MILLER TO OTIS, JANUARY 6, 1899
HEADQUARTERS FIRST SEPARATE BRIGADE, EIGHTH
ON BOARD TRANSPORT NEWPORT,
Iloilo Harbor, P. I., January 6, 1899.
The Adjutant General,
Department of the Pacific
and Eighth Army Corps.
I have the honor to report the arrival here this morning of Colonel Potter with the instructions of the President on a small slip of paper which he brought, and oral instructions from the Commanding General to me.
I have been careful not to do anything to bring on conflict, for three days i have had no interview with the insurgents. Three days ago, I sent to the Governing Committee, R. Lopez, President, a copy of the letter of instructions of the President, and asked that they permit the entry of my troops. No answer has been received, and I expect none. I had copies of the President's instructions translated into Spanish, distributed to the people in different ways and am informed that the people laughed at it. The insurgents call us cowards and are fortifying the old fort at point of peninsula, and are mounting old smooth bore guns left by the spaniards; two of them are said to be eight-inch guns. They are entrenching everywhere. They are bent upon having one fight and are confident of victory. As I informed you in my letter yesterday, I believe now we can capture the city with our forces now present and with the assistance of the Navy, without the loss of much life and without much destruction of property, and should we destroy it all, I believe it would be of advantage to the city, as a newer city would be built up soon. The character of the natives, having been under the subjugation of Spain so long, is such that once well punished they will submit to fate. The people are superstitious, believing in fate, and now believe that fate will give them victory.
We are entirely shut off from intercourse, and can make no purchases. I have seized upon a water vessel, a large scow, and a small steamer; the insurgents have not protested. My difficulty is in manning these vessels as we cannot trust natives. I am making details of enlisted men which depletes the strength of the command. Boatmen should be sent out from the united states to run steam tugs and launches, and the natives sent adrift: there is no trusting them; with their, employed the guard has to he larger than the crew.
My recommendation is to attack them here, take possession of the city; then bring down the necessary force to whip them well at Molo and Jaro, their two strongholds, both within three miles of Iloilo. With our artillery machine guns properly supported, it can be done with but a little loss of life, the insurgents have sent a party to Cebu to raise there a military organization to frighten us away from there. They believe a show of force is enough to stand the American cowards off. For the present i shall remain on the defensive but ask permission to attack this place at the earliest moment. If we are successful it will relieve Manila. The strength of the insurgents is about as given in my letter of yesterday, four thousand armed with lilies and twelve or fifteen thousand with bolos and other weapons.
(Signed) M. P. MILLER,
Brigadier General U.S. Volunteers.