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Battle of Paye
Part of the Philippine-American War
DateDecember 19, 1899
LocationPaye near San Mateo, Morong (now Rizal), Philippines
Result Filipino victory
 First Philippine Republic  United States
Commanders and leaders
First Philippine Republic Licerio Gerónimo United States Henry Ware Lawton
200 Filipino riflemen 140 men of US 15th infantry regiment
Casualties and losses
unknown 14 killed, 15 wounded

The Battle of Paye was a battle during the Philippine-American War between the United States and the Philippines. It was fought on December 19, 1899, near San Mateo in Morong (now Rizal) between the forces of General Henry Ware Lawton, and 200 Filipino riflemen under General Licerio Gerónimo. Lawton was killed in the battle, and his attack was repelled, making the Battle of Paye the final confrontation between Lawton's company and Gerónimo's. Lawton was the highest-ranking American commander to die in the Philippine conflict.


The battle began while Lawton and his men were en route to San Mateo and received fire from Filipinos under the cover of dense jungle and secure trenches in the town. Very few of the Filipinos were even visible.

Lawton's forces dug in and engaged in a fierce fire-fight. A team of Filipino sharpshooters known as the "Tiradores del Muerte" ("Marksmen of Death") set up position 300 yards (270 m) away. Having shrugged off cautionary warnings from his officers, Lawton walked up and down the line, rallying his men. A sharpshooter shot Lawton and killed him instantly.

The death of their commander was a terrible blow to Lawton's men, who took scores of casualties without successfully retaliating. Part of the reason that they could not dent the Filipino positions was that, as a Filipino rifleman fell dead or wounded, a large number of bolomen[Clarification needed] were ready to take his rifle and keep a steady stream of heavy fire. When they eventually withdrew, it took almost a day to bear Lawton's body through thicket and mud to Manila, for funeral rites at Paco Cemetery. Lawton is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.


Before his death, Lawton had written in a formal correspondence, "Taking into account the disadvantages they have to fight against in terms of arms, equipment and military discipline, without artillery, short of ammunition, powder inferior, shells reloaded until they are defective, they are the bravest men I have ever seen..."

The Filipinos rejoiced as their enemy retreated. It was their first victory. The Morong Command also had victory in other battles against the Americans. The riflemen who fought in the battle included Colonel Maximo Abad, who later led Philippine forces to victory in the Battle of Pulang Lupa.

Lawton's command suffered around 14 killed, including himself and 15 wounded.

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