May 11, Charles H. On April 25, 1898, Congress declared war on Spain, and U.S. Secretary of the Navy cabled Commodore George Dewey, commanding the Asian Squadron, with orders to engage the enemy, not in the Caribbean, but worldwide in the Philippines, where military commanders knew the Empire was weaker, with a flotilla described as obsolete and decimated. On September 16, 1898, just 10 days after the destruction of the USS Maine in the port of Havana and well before the official start of hostilities, the U.S. Asian Wing under Commodore George Dewey was put on alert and ordained in Hong Kong. After the United States declared war (April 25), Dewey was ordered to “conquer or destroy” the Spanish fleet in Philippine waters. The U.S. Navy was well trained and well cared for, thanks in part to the energetic efforts of the young assistant secretary of the Navy, Theodore Roosevelt, who had chosen Dewey to command the Asian squadron. Dewey`s fleet consisted of four protected cruisers – usS Olympia (his flagship), USS Boston, USS Raleigh and USS Baltimore – the usS Concord and USS Petrel gunboats, the usS Armed Tax Tailor Hugh McCulloch and a pair of locally purchased British supply ships. Dewey gathered his troops on 27 April in Mirs Bay (Dapeng Wan), northeast of Hong Kong, and arrived three days later in the Philippines off Luzon. January Andrés Bonifacio elected supremo de la Katipunan, the secret revolutionary society. On August 20, General John C. Bates and the Sultan of Sulu, Jamal-ul Kirim II, signed an agreement in which the United States pledged not to intervene in Sulu.
With the help of Belgian Consul Edouard André, Dewey began secret negotiations with his Spanish counterpart, Governor General Basilio Augustén. The Spanish commander, whose family had been captured by Philippine troops, sent a telegram to his superiors describing the difficult conditions the Spaniards faced in the city: starvation, disease, weak and swollen legs of exposure as they defended trenches, and low morale among the troops. To tell the truth and propose surrender, he was sent back and ordered to pass command to General Fermén J`udenes, whose mission was to take the city to Spain. The American Anti-Imperialist League was created against the annexation of the Philippines.