Read CHAPTER XVI - THE FALL OF MANILA of The Boys of 98, free online book, by James Otis, on

With the opening of the month of July, affairs at Manila, so far as concerned the American forces, were at a standstill.

June 30. Admiral Dewey awaited the coming of the army, the first transports of the fleet having arrived at Cavite, June 30th, before beginning offensive operations.

The situation on and around the island of Luzon was much the same as it had been nearly all the month of June, except that the gunboat Leite, which ran up a river on May 1st, the day of the battle, came out and surrendered, having on board fifty-two army and navy officers and ninety-four men.  The Leite has a battery of one 3 1-2-inch hontoria guns, and several 2.7-inch rapid-fire guns.

July 1. Aguinaldo proclaimed himself President of the Revolutionary Republic on the first of July.  The progress of the insurgents can be readily understood by the following extract from a letter written by Mr. E. W. Harden: 

“There are persistent rumours that it is the desire of Governor-General Augusti to surrender Manila to the Americans, but the command of the Spanish troops is practically held by the senior colonel of artillery, who opposes surrender.

“The rebels have captured the water-works beyond Santa Mesa, which supplied Manila, and the Spanish fear that their water will be cut off.

“The rebels have also captured the strongly fortified positions of San Juan and Delmonte, where the Spaniards were to make their last stand if Manila capitulated.  The city is still surrounded by insurgents.

July 2. “There was fierce fighting Saturday before Malate.  The Spaniards had modern guns to command the rebel trenches, and maintained a steady fire throughout the afternoon, but found it impossible to drive the natives out.  Forty rebels were killed.  The Spaniards finally were driven back.”

July 4. Brigadier-General Green, in command of the second army detachment, on the way from San Francisco to Manila, rediscovered and took formal possession of the long lost Wake Island, in north latitude 19 deg. 15’ and east longitude 166 deg. 33’.

July 5. To the Spanish consul at Singapore, Captain-General Augusti telegraphed: 

“The situation is unchanged.  My family has succeeded in miraculously escaping from Macabora in a boat, and, having passed through the American vessels, all arrived safely at Manila.  General Monet’s column is besieged and attacked at Macabora.”

July 15. The steamers City of Puebla and Peru sailed from San Francisco with the fourth Manila expedition, under command of Major-General Otis.

July 16. The steamer China, of the second Manila expedition, arrived at Cavite, and was followed on the next day by the steamers Zealandia, Colon, and Senator.

July 19. The work of surrounding Manila by American forces was begun by advancing the First California regiment to Jaubo, only two miles from the Spanish lines.  The Colorado and Utah batteries were landed at Paranaque, directly from the transports.  Over fifteen hundred men encamped between Manila and Cavite.  The Tenth Pennsylvania, with the rest of the artillery, landed at Malabon, north of the besieged city.

July 23. The transport steamer Rio Janeiro, bearing two battalions of South Dakota volunteers, recruits for the Utah Light Artillery, and a detachment of the signal corps, sailed from San Francisco for Manila.

July 25. Major-General Merritt arrived at Cavite.  Secretary Long forwarded to Admiral Dewey the joint resolution of Congress, extending the thanks of Congress for the victory achieved at Cavite.  The resolution was beautifully engrossed, and prefaced by a formal attestation of its authenticity by Secretary of State Day, the whole being enclosed in richly ornamented Russia covers.

Secretary Long, in his letter of transmittal, makes reference to a letter from the Secretary of State complimenting Admiral Dewey upon his direction of affairs since the great naval victory, a formal evidence that the State Department is thoroughly well satisfied with the diplomatic qualities the admiral has exhibited.  The letter of Secretary Long is as follows: 

                                                        “NAVY DEPARTMENT,
                                                WASHINGTON, July 25, 1898.

Sir: - The Department has received from the Secretary of State an engrossed and certified copy of a joint resolution of Congress, tendering the thanks of Congress to you, and the officers and men of the squadron under your command, for transmission to you, and herewith encloses the same.

“Accompanying the copy of the joint resolutions, the Department received a letter from the Secretary of State requesting that there be conveyed to you his high appreciation of your character as a naval officer, and of the good judgment and prudence you have shown in directing affairs since the date of your great achievement in destroying the Spanish fleet.

“This I take great pleasure in doing, and join most heartily on behalf of the Navy Department, as well as personally, in the commendation of the Secretary of State.  Very respectfully,

“JOHN D. LONG, Secretary.

Rear-Admiral George Dewey, U. S. N., Commander-in-Chief U. S. Naval Force, Asiatic Station.

July 29. The transport steamer St. Paul, bearing the first battalion of North Dakota volunteers, the Minnesota and Colorado recruits, sailed from San Francisco for Manila.

July 31. The transports Indiana, Ohio, Valencia, Para, and Morgan City arrived at Cavite with American troops.

At 11.30, on the last night of July, the Spanish forces in Manila attacked the American lines.  A typhoon had set in, rain was falling in torrents, and the blackness of the night was almost palpable.  Three thousand Spaniards made a descent upon an entrenched line of not more than nine hundred Americans.

The Tenth Pennsylvania bore the brunt of the attack, and checked the Spanish advance until the Utah battery, the First California Volunteers, and two companies of the Third Artillery, fighting as infantry, could get up to strengthen the right of the line.

The Spaniards had, by a rush, gone 150 yards through and beyond the American right flank, when the regulars of the Third Artillery, armed as infantrymen, pushed them back in confusion, the Pennsylvanians and Utah battery aiding gallantly in the work.

August 1. After the attack on the right wing had been repulsed, the second Spanish attack at two in the morning was directed against the American left wing.

After thirty minutes of fighting the enemy was again beaten off, and the rain seemed to be so heavy as to make further attack impossible.

But at 3.50 A. M. the battle was resumed at longer range, Spanish sharpshooters firing from the trees, and the batteries working constantly, using brass-coated bullets.  The Americans, smoked and powder-stained, stuck to their guns for fourteen hours without relief, and shortly after sunrise the Spanish retreated.  The American loss was eight killed, ten seriously and thirty-eight slightly wounded.

August 4. The monitor Monterey and the convoyed collier Brutus arrived at Cavite.

August 7. Admiral Dewey demanded the surrender of Manila within forty-eight hours.  The Spanish commander replied that, the insurgents being outside the walls, he had no safe place for the women and children who were in the city, and asked for twenty-four hours additional delay.  This Admiral Dewey granted.

At the expiration of the specified time Admiral Dewey and General Merritt consulted and decided to postpone the attack.

August 13. The American commanders decided to begin hostilities on the thirteenth of August, and the navy began the action at 9.30 A. M., the Olympia opening fire, followed by the Raleigh, Petrel, and Callao.  The latter showed great daring, approaching within eight hundred yards of the Malate forts and trenches, doing grand work and driving back the Spanish forces.

The firing from the fleet continued for one hour, the Spanish then retreating from Malate, where the fire was centred, and the American land forces stormed the trenches, sweeping all before them.  The First Colorado Volunteers drove the Spaniards into the second line of defence.  Then the troops swept on, driving all the Spaniards into the inner fortification.

The fighting in the trenches was most fierce.  Fifteen minutes after the Spaniards were driven to the second line of defences, they were forced to retreat to the walled city, where, seeing the uselessness of resistance, they surrendered, and soon afterward a white flag was hoisted over Manila.

The total number of killed on the American side was forty-five, and wounded about one hundred.  The Spanish losses were two hundred killed and four hundred wounded.

Captain-General Augusti took refuge on board the German ship Kaiserin Augusta, and was conveyed to Hongkong.

The following official reports were made by cable: 

“MANILA, August 13, 1898.

Secretary of Navy, Washington: - Manila surrendered to-day to the American land and naval forces, after a combined attack.

“A division of the squadron shelled the forts and entrenchments at Malate, on the south side of the city, driving back the enemy, our army advancing from that side at the same time.

“The city surrendered about five o’clock, the American flag being hoisted by Lieutenant Brumby.

“About seven thousand prisoners were taken.

“The squadron had no casualties, and none of the vessels were injured.

“August 7th, General Merritt and I formally demanded the surrender of the city, which the Spanish governor-general refused.

(Signed) “DEWEY.”

“HONGKONG, August 20th.

Adjutant-General, Washington: - The following are the terms of the capitulation: 

“The undersigned, having been appointed a commission to determine the details of the capitulation of the city and defences of Manila and its suburbs and the Spanish forces stationed therein, in accordance with agreement entered into the previous day by Maj.-Gen. Wesley Merritt, U. S. A., American commander-in-chief in the Philippines, and His Excellency Don Fermin Jaudenes, acting general-in-chief of the Spanish army in the Philippines, have agreed upon the following: 

“The Spanish troops, European and native, capitulate with the city and defences, with all honours of war, depositing their arms in the places designated by the authorities of the United States, remaining in the quarters designated and under the orders of their officers and subject to control of the aforesaid United States authorities, until the conclusion of a treaty of peace between the two belligerent nations.  All persons included in the capitulation remain at liberty; the officers remaining in their respective homes, which shall be respected as long as they observe the regulations prescribed for their government and the laws enforced.

“2.  Officers shall retain their side-arms, horses, and private property.  All public horses and public property of all kinds shall be turned over to staff officers designated by the United States.

“3.  Complete returns in duplicate of men by organisation, and full lists of public property and stores shall be rendered to the United States within ten days from this date.

“4.  All questions relating to the repatriation of the officers and men of the Spanish forces and of their families, and of the expense which said repatriation may occasion, shall be referred to the government of the United States at Washington.  Spanish families may leave Manila at any time convenient to them.  The return of the arms surrendered by the Spanish forces shall take place when they evacuate the city, or when the Americans evacuate.

“5.  Officers and men included in the capitulation shall be supplied by the United States according to rank, with rations and necessary aid, as though they were prisoners of war, until the conclusion of a treaty of peace between the United States and Spain.  All the funds in the Spanish treasury and all other public funds shall be turned over to the authorities of the United States.

“6.  This city, its inhabitants, its churches and religious worship, its educational establishments, and its private property of all description, are placed under the special safeguard of the faith and honour of the American army.

Brigadier-General of Volunteers, U. S. A.
Captain U. S. Navy
Lieutenant-Colonel and Inspector-General
Lieutenant-Colonel and Judge-Advocate
Auditor-General’s excts.
Colonel de Ingenieros
Felia de Estado Majors
(Signed) “MERRITT.”

“HONGKONG, August 20th.

Adjutant-General, Washington: - Cablegram of the twelfth directing operations to be suspended received afternoon of sixteenth.  Spanish commander notified.  Acknowledged receipt of cablegram same date, containing proclamation of President.