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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: March 27, 2018 01:55 PM
From: Representative Thomas J. Quigley
To: All House members
Subject: Resolution Recognizing the 120th Anniversary of the Battle of Manila Bay
I will be introducing a resolution recognizing the 120th Anniversary of the Battle of Manila Bay. The battle took place on May 1, 1898, at Manila Bay in the Philippines, the U.S. Asiatic Squadron destroyed the Spanish Pacific fleet in the first major battle of the Spanish-American War (April-August 1898).

The United States declared war on April 25, 1898. U.S. Commodore George Dewey (1837-1917), in command of the U.S. Asiatic Squadron anchored north of Hong Kong, was ordered to capture or destroy the Spanish Pacific fleet, which was known to be in the coastal waters of the Spanish-controlled Philippines. On April 30, Dewey’s lookouts caught sight of Luzon, the main Philippine island. That night, under cover of darkness and with the lights aboard the U.S. warships extinguished, the squadron slipped by the defensive guns of Corregidor Island and into Manila Bay. After dawn, the Americans located the Spanish fleet, a group of out-of-date warships anchored off the Cavite naval station. The U.S. fleet, in comparison, was well-armed and well-staffed, largely due to the efforts of the energetic assistant secretary of the Navy, Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), who had also selected Dewey for the command of the Asiatic squadron.

At around 5:40 a.m., Dewey turned to the captain of his flagship, the Olympia, and said, “You may fire when ready, Gridley.” Two hours later, the Spanish fleet was decimated, and Dewey ordered a pause in the fighting. He met with his captains and ordered the crews a second breakfast. The surviving Spanish vessels, trapped in the little harbor at Cavite, refused to surrender, and late that morning fighting resumed. Early that afternoon, a signal was sent from the gunboat USS Petrel to Dewey’s flagship announcing that the enemy has surrendered. Spanish losses were estimated at more than 370 troops, while American casualties were fewer than ten.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this resolution.

Introduced as HR794