Timeline of the 1st Battle of Bud Dajo - 1906
The War Department places Major General Leonard Wood in command of all US Army forces in the Philippine Islands and orders Moro Province be turned over the next day to Brigadier General Tasker Bliss. But Wood writes in his diary, "I shall hold on to affairs [longer] in the Moro Province...as there are a number of things to complete before turning things over...the presence [and defiance] of a considerable number of discontented people in the crater and on the slopes of Bud Dajo."
From Zamboanga, Captain George Langhorne, Wood's Aide de Camp, writes a letter to Wood in Manila urging an immediate attack on Bud Dajo, adding, "They will probably have to be exterminated." Langhorne's plan is to secretly offer a bribe and pardon to Adam, leader of the smallest group, if he will convince his followers to "stand aside" as an American column creeps up the South trail in the dead of night to surprise and annihilate the other two groups at dawn. Langhorne recommends the attack should proceed regardless of whether Adam can be persuaded to betray his compatriots or not.
Wood adopts the recommendation, "This is a ridiculous little affair from every standpoint and should be brought to an end...clean it up." For the next two weeks in secret, Wood cuts and issues orders for the movement of troops and transports to Jolo--blatantly violating a standing order from the Secretary of War, and endorsed by the White House, that specified advance approval must be obtained from Washington for any military expedition and/or planned combat action against the Moros.
Having arrived in Zamboanga a few days earlier, Wood designates Colonel Joseph Duncan of the 6th Infantry Regiment as his field commander, with orders to crush the "armed rebellion." Duncan, four infantry companies of the 6th Infantry, and an ad hoc company from the Moro Constabulary depart for Jolo before the day is out.
Duncan arrives in Jolo and adds most of the Jolo garrison, one company of the 6th Infantry, a machinegun squad, two troops of the 4th Cavalry Regiment, and the 28th Battery of the Field Artillery, to his command, That night two companies of the 19th Infantry Regiment and two troops of the 4th Cavalry arrive from Malabang. The officers of the newly-formed expedition are informed of their mission and briefed while viewing a clay model of Bud Dajo.
A reconnaissance is made on horseback by Duncan and the principal officers of the expedition, during which base camp positions and artillery locations are selected. But while their maps indicate a 360-degree route through the maze of interconnecting trails that encircle the base of the mountain, they are unsuccessful in locating a path between the South and East trailheads. That night, Duncan issues field orders splitting the expedition into four sub-commands; three separate assault columns, one each for the West, South, and East trails, and a fourth column under his direct command consisting of headquarters staff, the field hospital, the Signal Corps detachment, the 28th Battery with four mountain guns, and a "Flying Squad" of two troops of the 4th Cavalry.
The assault columns depart Jolo at 4:00A.M. for their assigned positions. Captain Tyree Rivers, at the West trail, Position No. 1, initiates an immediate reconnaissance, but a small cotta stands across the path and Rivers and a soldier are wounded, halting the advance. Rivers is replaced by Captain Lewis Koehler. The four mountain guns of the 28th Battery, led by Captain E. F. McGlachlin, are emplaced on a small hill next to the East Trail and begin a barrage against cottas and other structures on the mountain top. Seeing uncertain results, McGlachlin decides to break up the battery, sending one gun to the West trailhead and one to the South trailhead. In the afternoon, the Major Omar Bundy at Position No. 2, sends Captain John R. White and his Moro Constabulary company, followed by Co. M of the 6th Infantry out to probe the defenses of the South trail. Scrambling on all fours and crawling on their bellies up a narrow, exposed hogback ridge at a 45-degree incline, White makes it two-thirds of the way to the South summit before encountering Tausug trenches. Bundy orders White to pull back a hundred yards and stay in position for the night. White and his men endure a fitful sleep on bare ground maintaining total silence, disturbed by the incessant beating of gongs and "war chants" as well as by "vicious attacks of warrior ants and other jungle pests."