Secretary Root's Record:"Marked Severities" in Philippine Warfare Charges Renewed and Made Definite
There was a discussion in the newspapers which implicated Frederick Funston and Wilder S.
Metcalf, and in which their statements were controverted by a number of officers and privates in
their regiment, the Twentieth Kansas. This, according to the newspapers, led Adjutant-general
Corbin to say that no charges had ever been made against either Funston or Metcalf, and that,
while he knew nothing of the facts, the charges against them were groundless and malicious.
In consequence of this, on January 9, 1900, John F. Hall, of Lawrence, Kansas, a lieutenant in
the regiment, in a letter addressed to the Adjutant-general, made direct charges against them,
among which were:
Fifth. -- That on the tenth day of February, 1899, the said Wilder S. Metcalf did maliciously,
wilfully, and without just cause, shoot and kill an unarmed prisoner of war on his knees before
him, begging for life, in violation of the fifty-eighth article of war.
Sixth. -- That the said Frederick S. Funston, at said date, and thereafter, did issue orders to shoot
prisoners, and compounded the crime of the said Metcalf, above mentioned, by protecting and
shielding the said Metcalf, and using his influence to prevent a fair and impartial investigation of
the shooting of these prisoners, in violation of the fifty-eighth article of war.
In support of these charges he offered as witnesses, giving their names, six captains, seven
lieutenants, and seven privates, all of the Twentieth Kansas, "and other officers and men, whose
names I will give when needed."
He gave the statements of officers and men testifying directly to facts of which they were
eye-witnesses showing that Metcalf and Bishop both killed prisoners. He stated directly:
Our regiment participated in the battle of Caloocan, Philippine Islands, February 10, 1899. At
that battle Funston ordered that no prisoners be taken.
At an officer's meeting of our regiment, held in the trenches at Caloocan, March 23, 1899, the
day before our advance on Malolos from Loma, in reference to a question; Colonel Funston said,
with a grin, "Don't kill any more prisoners than you have to," or words to that effect.
He quoted another witness, who said:
During the fight before Caloocan an order was passed down the line, as was the custom when
heavy firing was in progress, to "take no prisoners."
He quoted Funston's statement in an interview published in the San Francisco Examiner of
November 23, 1899, as follows:
I felt that Major Mallory was going a little beyond the bounds of military inquiry. I thought he
was showing undue zeal in his work, and so stated to General MacArthur,
adding, "thereby acknowledging that he tampered with a court of justice."
He further stated that Funston and Metcalf had claimed credit and received promotion for gallant
actions which they had never performed, and made a series of charges which, if true, should
have led to Funston's punishment and disgrace.
He pointed out also that two of the privates, whose affidavits against Metcalf and Funston had
been printed, had re-enlisted and were now in the service, and that Funston in an interview had
said that he would take advantage of this fact to have these witnesses dealt with for making their
Here, certainly, were charges made by an officer and backed by evidence which should have led
to a searching inquiry. What did happen?