The Moro Rebellion: 1899 – 1913

By | June 16, 2019

[June 16, 2019] If you’re Pilipino, you probably know about the Battle of Bud Bagsak (part of the Moro Rebellion, June 1913). Almost no one else has heard of the battle; certainly not in U.S. military circles. This final battle was the end of the resistance in the Philippine-American War (1899-1902).   It was weird that I had not heard of this war but also that my maternal great grandfather served in it and I mistakenly thought he was in the Spanish-American War of 1898.

There is an old photograph of my great grandfather in uniform with his rifle. We never saw his discharge papers but we were always told that he was a veteran of the Spanish-American War. Most U.S. citizens who studied any American history have some knowledge of the short Spanish-American War but not the Philippine-American War or the Moro Rebellion.

Undoubtedly, this is how family records get distorted and we get our history all wrong. Lessons we learn are based on incorrect information that makes us doubt what is the right thing to do. But there are some things that came out of the Philippine-American War that is still passed on to those of us in the U.S. military.

The Battle of Bud Bagsak took place as part of the Moro Rebellion. Maybe you heard of the Moro Rebellion. This is where General John “Black Jack” Pershing got his start as a First Lieutenant. The rebellion was a nasty, brutish affair given the fierceness of the Moro Indians. It was said the U.S. 45 caliber pistol proved its worth in its stopping power.

Another fact we all thought interesting was the treatment of enemy dead. Pershing wrote in his autobiography that “The bodies [of some Moro outlaws] were publically buried in the same grave with a dead pig.”1 The Moros were Muslims and pork is forbidden. U.S. Army soldiers thought the Moros would believe they were going to hell if buried that way. A great psychological advantage was given to the Americans.

It is interesting to me that a battle that took place more than 100 years ago has such an invisible legacy; even when we should know better. It was a lesson learned for me. Recently, we recognized military veterans who came ashore on D-Day, June 6, 1944. While the exact dates are of lesser importance, what we gain from the knowledge of those before us, is what matters. My lesson, “Never, ever, forget.”


  1. Pershing, John (2013) My Life Before the World War, 1860–1917: A Memoir Archived April 30, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, pp. 284-85 Lexington, Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky. ISBN978081314197
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Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

16 thoughts on “The Moro Rebellion: 1899 – 1913

  1. Otto Z. Zuckermann

    Thank you for pointing out the successes of Gen. Pershing. He was a hero of mine as a kid. I still think he was one of the greatest generals of the 20th Century.

  2. Willie Shrumburger

    Great article. Thanks for the history lesson.

  3. Douglas R. Satterfield Post author

    To all those who reminded me that today is Father’s Day, thank you.
    Also, for regular readers and commentators, your staying with my Leadership Blog is appreciated.
    Next week, I’ll be writing about Boy Scout Camping and the leadership I see there. Be sure to read my website about what I see in youth leadership.

    1. Gil Johnson

      Thanks. I look forward to reading about your Boy Scout experiences.

    2. Tony B. Custer

      Should be interesting. I look forward to it, Gen. Satterfield. Keep bringing on great and informative articles.

  4. Greg Heyman

    Thank you Gen Satterfield for reminding me of some of the stories told to me by WWII veterans. When I was a kid, there were many older people (not sure how old) that instructed me on how the war went against the Moros. Apparently, the war in the Philippines made a big impression upon our society. The two examples you give, I’d also heard about. Keep up the good work here in your leadership blog.

  5. Albert Ayer

    Liked your article today. And, yes, happy father’s day.

  6. Eddie Ray Anderson, Jr.

    Good article. Gen. Pershing was a tough man who knew what he was doing with the Muslim Moros. He buried them with pigs. That got their attention.

    1. Len Jakosky

      Good. He was intent on destroying his enemy and that meant using psychological warfare against them. Today, we are pansies compared to him. Note that the Moros didn’t create any more problems.

      1. Bryan Lee

        Unfortunately, we are pansies (weak, effete, and ineffective). Girlie men are everywhere.

    2. Max Foster

      Right, the Moros (muslims) didn’t create problems in the Philippines until recently. Note how differently we are treating them today compared to Pershing’s time. The problem with terrorist muslims is that they will never quit. You have to kill them and destroy the ideology. Nothing else will work. Proof? Just look at how the West is dealing with Islam and see its failure.

      1. Roger Yellowmule

        Spot-on comment. But you are too politically incorrect. This solution will not go far in the West because we fear more of being called Islamaphobic than creating lasting solutions.

  7. Maureen S. Sullivan

    To all fathers out there, happy Fathers’ Day.

    1. Georgie M.

      Without strong, resilient fathers we would not have achieved greatness in so many parts of the world.

    2. JT Patterson

      Thank you for bringing this up first. Well done.
      HAPPY FATHERS DAY to all the good fathers who helped raised good kids.

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