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Part 1
Part 2
[Page 269]

The Smith Campaign, February-April 1901

On 6 February 1901, Corliss turned command of Marinduque over to Major Frederick A. Smith. A veteran of several Indian campaigns and the 1898 war, Smith had participated in Hare's expedition and was therefore familiar with the island. He was determined to capitalize on Corliss's success and essentially adopted his predecessor's strategy, with two modifications. First, he halted the destruction of cattle and hemp, the island's two most valuable commodities. Why he did so is not known. He may have acted in response to concerns raised in Manila over the loss of such items, or his decision may have been a concession to the wealthy Filipinos who had shifted their allegiance to the U.S. In either case, it was a wise decision, as the embargo was already limiting the ability of the resistance movement to utilize these resources, and there was nothing to be gained by totally destroying the island's wealth. 31

Smith's second alteration to Corliss's program was the introduction of population concentration. Concentration was not a novel idea. Spain had used it during the Cuban insurrection, but it had gained such a distasteful reputation from that war that the U.S. Army had heretofore refrained from resorting to it in the Philippines. By early 1901, however, it was one tool that advocates of "hard war" measures suggested be adopted. In fact, at about the same time Smith imposed concentration on Marinduque, a few commanders were experimenting with it elsewhere in the Philippines. But Smith's use of concentration for a population of 50,000 was by far the most significant up to that time.

The concentration concept was simple and, as some officers pointed out, similar to that of Indian reservations during the North American Indian wars. Such schemes helped identify friend and foe by separating the "loyal" and peaceful Inhabitants from the "disloyal." Through concentration, Smith would sever the link between the population and the guerrillas, thereby denying the insurgents access to recruits, intelligence, and supplies. Without these, the guerrillas would be extremely vulnerable to Army columns which, unfettered by the restraint of operating among a civilian population, could pursue the guerrillas by all

On 7 February 1901, the day after he assumed command, Smith initiated concentration on Marinduque. He ordered all citizens to move to the American-occupied towns of Boac, Santa Cruz, Mogpog, Gazan, Torrijos, or Buenavista. Once inside the zones, no one was to be allowed out without a pass. Unarmed Filipino guards enforced the order. All who failed to come in or who provided the guerrillas with information, contributions,

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or supplies were to be treated as enemies. On the other hand, Smith directed his subordinates to do everything possible to "gain the confidence of the people" by treating them "in a very judicious and careful manner." The 2d Infantry band would entertain them, while officers distributed captured rice to the growing number of indigent refugees. Nevertheless, the thrust of the measure was to control, and not to uplift, the civilian population. 32

Over the next few weeks the island's inhabitants came down from the hills and into the coastal concentration sites in increasing numbers. By the end of the month, for example, 12,000 people were in Santa Cruz and more than 7,000 each were at Mogpog and Gazan. Thousands of ordinary people either took the oath of allegiance or enrolled in the Federal Party, both of which were seen as tickets to American protection. In an effort to capitalize on the population's war weariness, Smith arranged for the leading citizens of Boac to sign a declaration stating that the insurrection was ruining the island and urging the guerrillas to surrender. 33

In the meantime, military operations continued. In eighteen "hikes" during the month of February, the 600 men of the 1st and 2d Infantries drove the population toward the concentration camps and kept the guerrillas on the move, destroying their means of subsistence in the process. To achieve greater coverage, Smith encouraged his subordinates to employ somewhat smaller patrols than in the past, move off the trails whenever possible, and establish temporary base camps in the mountains from which to investigate remote areas. These methods, together with the extensive use of night movements, seemed to pay off, with the Americans initiating eight out of the ten contacts that produced casualties during the month.

The triple press of concentration, devastation, and harassment led Abad on 25 February to request a truce to negotiate surrender terms. He expressed particular concern over the possibility of being sent to Manila. Smith, however, insisted on unconditional surrender in accordance with the Army's general policy at the time. Abad therefore stayed out, but two days later Lieutenant Antero Madrigal and eleven haggard soldiers surrendered at Boac. Smith made a point of releasing them after they took

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the oath of allegiance, hoping thereby to undo some of the apprehension created by the January deportations. 34

Having dangled this carrot, Smith promptly wielded the stick once more. On 5 March he called for the initiation of the most severe and active measures ... to render the sections of the Island frequented by the insurreotos untenable in every possible way. Food, shelter and everything which can be used by them, for their maintenance or comfort will be destroyed and a most vigorous campaign made against them from all points where troops are stationed.35

Three days later, he Issued guidelines for what was meant to be the final push of the campaign. He urged his subordinates to employ stratagems "to outwit and surprise" the guerrillas, and suggested they make maximum use of concealment, forsaking trails in favor of cross-country movement along ridges and stream beds. By keeping as many men in the field as possible, he sought to keep the insurgents on the move and apprehensive about their safety, especially since the concentration program interfered with their warning and intelligence system. 36

While the doughboys proceeded with their work, news of the Corliss-Smith campaign reached Washington in the form of a letter written by William H. Taft to the Secretary of War on 24 February 1901. This letter, which is quoted at the start of the article, seems not to have aroused any particular interest hi Washington, but on 19 March, Army Adjutant General Henry C. Corbin saw a press dispatch about Smith's concentration policy and immediately wired MacArthur to verify the story. MacArthur defended Smith, stating that concentration was "exclusively a military measure carried out without objectionable or offensive features." 37 This seems to have satisfied Corbin, and Washington made no further inquiries.

In the meantime, on 15 March Taft himself visited Marinduque together with the rest of the Philippine Commission which was touring the islands to establish civilian provincial governments. The Commission met with the island's leading citizens to determine whether Marinduque, which before the war had been subordinated to the province of Mindoro, should be elevated to the status of a province. The Filipinos strongly supported the idea, and the Commission promised to institute a civilian provincial government in May when it planned to

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return to the island, but only if Marinduque was peaceful. Interestingly, Taft filed no more reports criticizing the Army's tactics on Marinduque. Instead, he used the Army's rule as a club, pointing out to the Filipinos that they could expect the severity to continue until such time as tran-quility had been restored. 38

The Commission's prospective return set a target date for Filipinos and Americans alike. Smith redoubled his efforts, launching forty-nine hikes during March, more than double the number carried out in any previous month. He pushed his men so hard that many operations were hindered by sickness and exhaustion. Abad also came under increased pressure from the island's elite, especially after it became known that General Mariano Trias, Abad's superior officer in southern Luzon, had surrendered to American forces on 15 March. Eight days later American forces captured the leader of the Philippine Republic, Emilio Aguinaldo. These two events, coupled with MacArthur's aggressive action throughout the archipelago over the previous few months, pushed the entire insurgent movement to the brink of extinction. Trias dispatched emissaries to his subordinates to encourage them to lay down their arms, and on 26 March two such messengers arrived at Marinduque. What they said to Abad has not been recorded, but they likely echoed Trias's view that the military situation was hopeless and that continued resistance would mean severe social disruption, hardship, and the ultimate destruction of the propertied classes. The populace was tired of the war, and given the harsh implications of continued resistance, Trias believed that acquiescence to American rule offered the best chance to make genuine progress toward modernization. He therefore counseled an end to resistance.39

Apparently Abad proved hard to convince, for he made no move to surrender. By 6 April, Smith was losing his patience, and warned Trias's agents that if Abad did not surrender soon, he would be forced to "take the most stringent and severe measures . . . which unfortunately may affect many innocent people and sacrifice lives and property." Four more days passed before Abad submitted his conditions for surrender. Abad requested that he and his men receive the full honors of war, that they be immediately set free, without deportation or further punishment except for those against whom specific crimes could be proven, and that they receive the customary payment of $30 for each rifle turned in. He also demanded that the Army immediately release the Filipino leaders whom Corliss had shipped to Manila. Smith refused all these terms, insisting upon unconditional surrender. Abad, who was in no position to bargain, reluctantly agreed. On 15 April, Abad, Fausto Roque, eight other officers, eleven insurgent agents, and seventy men of the 1st and 2d Guerrillas entered Boac's central plaza and laid down their arms in an impressive ceremony witnessed by the citizenry. Though Smith had refused to negotiate, he acceded to most of Abad's demands. After Boac's padre administered the oath of allegiance, Smith released Abad and his men and eventually arranged to pay them a bounty for the fifty-one firearms they had brought in. Such leniency may seem incongruous given Smith's stern campaign, yet generosity was undoubtedly the wisest course and reflected the U.S.'s overall policy of endeavoring to bind the wounds of war as quickly as possible. 40

Over the next two weeks Smith and Abad traveled the island together accepting the surrender of the 3d and 4th Guerrillas. Stragglers continued to come in over the next three months, but for all intents and purposes, the battle for Marinduque had ended when Abad surrendered. On 29 April 1901, Smith officially proclaimed the insurrection on Marinduque over. He revoked his concentration order, directing all "to return to their homes, to resume their peaceful avocations, and by earnest work endeavor to recover from the effects of war." He further expressed the hope "that the misfortunes and desolations of war be soon forgotten under the new conditions of peace." The pent-up inhabitants streamed out of the overcrowded camps in a race to rebuild their homes and plant a new crop before the onset of the rainy season. How quickly they would forget and forgive was unanswerable, but the populace of Marinduque would never again take up arms against the United States. 41

Marinduque in the Last Year of the Philippine War, May 1901--July 1902

Two days after Smith declared the campaign on Marinduque over, the Philippine Commissioners returned to Boac. Pleased with the new state of affairs, they elevated Marinduque to a province and established a civilian government, thereby terminating military rule over the island. After choosing Ricardo Paras as governor, the commissioners sailed away, leaving the island to get on with the work of reconstruction.


Major Smith and the six companies of the 1st and 2nd Infantries that had pacified Marinduque were not far behind. In June, Manila transferred

[Page 273]

them to more active theaters of the war, replacing them with a battalion from the 30th U.S. Infantry under the command of Major W. W. Wotherspoon.

Wotherspoon was convinced that dark forces were at work beneath the island's outwardly calm veneer. He suspected that "the very marked quiet at present prevailing on this island may be due to the enemy desiring to use It as a base from which to draw funds and supplies, as well as a place of refuge when hard pressed on the other islands." He also clashed frequently with Governor Paras over matters of jurisdiction and troop conduct. Although drunkenness and misbehavior do appear to have been serious problems in the 30th, Wotherspoon believed the allegations of misconduct represented an attempt by unreconstructed Filipinos to use the powers of the civil government to persecute their conquerors and impede military operations. In fact, an Army intelligence document of the period concluded that Paras was "without doubt in sympathy with the insurgent cause," a suspicion deepened by Paras's close friendship with Abad, whom he appointed to the post of court clerk. 42

Tensions escalated In September, when civil authorities established a unit of the para-military national police force, the Philippine Constabulary, on Marinduque. Marinduque's top Constabulary officer, Thomas Embry, sided with Paras against the Army over charges of military drunkenness and misconduct. In October, Wotherspoon briefly disarmed the Constabulary in response to rumors that they planned to murder their American officers and revolt. Marinduque's newly established civil court, however, acquitted the plot's alleged ringleader. 43

Tensions eased somewhat in December when Benjamin L. Smith took command of the Constabulary on Marinduque. Smith and Wotherspoon worked well together, especially in searching for arms that Wotherspoon suspected the guerrillas had hidden before their surrender. Wotherspoon believed the guerrillas might have had up to 300 weapons, including the arms taken from Shields's party, yet by mid-1901 the Army had recovered only 186 rifles and 12 revolvers. Abad vehemently denied that he had hidden any arms, and though Paras pledged his utmost cooperation in uncovering the missing weapons, neither he nor any of Marinduque's other civil officials did anything to help. Undaunted,

[Page 274]

Wotherspoon and Smith stepped up their efforts, and in early 1902 their persistence was rewarded. In January, they discovered arms and ammunition secreted In caves, a hollow tree, and several homes. Altogether, American security forces found over fifty rifles and seven brass cannon. 44 The Constabulary played a leading role in this last campaign on Marinduque, though its methods were at times questionable. In one instance, Constabulary soldiers tortured the justice of the peace of Torrijos by forcing him to drink large quantities of sea water in order to gain information about hidden arms. The discoveries resulted in a large number of arrests. By the time Wotherspoon and Smith were done, four former insurgent officers—Maximo Abad, Pedro Lardizabal, Fausto Roque, and Pedro Torres—three ex-insurgent soldiers, the mayor of Torrijos, and a number of lesser civil officials had been tried, convicted of sedition, and sentenced to prison terms of from one to ten years. Another former insurgent officer was convicted of murder, while a sixth fled to Hong Kong. Governor Paras resigned under a cloud of suspicion, and shortly thereafter American authorities stripped Marinduque of its autonomy, placing it under Tayabas Province. With much of the insurgent leadership incarcerated and most of the hidden weapons found, the Army withdrew the 30th Infantry from Marinduque in June 1902, leaving only the Constabulary to maintain order. The following month President Theodore Roosevelt declared the Philippine War to be officially over. Peace, at long last, had come to Marinduque. 45

The Price of Pacification

Although the Army garrisoned Marinduque for twenty-six months, active operations had lasted only twelve months, with truly concentrated campaigning occurring in only six of those (October 1900-March 1901). Operationally, the Army's performance was mixed. The 29th USVs were totally ineffective, due largely to lackluster leadership. On the other hand Corliss and Smith enjoyed several advantages over the initial garrison,

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most notably a centralized command, a core of experienced officers, greater numbers, and dedicated naval support. Both men maximized these advantages to wage an aggressive campaign that harassed the guerrillas, disrupted their control over the island's inhabitants and resources, and imposed a heavy price on the insurrection's supporters.

Altogether, the Army conducted 142 operations between April 1900 and April 1901, during which the two sides exchanged fire on only 16 occasions. The Army initiated nine of these actions and the Filipinos seven, a respectable ratio for any counter-guerrilla force. Perhaps the most revealing statistic is that 88 percent of all engagements initiated by the Americans occurred as the direct result of a night movement. Clearly, night operations were the Army's most effective answer to the guerrillas' superior intelligence and warning system.

Because battle was rare and the insurgents were fairly passive, victory came relatively cheaply for the Army on Marinduque. U.S. losses amounted to eight dead, nineteen wounded, and forty-five captured, with the Army regaining all of the prisoners in short order. Shields's defeat accounted for half the dead, a third of the wounded, and all but two of the prisoners. Filipino loses are harder to calculate. The Army verified the deaths of forty-eight Filipinos and the wounding of sixteen. It estimated that it killed another fifty-three and wounded forty-six, but there is no way to gauge the accuracy of these numbers. The Army took nearly 1,800 Filipino men as prisoners, although most of these individuals quickly regained their freedom. While Abad's losses were much heavier than his opponent's, they were not critical. The fact that a total of 235 "regulars" surrendered to U.S. authorities in 1901 indicates that Abad was able to make up his loses by recruiting replacements from the militia. Of the known Filipino dead, twenty (41 percent) were unarmed males who ran at the approach of Army troops.

Of course the losses suffered by the people of Marinduque far exceeded the number of individuals struck by American bullets. It is difficult to measure the full effects of the Army's incineration campaign. Commanders doubtlessly did not record all their activities, and many of the numbers given in reports must have been estimated. Moreover, Army reports typically contain unquantifiable phrases like "many houses and considerable rice destroyed." Still, based upon a thorough examination of the records, the statistics in Table I on the Army's activities are available. These numbers reflect property reported destroyed by the Army and do not include unquantified reports. They therefore should be regarded as the minimum amount of damage done by the Army.

According to Smith, the Army destroyed almost all of the houses outside the six concentration zones. Livestock losses were also significant. In the space of just two months, Corliss's men killed approximately 3 percent of Marinduque's cattle, 4 percent of its carabao, and 17 percent

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Table I

Property Destroyed by the U.S. Army, Marinduque Island

of its ponies before suspending the slaughter campaign. Even more telling is the fact that by mid-1901 Marinduque, which had been a rice exporter prior to the war, had become a rice importer. The only thing that saved the people from famine was an influx of capital generated from the sale of the island's high quality hemp after the Army reopened the ports in May 1901. This money allowed the impoverished islanders to procure rice.

Unfortunately, war was not the only calamity the people faced. Two typhoons in October 1900 destroyed the island's coconut crop, while a scorching sun and a swarm of locusts damaged much of 1901's rice crop. By 1902 an outbreak of rinderpest had killed many of the island's remaining cattle and carabao. Finally, between 1901 and 1903 several thousand people died in successive outbreaks of typhoid, cholera, and malaria. Although the Army cannot be blamed for the ravages of nature, the stress and dislocation of the war must have heightened the island's vulnerability to these calamities. The fact that by 1902 the amount of

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land cultivated on Marinduque had declined by 46.3 percent from prewar levels is particularly significant. Only three other provinces in the Philippines experienced an equal or greater decline—Benguet, Batangas, and Capiz. Since the Army waged destruction campaigns in both Batangas and Capiz, it would appear that such techniques were largely responsible for the decline of agriculture in those provinces. 47

Marinduque and the Philippine War

It is important to note that Shields's defeat was not the cause of the Army's imposition of "Shermanesque" policies on Marinduque. True, this event focused MacArthur's wrath on the island and generated the failed incarceration campaign. Yet Abad's fair treatment and quick release of his prisoners took much of the sting out of the defeat. Moreover, officers like Captain Jordan had been calling for the adoption of harsh measures even before the Shields affair. Rather, the program initiated by Corliss and expanded upon by Smith represented a calculated attempt to come to grips with an elusive, shadowy foe that had nothing to do with a thirst for revenge. In the process, Corliss and Smith followed Captain Wright's recommendation to turn Marinduque into a laboratory in which "to experiment with the numerous schemes suggested for the pacification of these islands."

Devastation had proven a powerful tool, but one that had to be managed discreetly lest it spiral out of control. When linked with concentration and other measures designed to secure and regulate die inhabitants, it produced quick results against a war-weary population. Marinduque represented the most ambitious of the Army's early ventures into concentration, and the fact that Smith succeeded in suppressing all overt resistance within two months of its imposition must have made others take notice.

Of course, by mid-1901 many areas had already been pacified, but the remaining holdouts, most notably the provinces of Batangas and Samar, underwent concentration/devastation campaigns on a massive scale. The success of these operations ensured that the technique would be incorporated into the Army's pacification repertoire. Even Taft seems to have been impressed by concentration. In 1903, as governor of the Philippines, he signed into law a provision permitting the use of concentration, and during the four years that followed, American authorities.

Part 4
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