MILLER TO OTIS, DECEMBER 28, 1898
HDQRS. FIRST BRIGADE, EIGHTH ARMY,CORPS,
ON BOARD TRANSPORT NEWPORT,
Iloilo Harbor, P. I., December 28, 1898 — 3 p. m.
Department of the Pacific and Eighth Army Corps.
Sir: I have the honor to report that my command arrived in the harbor of Iloilo about 10 a. m. to-day. The Arizona and Pennsylvania were left at Point Luzaron, 30 miles away. The Baltimore and Newport anchored off the city.
An aid of the commanding general, Martin Delgado, immediately reported aboard my ship. I gave him an interview. He reported that the commanding general desired to know "if we had anything against them - were we going to interfere with them?" I informed him that i had written a letter stating to his commanding officer and the people of Iloilo the object of my visit, and would send the letter over. accordingly, Lieut. M. K. Barroll, Third Artillery, and two volunteer aids and the commission went to visit the commanding general. They were met by a subcommittee, of the committee of which R. Lopez was president, General Delgado being present. My aids gave them my letter (a copy inclosed). They wanted to know of Lieutenant Barroll almost at the very first whether he had any instructions for them from Aguinaldo. He answered no: but that the instructions were from Major-General otis, commanding the Philippine Islands United States forces. After reading the letter they claimed that they had no power to act in cases affecting their federal government, but promised to meet me on my ship to-morrow afternoon.
When we entered their flag was flying from two places in the city. At 3 p. m. today it was not flying. I presume this was because my letter claimed the authority of the Spanish Government over Iloilo, as it was abandoned by the Spanish troops.
They were polite, but i think them determined not to give us control, except "we use force, when they will yield without much fighting. They have taken charge of the custom-house and post-office. They know that our troop ships are off Point Luzaron, therefore i ordered them in to-night—not nearer than 6 miles.
The city is quiet, but the white citizens, especially americans, are afraid. Their force is estimated at 800 well-armed men, 1,000 badly armed men, and 1,000 men with guns, pikes, etc.; ammunition not supposed to be abundant.
Lieut. M. K. Barroll
I am told now that the members of the commission are afraid to express an opinion in our favor. The fact that their people are in possession of the city has changed the views of the many wavering ones. The longer they remain in possession collecting customs, running post-offices, the more they will be confirmed in the idea that they can do it. I should recommend that force be used at once, in which case i desire the Callao, or some other light-draft boat, and the california heavy artillery battalion sent down till the place is taken. With the forces now here and that in addition i would not expect to fire a single shot, as the native troops would move out. i will keep you informed.
M. P. MILLER,
Brigadier-General, U. S. V., Commanding First Separate Brigade.