The Battle of Paete (Pronounced Pie-tê) was a small battle fought between American forces, commanded by General Henry W. Lawton, and Philippine nationalists on April 12, 1899, during the Philippine-American War.
The United States Army assembled a force of about 220 men to capture the town, and began the march at 2:45 that afternoon. After about a one hour march, the commander of the 1st North Dakota Volunteers, Major Fraine, ordered five men as scouts 100 yards ahead to locate the enemy positions. They soon spotted enemy breast works 150 yards in front of them, manned by 50 or so Filipino fighters. Major Fraine then halted the command and sent a small squad consisting of one corporal and four privates to flank the Filipino positions.
Some Filipino troops were hidden in thick foliage flanking the road, and they opened fire at close range on the small force, quickly dispatching them. Three of the squad members, including Corporal Isador Driscoll, were killed outright and another fell mortally wounded. Only one man was left after the volley, Private Thomas Sletteland, but he managed to drive back the nearest group of Filipinos, who repeatedly tried seize the rifles of his fallen comrades. He was later awarded the Medal of Honor for his role in this battle.
Lawton then deployed the majority of his men to attack and try and turn the flank of the enemy, which they were unable to do. The Americans attacking the front Filipino entrenchments were also unable to move them from their position. The American artillery battery then fired a few shrapnel rounds into the enemy positions, as the gunboat Laguna de Bay pelted the position with Gatling fire, which succeeded in dislodging the Filipinos.
Facing superior numbers and firepower, the Filipinos abandoned their entrenchments and dispersed into the mountains. Lawton's force then went on to occupy Paete with no further resistance. This was also the last battle of the campaign, but it proved to be the most costly.
During the entire campaign, the Americans suffered seven killed and twenty-one wounded. The Filipinos loss is estimated at 100 killed, seventy wounded, and sixty captured, most of which coming from their defeat at the Battle of Santa Cruz.
- Report of an expedition to the Province of La Laguna, (archived from the original on 2008-07-24)
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