Classic History Books


The Path of Empire. A Chronicle of the United States as a World Power
by Carl Russell Fish

semicircle of blockhouses and trenches thrown about the city, which contained about 350,000
inhabitants.

It would have been easy to compel surrender or evacuation by the guns of the fleet, had it not been for an
additional element in the situation. Manila was already besieged, or rather blockaded, on the land side, by

an army of nearly ten thousand Philippine insurgents under their shrewd leader, Emilio Aguinaldo. It

does not necessarily follow that those who are fighting the same enemy are fighting together, and in this

case the relations between the Americans and the insurgents were far from intimate, though Dewey had

kept the situation admirably in hand until the arrival of the American troops.

General Merritt decided to hold no direct communication with Aguinaldo until the Americans were in
possession of the city, but landed his army to the south of Manila beyond the trenches of the Filipinos.

On the 30th of July, General F. V. Greene made an informal arrangement with the Filipino general for

the removal of the insurgents from the trenches directly in front of the American forces, and immediately

advanced beyond their original position. The situation of Manila was indeed desperate and clearly

demanded a surrender to the American forces, who might be relied upon to preserve order and protect

property. The Belgian Consul, M. Eduard Andre, urged this course upon the Spanish commander. The

Governor-General, Fermin Jaudenes, exhibited the same spirit which the Spanish commanders revealed

throughout the war: though constitutionally indisposed to take any bold action, he nevertheless

considered it a point of honor not to recognize the inevitable. He allowed it to be understood that he

could not surrender except to an assault, although well knowing that such a melee might cause the city to

be ravaged by the Filipinos. M. Andre, however, succeeded by the 11th of August in arranging a verbal

understanding that the fleet should fire upon the city and that the troops should attack, but that the

Spaniards should make no real resistance and should surrender as soon as they considered that their

honor was saved.

The chief contestants being thus amicably agreed to a spectacular but bloodless battle, the main interest
lay in the future action of the interested and powerful spectators in the harbor. Admiral Dewey, though

relieved by the arrival of the monitor Monterey on the 4th of August, was by no means certain that the

German squadron would stand by without interference and see the city bombarded. On the 9th of August

he gave notice of the impending action and ordered foreign vessels out of the range of fire. On the 13th

of August Dewey steamed into position before the city. As the American vessels steamed past the British

Immortalite, her guard paraded and her band played Admiral Dewey's favorite march. Immediately

afterwards the British commander, Captain Chichester, moved his vessels toward the city and took a

position between our fleet and the German squadron. The foreign vessels made no interference, but the

Filipinos were more restless. Eagerly watching the American assault, they rushed forward when they saw

it successful, and began firing on the Spaniards just as the latter hoisted the white flag. They were

quieted, though with difficulty, and by nightfall the city was under the Stars and Stripes, with American

troops occupying the outworks facing the forces of Aguinaldo, who were neither friends nor foes.

While the dispatch of Commodore Watson's fleet to Spain was still being threatened and delayed, while
General Miles was rapidly approaching the capital of Porto Rico, and on the same day that Admiral

Dewey and General Merritt captured Manila, Spain yielded. On the 18th of July Spain had taken the first

step toward peace by asking for the good offices of the French Government. On the 26th of July, M.

Cambon, the French Ambassador at Washington, opened negotiations with the United States. On the

12th of August, a protocol was signed, but, owing to the difference in time on the opposite side of the

globe, to say nothing of the absence of cable communication, not in time to prevent Dewey's capture of

 

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