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UP THE RAILROAD TO MALOLOS
BY FREDERICK FUNSTON
Brigadier-General, United States Army
ILLUSTRATIONS BY F. C. YOHN
APHE bugles blowing reveille so that these became really the insurgent
on the morning of the 25th uniform. It was not until the later period ushered in the longed-for of guerilla warfare that the Filipinos fought day when the Second Divi- in civilian clothing. While not very capasion was to take up the ble troops on the offensive, these insur
march for Malolos, the in- gents had shown no little mettle in defendsurgent capital, and we knew that before ing positions, for they had often stuck to us was a week or so of almost continuous them until the bottoms of the trenches were fighting, for the way was barred by the best literally covered with their dead. Some troops of the rebel army, commanded by of our people have affected to despise the Antonio Luna, far the ablest and most ag- courage of the Filipino, but the most of gressive leader in the service of Aguinaldo. them are among those who did not get The insurgent troops were better armed mixed up in the fighting until after the than were the volunteers that composed the greater part of those who fought us during bulk of the Second Division, having that the first four months had been killed or splendid weapon, the Mauser, while we disabled and their places had been taken still used the Springfield, of much shorter by yokels snatched out of their rice fields range. It might be said here that the ad- and compelled to fight. The real test of vantage had by a weapon of high velocity the morale of troops is the ability to bring over one of low is that the former, having them time and again to face the music, to a flatter trajectory, is not so much affected suffer almost inevitable defeat, and to have by errors in aiming or in estimating dis- their ranks decimated by appalling losses. tance. The Springfield could reach as far Judged by this standard, the Filipino does as effective fighting could be done with any not by any means stand at the foot of the small arm, but at a thousand yards its bul- list. lets were coming down at a very consider- Deaths from bullets and disease, as well able angle, thus diminishing the dangerous as a considerable list of sick and wounded space. But we were through with our in the hospitals, had reduced the Twentieth black-powder days, as we had now been Kansas to a strength of about a thousand supplied with cartridges which, while not men. These, as soon as the bugles rang absolutely smokeless, did not at once shroud out, set themselves to making coffee and us in a cloud of our own making.
broiling bacon, and had soon made away The force opposed to us was about equal with a typical soldier breakfast in the field. in strength to our division, and was an Lieutenant-Colonel Little had recovered enemy not to be despised, as it was made from his accidental injury received before up very largely of former native regiments the outbreak, and was now in command of of the Spanish army. These had gone the First Battalion, while Major Whitman, over to the insurgents intact, keeping their returned to duty from sick leave some weeks former organization, and largely having before, had his own battalion, the Second. their original officers. They had been in Our orders were to have two battalions on service more than a year, and had had con- the firing line and one marching in rear as siderable training in the matter of drill, but a regimental reserve. I fear not very much in target practice. Night passes into day quickly in the They retained their old Spanish uniforms, tropics, and the sun had almost risen by the
time the men had stowed their mess tins firing” blown. The men had been anxious in their haversacks, buckled on their tin to reply, and went at it with a vengeance, cups and cartridge belts, and stood at ease each platoon firing while it was prone, and awaiting the first order. This was not long then rising at the word of command and in coming, and we soon formed line, still in dashing to the front. My horse, the same close order, marched the few rods to the little bay that had been shot under me summit of the ridge, jumped over the at Caloocan, showed that he remembered trenches occupied by the men of one of something, and for the first time was skitthe recently arrived regular regiments, and tish under fire. Nothing could be seen on started down the gentle slope. As soon as our front that looked like an enemy, so that we had cleared the steeper part of the slope our target was the edge of the woods, where the Second and Third Battalions began de- it was known that the line must be. The ploying, while the First remained station- fire of the enemy not being of much volume, ary, with orders to let us have five hundred we knew that this must be merely a line of yards start, when it was to follow in line of strong outposts, and that the real trouble platoons in column. The First Montana, would be farther in the depths of the woods. on our right, had already started, as also During this advance by rushes a man had Hale's brigade, still to its right, and al- in Company D received a most peculiar ready the crackle of the Mausers was heard wound. He had just thrown himself prone to our right front as these regiments came when he felt a severe blow on his right under fire. The Third Artillery, on our shoulder, being completely prostrated. The left, waited until we were even with its Hospital Corps men who accompanied the position and then leaped over its trenches firing line applied the first aid bandage and and started for the goal. We were crossing sent him back to the dressing station at La an almost level plain, and nearly all of the Loma church. Here an examination distwo brigades could be seen at one time, as closed the wound of entrance in his right
they silently advanced in a long, irregular shoulder, and also the supposed exit of the · line toward the woods that sheltered the bullet in the form of a hole in his right side
enemy's outpost line. It was a spectacle just where his cartridge belt had been. Sent enough to inspire any man. It looked like into the First Reserve hospital in Manila, a maneuvre, but it was war. Already the he was treated under the very natural supwoods fifteen hundred yards on our front position that he was rid of his bullet, but were crackling and popping and the bullets eleven days after his admission one of the were kicking up dust spots on the dry nurses in bathing the man noticed what apground.
peared to be a swelling just above his right All our fighting heretofore had been in knee. Calling the attention of the surgeon close country, so that we had not tried the to the matter, that individual went after the advance by alternate rushes, but this was a object with his instruments, and extracted good place for it, and although the distance a Mauser bullet. The missile, traversing was too great for us to begin firing with his body lengthwise close to the surface, effect, we put into practice what we had had struck the tight and unyielding belt learned on the drill ground at the Presidio. where it would have made its exit, but being One platoon, that is half a company, would foiled, and having considerable energy left, rush forward for about fifty yards and had continued its journey through the unthrow itself prone, while the other platoon fortunate man's anatomy until its force was would rise and rush past it. Of course expended just above his knee. It is disthis made an irregular and apparently wav- turbing to be shot through the body in the ing line, but we were getting over ground orthodox manner, but it is enough to make at a good rate.
one positively peevish to have a hole drilled Hale's brigade, not having so far to go to through him lengthways. Astonishing to close with the enemy, had opened fire, as relate, the man recovered in a short time. also had the First Montana, and now We continued the advance by rushes unwe were within seven hundred yards of til within about two hundred yards of the the woods. I turned to Chief-Trumpeter enemy, when the “Charge” sent the two Barshfield walking, or rather trotting, along battalions over the remaining ground in no beside my horse and ordered “Commence time, the enemy's weak line bolting into the woods. It was only a line of outposts be- know just where. However, a group of hind not particularly good cover, and should mounted officers only a short distance back not have remained as long as it did, but when on the road I recognized from the distinwe opened fire should have retired on the guishing flag as General MacArthur and main line.
his staff. While the regiment was straightThe men of Company G had a bull-dog ening itself out and getting its breath I rode that they had brought with them from Cof- back as fast as my horse could run and feyville, Kansas, and of which they were ex- sputtered out my tale of woe. The general ceedingly fond. I had heard much of the looked at me in a quizzical sort of way and antics of this animal in battle, and on this said, “Well, well, Funston, is that all is the occasion had an opportunity to see him per- matter? Let's not get excited about little form. He was perfectly frantic with excite- things. It is better to wait for something ment, apparently thinking that the whole serious.” But he sent an officer to straightshow was something for his especial benefit, en out the tangle. He evidently was conand ran up and down the line of his com- siderably amused by my outburst. pany barking furiously. At the charge he Returning to the regiment, which by this distanced everybody in the race to the ene- time had got itself pulled together, we remy's position. This dog was in every en- sumed the advance, now over somewhat gagement that the company was in, and rougher ground and through woods that in went through it all without mishap, but places were rather dense, but here and after his return he indiscreetly bit Coffey, there comparatively open. We knew that ville's police force in the leg and was somewhere on our front was the Tuliajan promptly shot, an ending for the company River, but owing to the wretched maps of pet that all but started a riot.
the country that the Spaniards had made, The Filipino line having been weakly the distance was uncertain. Naturally our held, we naturally found but few of them own people had never been able to map this on the ground. I do not know the number region, lying as it did in the insurgent lines, that were along that portion of their line nor would it have been possible for patrols carried by my regiment, but counted seven to have made the necessary examination. dead at the place struck by the right of our The whole brigade was, of course, parline. There were also two badly wounded ticipating in this renewed advance, and we that they had not been able to remove, and were working our way cautiously forward, these we sent in with our own wounded. examining the country on our front as well At the same place we picked up nine rifles. as we could under the circumstances. The
Positive orders had been issued before ground was sloping gently downward, and the advance for the First Montana to keep it was realized that we must be near the its left on a road which ran at right angles river. An occasional rifle shot and a bullet with its direction while the right of my own zipping through the tree tops was the only regiment was to rest on the same road. sign of an enemy. We suddenly heard a But from the start the regiment named had most terrific crashing in the woods to our inclined too much to the left, and before we left as the Third Artillery engaged in a desreached the enemy's line nearly two com- perate close range struggle in which it lost panies were on our side of the road. We about thirty men killed and wounded, and were being telescoped, and in order to avoid in an instant the woods on our own front crowding the Third Artillery on our left we added to the pandemonium. It was exhad to take several companies out of the ceedingly difficult to decide what to do. firing line, but not until I had lost my To rush the men down to the river, which temper and "cussed out" an officer of the we could now make out about three hunoffending regiment, who bristled up and told dred yards ahead of the line, might place me he took no orders from outsiders, and the regiment in a position where it would be that he had no instructions to keep his left shot to pieces by the well-intrenched eneon the road. Filled with wrath, righteous my on the opposite bank in case it should from my own stand-point, I determined to be too deep to wade. To retire was of appeal to higher authority. The brigade course out of the question, so the only thing commander was somewhere in the rear to do was to close as rapidly as possible and of the line of his command, but I did not take chances on the depth of the stream. Past experience had shown us that even but managed to get my horse stuck in a with the enemy entrenched we could over- boggy ravine, and so gave that up, and discome his fire. So the companies on the mounting, started on a run to join the two firing line now rushed down to the bank, companies that were so deeply involved, in threw themselves flat, and fought desper- the hope that by swimming, if necessary, ately.
we could bring the thing to a finish. PassIn order that I might be able to exercise ing a little clump of bamboos, I heard a some influence on the firing line as a whole, groan coming from them, and saw four of and not get mixed up in a local fight where our poor fellows scattered on a space no I could see only one or two companies, I larger than an ordinary bedroom. remained about two hundred yards behind As soon as I reached the firing line I the line for the time being. Here I was motioned, for no commands could be heard, joined by the well-known correspondent, for some of the men to get into the water Mr. James Creelman. I had sent Ser- and try to cross. Captain William J. Watgeant-Major Warner and Trumpeter Barsh- son, commanding Company E, and two field away to carry orders, and was glad to or three men plunged in and struggled have company. The noise was so over- across, the water being nearly to their whelming that it was difficult to think, for shoulders, and were followed by a number the whole brigade was fighting as hard of others, the men holding their rifles over as it could and the woods were filled with their heads. As the first of these men the roar. Creelman and I sat on our came up the bank the Filipinos bolted, horses for awhile, and then unanimously knowing it was all over, and but few of dismounted, the idea seeming to strike both them could be brought down in flight, as of us at the same time. Companies E and the north bank was higher than the one our H had struck the worst of it, being oppo- men were on, and the men could not see site the most formidable trench, and Creel- them. However, I saw Lieutenant Colin man and I were directly behind them. A H. Ball do some good short range work with natural tendency of the Filipino, and for his revolver, he being one of those who had that matter, most people, to shoot high crossed. made our position one of the warmest in the meantime my horse had extricated places I have ever been in. Only once, and himself from the mud, and had come trotthat at Cascorra in far-away Cuba, had I ting toward the excitement. A soldier seen bullets thicker. The two companies caught him and brought him to me, and by were right on the river bank, and as the the time I had mounted, the fighting on stream was not more than forty feet wide, our front was over. A better crossing was and the Filipino trenches were on the oppo- found about a hundred yards down stream, site bank, the two firing lines were not more and I had no difficulty in getting the pony than fifty feet apart. The river looked through. The men of the regiment, now deep, but as yet our people had not over- that the fighting had ceased, waded the come the enemy's fire sufficiently to allow stream at the same place, and were allowed the matter to be tested.
to throw themselves on the ground to rest Captain Adna G. Clarke, now a captain until further orders should be received. in the regular army, was in command of Only a very small portion of the regiment Company H, and I could see him standing had been seriously engaged, as the enemy's erect in order to better direct the fire of trenches were not continuous, although his men, who were lying down. In a short there had been resistance all along the line, time I saw him crumple up and go down but in many cases the fire had come from with a wound from which I believe he has men lying down a hundred yards or so from not fully recovered to this day. Majors the river bank. After our men had got Metcalf and Whitman were close up to the close to the river they had not suffered river bank, their two battalions being most much, as the Filipinos did not like to rise hotly engaged. Finally I could stand it up enough to do even fairly good shooting, no longer, and in the hope that I could find but Companies E and H had been pretty a place where there was a practicable cross- well shot up in getting to close quarters. ing, rode toward the left of the regiment, Our loss was Privates Craig, Anibal, and which had not been so severely engaged, Plummer killed, and Captain Clarke and
twelve enlisted men wounded. Craig was The First Montana had had a fight about the youngest of three brothers in the same as stiff as our own, and had crossed the company, one of them being a first-lieu- river to our right. Still farther away we tenant and the other a sergeant, these last could hear a scattering fire as Hale's brigade two being now officers in the regular army. was making its way, overcoming great diffiIn and near the trench that had given us culties in the way of dense brush and badly the most trouble we found twenty-nine of cut up country. Still farther to the right the enemy's dead. As usual, the most of Hall's brigade was having its fight, but the bis wounded had succeeded in escaping, sounds of battle, if they reached our ears, though we found seven. Scattered about were confused with that of other firing in on the ground were about thirty rifles, that the same direction. Much nearer in, on we broke up and threw into the river. our right, at the place where the Novaliches
In the meantime the Third Artillery, wagon road crosses the Tuliajan, was an on our left, had fought its way across the almost incessant small-arms fire punctuated stream, overcoming more serious difficul- with cannon shots and the tap, tap, tap of a ties than those that had confronted us, as Colt automatic gun. At this place a very in addition to trenches they had to take an strong field-work and flanking trenches, elaborate and obstinately defended field- constructed for the purpose of protecting work.
the crossing, were stoutly resisting a deVol. L.-16