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.


Saturday, August 13, 1898

The final act of this conflict between the Spaniards and the Americans has taken place. It lasted two hours this morning; the simulated attack was met by a simulated defense.

At 9 o’clock, the American fleet readied itself by raising its flag, positioning the Charleston in front of Parañaque, and rallying the other ships behind the Petrel right in front of Manila. The Concorde is moving to the north of the Pasig, where she will keep watch over the Tondo coast until the city surrenders. It is hard to believe that the cannons on the southern pier have been ordered not to fire to prevent the likely bombardment by the Americans.

The fleet coming from Cavite is sailing in the following order: Olympia, Monterey, Raleigh, Charleston, Baltimore, Boston. The small ships are moving independently of this formation.

At 9:38 the Olympia opened fire west-southeast, at 5,000 meters, followed by the Monterey and the Raleigh a few minutes later. All three ships aiming their shots at San Antonio were missing their target completely. As I watched the continuous fire to the finish, the following words of a Spanish officer ran through my mind: All this cannon fire is merely a bluff and Fort San Antonio would not be threatened if they did not fire at the American troops.”

Some missiles landing on Spanish trenches have caused some lost lives. After the Monterey took the lead position at 9:49 a shell fell on Malate. By 10:00, a heavy shower of rain hid the details of the struggle, if there actually was one. I would say it was Much ado about nothing.

At 10:25, the weather cleared to show the Americans drawn up in two columns pointing approximately north-northwest. The Petrel and the Callao approached land, with the latter merely 2,000 meters from San Antonio, and the next day’s observations showed that six shells penetrated the fort, one of which was responsible for the death of three men manning a cannon. Another flattened the ramparts at the point where there were no gun emplacements. A shell, apparently fired from the Callao, exploded close to another cannon, lifting its parapet and killing several servants.

At 10:40, the fleet stopped firing. The only shots heard were those directed towards San Antonio and the trenches, but the Spaniards were not responding to the enemy fire. At any rate, from our decks we saw no counterattack. If we can believe the Americans, 20 projectiles were fired from the fort, killing two men and wounding six. They could scarcely have done less. The start of the siege is not exactly like a ballet performance. The 24cm and 25cm cannons at the ramparts of Manila remained silent for the same astonishing reason, the “prevention of the city’s bombardment” rapidly becoming a proverb since it was being heard constantly everywhere.

At 10:52, the artillery fire resumed both at sea an on land. Undoubtedly, the infantry had not been able to take over the trenches. There was one final burst of cannon fire from the fort. One minute later, a massive shell smashed into it.

By 11:00 the American flag crowned the crest. The soldiers retreated from the trenches which hardly showed any trace of battle. From this point onward, the Spaniards were obviously on the defensive. The troops from San Antonio and the surroundings either capitulated or beat a retreat. In the direction of Paco, the confusion continued as the insurgents attacked a battalion of sailors and captured two sections.

The victorious American troops were suddenly everywhere, coming from Malate and arriving in Luneta at 11:30. Along the way, they took over the 24cm cannons without firing a single shot, making one believe that a tacit agreement did exist between them, since both camps did not use their cannons.

The Spanish volunteers guarding the ramparts fired only a single volley as the Americans appeared. There again a situation of pure bluff. The Americans replied with a few shots, and then gave orders for an immediate ceasefire. The end result showed a few wounded on both sides. The white flag was raised in the southern part of the city as the comedy continued to unfold. When the Olympia finally signalled the city to capitulate, it was obvious that no reply came since the city had already surrendered.

From noon to 2 o’clock we took a much-needed rest. Then we dined. At 2:35, a Belgian vessel flying a parliamentary flag came alongside the Olympia. Admiral Dewey boarded a small American steamer full of troops which entered their new port. The Callao followed it. This is the end. They are negotiating the terms of surrender. The general feeling is that this whole scene has been meticulously prepared since yesterday, or perhaps earlier. W find this deception completely offensive.

At 3:38, the American squadron anchored 4,000 meters south-southwest of the Walled City. By 6:00, they celebrated their victory by lowering the Spanish flag and replacing it with the American fla to the thundering sound of a 21-gun salute.

This is definitely a great American victory, but a humiliating defeat for Spain, and undoubtedly, for Europe. Someday we shall discover the real truth. Spain is finished, and no matter what she chooses to believe, she has lost both her influence and possessions throughout the world primarily through her own fault. Her ferocious presence will fade away and, as it often happens, will end in ridicule and absurdity. And thus, the final curtain drops on this shameful tragedy. The sun which has shone for 400 years on the pearl of the Orient seas will no longer shine over Spain.

The Americans are festively marching into Manila with their rifles on their shoulders. Not a single gunshot is heard. The Spaniards do not show any resistance, except for the artillery unit in Luneta which fired this morning against the rebels in the north. One thousand five hundred Spaniards, a thousand Tagals, and one sole American regiment took part in the struggle. The next day, those in the garrison who were not involved in the fighting left their trenches, taking their guns with them.

Some details about the Americans. Some Yankees were seen entering the Pasig on a small steamboat; instead of hoisting their flag, they put up some sort of American publicity. Even worse, before the end of the day, two drunk volunteers were beating up the natives and pushing them around with the butts of their rifles.

And soon after Manila opened its gates, a formal order posted on the road to Paco prohibited the Tagals from entering the city. A group of natives, refusing to take heed, were blocked by the Americans, who harassed them with their bayonets.


Wednesday, August 10, 1898

The Waiting

Nothing. The Americans have not stepped up their attack. Three hours full of tension follow as the Concorde and Petrel are sighted approaching the city. Both are anchored 4,000 meters from the shore, six kilometers from San Antonio. An open mockery on the part of the Spanish artillery could provoke an immediate reaction. In this case, it would be best for the Spaniards not to furnish their enemy with a perfect excuse to open fire. At present, the art of provocation seems to be their only skill. It is difficult to refrain from criticizing the lethargy of the Spaniards. I am extremely tempted to use another term to define their attitude. Actually, every marine in this blockade dreams of a nocturnal attack on the American fleet as it lies anchored in the bay. Obviously, it is just a dream, since the logical consequence of a bombardment is retaliation. Why don’t the sailors on land arm the steam launches in the Pasig with torpedoes to use in the event of a surprise attack from these insolent Americans? If eight or ten steam launches fire on the Olympia or any other ship, one good hit would suffice to make the Americans uncomfortable.

The inertia of the Spaniards is beyond belief. An insurgent’s barge driven off-course by the typhoon of August 2 is now 600 meters from the Pasig. All one has to do is to take possession of it. On its foredeck is a 120mm cannon. There is much talk among the port authorities, but no one has acted.

Among the Spanish refugees on board the Adelaide, there are men who could be useful on land. One of them is this so-called photographer, who claims he is a correspondent for an illustrated magazine. And what about this captain of the artillery who has lost his right arm? He does not appear to be ill. Most of us on board think he should be on land. There is an armless hero called Cervantes, whose example he should follow.


Lunes 1 de Agosto 1898

Desde las 11 y media de la noche hasta la una de la madrugada ha habido en la línea de defensa desde S. Antonio á Mandaloyan el tiroteo más estrepitoso que se ha oído en estas islas desde que hay yanquis en ellas. Cañones, ametralladoras y fusiles jugaban á porfia sin cesar de una y otra parte. Mucha gente de la Ermita ha huido de sus casas refugiándose en la Escuela Normal donde han pasado la noche más de 2,000 personas. Han reventado muchas granadas de procedencia yanqui en toda la esplanada que hay desde la ciudad murada hasta el campo de batalla: una granada ha estallado en una sala del Cuartel de la Luneta y ha matado á tres soldados y herido á diez; otra en el Puente de España matando un caballo; otra en la Ermita matando un muchacho y un hombre. Otras muchas han caído en diversas partes sin causar desgracias. En nuestra casa de Sta. Ana han estallado dos, disparadas desde Mandaloyan y en la huerta de la Escuela Normal tres, sin causar, á Dios Gracias, ningún daño personal. Una de estas últimas ha reventado en la huerta, y un casco ha entrado en el cuarto del R.P. Superior, dormitorio actual del P. Algué y ha destrozado la ventana con gran espanto del P. Algué y de algunos hermanos que estaban observando desde la ventana contigua. El P. Algué acababa de salir de su dormitorio por providencia de Dios. En las trincheras hemos tenido un muerto y siete heridos. Los cascos de granada recogidos en el Observatorio llevan la marca de un Arsenal de los Estados Unidos.

From 11:30 last night until 1:00 this dawn, firing along the defense line from San Antonio Abad to Mandaluyong was the heaviest so far heard since there have been Yankees in these islands. Cannons, machine guns, rifles exploded without let-up on both sides. Many people from Ermita escaped their houses, seeking refuge in the Normal
School where more than 2,000 refugees spent the night. We had one dead and several wounded in the trenches. Recovered grenade shells in the Observatory bear the trade mark of an arsenal in the United States.


Monday, August 1, 1898

This is the situation on the 1st of August.

Admiral Dewey can no longer delay taking action against Manila. Yesterday, the third expedition of American troops arrived in the bay on five transport ships: Indiana (with Brigadier General MacArthur on board), Ohio, Morgan City, City of Peru and Valencia. Granting that this convoy that arrived carried 5,000 men, the American troops present would total 11,000. Of the warships in the bay, 26 are American, four English, two French and one Japanese. Day by day, both the wind and the sea get increasingly worse. The only means of communicating with the mainland is by sending a dinghy across.

The Union’s troops occupy four different points on the battle front: in the north beyond Caloocan, in the northeast from LaLoma to San Juan del Monte, and in the south between Malabon and Fort San Antonio. The commandant of the Kaiser estimated that the American forces have 12,000 men. He confirms that the commander-in-chief, General Merritt, who arrived on a separate ship on the 25th, hastened his trip, thinking that Camara’s squadron would be diverted towards Manila. The unnecessary installation of this squadron in the Suez Canal, costing Spain over one million francs, is a deplorable example of indecisive naval strategy.

The battle fought last night lasted 11 hours, and took place in Malate, southeast of Manila. This first serious encounter between the Spaniards and the Americans must have been a bloody one. The Spaniards attempted an attack against the front and the right flank of the 10th regiment of the Pennsylvania volunteers positioned in trenches in Malate. The battle continued until dawn and took place in the midst of torrential rain and high winds. Now it is certain that the Spaniards have lost. They allegedly lost 300 men, while the Americans lost only seven. It is a fact that the Americans put the insurgents in the line of fire as human shields to protect themselves. How long will the Filipinos accept this demeaning role?

At 10 o’clock tonight, gunfire was resumed near San Antonio when the insurgents armed with rifles forced Spanish troops to retreat.

According to the Americans, their fighting force here will number 20,000 at the end of the month.


Martes 26 de Julio 1898

Esta noche pasada por el lado de S. Antonio Abad ha habido tiroteo breve pero intenso. Han matado al Teniente Ojeda del batallón nº 4 de Cazadores. (…) Continúan circulando noticias alarmantes sobre la situación interior de España, y se dice que el populacho ha asaltado nuestra residencia de Talavera y un Covento de Dominicos y otro de Agustinos.


Tuesday, July 5, 1898

Tonight we are on red alert. Gunshots and cannon fire. Are the American troops getting ready for battle? This morning we went ashore. Three of us went to find out if the good old Coronel de la C___ was still alive since no one could inform us on the latest events. He is alive. We met him in Malate, but he appeared gloomy and crestfallen. Seeing him like that made us sad. Camara is not yet here and the Americans are disembarking. He pretended to be unaware of the situation and asked us for information. Considering the overall picture, it was difficult to reply to his questions, but in the end, we told him all we knew. To raise his morale, I tried to convince him to initiate a possible reconciliation between the Tagals and the Spaniards to fight against the Americans. If this plan could succeed, not even a force of 50,000 Yankees would be sufficient to take over Manila. He made me sketch out the defense plans, showing the forts which surround the place. From the daily reports he receives, he was informed that yesterday alone 4,000 cartridges had been used. He was disturbed by this absurd wastefulness. We cannot be properly conducted if some sense of moderation and order is not inculcated in these men. The Spanish troops have lost their confidence but not their courage.

A substantial amount of defense is going on but there are very few soldiers. The Spaniards are increasing their trenches, and denuding the city of all its trees and gardens. A series of wooden barriers surround the Walled City. Would this system of defense be sufficient for an infantry or artillery attack?

This threat of a siege could last a very long time. For the past six days, Admiral Dewey has been the master of the bay. What is he waiting for? Does he intend to be the master of the Filipinos and Manila, too? Life is becoming difficult. No more changes. No more action. Just nervous tension, each day increasingly more demoralizing. Let the end come!

Tonight, cannon shorts are heard from San Antonio. A huge fire occurred in the city at dawn.


Lunes 27 de Junio 1898

A las diez de la mañana los insurrectos han atacado desesperadamente la línea de defensa por el lado del fortín de S. Antonio pero han sido rechazados. Cinco balas han caído en la Escuela Normal y dos de las mujeres allí reunidas han resultado heridas. Es caso frecuente caer alguna bala en dicha casa todas las veces que hay algún ataque fuerte. Los desvelos de los Superiores logran hacer casi insensible la creciente escasez de víveres que hay en Manila. Todas las privaciones se reducen a comer carne de carabao en vez de vaca, y ala abstención de pescado fresco, puspas, huevos y leche frescos, frutas y verduras todo lo cual se suple ó con provisiones de laterías o de otra manera.


Domingo 19 de Junio 1898

La noche pasada ha sido de muchísimo tiroteo en las avanzadas. Por el lado de S. Antonio Abad ha habido verdadero peligro pues hacía la madrugada han empezado á escasear las municiones en una trinchera defendida por 50 cazadores y se ha temido pasarán la línea los insurrectos, (…) Hace algunos días que sólo se habla de la escuadra que salió de Cádiz el 28 pasado, y sorprende algo que no se sepa positivamente que ha pasado el Canal de Suez. La gente da en decir que habrá tomado el rumbo del Cabo de Buena Esperanza, Esta versión hace sufrir bastante por lo mucho que retrasa las llegada de la escuadra, la que todos consideran hoy, como el único remedio que en los actuales apuros nos queda de tejas abajo. Hoy ha venido de Cavite doscientos enfermos y heridos españoles, á cada uno de los cuales Aguinaldo ha mandado dar un peso fuerte al despedirlos. Vienen los pobrecitos extenuados de hambre y quejándose de los malos tratos de que en Cavite son víctimas por parte de los indios los que están allí prisioneros.