Manila. P. I., December 28, 1898.

Brigadier General Marcus P. Miller, U. S. Vols.,
Commanding 1st Separate Brigade, 8th Army Corps,
Iloilo, P. I.


Lieutenant Colonel Potter has just arrived and reported the situation at Iloilo. He reports the evacuation of the city by the spanish forces and that the insurgents are in full possession. He further reports that those authorities were anticipating your arrival, and that there was a widely prevailing sentiment in the city in favor of receiving your forces without resistance. All of this, Colonel Potter informed me, he made known to you when he consulted you yesterday, on his return trip.

To meet this state of affairs your instructions need modification, although it is believed that you will grasp the situation as presented and be governed by conditions. Your instructions bid you to be "conciliatory, but firm;" and, further, that you will not make any great display of force, but seek to gain possession of the city through peaceable negotiations, not exercising undue haste: that, "should you fail to secure a peaceable entry into the city, you will report fully your proceedings to these headquarters and lequest further instructions."

By firmness and conciliatory action it is believed that you will be able to land your force without conflict; but you will make as strong a display of the same as possible, landing them and taking possession of the city forcibly, if more pacific measures are without avail. It is of course necessary now, in this stage of the proceedings, to occupy iloilo, and the manner of doing so must be left to your discretion, avoiding conflict if possible, but accepting it if necessary to accomplish the object.

Information received here is to the effect that the insurgent forces are weak in strength, even when united: that they are not united, but are divided in their sentimentts toward the United States Government, the majority being friendly disposed.

No further instructions can be given you and there is no disposition to limit your discretionary action. Conduct affairs in accordance with the demands of the situation, having in view always the necessity of occupying the city with your troops.

Colonel Potter will return, as soon as you report to him the situation, unless you wish to retain him for a short time to acquaint him with results of action already taken or action which you meditate.

Very Respectfully,

(Signed) E. S. Otis,
Major General, U. S. Volunteers,


Since writing the above I am in receipt of information from the Malolos government, which was gathered yesterday. Its former cabinet resigned a few days ago because of its inability to agree with Aguinaldo and his confidential advisers. A new provisional cabinet has been appointed, consisting of men hostile to American annexation, among whom are a number of army officers. These men are closely watching the results of your expedition and greatly hope that you will be obliged to use force to gain Iloilo. They think that conflict there would inspire the people here to take up arms against the americans. It is therefore still quite necessary to avoid force if you can do so and still succeed.

E. S. Otis, Major-General, etc.