Col Samuel L. Howard,
right, inspects the beach defenses on Corregidor with LtCol
Herman R. Anderson, left, commander of 2d Battalion, 4th
Marines, and MajGen George F. Moore, USA, center, overall
commander of the Corregidor defenses.
On the evening of 4 May a Philippine civilian arrived in a small
fishing boat on the beach at Corregidor. The civilian carried a
message from Philippine intelligence on Bataan, and was promptly
carried to Lieutenant Colonel George D. Hamilton, the regimental
intelligence officer. Hamilton called for Sergeant Harold S. Dennis
of the intelligence section to read the note aloud, as he was having
difficulty disciphering the message. Dennis read, "Expect enemy
landing on the night of 5/6 May." Hamilton quieted Dennis, saying,
"Hush, hush, hush, don't say another word! Do you want to start a
panic?" Hamilton took Dennis with the note to Colonel Howard who
listened as the note was read aloud a second time. In the morning of
5 May Howard called a meeting of all the regiment's senior officers.
Once assembled, Howard told them the contents of the note from
Bataan. The Japanese were expected to make their attack that night
or the following day.
There followed a discussion of
the probabilities of the landing. If the Japanese were expected that
night, the beach positions would be 100% manned at nightfall. If the
landing took place at dawn, the positions would be 50% manned until
dawn so the men could eat and rest for the coming attack. Curtis
asked the assembled officers for their opinions, which was followed
by a spirited discussion. Curtis then called for a vote, which was
unanimous for the men to sleep until one hour before dawn and then
fully man the defenses.
Howard then spoke and asked for the opinion of Sergeant Dennis, the
only enlisted man in the room. Dennis had studied Japanese tactics
in China and said that enemy landings were invariably made at night,
one hour before the full light of the moon. Colonel Howard thanked
him for his opinion, but did not change the regiment's orders. The
men would be allowed to sleep for a predawn landing.
Department of Defense
Photo (USMC) Phi-9