|Battle of Santa Cruz|
|Part of Philippine-American War|
Battle of Santa Cruz, Laguna (48th Squadron)
|United States||Filipino rebellion|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Henry W. Lawton||?|
|Casualties and losses|
After defeating the Filipino nationalists at the second battle of Manila, General Elwell S. Otis, commander of the US VIII Corps, sent the 1st Division under Arthur MacArthur to the north to threaten the Filipino capitol at Malolos. At the same time, the 2nd Division under Henry W. Lawton was sent south into the Laguna province, to the Filipino stronghold located in the town of Santa Cruz.
On April 8, 1899, Lawton's division boarded a small fleet on the Pasig River east of Manila and sailed towards Laguna de Bay. The flotilla did not reach the opposite shore of the lake because the pilots were unfamiliar with the river and frequently grounded the boats. At 10:30 a.m. on April 9, landing craft began offloading Lawton's troops south of the stronghold of Santa Cruz. Ashore in the afternoon of April 9, the troops set out for Santa Cruz in a long skirmish line, advancing through driving rain. At 5:45 p.m., the right flank encountered a defense complex of entrenchments and bamboo obstructions, through which they advanced slowly against resistance. After darkness fell, the troops camped in the fields.
Advance on Santa Cruz
Early on April 10, General Lawton personally went ashore and, after cutting the telegraph line into Santa Cruz, advanced the U.S. troops along the main road leading into the town. The road was lightly guarded until the approach to a bridge just outside of the town, which was heavily guarded by the Filipinos. Lawton ordered a charge and a regular battalion supported by Idaho and Washington volunteers routed the local force. In the meantime, the remaining U.S. forces which had not gone ashore the night before were landing under enemy fire just north of the town. These forces drove off the Filipinos on the beach while the gunboats from the U.S. flotilla made short work of the Filipino navy guarding Santa Cruz. That same day, Lawton took control of Santa Cruz as the local units withdrew to Pagsanjan.
While Gen. Lawton consolidated his forces in Santa Cruz, he planned to push on to Pagsanjan where he figured the Filipinos had retreated. After capturing Pagsanjan on April 11, he again defeated the Filipinos in a stiff engagement at the Battle of Paete.
On April 16, Lawton's forces reboarded their transport ships and returned to Manila.
Results and aftermath
Overall, the results of the Santa Cruz expedition amounted to the capture of six launches and the deaths of some 125 Filipino soldiers. After the expedition, Aguinaldo ordered forces an Cavite, Batangas, and Laguna to concentrate at Muntinlupa, tying up manpower south of Manila which might otherwise have gone north. The expedition demonstrated that towns on Laguna de Bay were vulnerable to raiders, forcing local officials to keep their military forces close to home in case of defensive need.
- Linn, Brian McAllister (2000). The Philippine War, 1899-1902. University Press of Kansas. pp. 95–101. ISBN 978-0-7006-1225-3. http://books.google.com/books?id=PSJGPgAACAAJ.
- Linn 2000, pp. 101–102.
- Linn 2000, p. 102.
- Report of an Expedition to the Province of La Laguna, Luzon, Philippine Islands, April 8th to April 17th 1899, Major General H.W. Lawton.
- Linn 2000, p. 103.
- Linn 2000, pp. 103–104.
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