The Reel LM Johnson and Philippine Independence Part Five

Fighting for Aguinaldo

HMS Immortalité, to which the British consul took Johnson and his family.

“You can readily Imagine that after May 1st, Manila was not the most comfortable place in the world for an American. Our house wits constantly watched, but we were not openly abused.

“May 20th, the English Consul, Mr. Rawson-Walker, arranged to take us aboard of the Immortalité. we packed a few things in a hand bag, and taking a closed carriage were soon safely on board the English launch. A half-hour’s run brought us to the Immortalité, and we were kindly received by Capt. Chichester, who offered his launch to take us to the Baltimore, where the United theism Consul, Williams, received us, and then passed us on to the transport Zaifro. We were there made comfortable in her fine saloon. A little later Admiral Dewey sent a launch with a message that he would be pleased to see me on board the flag ship Olympia. I immediately complied with his request. He tendered me very cordial reception and wished to know the state of affairs in Manila. I gave him all the

Zafiro, one of two supply ships bought by Dewey in Hong Kong. Mrs Johnson and daughter were evacuated to Hong Kong, then Shanghai, aboard this vessel.

Information I could, for which he thanked me, and also offered me quarters on the Zafiro or a passage by her to Hongkong, if I wished to go.

“Next morning I called on Gen. Aguinaldo and tendered my service’s. He accepted and offered me the position of chief of ordnance, with rank of Colonel. I then sailed for Hongkong.”

“On arrival (In Hong Kong) I put Mrs. Johnson and baby onboard of the English mail for Shanghai, where they now are. I left the same evening for Cavite by the Zafiro.

“Immediately after arriving at Cavite I reported to Gen. Aguinaldo. and was ” ordered to take command of San Roque Battery, with instructions to shell the church and convent at Cavite Viejo, a small town three miles across Bakor Bay, and which is the birth place of Gen. Aguinaldo, where 253 Spaniards were making a stand. Gen. Aguinaldo was loth to destroy the church as it was the place of his baptism. but as the walls were six feet thick and had been loopholed for rifles. it was impossible to dislodge the Spaniards with small arms, so he gave the order to use the big guns.

Two hours of bombardment by the San Roque Battery of the Philippine Army, under the command of now-Colonel LM Johnson led to the surrender of 253 Spaniards.

San Roque Battery consisted of six 8-inch muzzle loading cannon, nearly fifty years old, only two of which were fit for use. We opened fire at 2 o’clock and by 4 the Spaniards hoisted the white flag, laid down their arms and surrendered unconditionally, leaving their dead and wounded in the chureh. It was a sight beyond description.

“The convent was in ruins; the church still stands, but it is beyond repair. It was impossible for me to stay inside any length of time; six of the Spaniards had been dead for several days and the carcasses of two bullocks they had slaughtered were poisoning the air; the smell was awful. The Spaniards certainly would have died had they been compelled to stay much longer in the church. They had food enough for a week longer and water they had obtained by digging a well in one corner. Rifles and ammunItion strewed the floor, the dead and wounded were lying where they hid fallen amongst the filth and dirt. Taking it altogether it is beyond the power of my pen to describe- the scene, so it must be left to the imagination.”

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Next Part

1: Getting It Wrong

2 Johnson, The Artilleryman

3. The Movie Mogul

4. Watching the Ships Burn

5. Fighting for Aguinaldo

6. The Bloody ‘Mock’ Battle of Manila

8. After The Ball

 

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