126 THF. INHABITANTS OF THE PHILIPPINES
Next day the ss. Monserrat arrived with more troops, and from this time forward troops kept pouring in.
Still General Blanco remained on the defensive in and around the city of Manila and the town of Cavite, and repulsed attacks made by the rebels on the magazines at Binancyan and Las Pinas.
The rebels were now firmly established over the rest of the Province of Cavite. The natural features of this part of Luzon made the movements of regular troops extremely difficult. The country abounds in rivers which run from south to north parallel to each other at short distances. They run at the bottom of deep ravines, which present excellent positions for defence. Many of these rivers have dams across them and the sluices in these might be opened by the defenders, or the dams could be blown up in case a column of the assailants should be entangled in the ravine below, when they would inevitably be overwhelmed in the descending torrent.
In places the country could be flooded and thus be rendered impassable for troops.
But the industry of the rebels, skilfully directed, had added enormously to these natural advantages. From the reports of eye-witnesses I can affirm that the entrenchments of the Tagals were colossal. Tagals and Boers have demonstrated that a competitive examination is not necessary to enable fighting-men to entrench themselves. The Tagal lines ran from the delta of the Zapote River to Naic in an almost unbroken line, approximately parallel to the coast.
They were doubled and trebled in front of villages or towns and across the roads.
The trace was en crmaillre, the section being 6 feet thick at the top and 8 feet high, the exterior face vertical, with a revetment of bamboos fastened together with rattans. It was in fact a bank of earth built up against a strong bamboo fence.
The defenders fired through loop-holes left in the parapet, and were very well covered, but they could only fire straight before them and horizontally.
The defences of the towns had thicker and loftier parapets ; in some cases there were three tiers of loop-holes properly splayed.
The insurgents were very insufficiently armed, and at first there were ten men to a rifle. The man who wasThe insurgents were very insufficiently armed, and at first there were ten men to a rifle. The man who was