Memorial Day is fast approaching! It’s a day for remembering the people who go out and actually DO something and acknowledge their service along with the physical risks and the political abuse heaped upon them. In keeping with my blog’s theme of addressing items that slip through the cultural cracks I’m showcasing a few of the Congressional Medal of Honor winners from the neglected war fought in the Philippines from 1899 to 1902.
HIRAM BEARSS (Correct spelling) – This Captain won the Medal for his actions on November 17th,1901 during a battle at the confluence of the Sohotan and Cadacan Rivers in Samar. Bearss led his men in a surprise attack on the enemy positions in the fortified cliffs. Relying mostly on bamboo ladders the Captain and his troops drove their opposition from their entrenched positions, literally “charging uphill” against enemy fire.
They also had to contend with the countless booby-traps lining the hills, many of which had been in place since the Spanish- American War of 1898. Those deadly traps took the form of pits, poison- tipped spears, trip-sprung vine nets loaded down with literally tons of stones and many others. The opposition in the caves honeymooning the cliffs needed rooting out as well with various forms of death lurking around every twist and turn in the caverns.
Following that Bearss and his men kept up their advance, seizing gunpowder and arms in addition to food and other supplies before driving the enemy forces out of their secondary positions in the cliffs. The U.S. forces had never penetrated so far before. Bearss went on to serve in World War One.
FRANK L ANDERS – Corporal Anders served in the storied unit remembered as Young’s Scouts. He was decorated for actions taken on May 13th, 1899 in Luzon. The Corporal and ten other Americans stormed 300 – yes – THREE HUNDRED – of the enemy and, in a case of truth REALLY being stranger than fiction, they attacked so ferociously they drove their hundreds of foemen into retreat. Anders and his men went on without waiting for the supporting battalion. This action saved countless lives which would have been lost if it had come to a full frontal assault on the enemy in the position now claimed by the Corporal and his men. Anders’ father had served in the Union Army during the Civil War.
CHARLES G BICKHAM – Bickham was serving as a First Lieutenant in the 17th Infantry at the time of his actions. Originally serving in the Philippines during the Spanish- American War Lieutenant Bickham was among the U.S. forces who remained behind and saw action in the Philippine War that followed.
Bickham’s Medal of Honor moment came on May 2nd, 1902. During the Battle of Bayong in Mindanao Charles was recognized for escorting a wounded fellow soldier across a field being torn apart by close enemy fire in order to get the injured man to a medical station. Bickham served in the Army until 1910.
OTTO BOEHLER – Back to Young’s Scouts for another Medal of Honor winner! Private Boehler was awarded for his actions near San Isidro on May 16th, 1899. In another of that unit’s escapades that sound like wild moments from fictional war movies Otto and 21 other members of Young’s Scouts stormed across a burning bridge and, their exact numbers obscured by the smoke and flame, managed such a ferocious attack that they dislodged SIX HUNDRED of the enemy from their entrenched positions. It is not known if they shouted”WA- HOOO!”
ANTHONY CARSON – In mid- April of 1900 Corporal Carson of the 43rd Infantry was forced by the deaths of his superiors to assume command of his unit at Catubig in Samar. Carson presided over the defense of his position for the final 2 days of the 4-day attack. Cited for his “untiring efforts and the exercise of extraordinary good judgement” in organizing what was left of the unit after the first 2 days. Corporal Carson’s actions saved the lives of untold numbers of his comrades in the face of the superior forces that had killed the higher command. He was praised for ensuring the survival of many of the men wounded during the long and bitter action as well. m
GEORGE BIEGLER – Staying on defense as opposed to offense now this Captain won his Medal of Honor for his actions near Loac on Luzon in the Philippines on October 21st, 1900. Biegler and less than two dozen men held their position against approximately 300 of the enemy. In later years George Biegler served in the search for Pancho Villa in Mexico.
FOR THE TOP FOUR FORGOTTEN WARS IN AMERICA’S HISTORY CLICK HERE: https://glitternight.com/2013/05/21/the-top-four-forgotten-conflicts-in-american-history-2/
FOR THE TOP 14 U.S. NAVAL BATTLES OF WORLD WAR ONE: https://glitternight.com/2013/05/25/the-top-forgotten-u-s-naval-battles-of-world-war-one/
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