Army Earthquake Operations
An Attack on General Funston, by Henry Anderson Lafler
Gen. Funston Museum, Iola, Kansas
Frederick Funstons Kansas Speech
"The Story of My Capture... ." by Emilio Aguinaldo
Emilio Aguinaldo photograph courtesy of
Völkerkunde (Institute of Social Anthropology), University of
Frederick N. Funstons
service record compiled in 1903 by the Adjutant Generals Office.
Born in Ohio, September 11, 1865
Entered the service as:
Colonel, 20th Kansas Volunteer Infantry, 13 May,
Appointed Brigadier General, U.S. Volunteers, 1 May,
Appointed Brigadier General, U.S. Army, 1 April, 1901
S e r v i c e :
Commanded his regiment en route to and at San Francisco, California to
October 27, 1898, when he sailed with it for the Philippine Islands, arrived
Manila Nov. 30, and served there-into September 3, 1899, being in
command of the 1st Brigade, 2d Division, 8th Army Corps, May 22 to July
He was absent sick and on leave, September 3 to December 26, 1899.
In command of the 3d Brigade,
2d Division 8th Army Corps January 5 to April, 1900; the 4th District,
Department of Northern Luzon, to September, 1901, during which period
he was frequently in the field in active operations, and in the capture of
Aguinaldo, March 23, 1901.
Sick in Hospital and on sick leave, to April 10, 1902.
Commanding Department of the Colorado to March 18, 1903, and
commanding the Department of the Columbia since March 23, 1903.
He was awarded the Medal of Honor, February 14, 1900, for most
distinguished gallantry in action at Rio Grande de la Pampanga, April 27,
1899, when Colonel, 20th Kansas Infantry, in crossing the river on a raft
and by his skill and daring enabling the General Commanding to carry the
enemys entrenched position on the north bank of the river and
with great loss from the important strategic position of Calumpit.
Recommended by Major General [Arthur] MacArthur for brevet of Major
General of Volunteers for gallant and meritorious services throughout the
campaign against Filipino insurgents from February 4 to July 1, 1899.
March 28, 1901, General MacArthur cabled, describing the capture of
Aguinaldo on March 23, 1901.
The transaction was brilliant in conception and faultless in
credit must go to Funston who, under supervision of General Wheaton,
organized and conducted expedition from start to finish. His reward should
be signal and immediate.
"In 1902, General Wheaton said: I am under great obligations to
Brigadier Generals * * * Funston who have since my last
report, at various
places, held command within the territorial limits of the Department. Their
able and energetic execution of all operations committed to them has my
highest commendation... .
Adjutant Generals Office,
Washington, July 22, 1903.
Before Gen. Funstons assignment to San Francisco and the
California, he was the object of Mark Twains venom and ridicule in
May 1902 North American Review article, A Defence
of General Funston.
The Twain article appeared at about the time Gen. Funston spoke in
Denver, and criticized those who did not support the war in the
Philippines. A small article appeared in the April 21st Washington, D.C.,
newspaper about Funstons speech.
GAMBLE IN COUNTRYS BLOOD
Gen. Funston Scores Men Who Oppose Holding the
Denver Col., April 20. Gen. Frederick Funston was the principal
speaker at the banquet last night of the Colorado Society Sons of the
Revolution. His reference to the Philippines was on the lines of his previous
speeches. The prolongation of the war, he declared was due more to
outside influences than the desire of the Filipinos for independence. Gen.
I have only sympathy for the senior Senator from Massachusetts
suffering from an overheated concience.
He, however, expressed great contempt for the men who, he declared, at
the beginning of the war would have had us take everything Spain had, but
are now playing peanut politics and gambling in the blood of their
at Syracuse University, and scholar of the Philippine War period, wrote,
The Massachusetts senator that Funston criticized in his 1902 speech
Denver was George Frisbie Hoar. He was an outspoken
also a Republican, and Roosevelts reaction to Funstons
speech was based
The newspaper clipping was enclosed with a note sent by the president
to Secretary of War Taft:
THE WHITE HOUSE
April 21, 1902.
To the Secretary of War:
I call attention to the enclosed report of a speech by General Funston. The
reference to the senior senator from Massachusetts is entirely improper in
a general of the army. I think that General Funston will have to be
requested not to make any more public speeches. I appreciate to the full his
great services. I am in cordial sympathy with his general view on the
Philippines, but he expresses himself at times in a way that is very
(signed) T. Roosevelt
Gen. Funston was also criticized for methods used to capture Aguinaldo. A
editorial in May 1902 said:
When the capture of Aguinaldo by Funston was announced
by cable, it was hailed as a great exploit. President McKinley lost no time
in making him a brigadier-general. But, as the details have come to
contempt and disgust have taken the place of admiration. The American
people accepted, though not without some qualms of conscience, the
forgery, treachery and disguise with which Funston prepared his
expedition. But until recently the full infamy of his conduct has not been
understood. The historian of his expedition, Edwin Wildman, thus
describes the last stage of Funstons march: Over the stony
through the thick jungle, across bridgeless streams and up narrow passes,
the footsore and bone-racked adventurers tramped, until their food
was exhausted and they were too weak to move, though but eight miles
from Aguinaldos rendezvous. A messenger was sent forward to
Aguinaldo of their position and to beg for food. The rebel chieftain
promptly replied by dispatching rice and a letter to the officer in
command, instructing him to treat the American prisoners well.
This incident was passed over lightly in the earlier
reports. Its full
significance has just begun to dawn upon the American people.
Seven years after the Great Earthquake and Fire, A.A. Watkins, president
of the Board of Trade of San Francisco, wrote to the
newly-inaugurated President Woodrow Wilson:
March. 11, 1913
To the President of the United States,
Speaking on behalf of the wholesale merchants and manufacturers of San
Francisco, this Association earnestly requests you appoint Brigadier
General Funston to the position of Major General of the United States
Army to fill the first vacancy occuring in that grade.
We understand that Brigadier General Funston is the ranking Brigadier
General of the line of the Army and in view of his splendid record in the
Philippines and his great services to San Francisco when our City was
devastated by earthquake and fire, we respectfully urge that General
Funston is entitled to and should receive the promotion in question.
Board of Trade of San Francisco,
by A.A. Watkins, President
There were two handwritten notations on the letter; One from U.S. Senator
James Duval Phelan said: I
earnestly concur in the recommendation of the Board of Trade as an act of
The other notation was from Mayor James
Rolph: I heartily endorse the recommendations herein.
As America prepared for World War I, President Woodrow Wilson and
Secretary of War Newton D. Baker
believed Gen. Funston was the right officer to command the Allied
Expeditionary Force (AEF) to France. Funston, however, died February
19, 1917, and the AEF command was given to Gen. John Pershing.
Brigadier General Funston laid in state at San Franciscos City Hall
on February 23rd and 24th, 1917, and was buried at the Presidio.
In his memoirs, Reminiscences, Douglas MacArthur, son of Gen. Arthur MacArthur, wrote of how
he broke the news to the president and secretary of war, and how General
Pershing was selected to replace General Funston:
It was February 19 1917, and I had the night watch for the General
Staff. My old friend, Peyton March, a lieutenant Colonel in the Adjutant
Generals Department, had a similar duty in that office. Secretary
Baker was giving a formal dinner that night for the President and left word
not to be disturbed unless something of importance took place. About 10
oclock March brought up a wire that General Funston, who had
been informally selected to command an American Expeditionary Force if
we entered the war, had just dropped dead in the St. Anthony Hotel in San
Antonio. We agreed that the Secretary should be told at once. When I
reached the Secretarys home, the butler refused to let me enter,
saying that he had orders to admit no one. The dining room looked out on
the entrance hall and I could see it plainly. It was a gay party, with lights
and laughter, the tinkle of glasses, the soft music from an alcove, the merry
quips and jokes of a cosmopolitan group. I finally pushed by the butler and
tried to attract the attention of the Secretary so I could report to him
privately what had occurred. But the President saw me and sang out in the
most jovial manner, Come in, Major, and tell all of us the news.
There are no secrets here. There was a general clapping of hands at
this, and I knew I was in for it. So I clicked my heels together, saluted him,
and barked in a drill-sergeant tone, Sir, I regret to report
that General Funston has just died. Had the voice of doom spoken,
the result could not have been different. The silence seemed like that of
death itself. You could hear your own breathing. Then, I never saw such a
scattering of guests in my life. It was a stampede.
The President and Secretary took me into an adjacent room and
dictated a message of sympathy to Mrs. Funston. Mr. Wilson then turned to
the Secretary and said, What now, Newton, who will take the Army
over? The Secretary paused a moment and then, instead of a direct
reply, asked me, Whom do you think the Army would choose,
Major? It was a poser, but I had my own positive views and replied,
I cannot, of course, speak for the Army, but for myself the choice
would unquestionably be General Pershing. The President looked at
me, a long inquisitive look, and then said quietly, It would be a
I first met General Pershing, then a captain of Cavalry, in my
fathers office in downtown San Francisco. I had just graduated
from West Point, and I shall never forget the impression he made on me by
his appearance and bearing. He was the very epitome of what is now
affectionately called the Old Army. As Pershing left, he
turned to my father and said, General MacArthur, I am sure
Douglas and I will meet again. How true and how often!
Gen. Funstons Bibliography
from the Library of Congress Information
- 17-24511: Tomlinson, Everett Titsworth, 1859- Scouting with
General Funston, Garden City, New York, Doubleday, Page & company,
1917. xi, 243,  p. front., plates. 20 cm.
LC CALL NUMBER: PZ7.T597 Scwg
11-28373: Funston, Frederick, 1865-1917. Memories of two wars;
Cuban and Philippine experiences, New York, C. Scribners sons,
xv, 451 p. front. (port.) plates. 24 cm..
LC CALL NUMBER: Microfilm 33391 DS
01-10174: Halstead, Murat, 1829-1908. Aguinaldo and his captor;
Cincinnati, The Halstead publishing company, 1901. p. cm..
LC CALL NUMBER: Microfilm 9418 DS
90-184403: Crouch, Thomas W., 1932- A leader of volunteers :
Frederick Funston and the 20th Kansas in the Philippines, 1898-1899 /
Lawrence, Kan. : Coronado Press, 1984. xi, 249 p., 14 leaves of plates :
ill. ; 22 cm..
LC CALL NUMBER: DS683.K342 C76 1984
86-4938: Bain, David Haward. Sitting in darkness :
Americans in the Philippines / New York : Penguin Books, c1986.
467 p. : ill. ; 20 cm..
NOT IN LC COLLECTION
84-8945: Bain, David Haward. Sitting in darkness : Americans in the
Philippines / Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 1984. 464 p.,  p. of plates :
ill. (some col.) ; 24 cm..
LC CALL NUMBER: DS679 .B34 1984
75-20193: Crouch, Thomas W., 1932- A Yankee guerrillero :
Frederick Funston and the Cuban insurrection, 1896-1897 / [Memphis] :
Memphis State University Press, c1975. vii, 165 p. : ill. ; 22 cm..
LC CALL NUMBER: F1786.F86 C76
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