Today in Texas History – March 3

From the Annals of the Forgotten War – In 1899, the U.S. Congress authorized the formation of the Thirty-Third Infantry Regiment which came to be known as the “Texas Regiment.”  The 33rd was formed for combat to serve in the Philippine-American War (also known somewhat pejoratively as the “Philippine Insurrection”) – a conflict that is sometimes referred to as “America’s Forgotten War.” The PAW was a conflict between the First Philippine Republic and the U.S. that was essentially a continuation of the war for Philippine independence that had begun in 1896 against Spain.  The U.S. came into possession of the Philippines as a result of the Spanish-American War.  At the conclusion of the SAW, the nascent Philippine republic was dissatisfied with the terms of the Treaty of Paris which officially transferred possession to the U.S. and declared war on the U.S. on June 2, 1899.   The PAW was especially brutal and resulted in the deaths of between 200,000 and 250,000 civilians as well as the disestablishment of the Catholic Church as the state religion and the imposition of English as the official language of government, education and commerce.

The 33rd regiment was organized at Fort Sam Houston.  Approximately one-third of the officers and enlisted men were from Texas.  The 33rd served in the Philippines from October 27, 1899, until March 2, 1901 and was in action at the battles of Magnataram, Tirad Pass, Vigan, and Taguidin Pass.  Some of the soldiers chose to remain in the Philippines to serve with the Philippine Constabulary which continued to fight pockets of resistance until the final defeat at the Battle of Bud Bagsak in June of 1913.

Manila after U.S. shelling.

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