HistoryAt dawn on April 9, 1942 against the orders of Generals Douglas MacArthur and Jonathan Wainwright, Major General Edward P. King, Jr., commanding Luzon Force, Bataan, Philippine Islands, surrendered more than 76,000 (67,000 Filipinos, 1,000 Chinese Filipinos, and 11,796 Americans) starving and disease-ridden men.
The majority of the prisoners of war were immediately robbed of their keepsakes and belongings and subsequently forced to endure a 90-mile (140 km) march in deep dust over vehicle-broken macadam roads and crammed into rail cars to captivity at Camp O'Donnell. En route, thousands died from dehydration, heat prostration, untreated wounds, and wanton execution.
Those few who were lucky enough to travel on trucks to San Fernando would still have to endure more than 25 additional miles of marching. Prisoners were beaten randomly and often denied promised food and water. Those who fell behind were usually executed or left to die; the sides of the roads became littered with dead bodies and those moaning for assistance.
On the Bataan Death March, approximately 54,000 of the 72,000 prisoners reached their destination. The death toll of the march is difficult to assess because thousands of captives were able to escape from their guards. All told, approximately 5,000-10,000 Filipino and 600-650 American prisoners of war died before they could reach Camp O'Donnell.