MILLER TO OTIS, DECEMBER 31, 1898
The correct date below should be December 31, 1898.
General Miller's next report is dated December 31, and was received on January 2. It is as follows:
HEADQUARTERS SEPARATE BRIGADE,
Iloilo Harbor, P. I., December 30, 1898.
DEPARTMENT OF THE PACIFIC,
Manila, P. I.
Sir: I have just concluded second conference with commission representing the native government at Iloilo. They submitted a communication, copy inclosed herewith.
This communication was supplemented by verbal statements that if we insisted on landing our troops, but without arms and as friends, they could not answer for the attitude of the people, but that the army would endeavor to restrain the people. if we landed in force they would not answer for attitude of either army or people. This means, plainly, armed resistance to our landing.
A large number of native troops have been brought to the city within the past thirty-six hours. Best estimate 12,000, 2,500 of which are armed with rifles, the remainder being armed with bolos only. Their ammunition supply reported limited.
The situation is further complicated by petition of Iloilo merchants, representing the larger part of mercantile interests there, copy of which find herewith.
I understand, General, that it was at the request of many of the parties signing this petition for protection of life and property at Iloilo that this expedition was organized and dispatched to this point; that their request was largely its justification. Their present attitude contradicts their previous petition in a measure, and as the situation, if forced by me by a landing of united states troops, promises great loss of life among non combatants and destruction of private property at Iloilo, I have deemed it best to delay compliance with my orders for a sufficient time to communicate the above information to you and receive your instructions. I am further influenced to this delay because of the fact that before making the formidable attack upon Iloilo now necessary, it would be incumbent upon me to give the usual notice looking to the removal of noncombatants to points of safety.
I entertain no doubt of my ability to take and hold Iloilo with my present force, but in view of excitement prevailing among inhabitants of the city and island as reported to me, and the large number of people assembled in the city, it might be prudent to send an additional regiment to this point.
Two steam launches suitable for towing rowboats for use in landing troops are much needed.
M. P. MILLER,