Holdridge Ozro Collins.

The military record of John Green Ballance online

. (page 12 of 13)
Online LibraryHoldridge Ozro CollinsThe military record of John Green Ballance → online text (page 12 of 13)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

pressed at several places that he left nine dead.

The ground passed over is entirely too extensive to permit an
extensive search. It is confidently believed many were wounded, but
no approximate number can be given. I hope to ascertain this later.

The enemy retreated in various directions up the river on both

Very respectfully.


Captain. Twenty-second Infantry.




San Fabian, Nov. 28.
The Adjutant-General,

First Division, Tayug.

Sir: I am this evening informed by General Wheaton that he
received orders from General Otis directing that all General Lawton's
troops be held here until further orders. The troops now here affected
by this order are: . . . and Major Ballance's battalion of 356 men;
.. . . Major Ballance's battalion had 305 on sick report this morning.


Very respectfully,
First Lieutenant, Ordnance Dept, U. S. A.



San Fabian, Nov. 30.
General Lawton, Tayug:

Arrived here as directed, with about 90 per cent of men without
shoes. Was informed by brigade quartermaster shoes had been tele-
graphed from Tayug and would arrive next day, probably. Neverthe-
less, I telegraphed direct to Manila for articles needed, and requested
half be landed here and half to be sent to San Fernando de Union;
received reply signed Otis stating that the clothing would be forwarded
as requested. I intended leaving at daylight next morning, taking all
barefoot men able to walk and escorting brigade wagon train hauling
limited supply of rations to General Young Late in the forenoon the
brigade quartermaster informed me he would not be ready to start
before the afternoon. I felt compelled to delay for it, as there was
no one else of your command to escort.

At 2 p. m. I had part of the command started, and was giving
final instructions to my officers, when in came Captain Ramsey and
Lieutenant Fuller, who stated that it was not your desire for me to
proceed with my battalion in case General Wheaton had sent forward
fresh troops, and that they had brought letters to that effect.

A few minutes later General Wheaton's aid brought me similar
orders and later I received written orders emanating from General
(His to remain here to refit. I could have taken only a small portion
of my command through, but knowing your desire to have your own
troops assist General Young. 1 would have "arrived" then- with every
man able to crawl.

1 don't believe a single man whom 1 and the surgeon would per-
mit to make the attempt but would have started. Due to the present
unhealthy location, bare feet, lack of covering of any kind at night,
and previous exposure, a great many cases of fever had developed,
but I think plenty of good food and clothing will cure most cases in
a few days. We were much disappointed not to be allowed to follow
your order.


Captain, Twenty-second Infantry,
Commanding Battalion.



Baliuag, May 5. 1899.
Adjutant Twenty-second Infantry'.

Sir : In compliance with the direction of the regimental com-
mander, I have the honor to make report of the operations of my
command, consisting of the First Battalion, Twenty-second Infantry,
in the capture of Bustos.

On May I, the battalion left camp at Angat about 2:45 P- m -
and proceeded along the road along the left bank of the Quingua or
Bagbag River toward Bustos without particular incident, except the
firing of the First North Dakotas. which had the advance until we
reached a series of rice fields opposite San Rafael. The next morn-
ing promptly at 6 o'clock the battalion moved out as the advance guard
of the brigade, and was composed of Campany A. Lieutenant Godfrey
commanding; Company K, Lieutenant Wassell commanding: Company
F, Lieutenant Dalton commanding, in regular advance guard formation,
except that distances were diminished, owing to the difficulties pre-
sented by the nature of the country. In addition. 12 scouts of the
division were sent about 500 yards in advance of the point. A Com-
pany composed the vanguard. K and I the support, and F Company
the reserve.


My original orders directed me to preserve touch with the Third
Infantry on the other side of the river. This was easy to do at first,
as the road runs near the river for several miles; later the road departs
from the river, rendering it necessary to re-enforce the right flankers
with half a company from the support. Later, at about two and one-
half miles from Bustos, the river takes a large bend from the road
until it is about one mile from the road. This area is covered by
cultivated fields, interspersed with thickets of bamboo and brush. The
flankers reported the insurgents in force in the bend. I ordered three
companies to move by the right flank until the front reached the river,
then to move forward, leaving one company in the road as reserve.
Finding the distance to the road too great to be covered by three com-
panies, I sent a message to the commanding officer, giving the situation.
He ordered my remaining company to join me, and later sent Company
G of the Second Battalion. I moved forward, driving the insurgents
back into Bustos and across the river. The river can be forded at
most places, but there is a particularly good ford near the pueblo of
San Elina, about two miles from Bustos. This was used by the
Filipinos, as was also the ford to Baliuag. It was quite a surprise to
the insurgents to be discovered in the woods in this big bend, and
they were no doubt there lying in ambush for the probable purpose of
making a flank or rear attack when our men should attack the forces
behind the stone barricades defending Bustos. This supposition is borne
out by the fact that these insurgents were not behind intrenchments,
which is the first time I have known them to be so situated since March
19; and also because women and children were with them, and in the
hollows, and brush, besides the household goods and other valuables,
carabaos. and milch cows, all of which they had left behind in their

Just previous to this movement, about 8 a. m. I received orders
from the commanding officer that, as the distance to the river was so
great, I need not keep in touch with the troops on the other side.
At the beginning of this last movement I was in direct touch with
the extreme left of the Third Infantry, and Lieutenant Godfrey spoke
to them.

Having received the above orders, I pressed forward, making a
change of direction to the left so as to sweep every piece of woods
in the entire bend. I was at this time on the extreme right of the
gravel bank of the river, on horseback. I proceeded on this swing
about one-quarter of a mile, until opposite the little pueblo of San
Elina, on the right bank of the river, where the enemy opened up


a galling fire from behind a stone wall and another point a little
farther down the river, which I had been told was intrenched (but
1 had not yet verified it). The point from which the enemy fired was
a little in advance of my right flank, and the nearest fire was not
over 60 yards from me. I was mounted on a gray horse, close to
the water, and nearly the whole platoon was in skirmish line on the
gravel shore without cover of any kind. The enemy fired several h.
volleys at us at this close range before we could get shelter, yet not
a man was hit. There seems to be little danger of being hit while
facing the enemy, except by mere accident. I noticed that most of
the men of the battalion seemed to fully realize this, and I am certain
that they are ready to face and charge any insurgent firing line,
even behind strong intrenchments.

1 kept the men under cover until the fire slackened, and then
commenced a flank fire on the enemy, which, with the front fire of
the Third Infantry, caused the enemy to leave San Elina. I then
continued sweeping the bend of the river until I got into the open
field in the river bottom near Bustos, when the fire from Bustos and
up the river from Baliuag became so severe that I found it advisable
to halt. The fire from Bustos was from a barricade and houses. I
then sent forward a force of scouts and sharpshooters up the river,
who fired on the men behind the barricade from their left flank, and
moved the five companies by the flank back to the main road, then
moved them to the front under cover. The movement, which was
plainly seen by the enemy on both sides of the river, together with
the fire from the flank, caused the enemy to abandon the barricades
and retreat, some across the river to Baliuag, but the majority on
the Bustos side and went down the Quingua river. I recalled the sharp-
shooters of my command from the flank and took them, with some of
the scouts belonging to the division, past the barricade into the town,
where I arrived a few moments before n o'clock. I was annoyed by
shots from Baliuag, on the other side of the river. I had expected
that the Third Infantry would take Baliuag at the same time my
battalion took Bustos, but. for reasons not known to me at that time,
it did not do so, and in order to stop the annoying fire from Baliuag.
scouts crossed the river and silenced it.

I could have easily crossed the river and taken Baliuag at 11:15
a. m., hut did not do so, as my orders onlv contc ted the taking
of Bustos. \ftor taking Bustos I placed Lieutenant Godfrey's com-
pany on guard over all the houses, with strict iniunction to prevent
any soldier from entering any house without authority, and to prevent


all looting. 1 posted the remaining companies of my battalion along
the river, and posted Company G (Lieutenant Thorn), which had
been attached to my battalion, about one mile down the river, and
came back to Bustos and reported to the commanding officer, who
had arrived in the meantime.

The battalion which I commanded made the front and flank
attack on the enemy's stone barricades, drove them out of them and
from the town, and captured and entered Bustos at n a. m.

The force of the enemy was unknown. When I commenced
operations I was told that there were from 2,000 to 4,000 insurgents
in front of me, but I have since learned from several Filipinos that
there were about 2,000. One intelligent and seemingly reliable Filipino
of position, living between Baliuag and San Elina, informed me that
there were 300 insurgents in my front on the left bank and 500 behind
from the walls and intrenchments at San Elina on the left bank, from
which place I received the heavy flank fire heretofore mentioned, and
that there were 1,300 men in Baliuag, of whom a majority retreated
toward San Ildefonso; that the troops were commanded by General
of Division Gregorio del Pilar, and that most of the troops were
raised in the province of Bulacan. He also informed me that if the
general in command would publish an edict that the men could return
to their work and that the women would be protected from violence
most all would be glad to return to their homes.

All the companies did excellently, largely due to the company
commanders. Lieutenant Godfrey as commander of the vanguard
handled it with skill, and it was due to the vigilance of his right
flankers that the ambush, and a flank attack which would probably have
had a disastrous result, was prevented.

I am very happy to state that there were no casualties from
bullets, due first to the bad markmanship of the insurgents; second,
to the way in which the battalion attacked the flank and third, the
strict attention paid to keeping the men protected from fire whenever
it was possible to do so.

I do not know the losses of the enemy, but know from the state-
ment of the reliable Filipino that he personally counted in the early
part of the fight four dead soldiers being carried off on the backs of
others, and a number of wounded, which he did not count He said
he left for the hills when the firing became heavy, but would not esti-
mate the number, but said that all were carried toward San Ildefonso
on men's backs and not in carts. Personally I did not see a dead or
wounded soldier, but they were sufficient to cause them to abandon


a strongly intrenched position when attacked by an advance guard
of one-fifth their number. No guns were captured, but some Reming-
ton ammunition was found and destroyed ; also a quantity of corn,
rice and sugar in warehouses.

The command camped in Bustos that night, and the next day,
May 3, under orders, crossed the river and camped in Baliuag.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Captain, Twenty-second Infantry Com-
mander First Battalion.


May 8, 1899.

Respectfully forwarded to the adjutant-general, First Division,
Eighth Army Corps, through commanding officer North Dakota

In my opinion Major Ballance deserves great credit for the
manner in which he conducted the advance guard. By his skill and
prudence he so developed and flanked the enemy as to prevent the
execution of a surprise which I believe the enemy had planned, and
in all human probability accomplished without a casualty what would
have cost dearly.

I desire also to commend the zeal displayed by his officers and
men carrying out his instructions.

Major, Twenty-second Infantry, Commanding.


Baliuag, May 9, 1899.

Respectfully forwarded to the assistant adjutant-general, First
Division, Eighth Army Corps.

Major Ballance deserves great credit for the manner in which
he carried out his orders. His skirmish line moved forward with
energy and over very difficult ground, driving the enemy before him
from positions evidently intended as a surprise for our flank and rear.
The insurgents were also forced to abandon strongly barricaded posi-


tion on the main road, leading into Bustos, by being flanked by Major
Ballance's force. Officers and men displayed zeal and energy in carry-
ing out their instructions.


Lieutenant-Colonel, First North Dakota
Infantry Volunteers, Commanding.


In the Field, Baliuag, May u, 1899.

Respectfully forwarded to the adjutant-general, Department of the
Pacific and Eighth Army Corps.

From the best information obtainable the insurgent force referred
to was not to exceed 800 strong.

I heartily concur in the favorable mention of Major Ballance and
the officers and troops herein credited.

Major-General, U. S. V., Commanding.


i, PART 5, PAGE 505.

Manila, P. I., April 4, 1899.
Adjutant Twenty-second Infantry,

Manila, P. I.

Sir : Pursuant to verbal instructions of the regimental commander,
I have the honor to make the following report of the operations of
the First Battalion Twenty-second Infantry, from March 24 to March
31, 1899:

The battalion was composed of four companies, Twenty-second
Infantry, as follows : Company I, Lieut. W. A. Campbell command-
ing; Company F, Lieut. A. C. Dalton commanding; Company A, Lieut.
W. H. Wassell commanding ; Company K, Lieut. P. W. Davison com-
manding; Lieut. I. W. Leonard, adjutant.

The battalion, as part of the regiment, left Nipa Barracks.
Manila, at 7:15 a. m. March 24th, marched to a point between La
Loma church and Caloocan, where it went into camp until dark. It
then marched to the trenches in front and to the right of the railroad
buildings of Caloocan, as indicated by the brigade commander during
the day, relieving the First Montana Volunteer Infantry.


The Third Battalion, Twenty-second Infantry, was on my left, and
the Second Battalion, under Captain Lockwood, on my right, the regi-
mental line occupying the line of trenches from the railroad buildings
to the left of the Third Artillery

The action commenced at daylight the following morning about
two miles to our right, and proceeded from right to left until the
whole opposing line was firing at our lines

My original orders required me to make a gradual turning move-
ment to the left conforming to the movements of the Second Battalion,
on my right. The latter was directed to cover the left flank of the
Third Artillery. The Third Artillery, after advancing, made a com-
plete change to the left, necessitating a similar movement of the bat-
talion on my right, both of which passed across my front and passed
beyond it to the left, completely masking my fire. I was directed by
General Egbert to remain in the line during the preceding move-
ment. Later I was directed to make a partial change of direction to
the left, form line of skirmishers, and proceed northwest. Line was
formed and proceeded unwaveringly toward the line of intrenchments
of the enemy, who hastily abandoned them and retreated toward the
line of the railroad.

The battalion proceeded in line of skirmishers with half-distance
intervals, three companies being in the firing line and Company I
being in reserve

The battalion proceeded in this order until it reached the railroad
near where it crosses the Tuliahan River, driving the insurgents before
it. At this point the insurgents were discovered in force behind
intrenchments across the river, which was not passable at this point
on account of its depth, muddy bottom, and the well-defended intrench-
ments. Large numbers of insurgents, bearing the dead and wounded,
were seen retreating toward Malinta.

The battalion engaged the insurgents all afternoon in a hot fire,
but owing to the impassability of the river could not drive them out.
During the afternoon the two other battalions of the regiment came
up, and also two pieces of artillery.

The following morning the regiment proceeded about a mile and
a quarter up the river, where the men crowed, the water being breast

After all had crossed the river a skirmish line was formed at
right angles to the river, the left renting on the river, the Second and
First battalions in the firing line and the Third in reserve The Second
Battalion was on the left.


Capt. T. W. Moore, Twenty-second Infantry, reported to me with
two companies with orders to protect my right flank. We were
ordered to proceed in that order to the railroad and to take the line
of intrenchments in reverse.

The movement was most beautifully executed by my battalion.
The company commanders kept the men under perfect control and
as well dressed and with as uniform intervals as was possible.

Owing to the almost impenetrable thickets at some parts of the
line the movement was slowly executed.

After proceeding about a mile in this order the strong intrench-
ments which had enabled the insurgents to hold in check our forces
the previous day were taken in reverse, and the battalion proceeded to
the railroad. Lieutenant Murphy, commanding Company C, was on
the left of my battalion and in touch with it, and was with it when
the trenches were taken in reverse and the march made to the rail-
road. Two insurgents were killed by the fire of this company.

A few insurgents were seen retreating in the bushes beyond the
railroads and a small white flag was seen displayed about three-
quarters of a mile beyond the track, but as I had been ordered not
to go beyond the railroad track, I halted the battalion at the track.

There was with me at this time the four companies of my battalion
and Company C. The ramainder of the regiment was back of the
line and out of sight.

I went to the right of the line for the purpose of making observa-
tions, being preceded by four scouts from Lieutenant Dalton's company.

At a cut through which the railroad passed an advanced post of
eight insurgents was encountered, which opened fire on us. I formed
line across the railroad track and reconnoitered the enemy's position.

He was found strongly intrenched about 300 yards beyond the
railroad cut.

I directed Lieutenant Dalton to form his company in line of
skirmishers with diminished interval, his left resting on the railroad.
Liuetenants Davison and Wassell were formed on his right and directed
to push through the underbrush and attack the intrenchments on the
enemy's left flank.

Lieutenant Campbell's company was formed in line of skirmishers
on the left of the track and at right angles to it.

Word was sent to Lieutenant Murphy to form his company to
the left of Lieutenant Campbell and attack the enemy's right flank


The messenger returned, stating that Lieutenant Murphy had gone
back to join his battalion, which left me with the four companies of
my battalion only.

I then had Lieutenant Campbell extend his line to the left by
taking full interval. \Yord was sent back to General Egbert by my
adjutant, Lieutenant Leonard, what I had discovered in my front, and
the dispositions I had made. I recommended that one company be sent
to extend my flank farther to the left, and started a movement slowly
forward, directing Lieutenants Campbell and Dalton to attack in front

Just as the battalion reached the rise of ground through which
the railroad cut was made I received orders from General Egbert,
communicated through one officer and two orderlies, to halt, which
was done.

Later General Wheaton sent an aid-de-camp to ascertain what
I had developed in my front. I reported and also expressed full con-
fidence of my ability to take the intrenchments with my battalion and
requested permission to do so. Very soon thereafter General Wheaton
gave me the desired permission.

The battalion proceeded up the rise of the ground to the crest,
where it was met by a galling fire from the intrenchments The men
lay down and returned the fire.

Not having sufficient cover on the crest, it was thought best to
charge the intrenchments, and the troops were moved forward.

This necessitated a forward movement of over 200 yards down
the slope of the hill into a small valley, then up the hill where the
intrenchments were.

After passing into the valley I had Musician Kaercher sound the
charge, which the men obeyed with the greatest alacrity, and with cheers
charged up the hill and took the intrenchments.

On arriving at the intrenchments they were met by a well-directed
and hot fire from the wall around Malinta church and some intrench-
ments, and a raised road leading to a bridge from 600 to 800 yards

The fire was so accurately delivered that my men were com-
pelled to lie very close to the ground on the reverse side of the intrench-
ments and deliver their return fire from there.

It was during this fire that I was informed that General Egbert
was killed.

At first some of the firing of our troops was at will, but later
I directed company commanders to fire volleys only.


After about half an hour's contimious firing we succeeded in
silencing the enemy's fife and, causing them to retreat from their
defenses, permitted the head of General MacArthur's column, which
was marching along the road coming from the right, to take their
transportation over the bridge into the town.

Part of the defenses of the enemy consisted of a solid stone wall
two feet thick around a churchyard, which could have been held by
a comparatively small number of men against five times their num-
ber of infantry.

A large number of Mauser and some Remington shells were found
behind this wall, showing where much of their fire came from.

The fire on our troops in this advance was very much better
directed than any before or since, and is accounted for by the fact
that the enemy had measured the ground, along a straight line from
the railroad bridge to Malinta church, which was the direct line of our
advance, and had erected along it poles about 50 feet high and about
75 meters apart, and nailed to every alternate one a nipa flag. By
means of these poles the enemy was enabled to tell within a few feet
the exact distance from them, and regulate their sight accordingly.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 12

Online LibraryHoldridge Ozro CollinsThe military record of John Green Ballance → online text (page 12 of 13)