The True History of the Battle of manila bay

Go down

The True History of the Battle of manila bay

Post by ThatPuertoRicanFool! on Sun Oct 03, 2010 2:59 pm


Told from the point of view of a amature historian/journalist

The True History of the Battle of Manila Bay
By Booker Dewitt

On the first of May, 1898, the first major battle of the Spanish-American War took place near Manila in the Philippines. The actual naval engagement lasted for seven hours and resulted in a total American victory. The U.S Asiatic Squadron, consisting of only nine ships, of which only six were actually engaged, gave battle to a fleet of eight Spanish warships. The Spanish suffered severe losses that included eight ships sunk, 161 dead, 210 wounded, and the eventual loss of the Philippines to the United States. The U.S suffered no battle casualties and only nine wounded, with only one death due to heat stroke. This is how history mainly remembers the battle, which on this date, May 1st, 1903, took place exactly five years ago. I have decided to look further into this largely unexplored aspect of that splendid little war. Were all familiar with the heroic charge of teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders at San Juan Hill, but not many of us knew or cared about what was happening over in the pacific, actions that decided the course of the war well before The U.S Army even made landfall in Cuba. This is the true story of the events surrounding the battle of Manila Bay.

On my journey to discover the true history of Manila Bay, I searched for veterans of the battle, men whose experiences would help piece the puzzle together. The first of these men I had the privilege to talk to was a man by the name of George Enos, a sailor who served on the USS Olympia, the flagship of the U.S Asiatic squadron under the command of Commodore George Dewey. Enos and I talked about the war over a few drinks in a saloon in Boston. “What really happened in Manila Bay?” I remember asking him. Mr. Enos looked at me and replied “What happened? I’ll tell you what happened Mr. Dewitt. We took Manila in seven hours and destroyed the Spanish fleet without a single casualty. But I don’t think we were victorious based solely on our own actions.”The ex-Navy man paused to take a gulp from his beer. He resumed” I think the incompetence of the Spaniards played a large part in our victory. They sent inexperienced boys over to do a man job. And that job was war”

Being quite confused by the former sailor’s statement, I couldn’t help but ask him “But why would the Spanish do that?” Upon seeing the quizzical expression on George Enos’s face I explained.”Why would the Spanish send inexperienced troops to defend such an important colonial possession?” Enos nodded and answered “Because they knew they would lose the Philippines anyway. The only reason they even bothered to fight at all was to save face. It was a matter of pride for them. They weren’t just going to let us waltz right in there.”He went on “But that’s just my opinion. You’d have to ask a Spaniard who was there to get the full story” He proceeded to laugh, as if he had told a very funny joke. By the number of empty mugs on the table and the glazed look in his eye, He probably had, as far as he was concerned. I got up from the table and offered my hand.”Mr. Enos it was a pleasure making your acquaintance. But I intend to do exactly as you suggest. Good day” George Enos took my hand “Likewise Mr. DeWitt, Likewise. As for finding a Spaniard who’s willing to talk, I wish you the best of luck.”Mr. Enos laughed again. I tipped my hat and proceeded to leave the saloon, with the sound of merrymaking fading behind me.

Resolved to uncover the truth and with Mr. Enos’s advice still fresh in my mind, I traveled to Spain in the hopes of finding a veteran. I stayed in a hotel in the port city of Barcelona and would regularly frequent the cantinas to see if I overheard any war stories. One day I happened to overhear a group of rugged looking men talking about the Reina Cristina, the flagship of the Spanish fleet at Manila bay. Recklessly curious, I got up from my table and walked over to theirs.”You men served on the Renia Cristina, correct?”I knew next to no Spanish and by the confused, suspicions looks I got, not many of them knew English. There was a long awkward silence. Feeling like I had made a fool of myself, I began to walk away, until one of them called “Si Senor, I served on that Ship. Vienen, sit down with us and share a drink.”I obliged the Spaniard’s request and took a seat at the table. The Spaniard who had spoken asked in reasonably good English “What is your name, Mr.?”I replied “Booker DeWitt. And yours?” “Mi nombre es Joaquin Delgadillo, and like I mentioned earlier, I served aboard the Renia Cristina as helmsman of the ship.” Answered Delgadillo. He went on “I served directly under Admiral Montojo during the battle. Let me tell you what it was like.” And over the next two hours, he did.

I returned to home full of new insight. After a lengthy conversation with Spanish Helmsman, I realized that there was much truth to what George Enos had told me back in Boston. According to Delgadillo, Admiral Montojo had been dispatched rapidly to defend the Philippines with a number of obsolete vessels which were seriously undermanned with inexperienced sailors with next to no gunnery or naval training. The Spanish admiral’s request for reinforcements resulted in two poorly armed scout ships. The Admiral also had placed his ships well beyond the rage of the Spanish land fortress’s guns, which may have balanced the battle in Spain’s favor. The Spanish also were surprised when Commodore Dewey attacked at night. They expected he would attack the following day, as they considered Manila Bay could not be navigated at night by the Americans. All of this combined to create an unavoidable catastrophe for the Spanish at Manila Bay. Poor decisions made by the Spanish cost them the battle more than anything else, just like George Enos and Joaquin Delgadillo had said. The Battle of Manila Bay was won not only by American skill and bravery, but by Spanish ineptitude.

ThatPuertoRicanFool!
Minion

Male Number of posts : 28
Registration date : 2010-09-27

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: The True History of the Battle of manila bay

Post by Ruski on Sun Oct 03, 2010 3:16 pm

When I read the title, I expected the "fight" that occured at Corregidor Island in Manila Bay.

Instead, I got a battle that occured 40+ years in the past Razz
avatar
Ruski
Minion

Male Number of posts : 1218
Age : 23
Location : Canton, Ohio
Registration date : 2009-07-02

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: The True History of the Battle of manila bay

Post by ThatPuertoRicanFool! on Mon Oct 04, 2010 5:09 pm

Ruski wrote:When I read the title, I expected the "fight" that occured at Corregidor Island in Manila Bay.

Instead, I got a battle that occured 40+ years in the past Razz
lol

ThatPuertoRicanFool!
Minion

Male Number of posts : 28
Registration date : 2010-09-27

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: The True History of the Battle of manila bay

Post by Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum