1898-1899 (Elwell S. Otis) Philippines. United States Military Governor.

Annual report of operations [military, civil and political ..., Volume 2 online

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Online Library1898-1899 (Elwell S. Otis) Philippines. United States Military GovernorAnnual report of operations [military, civil and political ..., Volume 2 → online text (page 13 of 37)
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nearly all payments of important amounts could be made by check, as is done
by disbursing ofiBcers in the United States, and is done here in regard to
public civil funds.

i20. — Disbursement of public civil funds.

I desire to represent to the Department Commander that, after the most
earnest and honest endeavor to carry out the requirements of General Ortlers
Kos. 3 and 5, Office of the Military Governor in the Philippine Islands,
series of 1898, I find it not only impracticable to carry out the real intention
of said Order, to require all disbursements made by the Quartermaster's De-
partment to be done by the Chief Quartermaster,a8 the expenditures have grown
and spread over so large a territory, but compels that officer to turn over
large sums of money on memorandum receipts, contrary to R. S. 3,62'2, and to
incur serious pecuniary liabilities beyond the customs of the sen-ice. I have
said that I have tried to meet the intention of the Department Contmonder
in the desirable object of curtailing and controlling expenditures, one of the
most important desiderata in any new system of administation, but have found
it difficult to make quartermasters understand a system which allows the dis-
bursement of funds without being required to account to the proper auditor
for the same.

The object will be equally accomplished by holding the Chief Quarter-
master as fully responsible for disbursements, as at present, but allowing
him to turn over funds to disbursing officers, in accordance with the method
pursued in the United States. I would state that, in order to keep the De-
partment simply running in obedience to onlers, I have in possession to the
Depot Quartermaster alone, on memorandum receipts, at present, $7(i,000,
and a total in the hands of all quartermasters of $81,444.10, for which I am
nominally responsible.

I have repeatedly represented the difficulties of this system to the Depart-
ment Commander, while agreeing entirely in the object and aim and intention
of l^he Order, which I have held could be as fully accomplished by holding the



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Chief Quartermaster respousible for the disbursements, without forbidding
the nctiial transfer of funds, in cose of authorized expenditures.

I would reconnnend, that instead of restricting the turning over of
funds, the Chief Quarter-master should require authority for all expenditures,
and make a preliminary audit, and transmit these accounts, with his
remarks, to the Auditor of Public Accounts of the Islands. This Mould con-
form exactly to the form followed in the United States, and relieve the Chief
Quartermaster of a direct responsibility for funds, which neither his con:-
mission, nor customs of the service, nor of bonds, nor Revised Statutes, con-
template, and be equally effective for the object of the Department Com-
mander.

Money, in this case, should only be tunied over on requisitions, with
the Regulation inhibition that turning over on requisitions does not wirry au-
thority for any expenditure of funds.

I earnestly recommend that this system be adopted by the Department
Commander.

21. — Providing wJiolesome water.

Before leaving San Francisco five plants for distilling water were
purchased and turned over for the use of the troops in these Islands. Of
these, thre** have been set up, and have proved of great benefit to the troops.
The water has been sent out to the lines, however far, where the troops
could be reached, and these distilling plants have proved of inestimable bene-
fit to such troops as could be reached. Whore troops have been stationed
along the line of the railroad, at San Fernando, Malolos, Caloocan, etc., it
has been possible to supply them, and thus prevent the troubles innumerable
caused by bad water. In addition, several engines of these distilMng plants
have been turned over to the Medical Department for use of the ice-plant at
Cavite, which has been of great necessity to the sick, according to the state-
ments of the Chief Surgeon.

22. — Purchasing and prepariny for service^ on inland lake and
rivers^ of gunboats manned by officers and soldiers of the Eighth
Army Corps.

It became evident shortly after this war broke out that it would be ab-
solutely necessary to control the Paaig River and the lake from which it flows
and, in consequence, the Department Commander ordered the seizure of a large
launch, named Laguna de Bay, afterwards paid for from public civil funds,
and it was armored as a gunboat, and armed with suitable cannon and rapid-
fire guns. This proved so effective and useful that several other launches
were fitted out by the Transportation Quartermaster — the Ooste (captured
when Manila surrendered); tne Conadonga (captured from the insurgents by
General Lawton), and the Napindan. The Transportation Quartermaster was
required to do the work of preparing these vessels and providing crews be-
fore they were turned over for military use and repairing the same.



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23. — Purchasing coal for transports at Manila,
It has required a great deal of work and careful attention to secure the
absolutely necessary supplies of coal for the transports arriving at this port
during the year. In many cases it has been necessary to make purchases in
open market, and, generally, the usual forms of making contracts for such
supplier, as would be done in the United States, has been utterly impractica-
ble. The conditions are entirely different, and the time required to advertise
and make regular contracts, and get the same approved, has bsen wanting.
There has generally been deciled economy in accepting advantageous olTers,
and, when such have been accepted, the approval of the Department Com-
mander lias been obtained and purchase made upon such approvaL Whenever
time has allowed, or circumstances have permitted, the regular forms have been
followed so far as prncticable; but the securing of bondsmen and bonis, with
the conditions of citizenship and other requirements, Mould ordinarily be im-
possible, and the insistence upon such forms would paralyze the movements
of transp«>rt8 and cause delay and loss.

During the reason of moderately calm weather very little demurrage has
been paid ; but during the typhoon season both the Government and private
parties have had to pay demurrage, depending solely upon the weather in this
Bay, which is one of the most uncertain in the world.

I had at times to procure coal in small quantities from the Navy, and the
prices that I have had to pay in such cases has been higher than the price at
which the Army coal M'as purchased.

24' —Purchasing coal and other supplies ; hire oj pilots ; rent-
i*^Sf of dry-dockfi^ etc., at Nagasaki^ Japan ^ arul llong Kong, China,

The extreme difficulty ex perienceil in coaling at this point early proved
that the delay in coaling here would be too expensive, and resort was soon
had to giving the transports only sufficient coal to carry them to Nagasaki,
and have theni coal at that point for the remainder of the voyage. At that
port coaling can be done in the briefest time of any place in the Orient, and,
besides the necessity for haste in sending forward the transports, the Japanese
coal could be procured so cheap that much saving of expense resulted. I
believe that almost all ocean liners use this coal, and, certainly all trans-
ports, whereof the charter party does not require the Government to furnish
the coal, take this kind of coal. The cheaper coal is more advantageous to the
Government also, in this, that most of the charter parties of transports pro-
vide that the coal remaining in the bunkers when the vessel is released shall
be sold to the vessel at a comparatively small amount, which would result in
a heavy loss with the high-priced coal. This is particularly true of trans-
ports requiring large amounts of coal for ballast.

I had understood that the Japanese coal was reasonably satisfactory, but
recently complaint has been made of the quality of the coal, and I have been
ordered to purchase Welsh coal, which costs Yen 20, as against Yen 6.75, the



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present price at which Japanese coal has been oflfered. The attached figures
have been furaished me to show that there would be a loss of at least §400
per day in the case of the last voyage of the Grant, as an illustration, to
which I invite careful consideration, with respect to tlie future purchases of
coal for returning transports.

I understand that the Navy purchases Welsh coal, but the choice in this
case is determined largely by the question of sniokek'ssncss, and the steaming
cajmcity in proportion to the space occupied by the coal. The higher-priced
coal requires less handling — in which it is an advantage to the crew— but the
Government transports have fully sufficient men to do all the work required
with any kind of coal. Therefore, as nearly all the Governuient trans[)ort8
have sufficient bunker capacity for any kind of coal, the (|uesti(»n of economy
of hpace need not in general be considered. In other ways the advantages
and disadvantages, in regard to dust, etc., of the two kinds of coal very
nearly balance each other, the (piestion of expense being the only one needing
serious consiileratiun. (See copy of lettei^s herewith marked I)).

It has betiu said that Xagasaki was chosen because of the rapidity witli
M'hich coaling can be done there, as well as the cheapness of the coal, but if
it is decided to continue the purchase of Welsh coal it would be decidedly of
advantage to select Yokohama as the coaling- place, because Welsh coal is as
cheap there (I have been offered Welsh coal at Yokohama for the same price
as at Nagasaki), and coaling can be done almost as rapidly, and the route via
Yokohama is shorter by a thousand miles than via Nagasaki, and aliaost di-
rectly on the nortliern route of steamers jounieying to San Francisco. (See
letter herewith marked H).

Jrj. -Tr(tiisport((fion of offit'crs^ dixcharged soldiers and ofliers
OH Goventineid transports to the United States,

Another part of the Quartermaster's work has been providing tiansporta-
tion for officers and soldiers, under orders and ilischargcd, on United States
transiKjrts, which requires considerable work where there is so luri.'c a force.
All officers and soldiers under ordei*s or discharged, or mustered out, are, as a
rule, I'cquired to go back on transports, and while the transports are all
required for the returning volunteer organizations it has been dithcult to find
places for the transients ; and when discliarged soldiers are detained for any
length of time beyond that which would be required to secure i-assuge on
commercial lines, much serious coniplaint has been made. All have been
sent as fast as accommodations could be found, and no long detentions have
been allowed ; but I must acknowledge that I do not consider any detention
just to those who have served faithfully under the severest conditions. (See
list of trans[X)rt3 arriving and departing, marked F, hereto attached).

J^j. — Pnrehi^^iii'j ardrirs i/mjed /'r,r s^^'^Jicrs on U. S. trt'tisports.

In an army A 1?.3,(K."3 'o .*i5,C()<>, sueii as tlils liuo been in the i*iiili}q-iiie8,

there axe constant discharges of soldiers who are entitled to be icturned tn



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the United States, and it has been decided to return these on the transports
to their country. They are entitled to provisions, as well as transportation,
in lieu of traveling expenses. When, therefore, large numbers of dischaiged
soldiers are sent back on any transport, it is often necessary to provide
bedding an<l cooking and eating utensils for their use.

When such cases occurred, it has been necessary for the Quartermaster's
Department to provide for such necessities, and purchases had to be made for
that purpose where the articles w ere not on hand. In some ca.ses, these
purchases have been authorized by me to be made at Nagasaki, where time
has not permitted, or the articles were not to be had in Manila. These arrange-
ments have been cheerfully made by the coal contractors, who have willingly
accepted the position of agents, to the great convenience of the Govennncnt,
all their bills for purchases being promptly pai«l in all cases.

27, — Sending hack to the United States vot}niieer orfjanizntioyis
enlisted for the Spmdsh War.

A good part of the attention of this office has lately been taken up with
the matter of transporting the volunteer organizations, which were enlisted
for the Spanish War, back to the United States, and the problem has also been
much complicated by the requirement that all discharged soldiers shall be
sent back by transports. There are great numbers who are entitled to their
discharge— both volunteers and regulars— and these all want to go back on the
first available means of transportation. On this account it has been found
necessary to crowd the returninij transports more than is desirable, or would
otherwise be necessary. In addition, there are numbers of officers and
soldiers who are ordered back to the United States on various kinds of duties, or
to hospitals for treatment, etc., who take up part of the avjiilablc space on all
transports. The matter has been further complicated by the typhoon sei.8on
coming on, so that either loading or coaling has been done with much delay
and under the niost difficult circumstances. (See report hereto attached
marked G).

2S. — Dischanjinr/^ ronlunj and lond'uxj trn)(}iports in }fanihi
Bay.

I have on several occasions endeavored to give the Quartermaster (icneral
some idea of the difficulty under which we have labored in coaling vessels and
loading and unloading the s:«me during the typhoon season. It is impossi
ble for anyone accustomed to the conveniences for performing the usual
functions pertaining to arriving and dejmrting of vessels at ordinary har-
bors to conceive of the troubles and trials of those who are lequired to
unload and load, to embark and disembark, from such vessels, supplies
and troops in this great Bay, which is no harbor at all but merely an
arm of the sea, especially when haste and economy are to be exercised.
During the typh3)n seasan the waves rise to such violence that at times
for weeks no work whatever can bo done, and the impatience natural to



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those who are desirous of rftuniinj; home rises to fever heat, and those
responsible are involveil in the condemnation of the elements l»cyond any
control. During the more fjuiet ]>eriod the work goes on as rapidly as
)>os8il>le, under the constant interruption of church holidays and festival**; but
when the elements con»]»ine with the inertia of the natives, the trials of those
re«iuired to do the l»est pos^iUlr under the adverse circumstances ))ecome3
heavy and discourajring.

I know the trials of this stite of affairs from having had direct charge of
the duties last j'ear, and the remembrance of those trials are revived tluriug
the tnirrent year.

This hius been particularly aggravating, because the worst period of the
year has coinci»led with the return of the volunteer regiments to their homes.
Kvervthing tiiat could be done \v\a been done, but it is impossible to contend
with both natui-e and man in the tropics. As one illustration, I will cite the
in5ttance that not one pound of coal could be placed in the bunkers of the
(irant for a whole week.

As has been the invariable case with the volunteer force in the Philip-
pines, there has l>een no unreasonable complaint and no trouble has arisen
with the work of the Quartermaster s Department.

I can only emphasize my recommendation that, if this is to continue a
station for these po.ssessions -a necessity so long as the United States holds
tlie.se Islands -a suitable breakwater and dock should be built as soon as it
is possible for the pn)i>er authorities to do so.

The delays have caused a ccmsiderable outlay in the payment of demur-
j-age, as it has with merchant vessels, but this is unavoidable.

This attempt to fully explain the cause of delay has been made because
it is known and recoj^niized that all desire the return of the worthy volunteei-s
at the earliest possible moment.

A partial remedy for these dilliculties may be found in making coal con-
ti'acts recpiiring delivery by sailing vessels, which places demurrage payments
at the discharge rate of one hundred t<ms per day instead of the usual steamer
rate of three or four huntlred tons, and by employing steam lighters when
such can be s'^eurcd. (^)aling may then be done in typhoon weather by sending
the collier or li^diter with the vessel to be coaled into some near harbor, of
which Alaraveles and Su'oig Bay have already been mentioned.

A reoiedy suggested by the Dopartnicnt Commander that vessels should
be sent diieet from San Francisco to Nagasaki, and there coaled, has been
adopted which will go far to relieve' the difficult conditions.

^9. — Trnnsportlntj troops and supplies from Mcniila to other
islands in tJie Pliilippine ArchipeJaf/o.

This Department has had much work in transporting troops and supplies
from this station to all others in these Islands. When no government trans-
port has been available, the small steamers of the ^'Compania Maritima"



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have frequently been chartered or engaged for the purpose. Movements of
troops and supplies are constantly going on to and from the other Islands, and
endeavor has been made to meet tlie wants of the command promptly, and it
has generally been the case that tliis could be done. The conditions in Manila
Bay above describetl have bf^en often exaggerated among the lower Islands.
Tluis, in a recent case, the Sherman took three weeks to get the relief to the
California Volunteers in Xegros, and that organization embarked to enable it
to return home.

Ordinarily, in good weather, the conditions allow more i-apid transporta-
tion, and all troops in the Southern Islands have been nearly as well supplied
as those in Manila.

(The rate charged by the ('ompania Maritima for freight, an<l approved
by the Department Commander is appended, marked H).

SO. — FurnisJiDig funds to li'a)! imports when in need; y icing sail-
ing orders to the same; making needed repairs to transports, etc, after
arrival in Manila Bay.

Tlie transports, both those owned by the (rovernment and those char-
tere<l, frequently have found themselves in need of funds through nnforseen
circumstances, and in all such cases this office, by authority of the Quarter-
master General, has supplied the necessary funds. In case of the chartered
transports the amounts advanced have been deducted from the amount due
on tlie charters of the vessels.

These circumstances arise from unusual detention, from unexpected re-
quirement:? and all such necessitit'S, and have been promptly met, to the con-
venience of the owners, or the quartermaster in charge, and without detri-
ment to the (:Jovernnient.

When repairs are needed, the same are promptly made, so as not to delay
the vossel, as there are slumps and companies here which can generally make
all needed repairs, but when such cannot be made liere. Hong Kong has always
been found a convenient place for the purpose until lately, when the quaran-
tine has prevented resort to that port.

The siiiling orders for all transports are given from this Office in conform-
it>' to the instructions of the Department Commander.

31. — Purchasing and supplying clothing and equipaye, particu-
larly khaki and white drill uniforms^ and bamboo bunks.

I have heretofore recommended that a large supply of khaki drill be
purchased and manufactured into uniforms at the Philadelphia Depot of the
Quartermaster's Department, which rt*commendation was favorably consid-
ered. Purchase of about 100,000 suits of tliis kind of khaki here has proved
the superiority of the .material furnished from Manchester, England, over any
other received.

I am the mbrc convinced that purchase should be made of thoroughly-



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tested material from reliable firms, from the fact that complaints continue to
be made of the khaki uniforms supplied from the United States, and boards of
survey are frequently condemning such clothing. Instances in case of the
relief, the 13th U. 8. Infantry, 6tli U. S. Artillery and others, have been
forwarded to the Quartermaster Geneml.

I have received and forwarded to the Quartermaster General reports
regarding the khaki purchased here, and favorable reports arc almost uni-
versal. It is doubtful if, M'ith the lack of trained experts such favora}>le
results will continue, and, therefore, should a large force continue in these
Islands, a general clothing depot of the Quartarmaster's Department should
be established at Manila, with a full force of trained and skilled employes.

The light summer underclothing supplied from the Quartermaster's De-
partment has been fairly satisfactory. These articles could doubtless be
purchased somewhat cheaper here, but I think that this clothmg should be
supplied from the United States, as heretofore.

The lightest, cheapest, and probably the best clothing for this warm
climate is made of white drill, similar to the khaki, but of much lighter
texture. 10,000 suits of such drill have been purchased here and have given
general satisfaction, and autliority to purchase 40,000 more has been granted
by the Department Commander. This clothing cannot be worn in active
operations, as the color makes too conspicuous a mark.

The most unsatisfactory part of the uniform has been the helmet, and
this is due to its shape. The back brim is not broad enough, and shouM be
enlarged so as to fully shade the back of the head and neck. The En^^lish
uniform helmet is the proper shape and I think that shape should be adopted.
The helmets covered with khaki have not been tried as yet, and may be sat-
isfactory as to material, but not shape. It is, however, considered that pro-
tection is needed around the temple, which is secured in the British helmet
by a band of considerable thickness.

The campaign hat seems still to be the favorite headgear, due probably
to the fact that it folds easily, and can be used partly as a pillow while lying
down, and remains fimdy on the head in going through under])ru8h, etc. I
believe, however, that some air space is necessary around the head. It has
been suggested to make a firm band aroun<l the campaign hat, with some air
space inside, which might possibly be done.

An attempt was made to settle upon a proper kind of headgear, and a board
of officers was called for that purpose last fall, but such a variety of opiin'ons
were developed, and so many recommendations were made that the proceed-
ings were disapproved. The board was called chiefly to consider the adop-
tion of a suitable straw hat, but straw hats were not generally favored.

The Quartermasters of the command were called upon tor suggestions as
to alterations or additions to the present uniform, but few such reports have
been received, which are hereto attached, marked I.

25,000 yards of khaki, "Stockport," for sale to officers have been ordered



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from Messrs. K. Spinner & Co., lioinbay, nt H^ pence per yanl, and conti-act
in luing entered into for 30,000 suits of Miaki, at S.'i45, Mex., persuit, and
•J(),0^0 extra trousers, at ^1.70, Mex., per pair. Also 40,O0J suits wliit^; drill
uiiiffuin at ^2. !.'>. Mex., per suit.

It has been found absolutely necessary to raise the soldier above the
ground, while sleepiutr, to insure any degr.e of health, and this has been done
by thi* purchase of a large nuud)er of bainl>oo bunU.s (and s(»nie canvas bunks).
Tntil lately tluse were made at the Ililil>id I'rison, at 80 <ents, Mex., each,
but latterly the active operations have laised the price of bamboo, and the
C(K>t has been raised greatly. The d.impness and etiluvia aiising from tliis
soil makes it dangerous to sleep on the ground, or on the llutn* of houses,
esjiccially the first floor.

'ij. - Rt'Cf'ivhHj and issnlif'/ nil k'nidft of qi((irterinn«ters sup-
plie.s to the xirnnj nt this plarr.

The work of receiving and issuing all kimbs of supplies has been anluous
and com plica tetl by reason of the fact that the stores had to be kept in the
only availjd)le storehouse, and thence had to be issued largely to the in<livid-
ual organizations, at times even con»panies and detachments. With an army
of t'urty thousand men the work involved in such duty Uiust be immense.



Online Library1898-1899 (Elwell S. Otis) Philippines. United States Military GovernorAnnual report of operations [military, civil and political ..., Volume 2 → online text (page 13 of 37)