Attack at Siet Lake

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

PIWhile making a practice march to Siet Lake, Jolo, Troops B, I, K, M, and M.G. Platoon were attacked in camp at 1:45 a.m., October 17, 1911. On a very dark night the Moros approached the camp armed with barongs or large native knives and spears. They escaped the vigilance of the sentries by hiding in the tall cogan grass until the sleeping men could be reached unobserved. The attack was made upon the cooks while asleep by their kitchen fires which were under a tree a few yards from the main line of tents. In the melee which followed two men were killed and four wounded. Lieutenant Coppock killed one of the Moros in a personal encounter while holding a lighted candle in one hand in order to see where to fire.

The Adjutant,
Camp Siet Lake,
Augur Barracks, Jolo, P.I.
October 17, 1911.

Sir: I have the honor to report that about 1:45 a.m. October 17th, Moros stealthily approached the camp of Troops B, I, K, M, and Machine Gun Platoon, 2nd Cavalry, evidently by hiding in the high grass and armed with barong and spear attacked the cooks while asleep near their kitchen fires.

Cook Barnes, Troop M, was badly cut in several places, wounds very severe. Cook Gordon, Troop M, sleeping with Cook Barnes, was also attacked and received a severe cut on the knee. Q.M. Sergeant Homilius, Troop K, was sleeping near by and it appears was awakened by the attack on the cooks, and evidently got up and went to their assistance. He received a severe spear wound below the chest and ran back about a rod calling and awaking First Sergeant Crahan and Sergeant Steubner, Troop K. The Moro came to the latter’s tent fly, a spear in hand. They fired, and he (the Moro) fell to the ground wounded. Private Donovan, Troop K, in the melee also, received a very slight spear wound. Cook Gordon fired two shots in the dark at a Moro who had gone in the direction of the fly of First Sergeant Crahan, Troop K, who received a slight wound in the leg below the knee. At this hour the night was very dark, the troops turned out, but there was no firing in general, except shots to give the alarm, and four shots fired by Lieutenant Coppock, who finished the Moro. He, the Moro, was found at the edge of one of the Cook’s tents, by Lieutenant Coppock with rifle in hand crouching on the ground badly wounded in the leg. The Moro had picked up the rifle after losing both his barong and spear.

Q.M. Sergeant Homilius, Troop K, died in about one quarter hour.

The Cooks were assembled under a large tree, together, about two rods from the line of men’s tents and opposite the center.

Each organization had one sentinel on post.

A non-commissioned officer of the guard who was ordered by me to remain on the alert at the cooks tent, except when inspecting his sentinels, had left the cooks tents less than a minute before the attack for the purpose of inspecting the sentinels.

A check of the arms was made, and none were found missing.

Proper precautions had been taken but the night was very dark before the moon rose about 2:00 a.m.

Very respectfully,
(Signed) C. E. HAWKINS,
Captain, Second Cavalry, Commanding.

There was sporadic firing and attacks with bolos on the nights of November 24, 25, and 26 while Troops A, C, and D were camped at this same Siet Lake. The Moros usually crept into camp and then made a sudden attack with spear and barong. The insurrectionists were driven from the camp without loss of life.

The third squadron under command of Major M. F. Steele, Second Cavalry (author of American Campaigns), marched to Siet Lake December 2, 1911, a distance of twenty-four miles from Augur Barracks, Jolo. Hostile Moros were encountered and fired upon during this march.

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