Coincident with these campaigns against Hassan (in the Philippines), the 28th Infantry commenced operations in the vicinity of Taraca in Mindanao. Guerilla conditions prevailed. The troops established a fortified camp close to the disturbance area and sent out an outpost composed of Sergeant Stevens and Privates Bowser, Burke and Kiethley.
The men of the outpost cleared a small area in the dense jungle and settled down to an heroic and terrible sentry duty. In the early morning hours, the rush came. Twenty krismen leaped from the jungle. In the first savage attack, all of the men except Private Kiethley were hacked to death on the kris. Kiethley received a terrible wound.
This young American soldier performed an almost impossible feat of valor. Gathering the rifles of his dead mates, he fell back slowly, pouring a steady and accurate fire to keep the Moros at bay. For three-quarters of a mile, he fought off the rushes of the krismen, reaching the post with the four rifles, to fall at last before the awful slashes of the kris.
Young Kiethley's experience was duplicated by hundreds of American solders during the course of the Moro campaigns. The Taraca campaigns were ones of close and desperate work against a bush that was alive and slew suddenly, without warning. These early campaigns accomplished nothing, for the destruction of one Moro band was followed by the springing of another across the mountain range. The fighting was terrific and deadly, for it was veiled by a screen of almost impenetrable jungle. The silence of the night was disturbed by the scream of the juramentado and the cutting of tent ropes. The dawn showed a camp of fallen tents with the canvas stained red by the slashes of the kris.
CO H 28TH US INF
- DATE OF DEATH: 11/14/1903
- BURIED AT: SECTION 13 SITE 14624
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard