MILLER TO OTIS, JANUARY 8, 1899
HDQRS. FIRST SEPARATE BRIGADE, EIGHT ARMY CORPS,
ON BOARD TRANSPORT NEWPORT,
Iloilo Harbor, P.I., Sunday, January 8, 1899 - 2 p.m.
ADJUTANT-GENERAL DEPARTMENT OF THE PACIFIC AND EIGHT ARMY CORPS.
I have the honor to report, for the information of the major-general commanding,
that the situation here is not improving since my last report. I have not landed
the Fifty-first Iowa on the island opposite to Iloilo, as two boat crews of troops of
the Fifty-first Iowa landed on the 5th instant, and were met by over 75 to 100 natives
armed with various weapons, rifles, shotguns, and knives, who asked them their
business and warned them off with threats of bringing out more troops if they did
not go away. The men of the regiment are well, and the colonel does not desire to
land under such circumstances of hostility. The insurgents are still at work
fortifying; last night they sunk four mud scows at the mouth of the Iloilo River to prevent
passage of our Navy. This did not annoy us, as the Petrel's place for action, if we
have one, is undisturbed. The city is so completely under the control of the
warships of the Navy that we are indifferent as to what the insurgents do. When the
time comes nothing can save insurgents in the city but flight. The subject most
disturbing to our American minds is the fact that a Dutch ship is loading with sugar;
who shall collect the duty is a question. Captain Evans and I discussed the
question last evening without conclusion. The duties will amount to $5,000, quite a
snug sum, with which the insurgents will be able to buy machine guns, etc., if we
leave them alone. Other ships arriving will add more and more to their revenues.
The port ought to be closed if it is a practicable thing, after due notice to foreign
governments. We need here two good steam launches capable of towing a line of
rowboats rapidly for landing purposes. We can not get them here without seizing
them, and the good ones are under the protection of foreign flags.
As to the insurgents yielding to the order of the President and allowing
occupation, it will not be done unless the central government at Malolos directs them to
do so. If we have to fight at Manila and here, I should think it better to strike
the first blow here, as, with the assistance of the Navy, result in our favor can
scarcely be doubted.
M. P. MILLER,
Brigadier-General, U.S.V., Commanding