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The Battle of Bayan and Other Battles

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s I sit here on the demolished walls of Fort Pandapatan, contemplating the magnificent scene spread out before me, my mind reverts to that awful Battle fought on the 2d of May of this year, which was rightfully designated by General Adna R. Chaffee as the hardest fought battle of the entire Philippine insurrection. And as I look down the grassy slopes of Pandapatan hill, and across the open towards Binidayan hill, on which once stood that impregnable Moro stronghold, Fort Binidayan, I can see in fancy those advancing lines of determined men and hear the awful screech of flying projectiles, just as if that terrible drama of reality were being enacted over again for my own especial benefit.

And while I am in the mood and have the inspiration to do so, I shall endeavor to convey to the reader a slight conception of what the Battle was like, and how it appeared to me on that eventful day, and which will go down in history as one of the most glorious feats of American arms.

I can see again, in fancy, that column of determined fighting men, at the head of which rode General (then Colonel) Frank D. Baldwin, struggling over the slippery mountain trails, fording the swift running rivers, and sweltering in the hot tropical sun, just as they did on April 17, 18, and 19, 1902.

It does not seem that several months have elapsed since General Chaffee issued an ultimatum to the Sultan of Bayan and other leading Moros of the Lake region, demanding the surrender of several Moro tribesmen for the murder of Pvts. Lewis and Mooris of the 27th Infantry, in March last, and for the return of several horses which had been deliberately stolen from Lieut. Forsyth, 15th Cavalry, at Buldoon, a small village in the mountains along the south coast of Mindanao.

When General Chaffee visited the little town of Malabang in the early part of April, inviting the Sultans and Dattos of the Lake region to come in and hold a friendly conference with him, little did he dream that he was taking the first step in what was to be one of the most aggressive campaigns ever inaugurated.

But when, instead of complying with the terms of the ultimatum, the Moros insolently replied to it and defied the Americans to come and fight, General Chaffee realized then that the situation was grave indeed, and accordingly telegraphed to Washington immediately for permission to proceed to the Lake region and administer a lesson to the recalcitrant Sultans and Dattos.

But it was not until after much delay that the War Department reluctantly gave permission to proceed against the Moros, and General Chaffee was cautioned not to go to the extreme of warfare, until every peaceful method had been exhausted.


Preparations were at once begun; an expedition was formed and got in readiness, and on April 17, 1902, six companies of the 27th Infantry, two troops of the 15th Cavalry, and the 25th Battery of Field Artillery started for the interior of Mindanao, which had, as yet, never been explored by white men....