1st Battalion 22nd Infantry

 

The Ramaien Expedition 1904

 

Campaign Streamer awarded to the 22nd Infantry for its service in Mindanao 1904-1905

 

The 22nd Infantry in the Philippines

From a stereoview by B.W. Kilburn-Littleton N.H.

 

THE RAMAIEN EXPEDITION

December 17, 1903, while duck hunting, a small party of officers and soldiers from Marahui were fired upon by hostile Moros near Ramaien.
Repeated demands were made upon the sultan of this district for the surrender of the hostile Moros; but although the assailants were well known,
no attention was paid to the demands. An expedition was accordingly arranged to arrest the sultan. The territory of Ramaien was known to be disaffected.
At three o'clock on the morning of January 22, 1904, the first battalion of the regiment, Major J. S. Parke commanding, embarked in row boats
and native vintas at Marahui and proceeded toward Ramaien, about seven miles across the northern end of the lake. Five men from each company
of the third battalion accompanied the expedition. Companies B and D were landed at Baringbingan, north of Ramaien, in order to get in rear
of the disaffected territory; companies A and C and two boats, containing, respectively, a Gatling gun and a Vickers-Maxim gun, proceeded to Ramaien.

At the mouth of the river, the command was met by several minor chiefs, and after a parley, the companies, preceded by the gunboats,
were rowed up the stream. The actions of the natives that had been taken with the companies plainly indicated that an attack was meditated.
Raising their red umbrellas, they remained standing until ordered to sit. They shouted continuously to Moros along the banks of the river,
finally admitting that, although they themselves were friendly, there were many bad Moros in the territory.

Ramaien consisted of several miles of cottas along the north bank of the river. Ditseen was similarly built upon the south bank.
The river at this time was not more than seventy-five feet wide, and was well commanded by the walls of the cottas.
The boats were running a narrow gauntlet. At any moment a murderous, short range fire might be opened upon them.

US Soldiers rowing a Moro vinta.
Major Parke filled these types of boats with Soldiers from 1st Battalion, and used two other row boats
to hold the Gatling gun and Vickers machine gun, and rowed the seven miles across Lake Lanao
to Ramien. Companies B and D were landed a short distance from the village to advance upon it from the rear,
while Companies A and C, along with the boats carrying the rapid fire guns, moved directly to the mouth of the river
along which the village of Ramien was situated.

From the Parker Hitt photograph collection, University of Michigan
This photo also appeared in the 1904 Regimental History

 

Before reaching the main cottas, detachments were landed. On each side of the river, between the cotta walls and the stream was a narrow trail,
along which the detachments, in single file, kept pace with the leading boat. While moving up the river, many armed Moros were seen running
from cotta to cotta; they carried rifles, kampilans, and krises, and were evidently hastening to a large cotta at the upper end of the town.
As this cotta was a menace to the boats, the land detachment approached to investigate it. Its narrow entrance was closed by a high gate of bamboo;
within were a number of Moros aiming their rifles at the command. Led by two officers, a dash was made into the cotta.
Hardly had they entered before the two officers were shot down. These were the first shots fired.
The battalion had seen many armed Moros, but in pursuance of a peaceful policy, had refrained from shooting.
Orders required the arrest of the sultan, if possible, without the shedding of blood.

The few men that had gained entrance to the cotta gallantly covered the Moros until the wounded officers were without;
they then retired about twenty yards, and under cover of the cotta walls, the detachment was reinforced,
and immediately charged and captured the cotta.

Major J.S. Parke described the action:

"Since this obstacle could be a menace to our boats, the land detail was directed to approach and investigate the formidable looking bastion.
The cotta's entrance had been closed by a tall bamboo gate. Within the fort, a number of Moros could be seen with their rifles
aimed at our soldiers advancing along the shore. On command, Lieutenants Campbell Flake and William Roberts, leading their men,
rushed the cotta. The two officers were immediately cut down.
The stunned soldiers attempted to deploy along the path—there was no room. They splashed into the water—
and from waist high positions dueled the Moro riflemen. While the battle was going on, a few troopers braved enemy bullets
and dragged the wounded officers to safety. The detachment then retreated to protective cover at the base of the bamboo walls.
Reinforcements were rushed ashore. The angry Americans—spurred on by revenge—charged the cotta. No quarter wa
s given or asked.
The Moros quickly realized they were not dealing with the Spaniards, and attempted to flee."

"The battalion, assisted by the machine gun boats, drove the Moro warriors several miles from the village. The balance of the troops,
still aboard canoes, were put ashore and moved downriver—destroying any cottas still occupied by the enemy."

Although the purpose of the expedition—the arrest of the sultan—was not accomplished, the Moro chieftain
and several of his followers surrendered themselves to Colonel Wygant and made overtures for peace.
1

Escaping Moros were driven from cotta to cotta before they had time to form and make a stand.
This method of attack was continued until there was danger of firing into the other command, which was slowly forcing its way
through the swamps to the rear of the town. All firing then ceased; trumpet calls kept each command informed of the position
of the other command until a junction was effected.

Cotta on the Ramaien River
Earthen walls line the bank, and an opening in the walls can be seen just above the boat in the river.
A hut, or structure is beyond the walls in the left of the photo, with Moros sitting on the wall
in front of it.

From the Parker Hitt photograph collection, University of Michigan

 

The battalion, assisted by the gunboats, then drove the enemy several miles up the river, landed, moved down the river,
and destroyed the defenses of the town as far as possible. In this, as in all other engagements, the troops were greatly hampered
by the proximity of friendly Moros. Ditseen, opposite Ramaien, flew many American flags. It also delivered many hostile shots,
but the troops were compelled to assume that these shots were fired by Ramaien natives fleeing across the river.
Ditseen, displaying American flags, was spared, although in its territory were seen many natives bearing rifles.
The leniency of American troops is truly wonderful. As the battalion embarked, the rear guard was fired upon from lantacas and rifles
in a cotta that had been spared in the advance. In this manner was American leniency appreciated by the Moro.

The battalion returned to Marahui at 4:30 p. m. The Moro loss in the engagement was about twenty-five killed;
and although the direct object of the expedition, the arrest of the sultan, was not accomplished, this worthy afterward presented himself at Marahui,
and made overtures for peace. On a subsequent expedition of the regiment through this territory,
this same sultan gave ample proof of his desire for friendship.

Killed in action:
2nd Lieutenant Campbell W. Flake

Wounded in action:
2nd Lieutenant William E. Roberts;
Private Charles Foy, company A.

 

GENERAL ORDERS No. 1, HEADQUARTERS 22ND U.S. INFANTRY.
CAMP MARAHUI, MINDANAO, P. I. January 23rd, 1904.

It has become the sad duty of the Regimental Commander to announce the death of an officer:
2nd Lieutenant Campbell W. Flake, 22nd infantry.
Killed in action at Ramaien river, Lake Lanao, Mindanao January 22, 1904, against savage and treacherous Moros.
He died a soldier's death. Shot dead on the field of battle.
His record is closed. He has given his life to his country.

Brave, courteous, prompt, willing, and efficient were the qualities which endeared him to all.
The regiment has lost a fine young officer, cut down in the prime of his splendid physical strength. His loss is deeply mourned.
To the widow and orphan sincerest sympathy is extended.
Lieut. Flake was born October 31, 1875. Enlisted June 17, 1898, in the 3rd U. S. vol. infantry, and served as first sergeant
until May 2, 1899, when he was mustered out. During this time he served in Cuba from August, 1898, until April, 1899.
Commissioned 2nd lieutenant of infantry on July 15, 1901, and assigned to 27th infantry.
Transferred to 22nd infantry, December 2, 1901, and assigned to company A, in which organization he served until killed.
As a mark of respect officers of the regiment will wear the usual badge of mourning for thirty days.
BY ORDER OF COLONEL WYGANT:

R. L. HAMILTON,
Captain, 22nd Infantry Adjutant.

 

 

     

Years after the event, Quartermaster Sergeant Edward J. Zink
of Company A 1st Battalion 22nd Infantry
was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for valor in the
operations along the Ramaien river noted above.

The citation for that award is below:

 

 

Shortly before midnight, February 27, 1904, Moros made an attack upon the companies at Pantar. Shots were fired into camp,
and one sentinel was cut with a kampilan. Several nights later, a similar attempt, probably to steal rifles, was made at Marahui.

March, 1904, the regiment carried off the honors in the department athletic competition at Zamboanga.
In addition, Private George W. Smith, company K, won first place as the best all-around athlete.
The regimental ball team was so successful in this meet that it was sent to Manila in June;
while there it defeated the winning nine of the Luzon competition.

 

The Spanish built bridge and blockhouse at Pantar

Photo from the 1904 Regimental History

 

 

The bridge at Pantar
Supply wagons move across the bridge, and Soldiers can be seen
washing and bathing at the feet of the bridge on both sides of the river.

From the Parker Hitt photograph collection, University of Michigan

 

Another view of the bridge at Pantar, as seen from the blockhouse.

 

 

 

     

Years after the event, Private Walter W. Woods,
of Company H 22nd Infantry,
was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross
for valor on the island of Mindanao.

The citation for that award is below:

 

 

**********************

 

The above narrative is taken from the 1904 Regimental History

 

1 From the book: Combat Diary EPISODES FROM THE HISTORY OF THE
TWENTY-SECOND REGIMENT, 1866-1905
by A. B. Feuer

Praeger Publishers, New York, N.Y.

 

 

 


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