Diary of Miguel Saderra Maso

Sábado 13 de Agosto 1898

Hoy la plaza de Manila se ha rendido a los yanquis. Las primeras horas del día no anunciaban novedad alguna, (…) De repente se ha puesto en movimiento toda la escuadra yanqui. Los Vapores que estaban de guardia han ido á reunirse con los demás y se han dirigido hacia el fortín de S. Antonio. Cuatro barcos grandes que debían de ser el “Olympia”, el “Boston”, el “Raleig” y el “Baltimore” han cañoneado aquel fortín. Luego la han emprendido contra las trincheras perpendiculares á la línea de la playa, jugando el principal papel en el ataque un Cañonero que debía de ser el “Leyte” ó el “Callao”, En medio del cañoneo ha sobrevenido un fuerte chubasco que nada ha estorbado el ataque, A las cinco cuartos de hora de fuego han juzgado los Yanquis que el campo estaría completamente despejado, por lo cual han suspendido el fuego de los barcos empezando á marchar el ejército de tierra en formación hacia Manila. Nuestras tropas agazapadas en las trincheras que aún quedaban, han sorprendido con dos rociadas de balas á los yanquis que entraban con toda seguridad y que se han quedado parados. En esto el “Olympia” y el Monitor “Monterey” se habían colocado frente á Manila, y este último tenía sus cañones de 30^5 centímetros apuntando á la batería de dos cañones de La Luneta, Ha disparado el “Olympia” un cañonazo sobre nuestras trincheras cuyos soldados han recibido luego orden de retirarse mientras sobre las murallas de la Ciudad se levantaba una gran bandera blanca. La plaza, llena como estaba de gente indefensa, no ha hecho fuego sobre los barcos por no atraer sobre sí las balas enemigas. Ha habido parlamentó en el cual parece que los Yanquis se han mostrado generosos en todas las condiciones, con tal que se les entregue la plaza. Los insurrectos han estado á la mira con ánimo de sacar todo el partido posible de nuestra desgracia. La amistad que mostraban estos últimos días, era la simpatía que por el rico moribundo sienten sus domésticos quienes procuran apoderarse de sus riquezas , antes que de fuera venga otro á tomárselas. Un poco antes que los Yanquis han atacado ellos las trincheras y luego han entrado por la brecha que han dejado abierta nuestras tropas al retirarse. La Vanguardia Yanqui que iba á preparar sitio á los demás se ha dirigido al Observatorio…

(..,) hasta las 6 de la tarde se ha visto pasar por las calles de Manila diversos Cuerpos del ejército español que iban á dejar las armas en la fuerza de Santiago. A las seis la bandera española que coronaba esta fortaleza ha sido arriada, siendo izada en su lugar la bandera Yanqui. Los Yanquis que estaban en la fuerza han saludado la bandera con el grito de “urra”  y una banda de música ha tocado el himno nacional delante de la bandera en el paseo entonces solitario de María Cristina (…).

Las trincheras de la parte de Binando y Sta Mesa, continúan defendidas por nuestras tropas mandadas por el GraL Monet y el Coronel Carbó. Hay por aquel lado mucho tiroteo y mañana abandonarán los nuestros aquellas posiciones para que las ocupen los yanquis si les viene en gusto.

Las bajas se calculan en 400 por nuestra parte, y 2,000 por la de los Yanquis. Es probable que estas cifras sean exageradas como de primera impresión (…). Al caer la tarde se ha embarcado con su familia para Hong Kong el General Augustin.

Today the plaza of Manila surrendered to the Yankees. The early hours of the day gave no new signs at all. The Boston was guarding off Parañaque, the Petrel and McCallouch off the mouth of the river. The rest of the squadron was idling off Cavite. It must have been about 9:00 when we saw sailing into the bay a merchant vessel flying the German flag. Someone said it must have been the boat bringing peace, and secure in this, we positioned ourselves to watch it as she entered the bay. She was signalled off Cavite where she was heading, and turned back to join the rest of the German squadron near Pampanga. All of a sudden the entire Yankee fleet was in motion. The boats keeping guard sailed away to join the rest and headed towards Fort San Antonio Abad. Four big boats, which must have been the Olympia, Boston, Raleigh, and Baltimore, cannonaded that fort. Then they aimed at the trenches perpendicular to the beach . . . . During the attack, a heavy squall fell, but without disturbing the bombardment in any way. After five quarters of an hour firing, the Yankees thinking the field was already fully cleared, ceased firing their guns, while the land forces began their march towards Manila. Our troops crouched in the trenches still remaining intact surprised with a shower of bullets the Yankees who confidently came and were stopped in their tracks. At this moment, the Olympia and the monitor Monterey had moved themselves in front of Manila, the latter with her 30.5 cm. cannons pointing at the battery of two cannons on the Luneta. The Olympia fired a cannon shot over our trenches, where the troops subsequently received the command to retreat, while over the walls of the city a huge white flag was being hoisted. The plaza, filled as it was with noncombatants, had not fired at the ships lest it draw enemy fire. A parley followed during which apparently the Yankees have shown generosity in all the conditions, provided the plaza be surrendered. The insurgents have watched from the sidelines, intending to take all possible advantage of our disgrace. The friendship shown these past few days was that which his domestics feel for a dying rich man, and who seek to take possession of his riches before others come to claim them. Ahead of the Yankees, they had attacked the trenches, and later entered through the breach left open by our retreating troops. The Yankee vanguard which came to prepare the ground for the rest went to the Observatory, asking Fr. Algue if they could lodge there. Father answered politely he did not think so since the ground floor was filled with refugees, and mainly because if the city resisted anew (for the result of the parley was not yet known) the Observatory despite being a building of an international character would be a target of the cannons of the plaza. Accepting the explanation, they asked Father if there was a place where they could shelter themselves, and he indicated the volodrome. Within a few minutes, some insurgents came to the Observatory, and very politely asked the Father’s permission to put by the window grating the insurgent flag, lest the Yankees claim the building. While Father was trying to dissuade them from it, others proceeded to place it nonetheless. Two lieutenants ordered a soldier to remove it, and on obeying, he was rattan-whipped and the flag remained where it was.

[From the time of the noon meal] until 6:00 in the evening, one could see various units of the Spanish army passing through the Manila streets going to deposit their arms in Fort Santiago.  At 6:00 the Spanish flag which used to crown this fort was furled, in its place the Yankee flag was hoisted. The Yankees who were present in the fort saluted their flag with shouts of “Hurrah!” and a music band positioned at the time of the solitary passage of Maria Cristina played their national anthem before the flag. -— Since the Yankees have taken possession of all the barracks, the Spanish authorities cannot find sufficient place to lodge the troops who are retreating to Manila. The former have filled some churches, and our church, too, if we had not offered them a place in the Ateneo, where the native Regiment No.73 and two artillery companies have stayed.

The trenches along Binondo and Santa Mesa are still being defended by our troops under the command of General Monet and Colonel Carbo. There is plenty of shooting in that part and tomorrow ours will abandon those positions that the Yankees may occupy them if they wish.

Today’s casualties are calculated to total 400 on our side, and 2,000 on the Yankee side. Probably these numbers are exaggerated from first impressions. The family of Gen. Augustin boarded the ship for Hongkong at sunset.