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SOLDIER OF FORTUNE -- ADVENTURING IN LATIN AMERICA AND MEXICO WITH EMIL LEWIS HOLMDAHL

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Chapter 1:  Benevolent Assimilation

"Damn, Damn, Damn, the Filipinos, Underneath the starry flag, Civilize 'em with a Krag."
-- U.S. soldiers' song

At the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, President McKinley on April 23, 1898, called for 125,000 volunteers to beef up the anemic U.S. Army of only 28,000 regulars. Emil Holmdahl's older brother, Monty, was one of the first to join up. With a yen for adventure and not wanting to be left behind, young Emil also trooped down to the recruiting station.

Although tall for his age, the fifteen-year-old was told by a grizzled old sergeant to go back to the farm and do his chores for a few more years. Even at this early age, young Holmdahl had a touch of the confidence man. Undaunted, he took his small savings and went to a different recruiting station, where he hired a man to pose as his father and testify that he was of age.

The ruse worked and the slender, apple-cheeked farm boy was sworn in as a rifleman with the 51st Volunteer Iowa Infantry Regiment. After a brief training period, the Iowa boys lustily singing, 'Remember the Maine, to hell with Spain, II were put on board a train en route to San Francisco. There on November 3,1898, they boarded the crowded troop transport Pennsylvania for a month-long passage to the Philippine Islands. They arrived in Manila Harbor on December 7. By then the Spanish had surrendered and the "Splendid Little War," so named by Secretary of State John Hay, had ended.

If Emil was disappointed that he had missed action against the Spanish army, he had not long to wait for his baptism of fire. For there was smoldering resentment between the ragged, irregular forces of the Filipino insurgent leader Emilio Aguinaldo, who had been fighting against the Spanish since 1896, and the American interlopers.

Most Filipinos maintained they had virtually won their independence before the Americans arrived, and they rejected the idea that they needed American guidance. They claimed, "When the American troops reached the Islands in 1898, there was no anarchy and the Filipinos were governing themselves." [2] The idea that Americans had single handedly liberated the Philippines from Spain was a constant irritant to the Filipinos.

The Filipinos expected independence after the Spanish were beaten, but found themselves merely trading colonial masters, as President McKinley instituted a policy of "benevolent assimilation." This term meant that the United States would control the islands. No matter how benevolent the Americans were, Aguinaldo and his men would have none of it.

The McKinley policy was not without opposition in the United States. Republican Speaker of the House, Thomas B. Reed of Maine, opposed the war with Spain and the acquisition of the Philippines. When Vermont's Senator Redfield Proctor read a report on the Senate floor favoring the war, Reed observed that the senator owned large marble quarries. "Proctor's position might have been expected," he said. "A war will make a large market for grave- stones." [3]

Not only did opponents decry American imperialism, there were financial concerns. After Spain surrendered and the United States seized the Philippines, Reed cynically observed, "We have purchased 30 million Malays at 50 cents a head ... unpicked ... and nobody knows what it will cost to pick them." [4] Acquiring the Philippines would prove very expensive, both in money and in lives.

The growing disputes between the Americans and the Filipino nationalist forces under Aguinaldo, however, were unknown to Emil and the rest of the Iowa farm boys of the 51st. After a month at sea they were yearning for the feel of solid earth beneath their feet. From the decks of the now smelly Pennyslvania, they could see the lights of the grog shops and bordellos of Manila and they were hot for a little Asian debauchery. They would never get it.

After days of staring at the shoreline while the Army pondered what to do with them, orders finally came through on December 24. The Pennsylvania was instructed to proceed to Iloilo on the island of Panay, where the troops would be landed and the Iowa boys would take possession of the port to "prevent lawlessness." [5]

Panay, with a population of almost 800,000, was part of the untamed and remote group of islands known as the Visayas. On December 26, escorted by the cruiser Baltimore, the Pennsylvania and two other troopships sailed out of Manila Bay' into the South China Sea, passed between the islands of Mindoro and Palawan into the Sulu Sea, and finally dropped anchor off Iloilo.

As the ships swayed at their anchor cables, the Iowans panted on deck under the boiling tropical sun while the high command dithered over whether or not to invade the island, then under the control of Filipino insurgents. On January 3, orders came through to attack and capture the city. That night Emil and his comrades sharpened their long bayonets and cleaned their old .45-70 Springfields (which when fired sent up a dense column of white-gray smoke) with the nervous energy of green recruits about to undergo a baptism of hostile fire.

The next morning the 51st, with units of the 18th U.S. Infantry Regiment and Battery' G, 6th U.S. Field Artillery, clambered down the sides of the transport into longboats and were rowed ashore by strong-armed sailors. As they landed, they were greeted by insurgents barricaded along the docks with Mauser rifles at the ready. The two forces glared ferociously at one another for a few minutes until the American colonel in command decided against landing more troops "under such conditions of hostility." [6]

In a scene more opera bouffe than military, the disgusted troops were ordered to climb back into the boats, and the equally disgusted bluejackets rowed them back to the transports. Dithering between the Panay Expeditionary Force and headquarters in Manila went on for twenty more days, while the troops rocked uneasily in the anchored transports in the stifling heat.

After almost three months aboard ship, the Iowans were so enervated, filthy, sick, and dispirited that the Pennsylvania was ordered back to Manila on February 11, 1899. Returning to that port in mid-February, they stumbled down the gangplanks and found themselves right in the middle of a shooting war. The Iloilo farce over, they were to engage in vicious and grueling fighting on southern Luzon Island as the U.S. army began its breakout from its Manila bastion.

Of young Holmdahl's personal adventures in the Philippines little is known, but one can best understand the conditions that molded the man by following the trail of his regiment. On the outskirts of Manila, Yanks and insurgent soldiers had been exchanging insults and sometimes blows, until on February 4, 1899, a Nebraska volunteer fired on a Filipino patrol, and the two forces went to war.

It would be a dirty and frustrating guerrilla war fought in steaming jungles rife with malaria and other tropical diseases. The troops were tortured by hordes of stinging and biting insects, poisonous snakes, and an enemy that posed as friendly during the day only to spread terror and death as soon as the tropical sun dipped below the horizon. It would only be surpassed more than sixty-five years later in the hell of the Vietnam jungles.

Into this cauldron marched the 51st Iowa farm boys, including fifteen-year-old Emil. He was to celebrate his adolescence by wading through rice paddies, tramping along jungle trails, and soaking in tropical downpours, all on a diet of rice and rotten fish when supplies gave out. In the realm of nauseating food, Army-issue canned salmon was king. Called "goldfish" by the troops the stuff was so full of oily gunk that when it dried out and a lighted match was tossed onto it, the can burst into flame. By comparison World War II's K-rations so despised by G.I.s seemed a gourmet's delight. [7]

A typical order from a brigade headquarters ran as follows:

Men will carry guns with straps and bayonets, belt, haversack, mess kit, canteen filled with water or coffee.  One day's field ration, 100 rounds of ammunition, poncho hung in belt.  They will wear brown canvas uniform including blouse without blue shirt.  Those not provided with blouses will wear blue shirts.

Two days additional field rations, 200 rounds additional ammunition, one blanket for each two men and necessary cooking utensils, tools, etc., will be transported in wagon and pack train.  Reveille will be at 3:00 a.m.; breakfast at 4:00 a.m.; and troops will be in assigned positions ready to start by 5:00 a.m. when each regimental commander will send a messenger to brigade commander to that effect.  There will be no bugle calls, loud commands or shouting.

And as a very necessary precaution, the orders commanded:

Officers and non-commissioned officers will prevent men from throwing away accoutrements, rations, water and ammunition. [8]

In March 1899, Emil and the 51st were attached to the First Division under the command of Major General H. W Lawton, who was the "George Patton" of what became known as the Philippine Insurrection. Lawton, at six feet, four inches, towered over his men and must have seemed like an avenging giant to the slightly built Filipinos. He was a soldier's soldier. With iron gray hair, bristling mustaches, and a fierce gaze, he wore a white pith helmet and bright yellow slicker, and was given to striding up and down the firing line wherever the fighting was at its heaviest.

Bold and tough, he was often held back by the overly cautious General Elwell Otis, who commanded the Philippine department with all the bravado of a frightened rabbit. Balding with floppy muttonchop whiskers, Otis was a desk-borne officer who Admiral George Dewey once called "an old woman." [9]

An orphan, Lawton left school to enlist in the Union Army as a private when the Civil War broke out in 1861. Always in the thick of the fighting, by the time he was twenty-one years old he was commanding a regiment of infantry as a brevet colonel. He won the Congressional Medal of Honor for leading an attack against a Confederate fortification at Atlanta.

After the war, reduced to the rank of Second Lieutenant, he spent twenty years fighting Indian hostiles. He was the man who finally cornered the elusive Apache chief Geronimo, who, exhausted by Lawton's indefatigable pursuit, surrendered in 1886. He again distinguished himself during the campaign in Cuba in 1898 and, by then a major general, he was assigned to help break the back of the Filipino resistance. While he was often in trouble with the high command in Manila, the men in the ranks loved the fifty-six-year-old general.

After the Americans fought their way' out of the environs of Manila, the brigade, which included Emil and the 51st, also comprised elements of the 4th Cavalry, the 14th U.S. Infantry, and a regiment of Idaho volunteers. After the breakout, they! slugged their way fifty miles to the north toward the key railroad town of Calumpit.

The town was enclosed in a rectangle formed by the railway that ran from Manila to San Fabian on Lingayen Gulf and three rivers that arched around the city flanks. Calumpit was well fortified with trenches and loop-holed breastworks built along the river banks, while the railroad" embankment was built up with parapets enabling defenders to fire' in all directions. Confident, the Filipinos considered the town impregnable and their commander boasted "Calumpit will be the sepulcher of the Americans." [10]

On the morning of April 23, the Americans approached the Quingua River to the south of Calumpit and came under a fierce and deadly fire from the dug-in Filipinos. As a regiment of Nebraska volunteer infantry formed and advanced toward the enemy, their Colonel, John M. Stotsenberg, one lieutenant, and two privates were shot dead and thirty-one men wounded. Seeing the Cornhuskers in trouble, Emil and his Iowans fixed bayonets and charged forward with a shout. Firing and running, they stormed the enemy and with rifle butt and bayonet, slaughtered the insurgent forces within.

Panting, the Mid-Westerners flopped on the soggy ground, sucking air into gasping lungs. After a rest, they marched into the little suburb of Quingua where they made camp, and rations, such as they were, were distributed as well as fresh bandoliers of ammunition. "Get a good rest boys," they' were told, "Tomorrow we cross another river under fire and by god, then we'll take Calumpit."

That night, as fifteen-year-old Emil rested his weary head on his pack and looked up at the stars overhead, he must have realized he was no longer an innocent farm boy. He had seen friends killed, and he had tasted blood with both bullet and cold steel. He would never be the same.

Before dawn on April 24th, the troops were awakened from their uneasy sleep, ate a quick breakfast of biscuits and hot coffee, and then fell in with extra bandoliers of ammunition looped over their shoulders. By 5:00 a.m. the artillery was in place and ready to fire. The night before, scouts had located a ford and the infantry .was moved up and echeloned along its banks. At 5:30 a.m. the artillery opened up a fierce barrage on the insurgent trenches on the far side of the river.

The South Dakota regiment of volunteers dashed across a rickety bamboo bridge, while Emil and his Iowans, along with the Nebraska volunteers, charged into the ford, slipping, stumbling, and sometimes sinking into the river's muddy bottom. Gone was the boyish enthusiasm of the day before. They had seen too many bodies on both sides crumpled into bloody rags from Mauser and Springfield slugs. They now had the grim determination of veteran troops, and they flayed the insurgents with rifle fire as shrapnel burst on the enemy trenches ahead of them.

They were across the river by early light and had through dense, thorny brush and thickets of bamboo. Trudging along the road toward Calumpit in late morning and early afternoon, they were continually harassed by snipers and by the retreating insurgents. Reaching the Calumpit River, which was that town's last defensive shield, the Iowans came under heavy fire from defenders on the other side of the river. The American artillery, however, blasted the enemy trenches with shrapnel so accurately that the insurgents became afraid to raise their heads above the emplacements to aim their Mausers.

Emil and the Iowans could see hands holding rifles appear over the trenches and fire without aiming. As a result, their bullets flew wildly, mostly over the heads of the Midwestern volunteers. The American infantry, in turn, dropped prone and delivered such a stream of accurate fire from their Springfields that it all but annihilated the remaining defenders. Emil and his companions crossed the river unscathed and marched into the town under an eerie light from the Calumpit mission church, which had been set on fire by the fleeing Filipinos.

After a few days rest, on May 2, the 51st, backed up by two field pieces and a Gatling gun, was detailed as the brigade advance guard. The troops marched along the railway running northwest to San Fernando along flat land cut by steamy s\vamps and bayous, housing myriads of insects.

As they moved up the road paralleling the tracks, they first encountered the traps which during the Vietnam War were called punjis. They were conical pits dug into the road, in the bottom of which were planted sharpened bamboo stakes dipped in feces. A light bamboo mat covered with dirt concealed the hole, and God help the poor American lad who stepped on one of the devilish stakes. Infection from the feces covering the stake often was more dangerous than the wound caused when the sharpened bamboo pierced a boot and drove up into a foot. Many died or lost a leg through gangrene.

But if what had gone before was not bad enough, a few miles south of their objective, in the market village of San Fernando, they ran into rifle fire from a swamp near the town. To drive the enemy from their flanking position, the Iowans were ordered to charge.

Dismayed but game, the 51st waded into the foul-smelling mess, floundering through the treacherous waters, often sinking up to their armpits. Leeches sucked at their bodies; their water-filled boots caused them to stumble and fall to the muddy bottom, while they held their rifles and precious ammunition high over their heads. There were a few grim laughs when one of the shorter men stepped into a sinkhole and disappeared-leaving only his wide-brimmed hat floating on the muck. One of the taller men quickly reached down and pulled the sputtering soldier to shallower water, and they ploughed on.

When they reached the shallows they opened fire and charged- - if wading and cursing in belt-buckle-deep water can be called a charge. After routing the Filipinos and reaching the Bagbag River, the Iowans constructed a floating bamboo footbridge. The men stripped the loads from pack animals and shouldered them, hiking unsteadily across the rickety bamboo while the animals swam across the river. After scattering the remaining defenders, they marched into San Fernando.

Emil's brigade had trekked more than 200 miles through hellish terrain and fought more than thirty engagements. The cost was high. In addition to many sick with various diseases, six officers and forty-seven enlisted men were killed, with twenty-two officers and 331 enlisted men wounded. [11]

After resting a few days, the Iowans were ordered to Cavite for garrison duty, and if it was duller work than fording swamps under fire, no one complained. Sitting around the fires as the tropical sun dropped swiftly below the tree line, they had a chance to catch up on the gossip of this hastily assembled army of farm boys, leavened by a few old Indian-fighting regulars.

The campaign had its share of characters. One of the most flamboyant was Brigadier General Joseph Wheeler. Known as "Fightin' Joe," his diminutive size (he was barely five feet, five inches and weighed in at 120 pounds) belied his history as a hell-for-leather Confederate cavalryman. It was Wheeler whose rapier-like raids had frustrated, bedeviled, and raised general hell with General William Tecumseh Sherman's Army of the West. A West Point graduate, Wheeler's allegiance was to the South, and he rose to the rank of lieutenant general in the Confederate army. At one time he commanded all cavalry forces in the Army of the Mississippi, fought 400 engagements, was wounded three times, with sixteen horses shot out from under him.

When the Civil War ended, "Fightin' Joe" was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Alabama. When the Spanish-American War broke out, he offered his services to the U.S. army and was commissioned a major general of volunteers. After charging up San Juan Hill with Teddy! Roosevelt and fighting courageously in Cuba, he was commissioned a brigadier general and took command of a brigade in the Philippines.

The sixty-one-year-old former Confederate officer proved impetuous to the point of insubordination, always charging into enemy positions regardless of orders. When his fighting spirit was curbed by assigning him to command supply lines, he accused the U.S. general commanding his division, one Arthur MacArthur, father of young Douglas MacArthur still at West Point, of keeping him out of the battle line for fear that a "Reb" general would show him up. Since MacArthur was a hero of the Union forces during the Civil War, perhaps "Fightin' Joe" had a point. One of the great campfire stories endlessly' repeated by the troops was that in the excitement of battle Wheeler would ride up to the firing line screaming "Give them Yankees hell, boys."

After eight months of hide-and-seek, punctuated by intermittent skirmishes with the ladrones, or thieves, the 51st Iowa was scheduled to return to the United States. They had served valiantly, but not without blemish, as one soldier reported, "Talk of the natives plundering towns; I don't think they can compare with the 51st Iowa." [12] With or without plunder, the regiment departed Manila on September 23, 1899, aboard the troopship Senator bound for San Francisco. From there, they returned to the small towns of Iowa where both the cornfields and their corn-fed "gals" seemed like heaven after months of homesickness and hardship in the Philippine jungles.

A few, among them Emil Holmdahl, who seemed to thrive on jungle fighting, stayed behind. Conditions in Manchu-dominated China were becoming more turbulent by the day. A wandering mercenary soldier named Edmund F. English, sporting the title of "General," drifted into Manila recruiting a foreign legion of experienced soldiers. Their mission was to aid the aging Dowager Empress of China, Tzu Hsi, in putting down a series of local rebel- lions that threatened her rule. [13]

The "legion" was sponsored by the Chinese Empire Reform Association, which consisted of Western-oriented Chinese both in China and in California, and a group of well-heeled American businessmen. Their motives were ostensibly lofty. They wished, they said, to bring China into the new century as a modern, respected, and independent state.

They realized that: "The Chinese, through long centuries of heredity, are an unwarlike people, the Imperial government realizes that the organization and disciplining of this army' must be done by foreign officers." To find them, they looked to rugged American veterans on the West Coast and in the Philippines. [14]

The regiment was to be known as the "Royal Imperial Guard, Sinim Order of Dragoons" and would function both as shock troops and royal bodyguards. What promises of gold and glory General English made to the more naive young American soldiers were never recorded, but to the teen-aged Iowa boy, soldiering in China seemed to promise an exciting adventure. Holmdahl quickly presented himself to the general with a snappy salute.

General English promptly commissioned the youngster as an ensign, possibly because of Emil's exquisite handwriting and his flair for expressing himself. Within days the general, his newly commissioned farm boy ensign, and a motley collection of discharged soldiers, wharf-rats, and European freebooters set sail for China.

By the time their ship entered the harbor at Shanghai, the situation had undergone a drastic upheaval. Hatred for all "barbarians" (anyone who was not Chinese), was at a fever pitch in the ancient kingdom. Treaties forced upon the proud Chinese by Europeans had robbed them of sovereignty over much of their own land. Their ancient gods were humiliated by caravans of Christian missionaries who sought to turn them from their age-old religions.

Maddened by the actions of the Europeans and impoverished by natural calamities when the Yellow River flooded its banks and inundated more than 5,000 miles of fertile plain, the Chinese were on the brink of total despair. Roaming shamans, soothsayers, and chieftains of growing secret societies foretold the end of the world. The sons of Han would only be saved, they said, if the European "Big Noses," whose presence had angered the gods, were driven from Chinese soil.

The hatred of the barbarians coalesced around masters of the martial arts in Shantung province. Forming a loosely organized society named i-ho-ch'uan, or the "Righteous and Harmonious Fists," called Boxers by the Europeans, they went on a rampage in 1900 destroying anything European. They beheaded foreigners, burned missionary outposts and looted European trading centers. The Boxers forced the Manchu Empress to sever any ties with the "big noses with white faces." These events left General English and his doughty band of warriors without a paymaster, and the Sinim Order of Dragoons quickly disintegrated into a bunch of drifters in Shanghai. Fortunately, young Emil had the price of a return ticket to Manila. [15]

Arriving back in the Philippines in mid-1900, he found that the hard-pressed regulars were offering a $500 bonus to those signing up for more war, so Emil enlisted in the 20th United States Infantry Regiment. If going from an ensign in the Royal Imperial Guard of the Empress of China to a still underage private in the U.S. Army bothered the young soldier, he kept it to himself.

There were some compensations for joining the regulars. Paydays were guaranteed and, most important, the soldier never again had to fight with the rifle issued to volunteer regiments, the antiquated, faithful, single-shot Springfield .45 70, which kicked like a mule. Worse, its cartridge used black gunpowder which when fired sent up a pillar of smoke that gave away the shooter's position.

As regulars, the 20th was issued the modern, Danish-designed Krag-Jorgensen bolt-action rifle with a five-shot magazine. It fired the new high-velocity .30-40 caliber cartridge and, best of all, it used smokeless powder. It had a range of 2,000 yards, although it took an expert shot to hit a man at 1,000. Emil quickly qualified as one of those expert marksmen who could take out a guerrilla at that range. [16] And no doubt, he joined with his comrades in singing the little ditty that began:

Damn, damn, damn the Filipinos, Underneath the starry flag, Civilize 'em with a Krag. [17]

It was to become more than a lyric -- it became a reality.

The 20th U.S. Infantry was a big, tough regiment of regulars who had won a multitude of battle honors during the Civil War and had recently fought gallantly in Cuba. They more than lived up to their regimental motto, Tant Que Je Puis (To the limit of our ability). In November 1899, their muster rolls included forty-three officers and 1,478 enlisted men. [18]

When they first arrived in Manila, the 20th was not given a fighting assignment; its soldiers instead were detailed as military police. The army, growing distressed by a series of drunken incidents and an increasing rate of venereal disease, thanks to the multiplying number of bars and whorehouses in that city, set a curfew of 7:00 p.m. It became the regiment's unpleasant duty to sweep the streets of raucous soldiers every twilight. [19]

In 1899, before Holmdahl returned from China, the regiment finally got into the fighting south of Manila in operations along the Pasig River. They became, however, both saddened and infuriated when their much admired General Henry W Lawton was killed in late December at the town of San Mateo, eighteen miles from Manila. Lawton, in the front lines of the fighting, was dressed in his bright white pith helmet and his iridescent yellow slicker. His six-foot, four-inch frame made a tempting target, and while he was surveying the fighting through binoculars, a rebel bullet struck him in the chest, killing him instantly.

When young Holmdahl joined the regiment, they were still maddened by Lawton's death and had a simmering hatred for the Filipinos. They were fighting in Luzon when Aguinaldo was captured in late March 1901. While much of the force of the revolution was broken by his capture, there was still heavy fighting to be done and on April 5, 1901, the regiment fought a hot skirmish near Salsona, Luzon.

In November 1901, in a command shakeup, Emil and his new comrades of the 20th were put under the command of General J. Franklin Bell, with orders to pacify any insurgents holding out in southwestern Luzon.

The guerrilla war, like that in Vietnam, had become deadly. Terrible atrocities were committed on both sides, and if young Holmdahl in later years was referred to as a callous killer, perhaps his inhibitions against shedding blood came from that youthful service in Luzon. Not untypical was an order given by' Brigadier General Jacob W "Hellroarin' Jake" Smith, who instructed a subordinate commander to take no prisoners and kill anyone capable of bearing arms. Anyone over the age of ten was old enough. [20]

Ley Fuga -- meaning law of the fugitive -- which authorized captors to shoot escaping prisoners was very much in vogue. There was a very bad joke about some "Tennessee Boys" who were ordered to take thirty wounded guerrillas back to an American hospital. They passed through a prosperous village, and when they finally arrived at the hospital they had "a hundred chickens and no patients." [21]

With misguided Yankee ingenuity, the troops developed an effective method of dealing with stubborn prisoners who refused to reveal military information. Quaintly named the "water cure," it was administered by stretching a prisoner on his back, prying open his mouth with a stick or bayonet, and pouring large amounts of dirty water down his throat until his stomach blew up like a balloon. When the "patient" was full, one of the "doctors" would kneel or stomp on his stomach until the water was expelled through a variety of orifices. After the "cure," most surviving prisoners were more than cooperative about answering questions.

For variety, there was also the "rope cure," consisting of wrapping rope around the prisoner's neck and body a number of times until it formed a sort of a girdle. A stick was placed between the ropes and twisted until it smothered and garroted the victim. It too was an effective cure for silence. [22]

The Filipinos, however, were not without blemish, and when their bolo-men ambushed an American, not content to merely kill him, they often dismembered the body and carved it into small pieces. As a mark of guerrilla humor, dead Americans were propped up with their throats slit and their penises stuck in their mouths. In other instances, American soldiers were found buried up to their necks in red-ant beds. The ants considered eyeballs a delicacy.

It was in this tortured environment that young Emil spent his adolescence. Under those fighting conditions, one either went insane or became very, very', tough. Emil Holmdahl became very, very, tough.

Filipinos maintained that American politicians in favor of annexation deceived the American people into believing that only a small faction of the native population supported the insurrection. As the war dragged on, however, they were fond of quoting Genera] Arthur MacArthur:

When I first started in against these rebels, I believed Aguinaldo's troops represented only a fraction ... I did not like to believe that the whole population of Luzon ... was opposed to us ... I have been reluctantly compelled to believe that the Filipinio masses are loyal to Aguinaldo and the government which he leads. [23]

They also quoted a dispatch from General A.R. Chaffee that, "The insurrectionary force keeping up the struggle. ..could exist and maintain itself only through the connivance and knowledge of practically all the inhabitants." [24]

In an effort to moderate what had become a very nasty war, 325- pound William Howard Taft was sent to the Philippines as high commissioner. He affectionately referred to his Philippine charges as "Our little brown brothers." The infantry out in the barrios responded with a ditty:

They say I've got brown brothers here But still I draw the line He may be a brother of Big Bill Taft But the son of a bitch ain't no brother of mine. [25]

Officially the insurrection ended July 4, 1902, although intermittent fighting continued for another decade. When the final count was made, "benevolent assimilation" had resulted in the deaths of more than 4,000 American soldiers, almost 3,000 wounded, and large numbers enfeebled for life from tropical diseases. The insurgent army had an estimated 20,000 killed in combat. Worst of all, 200,000 Filipinos died either of famine brought on by the war or from outrages committed by soldiers on both sides. [26]

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