(These latter notes were added Tuesday March 27. I am still confined to the hospital: my ninth day, but I am much better and hope soon to cross the island to Tubigon, thence to Cebu by banca.)
Now for a somewhat continued narrative of the occupation of Bohol by the forces of the United States which may be called the Passing or
The Collapse of a Republic
Towards the middle of March 1900 the United States had progressed so far in the road to actual possession of the new territory acquired in the East by the Treaty of Paris that our troops were occupying the attention of rebellious natives on five of the principal islands of the Philippine archipelago; we were in peaceful possession of a foot hold on two more in the extreme south, had captured the little island of Romblon by force of arms, and were about to occupy the Surigao district of northern Mindanao. But there remained some six or seven thousand <other> islands <of> which we had seen only the shores and <mountain tops> and even in the Visayas where the struggle for independence had lacked the inspiration of the presence of the fitful Aguinaldo, intermediate and [illegible] though it was, only Cebu, Negros, and Panay — besides insignificant Romblon — had felt the hand and enjoyed the dollar of the American. But at this time great activity was shown
At this time the great, if somewhat ill defined original Visayas Military District occupying the center of the Philippine group appears to have been curtailed by the occupation from Luzon of the islands of Leyte and Samar, cutting them off from the middle group of the archipelago and leaving the Visayas composed — from a military point of view — of Panay, Negros, Cebu <& Bojol> since Masbate was at this time a kind of no man’s land and Paragua and smaller islands did not enter the count.
*Now of Bohol nothing really was known, the few poor books on the Visayas, like the maps, gave valueless outlines of doubtful facts; visitors to the island were infrequent, and their information vague, and trustworthy guides were not to be found. The island had been shut within itself for more than a year, and it was known to have its own government, its own laws, its police and its church; and it was known to have maintained its people from native aggression from without and to have maintained its republican state within the greater native Republic <for more than a year. It contained about a quarter of a million of people.
Now of Bohol little really was known for in all probability no American’s foot had yet brushed its shores. The few poor books on the Visayas, like the maps, gave valueless outlines of doubtful facts, visitors from the island were infrequent, and information attainable even in Cebu was vague. Trustworthy guide[s] could not be [found?] and such knowledge as was possessed by Americans came for the most part from observations made by the navy and others along the coast and from foreign, chiefly English, merchants who had in former times traded with the Boholano ports. But the island had been shut within itself for more than a year, its ports were closed, and beyond the fact that a government existed that was believed to be not unfriendly to the United States, that there was an armed force of indefinite strength which had successfully protected the people from disorder within and from native aggression without, that there were laws and a [church?], little was really known of the republic which stood as a sort of state within a state, and a part of Aguinaldo’s great informal confederation. Of the real character and temper of this quarter of a million of people who inhabited the island, nothing was understood.
The time had come to crash the shell of Bohol’s isolation and to add her to the group of sister islands already received into the fold — for this purpose Major H.C. Hale, 44 U.S. Volunteers with two companies, B & C, of that regiment were selected to take possession of Bohol and protect its people, and on March 14, the expedition sailed <from Iloilo> on board the transport Elcano first for Cebu where an armed ship was to be fished up added, and thence to some port of Bohol. I had the privilege of accompanying this expedition in connection with certain work of my own corps. As a consequence <of the uncertain conditions and of its isolation when the island should be have been taken> the expedition was equipped with all completeness of equipment necessary <for peace or for war, and contained all essential [illegible]> to occupy and hold a hostile island for many weeks. It consisted of two hundred men and 9 officers, was provisioned for two months, carried an excellent hospital outfit under the charge of a skilful physician who had proved his value as a sanitary expert in the hospitals of Havana the year previous; and was in fact ready to establish itself on any spot of the habitable globe and hold its own against all comers. And thus equipped <the expedition> sailed about sunset on March 14 for Cebu.
The men of the little command had just returned from an expedition against the mountain town of —- in Antique <in western Panay and were hard as nails in excellent condition for the work ahead of it later confinement for several days on the dirty decks of the hired transport had undone some of the good still a finer body of troops are rarely seen. Final dispositions made, plans arranged with the senior naval officer of the station, it was decided to attempt a landing on the coast near other islands of which we had seen only the shores and the mountain tops; and even in the Visayas, where the struggle for independence had lacked from the first the inspiration of the presence of the fitful Aguinaldo only Cebu, Negros and Panay — besides insignificant Romblon — had felt the hand and enjoyed the dollar of the American. However great activity was being shown by our troops and the time for the occupation of the important outlying islands, hitherto unnoticed, had come. An expedition from the north had taken possession of Leyte and Samar, cutting them off in a military sense from the great middle Kingdom of the Visayas & reducing that ill defined district which [originally?] occupied the center of the archipelago to practically the four islands of Panay, Negros, Cebu, and Bohol, in addition to Masbate (whose time had not yet come) and Paragua, and smaller groups that were a sort of No-Man’s Land.
On Panay, Negros & Cebu, troops had for months been stationed and governments established; but Bojol was an unknown land, and on March 14, Major H.C. Hale with companies B & C, 44th Volunteer Infantry sailed from Iloilo on board the transport Elcano to take possession of the island and to protect its inhabitants. This expedition I had the privilege of accompanying in connection with certain work of my [illegible] corps.