There are two famous quotes from the Philippine-American War which I presume were originally in Spanish. Does anyone know what the original quotation in Spanish was?
Gregorio Del Pilar [presumably in Spanish but I guess could also have been in Tagalog?]:
"The General has given me the pick of all the men that can be spared and ordered me to defend the Pass. I realize what a terrible task has been given me. And yet I feel that this is the most glorious moment of my life. What I do is done for my beloved country. No sacrifice can be too great."
Licerio Geronimo [almost certainly in Spanish]:
"Dear Madam: I am indeed very sorry to have caused the death of your beloved husband, but like him, I have also a duty to my country."
Furthermore, the account of American war correspondent Richard Henry Little mentions the following about Del Pilar at Tirad Pass:
"...heard his voice continually during the fight, scolding them, praising them cursing, appealing in one moment to their love of their native land and the next instant threatening to kill them if they did not stand firm"
So what language did Del Pilar use here? I assume a combination of Spanish and Tagalog? Since otherwise how could the American reporter even understand him...
Post by insurrectomad on May 29, 2011 8:48:20 GMT -5
One must take everything written by Richard Henry with a pinch of salt as his "observation" of Gen. Greg. Del Pilar was a romantic fabrication according to the 8 filipino survivors, one of which was his batman charged with holding his horse. The Gen. spent most of the battle at the top of the hill and ordered his men to cease firing to let the smoke clear enough for him to see what was happening. Still unable to see too much due to his kneeling in the long grass, he rose up to poke his head above it. Some americans had already gained the high ground to the flank by stringing their gun slings and belts together to assist their climb. one took a shot at Greg. and the bullet passed through his neck, killing him. His horse was still at the top of the hill and there was no secret pathway or native guide acting as traitor. Given that most of his men most likely came from humble stock, speaking in Spanish would not guaranty the men would understand his commands. Henry was following the tradition of the "Dime a Novel" reporting used in covering the Wild Western stories. None of items reputed to have been taken from the corps has ever come to light or been offered at auction in the USA. In Manila's Nat. Hist. Museum I saw 8 years ago 3 triangle shaped silver buttons still attached to a scrap of rayadillo cloth. The notice said " taken from the body of Greg. Del Pilar at Tirad Pass" by an American soldier and later given the the museum. The Problem with that is his men say he wore his new Khaki uniform on that day. Maybe some can confirm this? ---David
David, I have read this account long before about Del Pilar getting killed early or during the battle from a headshot as he poked his head slightly above the grasses.
Anyway I seriously doubt Richard Henry's account simply because how on earth would he know what Del Pilar's voice sounded like? It could easily have been any other of Del Pilar's lieutenants or sergeants barking orders throughout, wouldn't any Filipino's shouting voice sounded the same to an american in those days?
Newspapermen and reporters did tend to "color" their writing with late 19th or turn of the century sensibilities to make a more interesting read, dotted with quotable quotes and romantic prose.
Nevertheless, I find that what may have been more close to the actual truth would be more astonishing because if Del Pilar did die early or in the middle of the engagement, that would mean his men kept on fighting even without their "beloved" commander. I mean, that unit of Filipino soldiers in Tirad Pass had 100% dedication to duty. They didn't run or call it quits once they realized Del Pilar was killed, even if it must have certainly affected their morale.
Secondly, if Del Pilar was a casualty during the early or middle of the battle, it means the men who were left stayed in their positions and fought to end until they themselves were killed. Otherwise, they would have never left Del Pilar's body and all his effects within the scene.
But then naturally if Del Pilar was among the last to die, then any effort to deny the enemy of his body and effects would be out of the question.
So there would be two lines of thought here, either.....
1) The men fought heroically to the death because Del Pilar was there to to keep them "in line", until such time he had no more men and decided to ride a horse to attract the last enemy bullet and die a "heroes' death", (so the credit mainly would go to Del Pilar) or....
2) The men by themselves fought heroically and to the last, even without their commanding officer, such being a testament to the individual discipline of each lowly soldier and dedication to their mission, even unto death.
Last Edit: May 31, 2011 1:16:49 GMT -5 by RayAdillO