CHAPTER IV. The Revolution of 1898

I returned to the McCulloch to give directions for the landing of the luggage and war materials which I brought over with me from Hongkong. On my way to the McCulloch I met several of my old associates in the 1896 revolution who had come over from Bataan province. To these friends I gave two letters directing the people of that province and Zambales to rise against the Spaniards and vigorously attack them.

Before returning to the Arsenal and when near the landing place I came across several bancas [large open boats] loaded with revolutionists of Kawit (my birth-place) who told me they had been looking out for me for about two weeks, the Americans having announced that I would soon return to the islands. The feeling of joy which I experienced on the occasion of this reunion with my own kith and kin - people who had stood shoulder to shoulder with me in the desperate struggles of the 1896-97 revolution - is simply indescribable. Words fail to express my feelings - joy mingled with sadness and strong determination to accomplish the salvation, the emancipation, of my beloved countrymen. Hardly had I set foot in the Naval Headquarters at Cavite, at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, than I availed myself of the opportunity to give these faithful adherents orders similar to those despatched to Bataan and Zambales.

I was engaged the whole of that night with my companions drawing up orders and circulars for the above mentioned purpose.

We were also kept very busy replying to letters which were pouring in from all sides asking for news respecting the reported return of myself to the islands and requesting definite instructions regarding a renewal of hostilities against the Spaniards.

That the invisible, albeit irresistible, hand of Providence was guiding every movement and beneficently favouring all efforts to rid the country of the detestable foreign yoke is fairly evidenced by the rapid sequence of events above recorded, for in no other way can one account for the wonderful celebrity with which news of my projected return spread far and wide.

Sixty-two Volunteers, organized and armed by the Spaniards with Mausers and Remingtons, from San Roque and Caridad, placed themselves under my orders. At first the Americans apprehended some danger from the presence of this armed force, which was promptly placed on guard at the entrance to the Arsenal. When I heard of this I went down and gave them orders to occupy Dalajican, thereby preventing the Spaniards from carrying out their intention to approach Cavite by that route.

When the Americans were informed of what I had done they were reassured, and orders were given to the Captain of the Petrel to hand over to me the 62 rifles and ammunition which Admiral Dewey had kindly promised. About 10 a.m. the Petrel's launch landed the arms and ammunition in question at the Arsenal and no time was lost in distributing the arms among the men who were by this time coming in ever increasing numbers to offer their services to me and expressing their willingness to be armed and assigned for duty at the outposts and on the firing line.

During the evening of the 20th May the old Revolutionary officer Sr. Luciano San Miguel (now a General in command of a Brigade) came to me and asked for orders, which were given to him to effect the uprising of the provinces of Manila, Laguna, Batangas, Tayabas, Bulakan, Morong, Pampanga, Tarlak, Newva Ecija and other northern provinces. He left the same night to execute the orders.

During the 21st, 22nd and 23rd and subsequent days of that month my headquarters were simply besieged by my countrymen, who poured into Cavite from all sides to offer their services in the impending struggle with the Spaniards. To such an extent, indeed, were my quarters in the Arsenal invaded that I soon found it necessary to repair to another house in the town, leaving the place entirely at the disposal of the U.S. Marines, who were then in charge of and guarding Cavite Arsenal.