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43rd Infantry Regiment (Read 7371 times)
Chris_Schaefer
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43rd Infantry Regiment
Oct 12th, 2006, 2:47pm
 
Dear Sirs:

After reading your History section, I found that there is little information about the early years of the Scouts. I would be interested in any more history you may have about the founding of the Scouts.  Did any American enlisted men serve with them in those early years?

Here is the reason for my interest. My grandfather served in the Philippines sometime around 1899 to around 1905 or 6. On his headstone in Ft. Bayard National Cemetery in Grant Co., New Mexico, his last unit is listed as the 43rd U.S. Infantry. I can find little information on this unit, but it appears it only lasted for about 2 years which it spent in the Philippines. I have found where it was engaged in the battle of Cotubig in 1900. The problem I have is that if my grandfather belonged to the 43rd and it was disbanded in 1901, why is it listed as his last unit if he was not sent the Ft. Bayard Army T.B. Hospital until around 1908?

I have read somewhere that one of the P.S. units was the 43rd.  I am wondering if he could have been a member of the 43rd Infantry after it became a P.S. unit?

Any help you could give me on this would be appreciated.

James T. Billings
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Chris_Schaefer
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Re: 43rd Infantry Regiment
Reply #1 - Oct 12th, 2006, 2:55pm
 
The Scouts were created in 1901 by an act of Congress, in 50 companies of 100 men each, staffed with American officers and locally recruited Filipino enlisted men.  Each Philippine Scout company was recruited and billeted in a specific area where they were responsible for combating Filipino "insurrectos" and maintaining order.  After World War I the Philippine Scout companies were organized into regiments; a cavalry regiment and coastal artillery regiments were added, and the Philippine Division was created.  At this point the Philippine Scouts became the U.S. Army's front line troops in the Pacific.

According to information posted under "WWI Units" on this bulletin board, "In 1917, the [Scout] battalions were further consolidated to form four provisional regiments, designated the 1st through 4th Philippine Infantry (Provisional), and the 1st Philippine Field Artillery (Provisional). These regiments were in turn formally incorporated into the numerical structure of the Regular Army when, in 1920, they were consolidated (on paper) with several inactivated Regular Army regiments formed during World War I and redesignated the 43rd, 45th, 57th, 62nd Infantry and 24th and 25th Field Artillery (Philippine Scouts). Although the 43rd, 62nd Infantry and 25th Field Artillery (PS) were disbanded in 1922 because of the reduction of the army, several of the battalions were used to form the new 26th Cavalry (PS)."  

On paper, the 43rd Infantry Regiment was part of the 24th Brigade (inactive) of the Philippine Division, and was reactivated at Baguio and Zamboanga in 1941 in conjunction with the expansion of Philippine Scout authorized strength from 7,000 to 12,000 troops before World War II.  After the war, the 43rd was part of the briefly reconstituted Philippine Division (12th Infantry Division, "New" Scouts.)  There was also a 43rd Infantry Regiment in the Philippine Army.
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Chris_Schaefer
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Re: 43rd Infantry Regiment
Reply #2 - Oct 15th, 2006, 11:04pm
 
Siege of Catubig, submitted by Richard Johnson

The Siege of Catubig was a long, and bloody engagement fought during the Philippine-American War, where Filipino guerillas launched a surprise attack against a detachment of U.S. infantry, and then forced them to abandon the town after a 4 day siege. It was fought on April 15, 1900, and lasted 4 days before the survivors were rescued. The attack was very similar to the infamous Balangiga Massacre that would happen a year later.

A few days before the battle, the U.S. 43rd Infantry Regiment was sent to Catubig, to try and stop guerillas from getting supplies from suspected sympathizers. This was a time when the conventional war in the Philippines had stopped, and had now gone into the phase of ruthless guerilla war. The 43rd were relatively raw recruits, and had little experience in combat. In fact, they were only in the islands for four months before they arrived at Catubig. They soon would face the grim realities of war.

April 15 seemed like a typical Sunday morning for the regiment, but soon rushing down from the surrounding hills and town itself, came hundreds of Filipino guerillas well armed with bolos, pistols, spears, and Spanish Mausers. The guerillas let loose a tremendous volley of cannon and rifle fire that drove the entire regiment into the barracks.

For two days the regiment withstood a withering fire with a loss of only two men, before their barracks were lit ablaze. Unable to extinguish the fire, they were forced to flee the burning building and face the attackers.

When they reached the outside, the whole regiment lost all co-ordination, and broke up into two groups: One running for some boats on the river bank, and another for the rear of the barracks. All 15 men running for the boats were killed, either cut down in the streets, or shot in the boats. The others made makeshift trenches, dug with their bayonets, and for another two days kept the guerillas in check, until a rescue party in the steamer Lao Aug came to their aid in the nick of time. The relief force saved the survivors under a hale of Mauser bullets, then made it back to their base before the guerillas could re-group and attack again.

The 31 soldiers of the 43rd lost heavily, 21 killed and 8 wounded. The Philippine losses are unknown. Some scources claim as high as 150, but this was more than likely propaganda. The survivors of Company C, who were nearly annihilated during the Balangiga Massacre also claimed extremely high losses on the Filipino side. In reality they lost about 25.

[Richard Johnson maintains an excellent web site on Fort Drum, www.concretebattleship.org]
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Chris_Schaefer
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Re: 43rd Infantry Regiment
Reply #3 - Nov 2nd, 2006, 6:44pm
 
The unit you are referring to is probably the 43rd US Volunteer Infantry, organized for the war in the Philippines but not a Philippine Scout unit.  I do not know of any published unit history but the historical records of the unit are in the National Archives.

John Manguso
Director, Fort Sam Houston Museum
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