Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

its right was partially in the open, while the fenses. Being so close, the temptation to other two organizations of the brigade were stir them up with a fusillade was very great, entirely so.

but it would never do, as we might be cut During the day an officer rode over to off before we could fall back on our lines. my regiment, stated that he was Major Bell I had established regimental head-quarof the division staff, and desired that I ters about two hundred yards to the rear of should furnish him with a non-commis- our trenches, just to the right of the Caloosioned officer and a few other men in order can wagon-road, which cut the regiment's that he might ascertain something as to line at right angles about one-third of the the location of the insurgent trenches cover- distance from its right to its left. As night ing the town of Caloocan, on our front. came on the men were instructed to lie down At this I bristled up somewhat and an- and get what sleep they could behind the nounced that if there was any scouting to low shelter that they had constructed, a be done in advance of my regiment I could number from each company being detailed do it myself or have it done. Upon being to remain on look-out in order to give warnassured by Major Bell that he was acting ing of any attempt to rush our line. It was under orders of the division commander, not thought best to have men on outpost in I yielded the point, but I fear not with the woods on our front, as in case of a sudvery good grace. Thus, rather inauspici- den attack they would mask the fire of the ously, began my acquaintance with my ex- regiment, or possibly be sacrificed before cellent friend, the present Major-General they could retire to its line. So far as firing J. F. Bell, who was destined because of his was concerned, we had a quiet day of it, but exceptional services in the suppression of nightfall brought trouble. The regimental the Philippine insurrection to rise within a staff officers with myself and a few orderlies few years to the highest rank now attain- had just spread out our blankets and were able in our army. I suppose that General preparing to lie down, when a lively rattle Bell has by this time entirely forgotten the of fire opened up in the direction of the incident described. Later in the campaign enemy's lines, and bullets began striking that officer had at his disposal for scouting about us and whistling overhead. I was of purposes a picked body of men, and did the opinion that it was a mere spurt and some most astonishing things in the way of would die down, but nevertheless rose and penetrating the enemy's lines and bringing walked over to the trench, where I was back information as to the location of his joined by Major Metcalf. The firing intrenches. The non-commissioned officer creased in volume, and apparently was not that I directed to report to Major Bell coming from the enemy's trenches, which on this occasion was Corporal Arthur M. were eight hundred yards on our front, Ferguson, a man whose soldierly qualities but rather from a point about half-way and daring were eventually to win him to them. None of our men were asleep the Medal of Honor and a commission in yet, and some of them began to reply withthe volunteer service, and afterward in the out orders. regular army. We shall hear more of him There was some delay in finding a trumlater in connection with the passage of the peter to blow “Cease firing," and in the Rio Grande at Calumpit. Of course, what meantime one of our men was hit, and gave ever information Major Bell obtained on a shriek that was heard almost the length of this reconnaissance was transmitted to the the regiment. In an instant the men were division commander. I was desirous of beyond control. As the firing on our front learning something on my own hook, and increased they thought a charge was comlater in the day took a few men and crawled ing, and, kneeling behind the low shelter, with them into the dense woods in front of worked their old Springfields for all they the left of the regiment, working gradually were worth. It was a form of panic, but around to the right until we were within a not half so bad as bolting to the rear. The few hundred yards of the trenches just men were in as close a line as they could be south of the Caloocan church. The coun- and work their rifles, and they crammed try here was comparatively open, and we cartridges into them and fired as rapidly as could see that the Filipinos were working possible. The roar was deafening, while with feverish haste in improving their de- the rapid spurts of fame along the whole line made in the darkness a show of fire- During the afternoon of the day followworks that was not to be despised. The ing this incident, it being very quiet, I rathdense blanket of smoke, added to the er unwisely sent word to Mrs. Funston, in gloom, made it impossible to see anything. Manila, telling her that if she wished she We soon had every trumpeter in the regi- could come out to the lines for a short visit, ment blowing “Cease firing,” but in some as it would give her an opportunity to see cases blows and kicks had to be resorted to something of troops in the field, and we in order to bring the men to their senses. could have a brief chat. But in the meanAs our fire died down enough for one to be time Captain Christy, who was officer of able to make himself heard, the officers be- the day and was patrolling in front of the gan to open the vials of their wrath on their regiment with a few men, became involved respective companies, while I, having to in a sharp fight at about two hundred yards “cuss” twelve companies instead of one, range with some hundred and fifty of the was quite overcome by my efforts. But the enemy, who had advanced from their insurgent fire had absolutely ceased, the trenches and were behind a dike, probably enemy having stirred up more of a hornets' the same one from which they had fired on nest than he had bargained for

us during the night. I went out into the What had occurred was that several woods to investigate, and found that the hundred of them had advanced from their redoubtable Christy had bitten off considtrenches to a point where there was good erably more than he could masticate. He natural cover, whence they had started a had only a few men, but they were fairly fire-fight which they were doubtless glad to well sheltered and were having a hard cease. It was in no sense an attempt to take fight, being so deeply involved that it was our line by a rush, but that was what the going to be a problem to get them out. men had feared. The regiment expended I crouched down with the men for a few about twenty-five thousand rounds of am- moments in order to decide what to do, and munition in this piece of foolishness, but it finally, by having them cease fire suddenly was the last performance of that kind, in- and then spring to their feet and make a volving any considerable number of men, dash by the right flank to some “dead” that we had during the campaign. One of ground, stopped the fight. Going back to the insurgents wounded in this affair was my head-quarters, behind the regiment's the Filipino major, Hilario Tal Placido, line, I found that Mrs. Funston had arrived, who, captured more than a year later in escorted by my orderly and Major Metcalf's. Nueva Ecija province while I was in com- She had ridden in a caromata, a Filipino mand there, became an “Americanista," vehicle distantly related to the one-horse and accompanied me on the expedition that buggy, it being driven by one of the soldiers brought in his old chief, Emilio Aguinaldo. while the other rode along on horseback Hilario, after I had come to know him, as- and acted as escort. The party had arrived sured me that this experience cured him of during the skirmish in the woods, and as any further desire to assist in unnecessarily quite a few bullets were flying overhead, stirring up the Americans just to see what Mrs. Funston was sheltered for a time bethey would do, and that he felt lucky in get- hind a portion of the Filipino earthwork ting out of it with nothing worse than a that we had assaulted and carried two days big bullet through one of his lungs. before. Realizing that another fight was lia

The next day while visiting La Loma able to break out at any moment, she went church I took occasion to express to General back to the city after a brief stay. MacArthur, who had his head-quarters The hope that the Filipinos who had been there, my regret that the regiment had got stirred up by Captain Christy would desist, into such a panic, but was assured by him now that they were being let alone, proved that it was nothing to feel badly about, as it an illusory one, as they kept up a slow fire on is a very common experience of troops until that portion of our trench nearest to them. they have been under fire a few times. As Deeming it necessary once for all to break a matter of fact, very few regiments in the up this form of amusement, and fearing Philippines escaped going through the same that it might continue throughout the thing during the process of getting used to night, I sent a staff officer to explain the being under fire.

situation to the brigade commander and reDrawn by F. C. Yohn. The enemy had a very fine silken flag... It became the centre of a short and sharp struggle. . . . It resembled

[graphic]

as much as anything some of the confused scrambles that are seen on the football field. - Page 64.

[graphic][subsumed]

When the odd little gun was fired we saw the projectile mount a couple of hundred feet into

the air. - Page 70.

quested leave to administer the necessary lapped his right. For the first hundred castigation. The desired permission was yards the woods screened our movements, granted, but I was cautioned not to attempt but when we broke into the open at a any pursuit after the force annoying us had distance of three hundred yards from the been dislodged, as it was feared that such dike we could see that it was fairly alive action might bring on a general engage- with the straw hats of the Filipinos, and ment, thus interfering with the plans of the they opened on us as rapidly as they could division commander. Three companies fire. Our men, perfectly steady, did not rewere considered more than sufficient to do ply until ordered to a few seconds later, and the work, and their commanders were di- when they did they fairly combed the top rected to hold them in readiness. It was of that dike with bullets. We were advancnot known how far into the woods the ene- ing at a walk and it was point-blank range, my's right flank extended, and an attempt and our fire so disconcerted the enemy that to turn his left would have exposed us to though they plied their rifles with great fire from the trenches near Caloocan, so vigor, they were not exposing themselves that a frontal attack was decided upon as enough to get any sort of good aim. They giving the greatest chance to inflict heavy were armed entirely with Mausers so that loss.

they had no smoke to interfere with them, Major Metcalf was to assist me in lead- while our Springfields produced the usual ing the attack. At the word of command prairie-fire effect. What little wind there the three companies rose to their feet and was, however, served to drive the smoke befixed bayonets. Leaping over the trench, hind instead of ahead of us, so that we were the start was quickly made. Our right was not so much troubled by it as ordinarily. directly opposite the enemy's left, but it The men were under perfect control, and developed that our left considerably over- while somewhat excited, were attending to

« НазадПродовжити »