1st Battalion 22nd Infantry

 

The San Isidro Campaign 1899

The Second Northern Expedition - Baldwin's Battalion

 

 

Campaign streamer awarded to the 22nd Infantry
for its service in the San Isidro Campaign

 

 

 

Company I, 22nd Infantry

from a stereoview by Underwood & Underwood, dated 1899, titled
"Co. I, 22nd U.S. Infantry, encamped at Malolos, Philippine Islands"

 

 

SECOND NORTHERN EXPEDITION BALDWIN'S BATTALION

 

In the meantime, General MacArthur's command moved from Angeles, November 11, and entered Dagupan, November 20.
General Wheaton's command arrived at San Fabian, November 7, and by November 19 had occupied the line from San Fabian,
through San Jacinto and Manaoag toward Binalonan. The plan of campaign had been fully executed.
The insurgent armies had been beaten wherever encountered. The remnants were scattered through four provinces, unable to reorganize.
But their leader had escaped. In disguise, he had penetrated the lines. November 17, General Young sent the following message to Manila:

"Aguinaldo is now a fugitive and an outlaw, seeking security in escape to the mountains or by sea."

November 19, General Lawton wired as follows:

"It is my opinion that Aguinaldo should be followed every moment from this time. He should not be permitted to establish himself
at any point or again organize a government or an army. Wherever he can go, an American soldier can follow;
and there are many who are anxious to undertake the service."

The honor of proving General Lawton's high estimate of the American soldier was given to a battalion of the regiment.
Mountain trails stained with blood from lacerated feet, and eight soldier dead buried along the trails, attest the hardships.
October 18, the 3rd battalion (Baldwin's) was left at Arayat, charged with guarding the town, scouting, and forwarding supplies
to General Young's army. Cascoes carrying supplies required guards; wagon trains moving to the front demanded protection.
By General Young's order, the north bank of the Rio Grande de Pampanga was scouted daily; the important ferry at Arayat
was manned and guarded. The great quantity of stores passing through the town necessitated strong outposts; to insure the forwarding
of these stores across the ferry was in itself work for a battalion. Due to intermittent heavy rains, the river rose and fell rapidly,
the corduroyed approaches to the ferry at high water were dug from the mud and slush as the water fell, only to be replaced
after the next rain. At one time, a passing casco cut the ferry's main rope; the river at the time was a raging torrent;
only after hours of steady work was it possible to carry across the river the lightest line; to cross the spliced rope of the ferry
required the employment of every native banco that could be found for miles up and down the river.
Officers and men worked constantly in water for thirty-six hours in order to repair this break,
in order to cause no delay in forwarding supplies to the army in front.

The ferry at Arayat, loaded with Soldiers and a wagon with mules hitched.

Photo from the 1904 Regimental History

 

The work of the battalion during its occupation of Arayat, October 18 to November 9, taxed the physical resources of the men to the utmost.
November 10, the battalion was relieved and ordered to the front. The roads were a mass of mud; in two days, marching from daylight
until after dark, the battalion moved only twelve miles; over much of this distance the carts were pulled by hand by soldiers.
Passing through Libutad, Cabiao, San Isidro, and Santa Rosa, the battalion arrived at Cabanatuan, November 15.

Killed at Bayombong, November 15, 1899, while a prisoner in the hands of insurgents—Private John Neil, company L.

Under orders of the brigade commander, the battalion remained here until November 22, repairing nearby bridges.
Late in the afternoon of the 22nd, the brigade commander gave the battalion the following note:
"General Lawton says he sorely needs you and your battalion. Rush on to Tayug. The only orders I get are, hurry."
Responding to this order, the battalion left all transportation under guard and pushed to the front.
The roads beyond Cabanatuan beggared description. Rains had made them a sea of mud; where the sun had made a slight improvement
was a glutinous mass, mixed with dead grass and vegetation.

Abandoned carts, dead carabaos, were everywhere. The division ambulance, with its red cross of mercy, lay along the road,
an abandoned wreck. Miles of mud-stuck wagon trains dotted the sea of mud; living carabaos floundered; mud-begrimed soldier guards,
with tireless energy, worked and swore; chino bull drivers filled the air with exhortations to their carabaos. Never was scene more illustrative
of the self-reliance of American soldiery. Each mud-streaked, swearing soldier showed that nothing human could prevent the supplies on his cart
from reaching their destination—the army in front.

Unimpeded by wagons, the battalion slowly forged its way past the supply trains. Good-natured salutations were exchanged between the command
and the wagon guards. Almost insurmountable obstacles were met and overcome; physical strength was taxed most heavily;
indomitable wills laughed and joked at hardships. Making two forced marches a day, on half ration, the battalion arrived at Tayug
and reported to General Lawton, November 25, marching on this day twenty-six miles. November 26, the battalion marched to San Nicolas
and received instructions to proceed on the following day to Bayombong, province of Nueva Viscaya. At this time, the insurgent forces
had been scattered. It was believed that Aguinaldo had crossed the mountains; the battalion's work was to prevent a reorganizing
of these scattered forces in the Cagayan valley and to intercept small bodies of insurgents that might attempt to move southward into southern Luzon..

 

Map from the 1904 Regimental History
colorized and route added by the website editor

   

Left: The route of
Baldwin's Battalion
from Arayat, in the south,
to Bayombong, in the north,
marked in red.

Further marches
from Bayombong
to Aritao and Puncan
to the south,
and Quiangan
to the north,
also marked in red.

 

Major John A. Baldwin,
Commander, 3rd Battalion 22nd Infantry,
consisting of Companies B, C, H and L.

Baldwin was promoted to Major of the
22nd Infantry on June 2, 1899, after
serving 27 years with the 9th Infantry.

 

 

The trail to Bayombong was called by the natives, the "Infernal trail." This trail led over a succession of mountain ranges so steep
that ascent and descent was made by zig-zag levels; at times, in climbing over them, one could hear the voices of comrades in the distance,
some apparently directly under his feet, others directly above his head. Looking upward and backward after a steep descent,
one could see at times soldiers on twenty different levels, winding, zig-zagging down the declivity. So laborious was the work
that frequently halts were made every ten minutes to allow men to regain their wind.

The lower parts of these mountains were covered with tropical growths; the heights were pine-clad. In many places, tall grasses lined the trail;
in places it led over a narrow shelf cut in the faces of the perpendicular mountain sides—a false step meant a plunge five hundred feet downward.
The trail led over numerous mountain streams; during one day's march, the same stream was forded twenty times. Other streams
were so swift that only the largest and strongest men could make the first crossing with safety, men of ordinary size were aided by ropes
and vines stretched across by their stronger comrades.

The nights passed on this trail were very cold. Men were clad only in light garments; they carried no blankets. Shoes, stockings,
and trousers were wet during the entire journey over the trail. Men slept from exhaustion until the cold aroused them; huddled around camp fires,
they slept and kept warm as best they could. From San Nicolas to Bayombong is a six days' trip for natives accustomed to mountain traveling.
At San Nicolas the battalion was given three days' reduced rations; thereafter the battalion was to live off the country.
Two native guides accompanied the command; on the first night out, they deserted.

At the first camp in the mountains, a detachment of forty men of the 24th infantry was found. The men had been lost for two days,
and were practically out of rations. After the guides' desertion, the command took a wrong trail, but fortunately captured an Igorrote
and impressed him as a guide. Strange to say, this Igorrote was the only native seen during the passage across the mountains.
When captured, he was greatly frightened; kind treatment succeeded in only partially allaying his fright. He led the command back
over a deer trail to the Bayombong trail, without loss of much distance, but with great loss of physical energy.

About midway across the trail, at Cayapa, there were remains of an old Spanish cuartel. Here was found a quantity of old, musty, rain-injured rice.
It was dried in the sun and issued as food; without it, the sufferings of the battalion would have been greatly increased.
Beyond Cayapa, the effects of the march began to tell on the command. Many men were barefooted; their feet were lacerated by sharp stones.
Chills and fever had fastened their grip on many men; dysentery was common to all. Medicine was limited. Men watched for opportunities to crawl,
unnoticed, from the trail to the tall grasses. Routed out by the rear guard, many men begged to be allowed to remain and to die. Only by threats,
only by actual violence, was it possible to get all men into camp at night. Several became so sick that it was necessary to carry them;
along parts of the trail this seemed impossible, yet it was done. One man broke down under sickness and became mentally deranged;
at night, his wild cries echoed over the mountains, necessarily having a depressing effect upon the other sick men. But, as is always found
among American soldiers, there were many men, no less sick, no less depressed, but always ready to meet misfortune with a laugh—
these men saved the command. Always good-humored, always ready to help a weakened comrade, they retained their health by sheer force of will;
they imbued others with the belief that nothing was impossible.

At ten o'clock on the morning of December 2nd, the battalion entered the pueblo of Bayombong. In this province the Tagalo
had never been supreme; his newspapers had not circulated the great dread of the American soldier. Cunningly-worded Tagalog proclamations,
supporting any form of power that could protect the natives from American rapacity, cruelty, and lust, had not been scattered broadcast.
Consequently the exhausted command was royally received by the people of the town. The governor of the province had provided an excellent dinner
for the entire command; from his house hung an American flag made especially for the occasion by the women of the town;
everywhere the people showed genuine pleasure and satisfaction at the advent of the American forces. It was a strange experience for the battalion;
towns in provinces on the other side of the mountains had received them either with musketry or in sullen silence. Never before
had the battalion been greeted with Filipino cheers; never before had they found a dinner waiting for them. The men were ragged,
hatless, footsore; they suffered with fever and with dysentery; hunger had gnawed at them for six days, and lo! at their journey's end,
a dinner awaited them—a dinner at which each man was allowed to eat his fill.

The people of Nueva Viscaya had been insurgents only in name. Agents of Aguinaldo had been among them, had left them a few rifles,
had issued commissions to a few officers. In the pueblo was a partially constructed building that the insurgent chieftain had intended to occupy
when driven to flight by General Young's army; natives did not dream that American forces could cross the mountain trails.
When the organized forces of the insurrection had been completely shattered, it was believed that Aguinaldo, with a few hundred followers,
had escaped to the mountains of northwestern Luzon; subsequent events proved this a fact. A battalion of the 24th infantry
had entered Bayombong, three days before the battalion of the 22nd; this first battalion, leaving their sick at Bayombong, had continued the march
down the Cagayan river. The two battalions prevented the insurgents from reorganizing their shattered forces, and compelled Aguinaldo
to remain a fugitive in the mountains. To accomplish these ends, the battalion of the 24th made a march famous in Filipino warfare;
the battalion of the 22nd marched and suffered and buried its dead, achieving no brilliant results—simply obeying orders.

The command had lacked medicines for some time. Native remedies were tried without success. While in Bayombong, rice and native beef
in small quantities had been obtained; while sufficient for men in good health, they were not proper food for sick men.
December 8, the battalion was ordered to return to San Nicolas. One officer and twenty men, too sick to travel, were left at Bayombong.
The condition of the command made it impossible to return by the ' 'Infernal pass;" the Carranglan pass, to the south, was accordingly selected.
It proved but little better, Caballo Sur, its highest mountain, taxing the strength of the men to the utmost. Rains had washed all earth
away from the trail, slippery rocks and boulders caused great suffering to the shoeless command. Near the summit of the mountain,
the battalion was compelled to bivouac at an old cuartel. The night was intensely cold, rain fell in torrents, shelter was obtained for only a few
of the sickest men; it was impossible to keep fires burning; vermin of many kinds infested the cuartel. In the spirit that laughs at hardships,
the men christened the spot, "Camp Misery."

December 11, the command arrived at Puncan. The marches had been daily struggles for existence. The country had few inhabitants;
rice was obtained only in handfuls; men cooked all sorts of tropical plants, but found them lacking in flavor and nourishment;
carabao meat was a luxury. Puncan was within a day's march of commissary and hospital; but at Puncan, under orders, the battalion
turned its back upon the things that meant health, even life, and retraced its steps to the mountains. Five days' rations, without bacon,
and a small quantity of medicine, were sent with the command. December 13, in grim and soldierly silence, the battalion turned to the rough
and rugged heights of Caballo Sur, where again men could be tracked along the rocks by the blood from their feet.

Under instructions, companies B and C were left at Carranglan; the other two companies arrived at Bayombong, December 16.
Two days later, company H was sent to Quiangan, thirty-five miles distant, to investigate reported insurgent stores.
The trail entering this Igorrote town was said to be the only entrance to a high valley beyond; for miles the men were obliged
to march in a crouching attitude, crawling over fallen logs, climbing over slippery rocks. Couriers could not be induced to travel along this trail
unless in parties of at least ten men. Uncivilized Igorrotes, concealed, watched movements of the command; the first sergeant of the company
was grazed by a thrown spear; a private, wandering from the trail, was killed; his head and arms were cut from his body.

Wounded in action, December 20, 1899:

1st Sergeant Ernest A. Bonge, company H.

Killed in action, December 20, 1899:

Private John H. Kelly company B.

 

A considerable force of insurgents was located at Bocaue, beyond Quiangan, but under positive orders the company was compelled
to return to Bayombong without attacking them. December 25, thirty-six men of company L, all that were able to march,
were sent to Aritao, to investigate reported insurgents. A force had been there, but had gone farther into the mountains.
Several days later, a superannuated Tagalog, the tool of a reformed insurgent, began working strange influences among the people of Solano.
In a whining, sepulchral voice, he declared himself to be the "Holy Ghost." Immediately it became more difficult to obtain rice;
burden bearers became impossible. Even after this fraud had been exposed, his influence was still felt.
December 29, the battalion quartermaster, after most arduous work, brought the battalion shoes and clothing, so sorely needed.
January 7, 1900, the battalion, under orders, again crossed the mountains. Again Camp Misery was sighted; again the cross-crowned
Caballo Sur was climbed; again men suffered.

January 16, the battalion reported at regimental headquarters at Arayat. This battalion had been detached from the 2nd division
and assigned to the division that scattered the insurgent armies and drove them, terror stricken, from their capital to the mountain fastness.
Throughout this last great campaign, the battalion gained no honor of engagement—its record is that of duty and of endurance.
It marched nearly, five hundred miles on eight days' reduced rations; it lost eight men—one killed by the enemy, seven dying of disease.

Died of disease:

Private Charles Rosewater, company C, November 27, 1899;
Private Shelby Taylor, company C, December 7, 1899;
Private George Lehfield, company C, December 17, 1899;
Private Arlington Mayne, company H, January 3, 1900;
Private Mathew McNulty,company B, January 5, 1900;
Private John Long, company C, January 15, 1900;
Private William H. Coleman, company H, January 18, 1900.

 

 

  Brigadier General Henry Ware Lawton

The 22nd Infantry had served under Lawton in Cuba,
at Siboney, El Caney and Santiago. The Regiment
again served under him in the Philippines.

He led from the front, and was killed by an enemy sniper
at San Mateo on December 19, 1899.

Lawton was the highest-ranking U.S. military officer
to be killed in action in the Philippine Insurrection,
and the first serving general killed outside of North America
.  

He was a Brigadier General of Regulars and
in the process of being promoted to
Major General the day of his death.

Photo from the National Archives

     

 

 

 


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