First Nebraska Volunteer Infantry defending outskirts of Manila on opening day of Philippine Insurrection, February 4, 1899.
Nebraska National Guard Historical Collection
1899Manila, Luzon, Philippine Islands - Filipinos under the leadership of their general, Emilio Aguinaldo, launch a wave of attacks along American defensive positions outlying the city. The "Philippine Insurrection" has begun. When the U.S. entered the Spanish-American War in April 1898 over Cuban independence, little thought was given to Spain's other overseas colonies. Among them was the Philippines, which the Americans seized with little effort or loss of life in July 1898. By early 1899, as the Americans granted independence to the newly freed Cubans, it was decided to annex the Philippines as a colony. But many of the local people also wanted their freedom from foreign control and rose to fight for it. The bulk of Army forces then serving in the islands were Guardsmen in units from: CA, CO, ID, IA, KS, MN, MT, NE, NV, ND, OR, PA, SD, TN, UT, WA, WY. While the war would last until 1903, the Guards' role in it ended in autumn 1899 as the last of the volunteer units returned home. However, enough Guardsmen volunteered to stay on active duty that two regiments of infantry were organized. These remained in action until the Insurrection ended in 1901. Only one Guardsman received the Medal of Honor during the Spanish-American War, but 15 earned it during the Insurrection.