A few days later the Dictatorial Government was removed to the house formerly occupied by the Spanish Civil Governor of Cavite, because, owing to the great number of visitors from the provinces and the rapid increase of work the accommodation in the private house was wholly inadequate and too cramped. It was while quartered in the first mentioned house that glad tidings reached me of the arrival at Cavite of the long-expected arms expedition. The whole cargo, consisting of 1,999 rifles and 200,000 rounds of ammunition, besides other special munitions of war, was landed at the very same dock of the Arsenal, and was witnessed by the U.S.S. “Petrel.”
I immediately despatched a Commission to convey to the Admiral my thanks for the trouble he had taken in sending to hurry up the expedition. I also caused my Commissioners to inform the Admiral that I had fixed the 31st May as the day when the Revolutionary Forces should make a General attack upon the Spaniards. The Admiral returned the compliment by sending his Secretary to congratulate me and my Government upon the activity and enthusiasm displayed in preparing for the campaign, but he suggested that it was advisable to postpone the opening of the campaign to a later date in order that the insurgent troops might be better organized and better drilled. I replied to the Admiral through his Secretary that there was no cause for any anxiety for everything would be in perfect readiness by the 31st and, moreover, that the Filipinos were very anxious to free themselves from the galling Spanish yoke, that they would therefore fight and my troops would make up for any deficiency in discipline by a display of fearlessness and determination to defeat the common enemy which would go far to ensure success, I was, I added, nevertheless profoundly grateful to the Admiral for his friendly advice.
I promptly gave orders for the distribution of the arms which had just arrived, sending some to various provinces and reserving the remainder for the revolutionaries of Kawit, the latter being smuggled into the district of Alapang during the night of 27th May.
The First Triumphs
The next day (8th May, 1898), just when we were distributing arms to the revolutionists of Kawit, in the above mentioned district a column, composed of over 270 Spanish Naval Infantry, appeared in sight. They were sent out by the Spanish General, Sr. Pena, for the purpose of seizing the said consignment of arms.
Then it was that the first engagement of the Revolution of 1898 (which may be rightly styled a continuation of the campaign of 1896-97) took place. The battle raged from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., when the Spaniards ran out of ammunition and surrendered, with all their arms, to the Filipino Revolutionists, who took their prisoners to Cavite. In commemoration of this glorious achievement I hoisted our national flag in presence of a great crowd, who greeted it with tremendous applause and loud, spontaneous and prolonged cheers for “Independent Philippines” and for “the generous nation”—the United States of America. Several officers and Marines from the American fleet who witnessed the ceremony evinced sympathy with the Filipino cause by joining in the natural and popular rejoicings of the people.