Jacob H. Smith bigraphy, stories - United States Army general in the Philippine–American War

Jacob H. Smith : biography

January 29, 1840 - March 1, 1918

General Jacob Hurd Smith (January 29, 1840 – March 1, 1918) was a United States Army officer best known for ordering an indiscriminate retaliatory attack on a group of Filipinos during Philippine–American War after more than forty American soldiers were defeated in a surprise attack on the Island of Samar.(2010). Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved 2010-09-30. His orders included, "kill everyone over the age of ten" and make the island "a howling wilderness."Miller p. 220; ; Ten days after President McKinley's death, the residents of Balangiga, a tiny village 400 miles southeast of Manila, attacked the local U.S. garrison. While U.S. soldiers ate breakfast, the rang a signal. Filipinos brandishing machetes emerged from their hiding places. Forty-eight Americans, two-thirds of the garrison, were butchered, in what is called the Balangiga massacre. On the orders of General Jacob H. Smith, U.S. troops retaliated against the entire island (600 square miles) of Samar where Balangiga is located. The exchange is known because of two courts-martial: one of Waller, who was later court-martialed for ordering or allowing the execution of a dozen Filipino bearers, and the other of Gen. Jacob H. Smith, who was actually court-martialed for giving that order. They jury is out to the extent that order was carried out, because Littleton Waller actually countermanded it to his own men and said "[Captain David] Porter, I've had instructions to kill everyone over ten years old. But we are not making war on women and children, only on men capable of bearing arms. Keep that in mind no matter what other orders you receive." Undoubtedly, some men did commit atrocities regardless of Waller's commands. Court-martialed for the incident, he was dubbed "Hell Roaring Jake" Smith, "The Monster", and "Howling Jake" by the anti-imperialist press as a result.

Philippine–American War

Smith was sent to the Philippines during the Philippine–American War.

Smith brags to media about war crimes

In December 1899, Jacob H. Smith (now a colonel) boastingly informed reporters in the Philippines that, because the natives were "worse than fighting Indians", he had already adopted appropriate tactics that he had learned fighting "savages" in the American West, without waiting for orders to do so from General Elwell S. Otis. This interview provoked a headline announcing that "Colonel Smith of 12th Orders All Insurgents Shot At Hand", and the New York Times enthusiastically endorsed Smith's lawlessness as "long overdue."Miller p. 95; Death For Luzon Bandits; Guerrillas Caught by Col. Smith Will Be Shot or Hanged. Criminals Infest the Island Some American Officers Say the Campaign Is Worse Than Fighting Indians. New York Times, December 13, 15, 1899; San Francisco Call, August 28, 1899, January 11, 1900; Boston Evening Transcript, January 12, 1900

Smith's alleged war crimes in the Philippine–American War resulted in a court martial, at which he was convicted and admonished and, immediately thereafter, President Roosevelt ordered him dismissed from the Army.Morris, Edmund. Theodore Rex. (c) 2001, Random House: Those of General J. Franklin Bell were not investigated.Miller, p. 227 (See Littleton Waller)

William Howard Taft's mistake

Because of Smith's bravery in Cuba during the Spanish–American War, William Howard Taft, who was the civilian governor of the Philippines, decided to promote Smith to Brigadier General with a caveat. Taft wrote, Smith "had reached a time when promotion to a Brigadier Generalship would worthily end his services, for I believe it is his intention to retire upon promotion." Smith was promoted, but he decided not to retire.

Starting in the late 1880s, the U.S. Army had adopted the system of filling each brigadier general position not by qualifications, but by mere seniority. The system usually gave elderly colonels a few more months, weeks or days of active duty with a new title, followed by nearly immediate retirement at a higher pay rate. The problem with Jacob Smith was that he was slightly younger and his promotion to general was made too soon because he had three years left until retirement became mandatory by law.Fritz, p. 190

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Living octopus

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