Tin Can Camp

By Joseph I. Lambert, Major, Second Cavalry
Copyright 1939 Commanding Officer, Second Cavalry, Fort Riley, Kansas
Capper Printing Company, Inc.

PIOn January 10, 1912, Troops A and C, Second Cavalry, along with two companies of Philippine Scouts, were sent from Siet Lake Camp to establish a new camp further toward the interior, to be known as Tin Can Camp. When they reached Mt. Urut, about eight miles from the lake, they were fired upon by hostile Moros. The attack lasted about two and one-half hours, during which time the firing came from all around the troops. Due to the tenacity of the attack, Captain W. O. Reed, representing the governor of the Moro Province, decided a new camp could not be supplied with the present force available and ordered the troops back to Siet Lake. Lieutenant O. A. McGee and one private were wounded, and from friendly natives it was reported the hostiles lost thirty killed.

Troops A and C started again to establish Camp Tin Can on January 14 as a part of a force which included four companies of Philippine Scouts. The two troops of cavalry acted as escort for the pack train and marched some distance in rear of the main body. After a march of about two hours toward the southeast, the cavalry came upon the Scouts, who were driving hostile Moros away from their front, which was located on the southwestern end of Urut Mountain. After the Scouts drove the enemy away from the pass, Troop A escorted the train on to the camp, which was only about two miles distant. Troop C and one company of Scouts remained at the pass in order to keep it in their possession for the return trip. While awaiting the return of the train, they were constantly engaged with the Moros. The train having been unloaded, it returned to the pass, escorted by Troop A. The two troops of cavalry and company of Scouts then marched back to Siet Lake with the empty train. There was intermittent firing on the way back, as a result of which two hostile natives were known to be killed.

Captain Chapman, Second Cavalry, made a march with Troops A and C and one company of Philippine Scouts as an escort to the pack train from Siet Lake to Tin Can Camp January 17, 1912. It was met near Mount Urut by two more companies of Scouts, which were to assist in escorting the train through the mountain pass. The Moros attacked at this place as they had done so many times before, but they were driven off, leaving six killed and two captured.

Most of the natives of this area were friendly to the Americans, and even assisted them to capture the incorrigible element of the population. The friendly people were also used as envoys to treat with the unfriendly ones. Among the leaders who surrendered in January, 1912, was Daud, who gave up at Tin Can Camp where there had been so much fighting. Later this chief escaped and was killed by Philippine Scouts on February 11, 1912. Another leader who gave much trouble in this area was Iman Pasian. He ran amuck in Tin Can Camp March 7 and was captured by the troops.

Meanwhile, the second squadron was on active duty on the island of Mindanao. In the early part of February, 1912, Troop E was encamped at Bucon near Camp Overton to protect the Americans against a threatened attack of Moros. While on duty at Momungan in February, Troop G furnished an outpost on Tiradores Hill and a detachment of twenty men to garrison the town of Pantar. Troop H did escort duty along the Keithly trail during February and March.

Troop F took the field on February 7, 1912, marching from Camp Overton, Mindanao, dismounted, in search of hostile Moros along the coast of Panguil Bay. The search was continued by crossing the bay in native boats to the town of Misamis. Later in the month two camps were established by the troop on the Liangan River, from which patrols searched the country for hostile Moros. In March the troop established a containing line twenty-two miles long to prevent the outlaws from moving about in the area. Stations were established at Fort Almonte, Hollands Mill, and Pangayauan, from which patrols were sent out to cover the line. On March 16 the troop was shifted to a new position at Munay, from where outposts and patrols were on duty for a distance of eleven miles. A special patrol under Lieutenant Snyder encountered hostile Moros at Pulyap on March 25 and killed two of the outlaws.

In May, 1912, the regiment received orders to return to the United States. The transport Warren picked up the second squadron at Camp Overton May 4, and sailed for Jolo, where the remainder of the regiment embarked two days later. At Manila they were transferred to the transport Logan and sailed May 15 for San Francisco, where they arrived June 9, via Nagasaki, Japan, and Honolulu, T. H. From here they traveled to Fort Bliss, Texas, for station, where they arrived June 13.

Before leaving the Philippines, Colonel West received the following telegram from Brigadier General Pershing, commanding the Department of Mindanao:

Upon your departure from the Philippines, please accept my thanks for the very loyal and efficient services performed by you and the officers and men of your regiment since your arrival in this Department, especially during active operations of the past year against hostile Moros. I should consider myself fortunate to have again your splendid regiment a part of my command.

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