Read BATTLE OF GAUAN of The Battle of Bayan and Other Battles , free online book, by James Edgar Allen John J. Reidy, on ReadCentral.com.

It is night again, the battle of Bayan is now fought and indeed very gloriously won. The last reports of the yet warm cannon have ceased to echo through the distant hills and ravines. The khaki-clad warriors and laurel-crowned victors, blood stained and weary from the struggle of the recent battle, have sought a well earned and much needed repose. But their sleep is not one of comfort or rest, for they have contentedly lain down uncovered on the cold damp ground.

The shrill notes of the bugle call them from their dreamy slumbers at an early hour and their first duty is to finish burying the dead and lend what aid is possible to the sick and wounded, who were too sick and exhausted at this time to be removed over the rugged trails to the hospitals at Malabang.

To do this it was absolutely necessary to establish a camp, somewhere adjacent to the centre of hostilities.

It was then that the post of Camp Vicars, now so widely known throughout the nations of the earth, first had its origin. It was so named in honor of the brave and ever dauntless soldier, Lieut. Vicars, who unfortunately lost his life from a wound received, while heroically engaged in the capture of the stronghold.

Everything is now placid, hostilities had ceased for a time at least, the Moros driven as they were from their forts, and stockades, which had been their sole protection for centuries past against all foreign invasion, had sought shelter from the yet unconquered tribes wherever it could be had, offering scarcely any resistance or hostilities to the troops then at the camp.

GENERAL CHAFFEE ARRIVES.

General Adna R. Chaffee soon afterwards paid a visit to the recently established camp, arriving with his escort May 10, 1902.

He was given a full account of the battles hitherto fought in that region Bayan included from officers who themselves had been daring participants in all the fights.

He immediately decided to send messages to the principal sultans and dattos, who were then commanding tribes of savage bolomen along the most impassable regions of the lake shores. The subject matter of his messages were authoritative invitations to come into the camp and hold a friendly conference with him.

He received favorable replies from many of them and two days later the following named sultans and dattos decided to respond to his invitation: Sultan of Genassi; Sultan Amai Tampugao of Tubaran; Sultan of Binidayan; Datto Sa Bayang of Bayan; Datto Pedro of Uato; Datto Agar of Makadah; Datto Agato of Madatlum; Datto Amay Mala-Mala of Taburan; Datto Amay Magatano of Binidayan.

After they had reported it was thought that the greater part of the Moro trouble had subsided. But this was not so far from it. Their terms of peace were, to say the least, short lived, for in the early part of the month of July a detachment of men was brutally and unexpectedly attacked by a band of bolomen on the trail. They were outnumbered by the enemy, and consequently many of the Americans were wounded and some three or four killed outright.

TREATIES BROKEN.

It was now very evident, judging from their recreant action, that the natives had broken all treaties of peace and violated the laws of friendship, so honorably laid down by the Americans.

This evidence of their recriminating and rebellious nature was doubly substantiated, when on August 1st the Sultan of Bacolod, who until then had remained peaceable, sent to Captain J. J. Pershing, commander of the troops at Camp Vicars, the following insolent message, which is translated below for the benefit of our readers:

TRANSLATION.

We ask you to return to the sea because you should not be here among civilized Moros, for you are not religious. If you stay here we will fight you this month, and in no event will be your friends, because you eat pork. We say to you that if you do not leave this region, come here and the Sultan will sacrifice you, and if you do not wish to come we will come to you and fight.

This was followed in a few days by another message to the commanding officer, from the Sultan of Maciu, which was also of a defiant nature.

Circumstances now began to look rather grave at Camp Vicars. The Americans had endeavored by every means in their power to prevent further hostilities and trouble, but had failed in all their efforts to bring about peace between themselves and the dark-skinned natives of the trackless plains of Mindanao.

A BLOODY DEED.

The Moros did not, however, make any advances until the night of August 12, when the most appalling and most ghastly murder that has ever been witnessed took place about two hundred yards from the camp. The moon had disappeared temporarily behind a dark cloud, the men had all retired for the night, and everything seemed tranquil, when suddenly the camp was aroused by the firing of shots in rapid succession by the members of the outpost.

The trumpeter was now calling every slumberer to arms, and in a few moments the entire garrison was ready for action. The cries of the men for help and the crashing of the bolos and spears could be heard in the calmness of the dark stilly night. There was no time for idle thoughts, no time to be wasted, for it was evident from their appealing cries that the members of outpost N had been attacked by the blood-thirsty Moros.

Lieut. Bickham, commanding Company “F,” proceeded in all haste to cross the deep ravine and re-inforce the brave men, who, though outnumbered by a large majority, were nevertheless fighting desperately for their lives.

They arrived on the scene too late to prevent the massacre and death of their fallen comrades, for the savages had by this time made well their escape, after performing one of the most savage, most treacherous and most blood-curdling deeds, that has ever hitherto been recorded in the pages of bloody history.

Not content with killing their victims, they had cut them with their bolos and long spears, until their bodies were beyond recognition. The killed were Sergeant Foley and Pvt. Carey of Co. “G,” 27th U. S. Infantry, men whose gallantry, kindness, bravery, and social disposition had won for them the admiration of not only the members of their own company, but of everybody who knew them.

The wounded were Pvts. VanDorn and Christianson, also of Co. “G.”

A BRAVE STAND.

Perhaps never in the history of battles and wars did men fight with such grim determination and fearlessness in the very face of death, as did VanDorn and Christianson of Co. “G.” Having fallen to the ground from loss of blood and exhaustion, they still bravely clung with untiring tenacity to their rifles and never once flinched or even thought of retreating to a place of safety until the re-inforcements had arrived on the bloody scene and the natives had vanished in the underbrush. An investigation ensued which disclosed the fact that the attacking parties belonged to the tribes of Datto Amay Grar.

Immediately afterwards what was to be the last ultimatum was issued to the Moros of the Lake region, particularly to the Sultan of Bacolod and the Sultan of Maciu demanding, rigidly, an explanation regarding the recent attacks upon the Americans, as well as the immediate surrender of the murderers in their tribes who were guilty of committing various acts of injustice and cruelty since the historical battle of May 2.

Their replies were, as usual, of a defiant, insolent, and sullen nature.

The Americans, seeing that the restoration of peace in the island of Mindanao could not be brought about by fair and honorable means, decided to administer a lesson to them that they would not very readily forget.

HOSTILITIES RENEWED.

An expedition was organized on short notice, commanded by Capt. J. J. Pershing, of the 15th Regiment of Cavalry, a man whose never failing courage, valor, and ability as an officer and commander is unexcelled in the American Army.

Every preparation was made for the coming events, and on September 17, at midnight, what was known as Captain Pershing’s expedition left Camp Vicars under cover of darkness and proceeded through rugged trails to Maciu’s strongholds and neighboring principalities.

The expedition consisted of Companies “F,” “G,” “C,” and “M” of the 27th Infantry; Troop “L” 15th Regiment of Cavalry; and the 25th Battery of Field Artillery.

On the morning of the 18th, as the first refulgent beams of “Old Sol” had begun to illuminate the eastern horizon, the column had reached and halted close by Fort Gauan, and ere another hour had elapsed the entire fortification was surrounded by our troops.

The 25th Battery had halted directly in front of, and about 300 yards from, the fort, while companies “M” and “F,” “G” and “C” had formed skirmish lines on the left and right of the fort. The command was given for the first shot to be fired and everybody waited in silent expectancy for the outcome. In an instant there was a flash, and “bang” went the projectile with lightning velocity, hitting the outer breastworks of the enclosure, from which rose vast clouds of smoke and fragments.

The firing from the fort was rapid at first, but gradually diminished as the outer bombardment continued, and finally ceased altogether, for the Artillery onslaught had been terrible while it lasted, and nothing remained of that once impregnable fortress save a few shattered walls, with here and there the mangled corpse of a dead Moro.

The day was gradually drawing to a close, which made it necessary for us to establish a temporary camp for the night.

This was done, and very fortunately, adjacent to a small river, which proved to be a great convenience to both men and animals.

Natives fired frequently into the midst of the camp, but fortunately without any serious casualty to the Americans. The first faint glimmer of dawn that broke over the eastern hill-tops found us again in readiness and, after partaking of a hurried breakfast, we broke camp and again took up the trail, this time in the direction of Bayubao.

BAYUBAO VANQUISHED.

The trails were, in a great many places, almost impassable, making marching with equipments very laborious. However, we arrived at Bayubao about 2 p.m. and rested for refreshments on the top of a high hill, which over-looked the fort and the unruffled waters of Lake Lanao.

We had not been long in the enjoyment of our much needed rest, when the natives, who were until then concealed in the brush, poured a volley into our midst. The entire column was immediately summoned to action, and a grander sight could not be witnessed than to see that body of brave and disciplined soldiers taking their respective places and falling into line for action.

The Battery was brought into action on the hill-top, with the guns carefully trained on the fort by reliable and experienced marksmen, then a noise arose which seemed to echo back from the very firmaments as if the giant and mighty mountains had left their very sockets and were tumbling in a confused mass into the deep waters of the lake below.

The Battery had cut loose and “let her go,” and projectile after projectile was sent from the guns on the hill-top “straight home” and into the very midst of the fort, enveloping everything for a moment in clouds of smoke and flying fragments, which was almost suffocating.

Oh! what a strange feeling influences the soldier when he hears the first “Boom” of a cannon, for full well he knows that it is only a stepping stone leading to the midst of the fray.

The natives returned the fire slowly but steadily, and in a manner that was creditable, for they were not only taken by surprise but were at a critical disadvantage owing to the elevation. Still the firing kept up and more than one dark-skinned foeman could be seen falling, rifle in hand, lifeless on the green sward.

They were now growing confused, ungovernable, and were firing recklessly like savage maniacs at the unflinching column of brave American soldiers, who were cooly aiming and firing at the commands of the valiant officers whenever a well directed shot was to be had. It now appeared evident that before this rain of bullets from the Infantry and the bursting of shrapnel from the Artillery they could not withstand much longer, and our position was such that to hit us at such a range and elevation was almost impossible.

Again the Battery opened up with one last and mighty sheet of solid shot and shrapnel, which made the very walls tremble and shake like the leaves of a forest before a hurricane, and then deathlike shrieks could be heard from within, the stout walls had crumbled to a thousand atoms, and the Sultan of Bayubao, with many of his tribesmen, had fallen to rise no more.

IN SIGHT OF MACIU.

But was this to be our last battle with the Moros? Was this to be our last fight in the desolate island of Mindanao? No! No! far from it. There yet remained another, and the stumbling block of them all, who was at this time bidding defiance to all invaders, in his fort across the lake, where we could see, from our present position, the red flags of battle waving before the gentle zéphyrs of the orient.

This was the Sultan of Maciu, Maciu the warlike, who had hitherto held his stronghold and expansive territories with creditable success for centuries against even the haughty Spanish soldiers. But his day of gloom was fast approaching, when he and his clan of bolomen would be compelled to submit to the sons of America, as will be seen by the ensuing pages.

Soon after Fort Bayubao had been taken the column pressed onwards, down the rugged slope of the trail, leading into the fort, and here, being dust-stained, weary, and footsore, we were glad to encamp for the night. But only a few of us slept, for the Moros delivered a steady fire on us from the surrounding brush through the night.

The welcomed morning broke bright and clear over the waters of Lake Lanao, and the soldiers of “Columbia” awoke from a dreamy and restless slumber at the first notes of the bugle. Preparations for the attack on the Sultan of Maciu were immediately begun, but with little or no success, as the trail leading through the thickly wooded flats was blocked in such a way that it was an impossibility for even the Infantry to force their way through.

The Moros, having seen the column advancing on them, set to work to block the trail leading from Bayubao to the Maciu fortress, thinking that the Americans might on reaching this now impassable entrance, decide to return again to Camp Vicars after failing to reach the much talked of stronghold.

FOOD SUPPLY EXHAUSTED.

Seeing that all else had failed, the Americans began to construct rude rafts with which to cross an arm of the lake which separated them from the Maciu territories. They succeeded in building one in which a detachment of Companies “C” and “M” attempted to cross under a continued fire from the Moros, who were entrenched on the opposite side.

They kept on, however, seemingly regardless of the rain of bullets until, after a sharp and lively encounter with the enemy, they found it would be impossible to make a landing, so decided to return, but not before they had succeeded in driving the Moros back.

This was the 22nd day of September, we were now five days on the trail in pursuit of the Moros, but had not as yet begun to show any signs of exhaustion from the march or exposure.

It was now evident that our supply of provisions could not last much longer, and in consideration of the fact that the trail, now blocked by the Moros, should be re-opened before we could reach Maciu, it was deemed advisable by Captain Pershing to return to Camp Vicars, in order to rest the troops and to procure more rations.

Consequently on the morning of the 23rd, the column began the long march from the Maciu and Sauir territory to the Camp, arriving in good military order at 7 p.m. same date, with no loss to the Americans.

Lines on the Death of Sergeant Foley and Private Carey, Company G, 27th Infantry.

(By John J. Reidy.)

Here, cold in their graves, near the spot where they fell,
In the darkness of night’s dismal gloom,
Rest two soldiers whose valor could not be excelled,
Slumbering in their desolate tombs.

Far away from their kindred they are sleeping to-day
In Mindanao’s untrodden plains,
Where their comrades have laid them to moulder away
Into dust, in their cold silent graves.

By Camp Vicars they fought at the dead hour of night
Outnumbered by the savages wild;
Until they fell, overpowered, on the sward at the feet
Of their foemen, where like soldiers they died.

Perhaps far away in their own native land,
In the homes of their childhood so dear,
Are their mothers awaiting to grasp their kind hands
But alas! they shall wait many years.

For their loved ones will never return again
To greet them through life’s pleasant way,
For they are laying in the grass-covered graves where they fell,
And are sleeping long ages away.

But though death has overtaken those heroes so brave
Who fell for their Country’s fame,
Yet their memory shall always live on the breasts
Of their comrades, whom they perished to save.