We have stopped their advance to capture Manila for four months. Now they are getting even. The guards kill the marchers, disembowel them, and throw them in the ditch with their comrades and the coolies. We dare not leave the road or we will be executed.
An additional 15 - 20,000 Filipinos were also murdered by the Japanese on the Bataan death march. Approximately 55,000 of over 75,000 prisoners reached Camp O'Donnell. That equates to ~20,000 prisoners murdered or missing along the way and that doesn't even begin to tell the atrocities they were about to encounter...........
For the survivors it was the beginning of a four year struggle to survive Japanese captivity after being placed in Japanese forced labor camps in China. Less than 2,000 Americans survived the "forced labor" camps.
A Japanese army had landed in northern Luzon on 22 December 1941 and began to push southward toward Manila. At first, MacArthur was inclined to meet the Japanese on the beaches. But he had no air force, and the U.S. Navy's tiny Asiatic fleet was in no position to challenge Japan at sea. The U.S. regulars and Philippine Scouts were excellent troops but were outnumbered and without air support. Giving up his initial strategy of defeating the enemy on the beaches, MacArthur decided to withdraw to the Bataan Peninsula. There he could pursue a strategy of defense and delay, shortening his lines and using the mountainous, jungle-covered terrain to his advantage. Perhaps he could even hold out long enough for a relief force to be mounted in the United States.
But too many people crowded into Bataan, with too little food and ammunition. By March it was clear that help from the United States was not coming. Nevertheless, the American-Filipino force, wracked by dysentery and malaria, continued to fight. In March President Roosevelt ordered MacArthur to escape to Australia. He left his command to Lt. Gen. Jonathan Wainwright and to Maj. Gen. Edward King, who on 9 April was forced to surrender the exhausted and starving Bataan force. Wainwright continued to resist on the small fortified island of Corregidor in Manila Bay until 6 May under constant Japanese artillery and air bombardment. After Japanese troops stormed ashore on the island, Wainwright agreed to surrender Corregidor and all other troops in the islands. By 9 May 1942, the battle for the Philippines had ended, though many Americans and Filipinos took to the hills and continued a guerrilla war against the Japanese.
The courageous defense of Bataan had a sad and ignominious end. Marching their prisoners toward camps in northern Luzon, the Japanese denied food and water to the sick and starving men. When the weakest prisoners began to straggle, guards shot or bayoneted them and threw the bodies to the side of the road. Japanese guards may have killed 600 Americans and 10,000 Filipino prisoners. News of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor had outraged the American people; news of the "Bataan Death March" filled them with bitter hatred.