Battle of Manila 1899

What was happening in 1899?

In 1898, American-Spanish War took place. Before the war, Philippines were a Spanish colony. But Spain was defeated in the war and American became the new colonial ruler of the Philippines. The Filipino revolutionaries, who had fought alongside American soldiers in 1898, believed that USA had betrayed them.

This led to tensions between the Filipino revolutionaries and the American forces in Philippines. Finally, in February, 1899, the American army decided to take over the complete control of the city of Manila and turn out the revolutionaries. This led to the Battle of Manila which was the first battle of the Philippines-American War.

Before the Battle

When American forces took over the control of most of the city of Manila in 1898 from the Spanish army, a portion of the city came under the control of the Filipino revolutionaries. Initially, the relationship between the revolutionaries and the American forces was not hostile.

In early 1899, Filipino revolutionaries tried to advance and take over more parts of the city. This was resisted by the American soldiers who shot at the revolutionaries. This was the first skirmish between the two sides. The head of the revolutionaries, Emilio Aguinaldo, tried to reach a truce with the American generals who refused.

When and where did the battle take place?

The Battle of Manila took place in and around the city of Manila in Philippines. It was fought on February 4, 1899 and February 5, 1899.

Commanders on both sides

One of the main commanders on the American side was General Elwell Stephen Otis. The American army numbered at around 19,000 soldiers.

The commander on the Filipino side was General Antonio Luna who commanded a force of 15,000 Filipino fighters. The supreme commander of the Filipino revolutionaries was President Emilio Aguinaldo but he was away from Manila at the time of the battle.

The Fighting

Initially, the Filipino troops were able to make some advance against the American forces and took control of a few American positions, forcing back the American troops. Before soon, the American forces launched a full assault and were able to rout the Filipino troops.

Although Filipino troops numbered slightly less than the American troops, the American soldiers were better organized and had superior weapons. This soon forced the Filipino troops from the battlefield. Most of the Filipino troops fled and the American forces were able to take over the complete control of the city. However, minor skirmishes continued to take place in the vicinity of the city over the subsequent days.

Result and Aftermath

The Battle of Manila was a complete victory for the American forces. This was the first battle of the Philippine-American War and the Filipino revolutionaries realized that they can’t fight the Americans in an open battle. Of the 15,000 Filipino soldiers who fought in the battle, 240 were killed while 306 were taken captive. The American army suffered 55 dead and around 200 wounded. Following this defeat, the Filipino revolutionaries mostly resorted to guerrilla tactics throughout the rest of the war..

The Battle for Manila Hardcover – January 14, 1997

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