Battle of Bud Bagsak
|Battle of Bud Bagsak|
|Commanders and leaders|
|John "Black Jack" Pershing|
|500 Moros||1200, 8th Infantry, 8th Cavalry, 40th Mountain Artillery Battery and Philippine Scouts |
|Casualties and losses|
|200-500 including women and children:240||14 killed
The Battle of Bud Bagsak was a battle during the Moro Rebellion phase of the Philippine–American War fought between June 11 and June 15, 1913. The defending Moro resistance fighters were fortified at the top of Mount Bagsak. The attacking Americans were led by General John 'Black Jack' Pershing. The Moros were entirely annihilated, including their leader, Datu Amil.:228-240
In March 1913, Datu Amil and 1500 warriors negotiated with the Sultan of Sulu and other Moros allied with the Americans, pledging to surrender their weapons.:229 Two months later, having retreated to Bud Bagsak with his entire population of 6,000-10,000 in the Lati Ward, he told the Americans to "come on and fight".:229
Noticing the Moros only fled to Bud Bagsak when provoked by government troops, General John J. Pershing, devised a policy of keeping the troops in their island garrisons in the hopes the women and children would come down from the mountain cottas.:230 At the same time, Pershing secretly landed his force on the coastal town of Bun Bun, three and a half miles from Bud Bagsak.:231 Pershing's force consisted of the 51st and 52nd Companies of Moro Scouts from Basilan and Siasi, besides the Philippine Scouts from Jolo and fifty troopers from the 8th Cavalry Regiment.:231
The horseshoe-shaped volcanic crater, open on the northwest at a knoll called Languasan, was protected by five cottas, Bunga, Bagsak, Puhagan, Matunkup and Puyacabao, ranging from 1,440 to 1,900 feet in elevation.:231
In many other battles in the Morolands, the U.S. Army Colt .45 caliber pistol was tested and perfected as an effective "man stopper" against the Moro fighters, who often fought with berserker tendencies.
But the use of the .45 Colt Automatic In Bud Bagsak is still subject to debate since the first shipment of the .45 Colt Automatic pistols for the Philippines were still in crates in the harbor of New York in the early months of 1913, and the actual date of the arrival of the pistols in the Philippine Islands needs to be verified by researching the ship used to transport the pistols, the date it departed the Port of New York and its arrival in the Port of Manila as well as any and all existing shipping records, up to the moment the pistols were issued to the soldiers. Since no photographic evidence actually exists of an American soldier carrying a .45 Colt Automatic pistol in Bud Bagsak, and unless it is proven that the .45 Colt Automatic pistols were in the hands of the Americans in Bud bagsak prior to June of 1913, the use of the .45 Colt Automatic in Bud Bagsak remains subject to debate.
The real "man stopper" used against the "juramentados" or "berserker" moros may very well have been the Winchester Model 1897 shotgun. This was issued to soldiers in Bud Bagsak.
Pershing made Languasan his first objective as a place for his artillery and to block any escape, sending Major George C. Shaw with Company M of the 8th Infantry and the 40th Company of Philippine Scouts.:232 Pershing also sent Capt. George Charlton and his 51st Moros to attack Matunkup while Capt. Taylor Nichols' Philippine Scouts attacked Puyacabao.:233 By 12:20 PM, Matunkup was in American hands, and earned 2nd Lt. Louis Mosher a Medal of Honor.:234 Puyacabao fell by 12:30 PM.:235 That ended the first day of fighting, 11 June.:235
Early on the morning of 12 June, the American artillery fired on Puhagan while marksmen fired on its interior, killing Datu Amil.:235-236 Pershing then ordered Capt. Patrick Moylan to attack Bunga with the 24th and 31st Scouts, taking it by 1:30 PM.:236-237 Pershing, James Lawton Collins, and a ten man escort scouted Bagsak, which convinced Pershing to bring up his artillery on 14 June and attack from the south.:237
The attack began in Sunday morning fog, 15 June, with mountain howitzers and Charlton's Moros advancing at 9 AM.:238 When the assault stalled, Pershing joined other American officers in the forefront of danger, helping stop a Moro counterattack.:239 The final assault on the cotta occurred at 5 PM and Bagsak was captured after three and a half hours.:239
General Pershing in a letter to his wife, he wrote: "The fighting was the fiercest I have ever seen... They are absolutely fearless, and once committed to combat they count death as a mere incident."
- The New York Times (March 8, 1914) "PHILIPPINE HONOR ROLL. Officer and Six Enlisted Men Likely to Get Merit Certificate"
- "Bud Bagsak (Philippines), Battle of", in Spanish-American & Philippine-American Wars, Jerry Keenan, ed. (ABC-CLIO, 2001) pp52–53