Siege of Catubig
|Siege of Catubig|
|Part of Philippine-American War|
|First Philippine Republic||United States|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Domingo Rebadulla †||unknown|
43d Infantry Regiment (PS)
|Casualties and losses|
|~150 killed:233||19 killed
The Siege of Catubig was a long and bloody engagement fought during the Philippine-American War, in which Filipino guerrillas launched a surprise attack against a detachment of U.S. infantry, and then forced them to abandon the town after a four-day siege. It began on April 15, 1900, and lasted four days before the survivors were rescued. The attack was very similar to the Balangiga Massacre farther south of Catubig a year later.
A few days before the battle, the U.S. 43d Infantry Regiment (PS) was sent to Catubig, on the northern part of the island of Samar, to stop guerrillas from getting supplies from suspected sympathizers. This was a time when conventional war in the Philippines had been abandoned and had entered the new phase of guerrilla warfare. The 43rd were relatively raw recruits and had little experience in combat. In fact, they had only been in the islands for four months before they were ordered to Catubig.
On the Sunday morning of April 15, hundreds of Filipino guerillas attacked them, well armed with bolos, pistols, spears, and Spanish Mausers. The guerillas let loose a tremendous volley of cannon and rifle fire that drove the entire regiment into the church.:233
After two days of withstanding withering fire and attempts to set the church ablaze, the Americans decided to retreat to the river.:233 Setting fire to their barracks, the Americans made for the river, but the Filipinos were ready and the American retreat lost all coordination and in the panic 13 were killed and 3 wounded.:233 The American survivors reached the river bank and dug makeshift trenches with their bayonets.:233 The Americans held out for another two days, though the Filipinos were only 100 yards away.:233 They kept the guerillas in check until a rescue party in the steamer Lao Aug came to their aid. The relief force managed to save the survivors under a hail of Mauser bullets, making it back to their base before the guerillas could regroup and attack again.
The bloody battle was reported by the American media, and Maj. Henry T. Allen was criticized for his pacification campaign with its isolated garrisons.:233 Allen the directed that "a proper punishment be effected on the Catubig Valley.":233
Of 36 soldiers of the 43rd, 21 were killed and 8 were wounded, although some sources state the number of killed at 31. The Philippine losses were unknown. U.S. accounts claim as high as 150. The survivors of Company C, who were nearly annihilated during the Balangiga massacre, also claimed extremely high losses on the Filipino side.
- Linn, B.M., The Philippine War, 1899-1902, Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, ISBN 0700612254