgents” because the source document was, of course, written from the American point of view.
4 “Cuartel” was how military barracks were called in Spanish-speaking countries. Online at Oxford Dictionaries.
5 The “Quartermaster Sergeant” was the regimental supply sergeant. Wikipedia.
6 Colonel William E. Birkhimer was the regimental commander. Wikipedia.