The Philippine-American War has been nearly lost to American History.
In May 1898, Adm. Dewey steamed into Manila Bay and routed
the Spanish Fleet; however, without forces to land, a stalemate
persisted until August 1898 with the Spanish occupying the walled
city of Manila, Dewey occupying the bay, and Filipinos dug in along
the perimiter of the city. After the surrender in August 1898,
American forces began to land in increasing numbers. By autumn,
it was clear the Americans intended to keep the Philippines.
When the initial fighting broke out in early Feb. 1899, there were
already 21,000 US troops on the Islands, by summer there would be
On July 4th, 1902 there was an official declaration ending the
war; however, it would take an additional 15 years before the
fighting would effectivly cease, with the exception of sporatic
skermishes with Moros into WWI.
Many of the unique uniforms used in the Philippines by American
soldiers originate from the early part of the war, at a time when
cotton uniforms were in short supply. Many photos show troops at
ports of embarcation, like the Presidio, wearing their woolen sack
coats, which were unsuitable for the climate of the Philippines.
Anecdotal evidence suggests uniforms were acquired from British Hong
Kong, as well as locally made. These uniforms have certain features
in common, and differ in small details.
This officer's blouse was acquired without the epaulets, that is to
say that I have added them for display purposes; however, they are
consistant in both construction and hardware so as to identify them
as Philippine made by comparing them to known specimens. Dating
these types of uniforms is made difficult by their not conforming to
American specifications. One might assume that by the position
of the upper pockets, that this blouse was made no earlier than 1900;
yet, there is a box pleat on the reverse side that is found only on
1898 uniforms. Moreover, the box pleat is only 1½" wide, and not the
2" as found on first pattern 1898 belted uniforms.