John Henry Asendorf in uniform The War Diary of John Henry Asendorf
The Story of a Pennsylvania Volunteer during the Spanish-American War in the Philippines and the Philippine American War

Regimental History of the 10th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers

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The Tenth Regiment Infantry, National Guard of Pennsylvania, composed of companies in the counties of Beaver, Washington, Greene, Fayette and Westmoreland, under the command of Colonel Alexander I. Hawkins, who was the senior regimental commanding officer in the National Guard of Pennsylvania, reported at Mt. Gretna on April 28, 1898, in compliance with the orders of the Governor, and for the purpose of volunteering in the service of the United States in the Spanish-American War. This regiment, like all others of the National Guard of Pennsylvania at that time, was paraded for inspection and muster, the officers and men indicating their intention as to volunteering. Immediately thereafter and prior to the muster-in of the regiment, the several companies were recruited to seventy-five, enlisted men, and the muster-in of the regiment in the service of the United States was completed on May 12, 1898.

The regiment remained in camp at Mt. Gretna and on May 17, 1898, orders from the War Department directed the movement of the regiment to Chickamauga Park, Georgia. While preparations were being made for this movement, the order was countermanded and another order issued on May 18; directing the regiment to proceed to the Philippine Islands as part of the command of Major General Wesley Merritt. In compliance with these orders the regiment left Mt. Gretna at nine o'clock P. M., May 18th, destined for San Francisco, California, there to embark on transport for the Philippine Islands. The regiment arrived at San Francisco on the morning of May 25th and went into camp at Camp Merritt. While in San Francisco the regiment was fully equipped, and on the afternoon of June 14th embarked on the U. S. Transport "Zealandia," as part of the expedition to the Philippine Islands, under the command of Brigadier General Francis V. Greene, United States Volunteer

The regiment arrived in Manila Bay, Philippine Islands, on July 17, 1898;. On July 21, the regiment disembarked and went into camp at "Camp Dewey," six miles south of Manila. The interval between July 21 and July 31st, was devoted to building entrenchments. A new line of entrenchments was made out shortly after the arrival of the Tenth Regiment, and this line was sufficiently finished on July 31st to furnish excellent protection to the troops. On the morning of July 31st the Tenth Pennsylvania was detailed for outpost duty, the term being twenty-four hours. During the day of July 31st nothing unusual occurred; there was no movement of any kind made by the enemy, but that night about eleven o'clock the Spanish forces opened fire upon the United States troops from four pieces of artillery at Fort Malate. Colonel Alexander Hawkins, commanding the Tenth Regiment, on August 18, 1898, forwarded to the Adjutant General of Pennsylvania a report covering the operations of the Tenth regiment from July 31st, to August 12th, 1898. inclusive, and this report is published herewith, as follows:

Manila, Philippine Islands,

August 18, 1898.

Brigadier General Thos. J. Stewart, Adjutant General of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, Pa. :

Sir: On the morning of July 31st, my regiment being detailed for outpost duty, seven companies, to wit: A, C, D, E, I, H and K, occupied the most northern entrenchments of the American army, about four (4} miles south of Manila. Company B being posted to guard a road about two miles in rear of and to the right of our main body, was not subsequently engaged in the action of the balance of the command in the advanced line. The other troops in the advanced line consisted of a detachment of four guns and thirty-two men of batteries A and B, Utah Light Artillery, Lieutenant Gibbs and Grow respectively. The entrenched line at this time extended from the Bay east about two hundred and fifty yards ending at the east side of the Alavit and Manila roads. Major ,H. a. Cuthbertson in command during the, day placed the Second Battalion, composed of co.'s A, C, H and I. Major Everhart Bierer commanding, and the Utah Light Artillery in the entrenchments, and Co.'s D and E, of the First Battalion, in re serve about two hundred yards ill the rear of the centre of the advanced line:. Co. K position was about the same distance in rear of right of line, and east of the Manila road, and it furnished outpost. and picket from a point seventy-five yards east of its position, and in a curved line to the north and west, the most westerly outpost being probably sixty feet to the right of the Manila road and about the same distance north the prolongation of the entrenched line, with picket posts to the front in the small brushy timber. Between the right of our defensive line at the Manila road, and the outpost was a piece of bamboo growth, extending north and almost impenetrable for a body of troops. A second reserve composed Battery H, 3rd U. S. Light Artillery, armed as infantry, composed of one hundred and seventy-four men, was posted at the intersection of the Manila and Pasai roads. and at the Pasai about three-quarter miles to our rear. During the day there was no movement or firing of tiny account from the enemy or our forces, our troops being engaged in strengthening their works about eleven o'clock P. M. the enemy opened a heavy fire of shell from four pieces of artillery, which continued for half an hour, but caused no material damage to our works nor causalities to our troops; he then advanced a heavy line of infantry, firing by squads, until within about four hundred yards of our line, when halting, he delivered many volleys, from the entire line, continuing about three hours.

When this volley firing continued about half hour the enemy evidently removed a part of his line from the extreme right at the beach, and again opened fire from two pieces of artillery with shell and shrapnel.

The causalities to our troops behind our entrenched line during the entire engagement were one man killed and four wounded. About 11.30 P. M., the enemy advanced a line of infantry toward a point east of and in prolongation of our entrenched line, with the evident intention of turning our right flank. Seeing this danger, Major Cuthbertson, withdrew the pickets and outposts, advanced the reserve and made this position as follows: co: K, Captain Crago, about sixty feet to the right of the road (eastern end of entrenched line), left resting on a dense thicket o,f heavy bamboo; line extending east of entrenched line; Co.'s E, J. Loar, and D, Captain F. B. Hawkins, prolonged this line to the right in order named. When this new line had been placed in position the enemy, firing heavily, had advanced to within two hundred yards of the same; our troops met this advance with continuous volley firing, checking his movement at about two hundred yards from our front. Being indisposed I was not present with the command until the heavy firing warned me that my command was engaged in battle. I then went to the front with twenty-eight men of the regimental guard, of whom nine were members of Co. B. On my arrival on the battle line at 11.45 o'clock P. M., Major Cuthbertson informed me that he had just been reinforced by half of Battery H, 3rd U. S. Art., Lieutenant O'Hara in command; they were placed in position near the right of our entrenched line, and rendered most excellent service. About 12.15 o'clock A. M. August 1,st, Battery K, 3rd U. S. Art., Captain O'Hara in command arrived, and was posted near the centre of our line , Co. I of my command then formed a double line on the extreme right of our entrenchment. When passing Brigade Headquarters on my way to the front, General Greene suggested my sending an officer for additional ammunition. Lieutenant Scott, Bat. Adjt., was charged with this duty, and acted so promptly, that when our supply was alarmingly low, we were fully supplied.

The battle continued without much abatement until about 1:30 o'clock A. M., when the enemy retired from our extreme right; about this time a battalion of the 1st Cal. Inf., sent by Gen. Greene as reinforcements, arrived; one of these companies, A, was posted on the left of our line at the beach, the other three. With a detachment of Bat. H, 3rd U. S. Art., relieving Co.'s D, E and K of my command on the right. About 2 o'clock A. M. the enemy again opened fire with artillery and occasional volleys from the infantry, in our direct front until three o'clock P. M., when our troops returning volley for volley, the enemy retired and all firing ceased. In this engagement I estimate that not less than one hundred thousand rounds of ammunition were expended by the enemy, and about sixty thousand rounds by our troops, the 10th Penna. alone using thirty-seven thousand rounds. The causalities behind the entrenched line were small, while in the three unprotected companies about one in tour were either killed or wounded. In this engagement there was six killed and twenty-nine wounded.

The troops engaged in this action are to be highly commended for their bravery, many of them were under fire for the first time; of those of the 10th Pennsylvania probably not over fifty per cent had ever been in action; of the other troops I have no knowledge; but all stood like veterans, never yielding an inch from their position. I desire, however, to especially speak in terms of highest praises of the gallantry displayed by the officers and men of companies D, E and K, placed in a most dangerous and unprotected position, attacked by a vastly superior force; they held the line assigned to them for over two hours, and when relieved, in an orderly manner, brought their dead and wounded comrades to a place of safety. The officers and men of the detachments from Batteries A and B, of the Utah Light Artillery, were cool and collected in action, and nobly acted the part of model American Soldiers. I particularly appreciate and our troops are very grateful for the promptness with which the officers of Batteries Hand K, 3rd U. S. Art., marched their commands to our relief, and the fearless manner they performed their duty, as at that time not over one thousand rounds of ammunition remained in our entire force. To Colonel Smith and his battalion of the 1st Cal: Inf., sent to our assistance by General Greene, we owe much; their timely arrival, prompt and intelligent action, saved our weakened right, and made our resistance sure. While every officer promptly and fearlessly performed their duty, Major H. O. Cuthbertson is entitled to much credit for the able manner in which he made disposition of the troops and the gallant soldierly qualities he displayed as commander during the main part of the engagement. The hospital of the command in charge of Assistant Surgeons Coffin and McCormick, was established about two hundred and fifty yards in rear of the line near the beach; the selection was unfortunate, as its position was in the line of fire, yet I am pleased to report that while the entire medical corps were under fire, with no adequate appliances for comfort and no lights but candles, the wounded received the necessary aid, and the lives of at least five of the wounded were saved by the faithful promptness of the hospital corps. From August lst to morning of the 13th, the 10th Penna. performed its share of ()outpost duty, entrenching as detailed at various times, without any incident worthy of mention; being on such duty for twenty-four hours, ending on the morning of this date, we were relieved at the entrenchments by the 1st Colorado and 18th U. S. Inf., at 7.30 A. M., receiving orders to return to camp, furnish the command with two days cooked rations, two hundred rounds of ammunition per man, and take post in reserve at crossing of Manila and Pasai roads, with the notice that an advance of the army on Manila was ordered and that our position was in rear of 1st Nebraska Infantry; at 9.30 o'clock A. M., a bombardment of the fortifications of Manila was begun by the American fleet, and at 10.30 the reserves started for the front. On arriving at our advance entrenchment, we saw the white flag of surrender floating over Manila; following the beach, we entered Manila via Malata and Ermita, meeting no resistance of any moment, probably fifty shots being fired at my command in the latter town without damage to our troops. Very respectfully,

Signed A. L. HAWKINS,


The following general order was issued by Brigadier General Greene:

Headquarters, Second Brigade, U. S.

Camp Dewey, near Manila

General Orders,

No. 10.

The brigadier general commanding desires to thank the troops engaged last night for the gallantry and skill displayed by them in repelling such a vigorous attack by largely superior forces of the Spaniards. Not an inch of ground was yielded by the Tenth Pennsylvania Infantry and Batteries A and B, Utah Light Artillery, stationed in the trenches; the Battalion, Third U. S. Artillery and First Regiment California Infantry, moved forward to their support through a galling fire with the utmost intrepidity. The courage and steadiness shown by all in their first engagement are worthy of the highest commendation. The dead will be buried with proper honors under the supervision of regimental and battalion commanders at 3 o'clock today, on the yard of the convent near Maricaban.

By Command of Brigadier General GREENE,


Assistant Adjutant General.

From August 14th, 1898, until February 4th, 1899, the companies of the Tenth Regiment, except companies A and B, performed guard patrol and outpost duty in and around the city of Manila. Companies A and B under the command of Major Cuthbertson were on December 1st, 1898, ordered to change station to Corregidor Island to guard the convalescent hospital.

On February 5th, a general advance was ordered, the Tenth Pennsylvania being directed to advance upon and capture the Chinese hospital, from which they succeeded in driving the enemy after a stubborn engagement. The advance was continued in the afternoon of this day, the regiment driving the enemy from the De la Lorna church and blockhouse. Here the command was halted and the Division Commander indicated a position to be occupied by the regiment, and upon which point they built an entrenchment and occupied the same until March 25th. Colonel Hawkins makes the following report of the operations of the command from the evening of the 4th to that of the 10th, inclusive :,

Headquarters Tenth Pennsylvania Infantry, U. S. A.,

In the Field, near Caloocan, February 17, 1899.

Lieutenant Phil. W. Russell, Acting Adjutant General's Office 1st Brig., 2d Division, 8th Army Corps: Sir: In compliance with instructions from Headquarters First Brigade., dated February 10, 1899, I have the honor to make the following report of the operations of this command from the evening of the 4th to that of the 10th instant, inclusive.

At 10.15 P. M., on the 4th instant, I was notified by the Brigade Commander that an attack was being made by the Insurgents on our line of outposts, and I was directed to move four companies of my command, namely, D, E, Hand K, and place them on the line previously selected and which was occupied by sixty of my men under Lieutenant Buttermore as an outpost. This was promptly done. Company C being left on Calle de Iris to patrol same, and Company I, by order of the Brigade Commander, was sent to Brigade Headquarters to guard the same and streets adjacent thereto. Companies A and B were on special duty at Corregidor Island at this time under command of Major H. C. Cuthbertson. When my troops arrived on the line, I found the outposts had sustained a heavy oblique fire from Block House No .4 and from a considerable force stationed at the Chinese Hospital, directly in our front. At this time no advance had been made by the enemy and no casualties resulted from his fire, the outpost being well protected in the rear of dykes in the rice field. Soon after our arrival the cross fire from the Block House ceased and a heavy fire was opened from the Chinese Hospital and other buildings on its flanks. I sent out a line of skirmishers in command of Lieutenant Blaine Aiken, and disposed of my main line in rear of dykes behind the advanced line. During the night the enemy made two advances on our lines in considerable force, but they were easily checked by our line of skirmishers. Just at the gray of dawn the enemy made a somewhat determined advance in force, which was also checked by the advance line. Our main line did not fire a shot during the night. After daylight I asked Captain Grant, commanding the Utah Battery stationed at or near the Chinese cemetery on the Flamboyant road, to shell the hospital and line in my front line. I desired to make an advance. After a half hours firing of shell and shrapnel, I signaled "cease firing," and advanced my entire line rapidly on the enemy's position. He replied with heavy volley firing, but when within three hundred yards of his line I ordered a charge, and when our troops were within two hundred yards of his line he made a precipitate retreat. The fire of the enemy was very high and wild, and the only casualties at this time were one man slightly wounded in the hand and one man shot through the right lung.

After our possession of the Chinese Hospital and Sangleyes Road, I believed that our line was too far to the right and extended it about one hundred and fifty yards to the left, which I subsequently found to be a mistake, as there, was an interval between the right of our line and the left of the First South Dakota. I ordered all the "shacks" which the enemy had occupied burned on the flank of the Chinese Hospital. After observIng the direction of the fire of the enemy and the strong position held by them, and believing that this position was not a safe one to hold, I ordered my regiment to continue its advance to the front through a valley immediately in front of said hospital. We advanced about six hundred yards and were met by a heavy fire from the Insurgents from the Red Church, to the left of the Chinese cemetery, and from the bushes and old Spanish breastworks on the ridge to the right. A stand was made at this place. Major Everhart Bierer, who was in command of my left wing, was wounded here and forced to retire. At this I realized that my right was unprotected and the interval between my right and the left of the First South Dakota was too great. I sent Lieutenant Colonel James E. Barnett, with Companies E and H of this command; to extend our right, who in a few minutes sent an orderly notifying me that his force was insufficient to close the interval. Captain Grant, with two pieces of the Utah Artillery, a few minutes before this had arrived on the Sangleyes road and with one piece from the road opened fire on the Red Church over our heads, but failed to check the fire. In a few minutes both pieces were moved about one hundred yards from Sangleyes road up to the road leading to the Red Church. About this time I moved my command by the right flank from the valley to the ridge on the right and posted them along the wall of the Chinese cemetery. A survey of the situation disclosed the enemy in strong force in our immediate front at and near the Chinese White Church de la Lorna and along the brow of the ridge to the left and south of !!arne. This line was also connected from the right of the Chinese White Church to the Red Church above referred to. The enemy appeared to be in strong force, but much stronger at the Chinese White Church and on the ridge to its left than on the line extending to the right and ending at the Red Church. The artillery now opened a heavy fire on the Chinese White Church de la Loma and ridge to the left and continued for fully a half hour. I then moved my command inside the Chinese cemetery, formed a new line facing the church and ridge to its left, and ordered an advance. Major J. F. Bell, of the Engineer Corps, reporting to me on. the line, I assigned him to command of my left wing, and during the subsequent advance and operations of my command he rendered most valuable service, and I desire to say that for the conspicuous gallantry and bravery displayed by him he is entitled to the highest commendation. Our line advanced, firing, in the face of a galling fire from the enemy, and when within about three hundred yards of their line a charge was ordered which swept him from his position and he retreated rapidly to the north by way of the stone block house north of the Chinese White Church de la Loma. The center of our force reached the wall enclosing this church, advanced inside the enclosure sufficiently far to discover that no troops were lodged In the building, and I then divided my force, the left passing around to the west side and the right to the east side. At this the Lieutenant Colonel Barnett. in command of our right, composed of Companies E and H of the Tenth Pennsylvania and one company of the First Montana, together with a detachment of the First South Dakota under command of Colonel Frost, marching obliquely to the left, arrived on east side of the church wall. In command of my right I passed around the northeast corner of the walled enclosure and with my left wing surrounded the block house above referred to, from which the enemy was just retreating. I then formed a line north of the block house facing Caloocan, this line being prolonged to the right by Colonel Frost with a detachment of First South Dakota. At this point we were ordered to halt by the Division Commander and while firing at the retreating enemy. No further advance was made by this command. Major General MacArthur, Commanding Second Division, indicated a line to be occupied by the troops of this command, which extended from the tower in the rear of the church in an easterly direction, slightly inclined south, which has been strongly intrenched, and since the evening of the 5th instant we have remained passive in this position. I desire to speak in the highest terms of praise of the gallantry displayed by the officers and troops of this command. They were subordinate and obeyed every order with intelligent alacrity. I especially desire to commend the gallant conduct of First Lieutenant Blaine Aiken, Company H, and First Lieutenant George L. Gordon, Company K, of this command, who, during the operation of this date, were in command of the advance firing line of my command. Their cool, courageous conduct and cheering words were an inspiration to the troops under their command. Captain H. J. Watson, whose Company (B) is stationed at Corregidor Island, arrived in Manila on business in the afternoon of the 4th, instant, and when this command was ordered to the front he desired an assignment for duty. First Lieutenant James Harkins, Company E, being Acting Quartermaster and Commissary, and Second Lieutenant John G. Thompson, being sick, he was assigned to duty with Company E, and performed most excellent service. On Friday, 5th instant, we buried forty-two of the enemy's dead found in front of our line, including one field officer, one captain and one first lieutenant. In addition three wounded Insurgents were captured and taken to the rear, where they received the care of our surgeon~s, and one unwounded Insurgent was taken and turned over to our authorities in the walled city.

On March 25th, 1899, the Second Division, to which the Tenth Regiment was 'attached, began an advance to the north, the Tenth Regiment occupying the extreme left of the Second Brigade. The regiment pursued the enemy until dark, when Lieutenant was ordered at the Tuliahal river for rest and supper. After supper the regiment marched two and one-half miles to a position in the line which had been established for the night. On March 26th, the command still advanced, the Tenth Regiment capturing the village of Obando and town of South Meycauayan, which they held during the night. On the morning of the 27th, the regiment was placed in reserve. A spirited engagement took place during the day and at dark the regiment was moved from the town of Marilao and across the river to the firing line. It halted there for the night and next morning took up the march to Malolos, which was reached on March 31st. Here the regiment remained, performing Outpost and guard duty until April 14th when it was ordered to Manila. Upon reaching Manila orders were received to proceed at once to Cavite and relieve the 51st Iowa Infantry, which regiment was on garrison duty at that place. Colonel Hawkins was appointed to the command of the military district of Cavite, which he relinquished on account of illness on May 11, 1899, and went to Convalescent Hospital. Upon the recommendation of Colonel Hawkins, Lieutenant Colonel Barnett was placed in command of the District and retained it until July 1, 1899. The District of Cavite embraced the Island of Corregidor, and the troops of the District consisted of the California Heavy Artillery acting as infantry, the Nevada Cavalry, the Wyoming Light Artillery, and the Tenth Pennsylvania Volunteers. The Tenth Regiment, with the exception of companies A and B, was quartered in the town of Cavite and performed guard and patrol duty. On May 14, 1899, companies A and B, which had been relieved from duty at Corregidor Island, returned to the regiment. From April 15th until the 28th of June, the regiment was called up to furnish scouting parties and to reconnoiter the country about Cavite, often meeting with the enemy and securing most valuable information.

On June 22nd, orders were issued by the Commanding Officer of the Department, directing the regiment to embark on the transport "Senator" for the United States for muster-out of the service at San Francisco, California., but owing to the delay in the arrival of troop's that were to relieve the Tenth Pennsylvania, their departure was delayed until June 29th and 30th. All property had been turned in to the Department at Manila, and the regiment sailed on July 1st for San Francisco, California. The voyage home was through a part of Japan, stopping at Nagasaki, remaining there for five days; touching next at Yokohama, at which place the members of the regiment were given shore leave.

Colonel Alexander Hawkins, commanding the regiment, died on board the transport "Senator" at sea on July 18th. His remains were viewed by the regiment for the last time on the afternoon of July 19th. From the time of his death on July 18th, until the arrival of the transport in the Bay of San Francisco on August 1st, the ship's flag was carried at half-mast, and was a mute signal that conveyed to the waiting populace the bereavement that the regiment had undergone in the death of its commanding officer. The regiment disembarked on August 3rd. On August 5th the funeral services were held in the Masonic Temple at San Francisco in honor of the distinguished dead, after which the remains were sent under proper escort to Washington, Pa., the home of Colonel Hawkins. The regiment went into camp immediately upon disembarking at Camp Presidio and preparations were made immediately for the muster-out of the regiment, which occurred on August 22, 1899, after a service of sixteen months. Preparations were made for an enthusiastic welcome to the command on the part of the city of Pittsburg, and a committee from that city was sent to San Francisco to accompany the regiment on its return trip. A special train of three sections was provided, and on the morning of August 28th the regiment arrived at New Brighton, Pa., where it was accorded a splendid reception and given breakfast, after which they proceeded to Pittsburg, arriving there about two o'clock , and receiving a most enthusiastic welcome participated in by the military and civic organizations, the President of the United States, the Governor of Pennsylvania, Major General McFritt and Brigadier General Greene, both of whom had been the regiment's commanders in the Philippine Islands. The closing exercises, reception and welcome were held in Schenley Park, Pittsburg, after which the several organizations composing the Tenth Regiment, Volunteer Infantry, proceeded to their several home stations.

Source: Record of Pennsylvania Volunteers in the Spanish-American War, 1898, Thomas J. Stewart, Adjutant General, 1900.

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