MILLER TO OTIS, JANUARY 5, 1899
HDQRS. FIRST SEPARATE BRIGADE, EIGHTH ARMY CORPS,
ON BOARD TRANSPORT NEWPORT,
Iloilo Harbor, P. I., January 5, 1899.
ADJUTANT-GENERAL DEPARTMENT OF THE PACIFIC AND EIGHTH ARMY CORPS.
SIR: I have the honor to report the situation as quite serious. The native troops now number over 4,000 well-armed men. There are more than 12,000 armed with bolos and miscellaneous weapons. They are constantly intrenching about the fort and at the mouth of the Iloilo River. I do not allow anyone on shore, as the insurgent commander sent me word that he would not be responsible for our unarmed men in town. * * *
Last evening about 6.40 o'clock, just at dark, while at supper, the captain of the water boat went toward the rear of the boat, where the guard was stationed, and suddenly sprang at the guard with a knife, cut the head of one of the guard through the skull, and the other one on the arm and jaw; the latter was knocked overboard and then struck by the native on the head with an oar. One native then jumped overboard and escaped; the two others were secured. A boat from the ship was lowered and picked up the soldier in the water, who is not badly hurt. The soldier cut on the head is likely to die, but there is a slight hope of his recovery.
I think the longer we wait before attack the harder it will be to put down the insurrection.
The city is entirely at the mercy of the Baltimore, and with her assistance, advancing under her guns and Captain Bridgman's battery, I have no doubt we can drive the insurgents out of the city, but their army will confront us outside. That situation would be intolerable, even if firing ceases. I would therefore recommend that a force sufficient to beat them badly in the open field should be prepared ready to send down, if required, after the city is taken. Let no one convince you that peaceful measures can settle the difficulty here, unless you first settle matters peacefully in Manila and Luzon island.
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The English and German war ships and all other large vessels in the harbor have daily received refugees from the city. Many of the city people with their effects are leaving on small coasting steamers ibr neighboring islands.
Order appears to be maintained in the city, except for Americans who feel humiliated and want to get at them.
M. P. MILLER,
Brigadier-General, U. S. V., Commanding.