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´╗┐Title: A Soldier in the Philippines
Author: Freeman, Needom N.
Language: English
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*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Soldier in the Philippines" ***

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  114 Fifth Avenue

  96 Queen Street

  Copyright, 1901,
  in the
  United States
  Great Britain.

  Entered at
  Stationers' Hall, London.

  All Rights Reserved.



Needom Freeman, in the United States regular army during the years
1898-1900, was born in the quiet little country village of
Barrettsville, Dawson County, Ga., on the 25th of September, 1874.

Many things have been said and written of army life during the
Spanish-American war, but usually from the officers' point of view. As a
matter of fact the ideas of a private if spoken or written are
unbelieved simply because the prestige of office was not attached, and
receives but little credit.

The early part of my life was passed in and near the little village of
my birth. Working on the farm and attending the village school a few
months during the time when farming operations were suspended, consumed
about all my time. My father being a poor man with a large family and
unable to give his children the benefit of any advanced education, it
fell to my lot to receive but little instruction. I was the eighth child
in a family of thirteen--five sons and eight daughters.

Having attained the long awaited age of twenty-one, when most young men
are buoyant and full of hope and ambition, I turned my thoughts
westward, where I hoped to make my fortune. I gathered together my few
possessions and proceeded to Texas, arriving at Alvarado, Texas, the
second day of November, 1895.

Obtaining employment on a farm, my old occupation was resumed for
eighteen weeks, but finding this too commonplace and not fulfilling my
desires nor expectations, the farm work was once more given up.

I obtained a position with a wrecking crew on the Santa Fe Railroad. For
twelve months I worked with this crew, then gave it up in disgust.

A few weeks' employment in the cotton mills of Dallas, Texas, were
sufficient to satisfy me with that sort of work.

I next obtained employment with the street railroad of Dallas, filling
the position of motorman, which I held for three months. One night,
while with several friends, the subject of enlisting in the army was
discussed; this strongly appealed to me, and studying the matter
further, I became enthused over the idea. I determined to enlist at
once. My position as motorman with the street railroad company was given
up. My salary was forty-five dollars a month, as against one-third that
amount in the army, but this made little difference to me. I was anxious
to be a soldier and live the life of one.

I proceeded to the recruiting office in Dallas to stand an examination,
was weighed, then measured all over, every scar was measured, my
complexion was noted, my age, place of birth and all about my people
were taken. My fingers and toes were twisted and almost pulled off. It
occurred to me that possibly my examiners thought my fingers and toes
might be artificial. After part of two days' weighing, measuring, finger
pulling, toe-twisting and questioning I was pronounced subject and sent
to the St. George Hotel, in Dallas, to await further orders. Of twelve
applicants who were standing the same examination I was the only
successful one. I enlisted under Lieutenant Charles Flammil for a
service of three years, unless discharged before the expiration of that
time. I was to obey all the orders of my superior officers, which meant
every officer from corporal up.

From Dallas I was sent to Fort McIntosh, south-west of Dallas, on the
border of Texas and Mexico, on the Rio Grande. My long cherished hope
was now being fulfilled. I had from a mere boy had a desire to be one of
Uncle Sam's soldiers and fight for my country. I had now entered the
service for three years and will let the reader judge for himself
whether or not he thinks that I should be satisfied with the service and
experience of a soldier.

Fort McIntosh is in Laredo, Texas. Here I was assigned, upon my arrival,
to Company A, Twenty-third United States Infantry. I had only been there
a few days when Company A was ordered out on a practice march of one
hundred and twenty miles. Of course I wanted to go, thinking it would be
a picnic. I only had a few days' drilling at the fort, and that was all
I ever had, but I was anxious to go on this march with my company, and
Goodale, called "Grabby" by the men, had my uniform and necessary
equipage issued to me and let me go with the company. I learned during
the first days' march its object was not to have a picnic, but just to
try us and prepare us for the service we might at any time be called
upon to perform. We were to get hardened a little by this practice

The second day out we were halted every hour and rested ten minutes.
During one of those rests I pulled off my shoes to see what was hurting
my feet. I found on each of my heels a large blister and several small
ones. A non-commissioned officer saw the condition of my feet and
ordered me into the ambulance. I was afraid the soldiers would laugh at
me for falling out. First I hesitated, but very soon I had plenty of
company in the ambulance.

The march was through a rough country, the roads were very bad, and
travel was difficult. Twenty miles a day through chaparral bushes and
cactus is a good day's march for soldiers, with all their equipage. The
infantryman carried a rifle, belt, haversack and canteen. Tents were
pitched every night and guards stationed around the camp to keep away
prowling Mexicans and others who would steal the provisions of the camp.
Tents were struck at morning and everything put in readiness for the
day's march. The company was out fifteen days on that practice march
across the plains. Four days, however, were really holidays. We spent
them hunting and fishing. Fish and game were plentiful. A few deer were
to be found, but ducks and blue quail were the principal game. The
company returned to Fort McIntosh on the third of December.

I had to be drilled as a recruit; never having had any military
training, everything was new to me. I was drilled hard for a month
before I was assigned to the company for duty. That month's drill was
very hard.

After I was assigned for duty I learned something new about military
affairs every day for a year. The manner of all the drill masters was
very objectionable to me at first; I did not like the way they spoke to
a soldier and gave commands, which, if disobeyed, punishment was
inflicted. The month I drilled as a recruit by myself I was under
Sergeant Robert Scott of my company. During that time I thought Sergeant
Scott the most unkind man I had ever seen. He looked ugly and talked
harshly. I thought he meant every word he said. After I learned how the
commands were given and was taught how to execute them, it seemed very
simple and then I was assigned for duty.

When my time came to serve on guard duty I did not understand the
"general orders" and "special orders." I went on guard perfectly
bewildered with the instructions given me about my duties.

I did not know what to do. I watched for the officer of the day to make
his round and give orders every day and night.

Two hours' duty on post was the time we stood guard before being
relieved by the proper authority. If a man is caught sitting down while
on duty he is severely punished by being placed in the guard house, and
sentenced to hard labor for a long time. Sometimes the labor sentence
runs as high as six months or more, according to the gravity of the

I was very careful not to get in the guard house or miss roll call,
having to pay fines or working hard all day with a sentry over me.

Every soldier had to be on his bunk at eleven o'clock at night; his
check was taken and delivered to the officer of the day. Nine o'clock
was bed time, but the checks were not taken up until eleven. The first
call of the morning was sounded at a quarter before six, when we must
answer to reveille, followed by a drilling exercise of fifteen minutes.
After breakfast every soldier had to sweep under his bunk and prepare it
and himself for inspection, which took place after drill hour, which was
from eight to nine o'clock.

A gymnastic drill of thirty minutes each day, except Saturday and
Sunday, was given the company for a month, then for three months this
was omitted, then another month's drill was given us, and then the same
intermission; thus we had them alternately the whole year.

The Sabbath receives but little notice in the army. All duties went on
just as any other day.

Several hours every day were unoccupied by the soldier's duties. The men
could amuse themselves during these hours by reading newspapers and
books, as a very good library was at hand. Aside from reading were such
amusements as billiards, cards and music. These became monotonous and
disgusting to me, and in less than two months I would have gladly given
up my position, but I was in for three years, and had to stay and make
the best of it.


The Christmas holidays were delightful indeed for soldiers, no tasks to
perform for one whole week, except guard duty. The week was spent in
gambling and revelry.

All other holidays meant hard work all day for soldiers; usually they
were days of celebrating some event in the history of our country or
some man must be honored, and homage paid to his memory. The soldiers on
these occasions had to parade and march along the streets all day. Every
holiday, except that of Christmas, was a dreaded day to soldiers.

April first, 1898, my company was ordered out on the target range for
practice. We had had but little practice, only being there six days when
orders were received to prepare to leave our post at a moment's notice.
Those were memorable days. History was being added to, or rather made,
almost daily. Every one was talking of war with Spain, its results and
possibilities. Our camp was in a commotion, expecting war to be declared
at once. Everything was put in readiness for marching. In this condition
we remained until April seventeenth, when orders came at last for the
Twenty-third to proceed to New Orleans.

The city of Laredo gave our regiment a grand banquet before we left
there. Every man, woman and child, apparently, who could get out to see
us off, turned out.

The Twenty-third Regiment had been stationed at Laredo for eight years,
and during this time great attachment had been formed between the
soldiers and citizens. From Laredo to San Antonio was a long run,
attended by nothing of interest. At San Antonio the citizens
demonstrated their patriotism and hospitality by having a grand banquet
awaiting our arrival. Every man seemed to have a good time while there.
Before our train left, the citizens put several kegs of beer in every
car. This was appreciated very much, as beer seems to be a soldier's
favorite beverage, and one that he will have if he has money and is
where it can be bought. A soldier rarely refuses beer when offered to

From San Antonio a run of forty hours carried us into New Orleans on
April nineteenth.

For a month we were there on guard duty. The majority of the regiment
seemed to enjoy their stay in New Orleans, but for me it was anything
but enjoyment.

The citizens were very kind to all soldiers, and seemed to regard them
very highly; when one went into the city he was generally given all the
beer he wished to drink, and made to feel welcome.

Soldiers care very little for anything, and do not seem to care very
much for themselves or for each other. They know that the responsibility
rests upon the officers, and that food and clothing will be furnished as
long as they are in the army. When a soldier draws his pay, usually the
first thing he looks for is some place to gamble and get rid of his
money in a few minutes, then he can be content. He is restless as long
as he has a dollar, and must gamble or take some friends to a saloon and
drink it up, then go away drunk.

If one man has any money and expects to keep it he must not let others
know of it, for they will expect him to spend it for all. Generally when
one man has any money it is free to all, and it is enjoyed as long as it
lasts. Soldiers are very generous and good-natured men; if not that way
at first they become so before a service of three years expires.

Army life is dangerous to the morals of many young men. They will take
up some bad habits if they have not power and determination to control
themselves. It is very easy for a man, especially a young man, to take
up some bad habits and lead a different life altogether in a short time
after he becomes a soldier. A man soon learns to drink and to gamble,
although he may have known nothing of these vices before his enlistment.
I thought that a soldier's life would suit me, but after a service of
three years I can truthfully state that it was not what I desired. Life
in camps at one place a little while, then at another place, winter and
summer, rain, sleet and snow, with twenty men in one wall tent, is very
disagreeable, unhealthy and unpleasant. I spent one month in camp in New
Orleans during the hot weather, and all the pleasure I had there was
fighting mosquitoes. We had a fierce battle with them every night.

My regiment had all the service at New Orleans they wanted in the line
of guard and special duty. Four hours of hard drilling five mornings in
each week, special duty in the afternoon, then half of every night
fighting mosquitoes. May was very hot. I believe that the battalion and
skirmish drills, without stopping to rest or to get water, were very
injurious to the soldiers.

I know that they injured my feelings very much.

I was a private in Company "A," Captain Goodale in command. I thought a
great deal of my captain; he was a good officer, and was soon promoted
to major of the 23d Regiment, and commanded it for several months. He
was then promoted to a lieutenant-colonel and assigned to duty with the
Third Infantry, then in the Philippines. After he set out to join his
new regiment I never saw him again. He was the first captain I served

Soldiers who served under good officers were fortunate, but if they had
bad ones they were soon in trouble and had a hard service. A son of
Lieutenant-Colonel Goodale, who was a lieutenant, was placed in command
of Company "A." He, like his father, was a good officer, and soon won
the confidence and esteem of his company.

After the declaration of war between the United States and Spain, the
23d Regiment was recruited to its full quota of one hundred men for each
of twelve companies. Four new companies had to be formed, which were
called, at first, skeleton companies, because they only had a few men
transferred to them from the old ones.

Non-commissioned officers were transferred to the new companies and
placed in charge of the recruits, to drill and prepare them for duty.

Drilling recruits is hard work, and all the officers avoided it as much
as possible. From the 20th of April to the 24th of May we had nothing
but drill.

When Admiral Dewey destroyed the Spanish fleet in Manila Bay, orders
were sent to the 23d Regiment to proceed at once to San Francisco. It
will be remembered that we had gone to New Orleans under orders
directing our regiment to Cuba, but everything had changed so suddenly
that we were ordered to San Francisco to be in readiness to go to the

The orders from the War Department were received by Colonel French on
the night of the 23d of May.

The following day everything was put in readiness for leaving for San
Francisco, but to hasten preparations all our tents were struck at 4
o'clock in the evening. Soon afterwards it commenced raining for the
first time during our stay at New Orleans. Our tents were down and we
had no place to shelter and pass the night. We were ready to leave next
morning. I never saw so many wet soldiers before. I was on guard and saw
two hundred men or more go into stables that were near our camp. We were
camping in the race track of the city fair grounds, which were
surrounded by a great many stables. This was rough fare, and I could not
say whether the men slept or killed mosquitoes. One thing I know beyond
question: I saw the toughest, sleepiest looking lot of men next morning
that I had yet seen in my military service. They all seemed to have
colds. To add to our discomfort all the rations had been boxed and
marked for shipping, and we were without food for breakfast. Those who
had any money were allowed to go out and buy something to eat. It is
plain that if a man had no money he went without breakfast.

The men were all formed in line with gun, belt and knapsack, and were
kept standing ready to march at the command, until one o'clock in the
evening before taking up the march of three miles to the railroad
station. We marched through the city and to the station without a halt.
It seemed to me the hottest day I ever knew. It had been nearly
twenty-four hours since I had eaten, and I think my condition was no
worse than that of the whole regiment, with but very few exceptions.

We were in the city of New Orleans, and rations were plentiful, but it
seemed they were scarce for us. This, however, was only the beginning of
what we were to get accustomed to in a few months.

At two o'clock on the 25th day of May, our regiment boarded the cars of
the Southern Pacific Railroad and set out on its journey for San
Francisco. The regiment was divided into three sections for the journey,
which was made in six days.

The rations issued to us on this journey consisted of hard tack, canned
tomatoes, canned salmon, and last, but not least, nor more desirable,
canned horse meat. To use a soldier's expression, such "grub" is almost
enough to make a man sick to look at, but this made no difference, we
had to eat it.

I have seen a few people who seemed to think soldiers were not human
beings like other people. They thought they could endure anything and
would eat any kind of stuff for rations.

While eating supper one evening in our camp at New Orleans, the men
were seated in their usual manner on the open ground grouped around
their mess kits containing their rations; a young lady with her escort
was passing through the camp and observing the men eating supper,
remarked to her companion that the soldiers looked like men.

She had possibly never seen a soldier before.

At another time a man with two small boys were looking over our camp and
talking about the soldiers, when one of the little boys noticing the
soldiers eating, and seeming to be interested in their manner of eating,
said: "Papa, will soldiers eat hay?" His youthful curiosity appeared to
be fully satisfied by the father answering: "Yes, if whiskey is put on

Crowds of people were out at every city and town we passed through
awaiting our arrival. Some had bouquets of beautiful flowers for the
soldiers containing notes of kind words and wishes, and signed by the
giver. Some gave us small baskets of nicely prepared rations. These were
what suited us most, and were very highly appreciated by every one who
was fortunate enough to get one.

Our train passed through many places without stopping. We saw crowds of
people at those places with bouquets and various gifts of kindness and
appreciation which they had no opportunity to give us. Whenever our
train stopped it would only be for a few minutes, and there was only
time enough to receive the little tokens of kindness and good will,
exchange a very few words, and we would again be off.


Traveling through western Texas and the plains of New Mexico is very
mountainous and lonely. Villages of prairie dogs here and there seem to
be about all the living things that the traveler sees. These little
animals burrow deep in the ground, thousands of them close together, and
this is why it is called a prairie dog town. I was told that these
little dogs live mostly on roots and drink no water. I give this as it
was told me, and do not know how true it is. One thing which I noticed
was that we would travel two or three hundred miles and not see any
water courses.

The section that I was with was detained about three hours at El Paso,
Texas, on account of some trouble on the road ahead of us. Many of us
took advantage of this to look about the city. A considerable change of
temperature was noted, it being much cooler than at New Orleans. Before
the next morning we were passing through New Mexico. It was cold enough
to wear an overcoat, but as we only had blankets every man had one drawn
close around him, and was then shivering with cold. This cold weather
continued until the Rocky Mountains were crossed, and we began to
descend the Pacific Slope.

Crossing the deserts of Arizona was disagreeable. The white sand from a
distance looks like snow, and is so dry and light that it is lifted
about by the wind. Some places it will drift several feet deep. The
railroad company kept men employed all the time shoveling sand from the
track. Nothing but some scattering, scrubby bushes grows in the deserts.
Almost any time looking from the cars there seems to be smoke away off
in the distance. This is nothing but the dry sand being blown about by
the wind.

Where the railroad crossed the deserts they are from one hundred and
fifty to two hundred miles wide.

The first place we stopped after crossing the Rocky Mountains was in the
city of Los Angeles, California. The good people of Los Angeles had a
bountiful supply of oranges and other nice fruit, which were given to
the soldiers, who enjoyed them very much. Some towns where we stopped
the citizens would put two or three crates of oranges in every car of
our train.

The country was beautiful, orange groves and orchards of different kinds
were numerous and fine.

California is the most beautiful country I have seen in my travels from
Georgia to the Philippine Islands.

The Oakland Ferry was reached about ten o'clock on the morning of the
first day of June. Our regiment commenced to cross at once over to San
Francisco. A detail was left to take our supplies from the train and
load them on boats, all the balance of the regiment going across. My
first sergeant was unfriendly to me and included me in the detail as a
mark of disrespect to me, although it was not my time to be placed on
detail duty according to the system of rotating that duty.

Our detail worked very hard for about two hours and seeing no prospect
of dinner we crossed over into San Francisco to find something to eat.
We found our regiment just ready to enjoy a grand banquet prepared by
the Red Cross Society. It was prepared near the piers in a long stone
building; long tables were piled full of all that a crowd of hungry
soldiers could wish for, excellent music was furnished while we did full
justice to the feast before us. The Red Cross has spent a great deal of
money since the commencement of the Spanish-American war; it has
accomplished much toward softening the horrors of war by caring for the
sick and wounded, providing medicines and necessaries for their relief,
and doing many charitable acts too numerous to be enumerated here. Many
men to-day enjoying health and strength were rescued from what must have
been an untimely grave had not the work of the Red Cross come to their
relief when sick or wounded. The army physician frequently was a
heartless, and apparently indifferent man about the ills of his
patients. While at Camp Merritt I was sick for a month. The physician
pronounced the malady fever; he did not seem to care about my recovery
or that of any other man; his chief concern seemed to be that of
obtaining his salary of one hundred and twenty-five dollars per month.
Beyond this his interest seemed to cease, and if a sick soldier
recovered he was considered lucky.

There were many sick men in Camp Merritt in the months of June and
July. We were stationed there for five months.

Twenty-five men, myself included, volunteered to be transferred from
Company "A" to Company "E." This transfer was made on the sixth of June,
and was done to fill up Company "E" to its full quota for the purpose of
going to Manila on the transport Colon, which was to leave San Francisco
on the fifteenth of June.

My company, now Company "E," was being prepared by Captain Pratt, and
was drilling for the last time in the United States before going to
Manila. I unfortunately became ill and had to be left at Camp Merritt to
go over later. It was sad news to me, for I wanted to go over with this

One battalion of the 23d Regiment was left at Camp Merritt, which
included my old company, to which I was assigned. We stayed at Camp
Merritt until about the middle of August, when orders were received to
go to Manila. By the time everything was packed and ready to strike
tents a second order was received, not to go to Manila, but to go to
Presidio, in San Francisco, and await further orders. About the 10th of
October, to our great joy, orders were read out at parade in the
evening, that we would start to Manila on the seventeenth. The men were
so glad they threw up their hats and shouted for joy. We were glad to
leave the cold, foggy and disagreeable climate of San Francisco, and
delighted that we were going to Manila, which was then the central
battle field.

The bad climate, incidentally mentioned, of San Francisco seemed to be
only local, extending along the coast for only a few miles.

I have been in San Francisco when it was cold enough to wear an
overcoat, and going across the bay to Oakland it was warm enough for a
man to be comfortable in his shirt sleeves. The distance between these
two points is only six miles. The native citizens of San Francisco, and
those who have been residents for many years and accustomed to the damp,
foggy atmosphere, are very healthy.

But this climate was very detrimental to the soldiers in Camp Merritt,
and fatal to many.

While stationed in Camp Merritt I spent a great deal of time in the San
Francisco park, which contained one thousand acres of land.

A great variety of wild animals and many different kinds of birds were
there, and I found in it a great deal of interest and amusement. Crowds
of people were there every night. Many people were there for the purpose
of committing some crime. People were frequently being sandbagged and
robbed, or sometimes boldly held up, and money and valuables secured.

I knew a great many soldiers who were robbed, sometimes they received
bruised heads just by loafing in the park at night.

No reflection is intended to be cast upon the police whose duty was in
the park; there were a great many of them, but they did not know all
that was being done in the park, and it was necessary for a man to keep
a sharp lookout for himself if he wished to escape uninjured.

The date of our departure the Red Cross gave a fine dinner for all who
were going to leave the camp. This was the custom with that society when
any soldiers left there for the Philippines.

All those who left while I was there partook of a splendid dinner just
before leaving.

This society, in addition to the dinner given to us, had several hundred
dollars worth of provisions put on board our transport, and all marked,
"For enlisted men only on deck."

At three o'clock in the afternoon of the seventeenth day of October,
1898, we sailed on board the transport "Senator." The provisions put on
board for us were well cared for--by the officers, who took charge of
them and guarded them so well that if an enlisted man got any of them,
he had to steal them from under a guard. Actually had to steal what
belonged to him by gift, and if caught stealing them he was court
martialed, and fined enough to buy his rations for a month, but the fine
money was not appropriated in that way.

We had a rough voyage, not on account of the weather, but because the
transport was so packed and crowded that a man did well to walk from one
end of the ship to the other. We were crowded like a cargo of animals
bound for a slaughter pen.

A private may think all or anything he pleases, but he does not have an
opportunity to say very much about anything. He must obey the commands
of his officers.

Our officers on the transport had everything to suit themselves, and the
private had to do the best he could and try to be satisfied, or at least
appear that way.

It would take two-thirds of the deck for half a dozen officers to have
room. They thought themselves so superior to the privates they did not
want to be near them. Our ship had fifteen hundred men on board.

We reached the port of Honolulu, after several days' sailing on rough
seas, October twenty-fifth; five days were taken to coal for our long
voyage to Manila. Honolulu is a fine city, about 2,190 miles from San
Francisco. Located as it is, away out in the Pacific Ocean, makes it the
more attractive to a Georgia soldier who was on his first sea voyage.
There are some fine views in and around Honolulu. As our transport
steamed into the harbor of the city I thought it a grand sight. From
what I could learn I had but one objection to it as a desirable place to
live--leprosy is too prevalent. A small island is used for the lepers'
home, where all who are afflicted with this most loathsome of diseases
are carried, yet the fact that those poor victims are in that country is
a disagreeable one and makes one shudder to look at the island. No one
is allowed to go there, except on business, and they have to get passes
from the authorities to do so. I had no desire to visit the place.

Honolulu is a very good city, with some of the modern city improvements,
such as water works, electric lights, street railroads and ice
factories. These are the results of emigration, people of other
countries going in with money and experience. The natives are called
Kanakis. Agriculture consists in the cultivation of rice, bananas,
cocoanuts and coffee. It was there where I first saw bananas, cocoanuts
and coffee growing. A lieutenant, with about twenty-five men, including
myself, went out about six miles along the beach. We went to the Diamond
Head, six miles eastward from Honolulu. This is an old crater of an
extinct volcano. Returning to the beach we went in bathing and enjoyed
it very much.

Our party had to get passes and present them to guards on going out and
returning. Our transport having coaled and made all the necessary
preparations for the voyage to Manila, we went on board and sailed about
four o'clock in the afternoon of October the thirtieth. But few of the
soldiers had been sea-sick before arriving at Honolulu, but after
leaving there many of them were ill for several days.

I think that the native drink called swipes was the cause of much of it.
This had been very freely imbibed by the soldiers. It is a peculiar
beverage, producing a drunkenness that lasted several days. Some of the
men getting over a drunk on this stuff, by taking a drink of water would
again be drunk. I escaped sea-sickness and, but for the fact that we
were living on the transport like pigs in a crowded pen, I would have
gone over comfortably and would have enjoyed the voyage.

Our rations were very poor, scarcely fit for hogs to eat. They consisted
of a stewed stuff of beef scraps, called by the men "slum;" prunes, hard
tack and colored hot water for coffee. Once a week we had a change from
this of salmon or cod fish. I believe those who shared this food stuff
with me on this voyage will bear me out in the statement that it was
tough fare.

The soldiers were not alone on board--there were other passengers who
seemed to dispute our possession and waged war on us both day and night.
These belligerents were known as "gray backs," some of them being nearly
one-fourth of an inch long and very troublesome. Clothing and everything
else seemed to be full of them.

I have seen soldiers pick them off of their bodies and clothing and kill
them before the men went to bed, hoping to get rid of them and get to

I have seen several times almost the whole body of soldiers on board
sick and vomiting. There was something peculiar about this sickness.
Nevertheless, it was true; the men were fed on rotten prunes and fruit,
which, after nearly all the supply was consumed, was found by our
surgeon to be full of worms. This had been the cause of so much
sickness. By refusing to eat this rotten stuff myself I was not ill.

About half way between Honolulu and Manila an active volcano was passed
about four o'clock in the morning. Everybody went out on deck to see
this great sight. Although it was raining at the time the men stood out
in it to see this remarkable spectacle. It had the appearance of a round
hill sticking out of the water, the whole top burning and falling in.


The most interesting sight I ever beheld was in the China Sea. One
evening, just before dark, when the sea was rough and black, threatening
clouds were hovering over us, lightning shooting its fiery bolts across
their path, and every indication pointed to one of those fearful
typhoons for which the China Sea is noted. The crew had closed all the
port holes and hatchways preparatory for the storm, which was believed
to be fast approaching. While yet on deck with a number of soldiers, who
were looking across the surface of the rough waters, there suddenly
appeared in the water an object that looked like a woman; it had long
hair just like a woman; the upper part of its body was like a woman, and
to all appearances was a woman. It rose about half out of the water and
sank back. Three times it did this and disappeared. I learned that this
strange sea animal was a mermaid, and that they are seen during such
stormy weather as we were then experiencing.

Another very interesting sea animal is the porpoise. It is shaped
something like a fish, except the head, which looks like that of a hog.
They will follow a ship in droves, swimming near the surface of the
water and jumping out of the water and diving down like fish playing.

I have seen many living things in water, some of which were very
interesting looking that I never heard any name for. A very strange,
helpless-looking object is the star fish. They are often left by the
tide on the beach and are perfectly helpless until another tide carries
them back. A flying fish fell on deck of the transport and was picked
up, greatly exciting our curiosity. This strange little animal never
gets more than a few inches long. These fish go in schools; sometimes a
school is so large that it covers half an acre or more, skipping or
flying along on the surface of the water sometimes one hundred yards
before striking the water again. I had in my hands the one that fell on
our deck and examined it with a great deal of curiosity. It had a pair
of small wings and was very beautiful.

The jelly fish does not look very clean and nice. The largest one I ever
saw was eighteen inches thick and looked like a mass of jelly and was
hard in the center. These fish are of two colors, white and black. They
can sting when they touch the naked body and give as much pain as the
sting of a yellow jacket.

I have been in the water bathing and one of them would sting me, making
a great, red, burning spot. I have seen sea serpents, but was never
close to one where I could see it plainly. They seem to be very easily
frightened, and I only saw them on the surface of the water at some
distance. They are very large snakes with black spots.

The men on our transport were interested in a flock of sea gulls, which
to us appeared to be the same birds following our vessel to pick up the
scraps thrown overboard. I could see them any day and I therefore
believed they were the same sea gulls. They can fly farther than any
other bird.

We arrived in Manila Bay November twenty-second, and anchored about two
miles out from the piers of the city. The view was delightful to all on
board, especially the soldiers. We were happy and jokes were freely
passed around. We were once more to be on land and what person would not
be happy over this thought after so long a voyage over the great waters
of the Pacific?

Five days we had to wait before quarters could be obtained and we could
land. I was very anxious to get away from that transport, which to me
was worse than a jail. I never was jailed in my life, but I believe that
two months' imprisonment would have been more pleasant than the time I
was on board that ship. Finally we were landed at a point just below the
Bridge of Spain and marched into the walled city of Manila. It will be
remembered that a portion of the Twenty-third Regiment had preceded us a
few months. Our landing would reunite the regiment, and to celebrate the
occasion that portion of it that went over first had a banquet dinner
prepared for our arrival. It was a memorable occasion long to be
cherished by my division of the regiment. After such disgusting food as
we had had since leaving San Francisco we appreciated the elegant feast
and plenty of Manila wine that was set before us. This latter portion of
the regiment did full justice to the occasion, both provisions and wine,
which was excellent. We stayed in the city and performed guard duty for
a few months. It was of the hardest sort all the time that we were in
the Philippines. It was performed day and night part of the time.

We had "running guard," which was day and night, but this would not
continue more than a week at one time. Manila was then a dangerous place
for Americans and our guard and patrol duty was desperate work.

All the citizens of Manila were our enemies as long as the Spanish
soldiers remained in the city; when they were sent back to Spain
conditions improved immediately.

No one was permitted to go out of the city. The citizens were allowed,
at intervals of several days, to pass out through the sally ports of the
wall and take two hours' exercise in the Lunetta, which is the favorite
outing grounds of Manila, and a place for executing insurgents. This was
a privilege not often granted, and when the people were thus indulged
they had to be back on time.

Aguinaldo, with his army, was just outside of Manila from the time the
Americans captured it until his attempt to enter and capture the city
from the Americans. This attempt was made on the night of February
ninth, the first demonstration indicating his intentions being made
about nine o'clock in the night. The Filipinos attempted to enter
through the sally ports and were promptly discovered by the guards, who
commanded a halt. The command was not obeyed and the guards fired upon
them. This seemed to be the signal for a general engagement by the
Filipinos. The Nebraska Volunteers were the first to receive the attack
of the enemy. At once the battle became furious and continued for
several days and nights. The enemy was making a desperate and determined
effort to enter the city, but failed, and were finally driven back to a
position where they could be easier handled by our forces. After about
ten days' fighting the Americans threw up works and entrenched
themselves and waited for re-enforcements before taking the offensive.
The American forces numbered ten thousand in the city and the enemy's
forces were estimated at sixty thousand. The American lines were getting
too long and weak to risk an attack and we held our position and waited
for re-enforcements to arrive. During this time the Filipino prisoners
were closely guarded and forced to bury their dead. Five days were
occupied in this work of picking up and burying the dead Filipinos. The
number of their dead is unknown, but must have been large. It was
reported that five hundred Filipinos were buried in one day. It was also
reported that eighty Americans were killed in one night.

I shall never forget that night attack; I was one of three men on guard
in the Spanish hospital. This was a very dangerous post at any time, but
on an occasion like that it was more so. Three hundred Filipinos were in
the hospital, about one hundred prisoners and about sixty Spanish women.
All the hospital corps of attendants were armed with some kind of
weapon, usually a knife. When the attack was made on the guards at the
wall and the firing commenced, I was sitting in a chair and almost
asleep from exhaustion and continued guard duty. A Spanish woman in the
top story of the hospital heard the firing. She ran down to where I was
sitting, took me by the shoulders and was shaking me vigorously when I
first realized what was taking place. She was very much excited and
jabbered at me in Spanish, which I had no knowledge of and did not
understand one word she said. When she saw that she could not make me
understand her Spanish she went away. I heard the firing and knew that
an attack was being made. The Filipinos in that hospital would have met
with little resistance from only three guards had they made a dash for
liberty. They could have easily passed out through the unlocked doors
while we could have killed a few. After gaining the outside they could
have given assistance to their comrades, and in the darkness of the
night set fire to the city and made our situation a desperate one
indeed. The Filipinos knew the city much better than the Americans and
had Aguinaldo been possessed with the nerve and ability he could have
entered with his superior numbers and captured the city. The Filipinos,
however, gave the Americans some hard fighting before the enemy's forces
were scattered over the island of Luzon. After the Filipinos were
scattered they divided into small bands, which marched over the island
burning and destroying. One of the bands when run upon by the Americans
would give them a short desperate fight and flee to the hills in safety.
Frequently it happened that a squad of American soldiers would be
outnumbered by a band of the enemy, and it was then the Americans
turned to run into Manila for safety.

A great many of the native business men, both employers and employees,
stayed in Manila after it was captured and carried on their business.
Many of these were a menace to the safety and the authority of the
Americans. All the arms and ammunition and dynamite that could be
obtained by them were hidden away. They banded together to do all the
mischief possible, but our guards were too clever for the Filipinos and
always detected their schemes and plots before they could be carried
out. It was believed that the men inside of the city were working with
the enemy outside for an outbreak. Aguinaldo would engage the attention
of the Americans and these treacherous Filipinos and Spaniards inside
would do a great deal of mischief before being discovered.

Therefore, in the face of all this, much depended on the efficiency of
our guard duty. Guards were on duty in all parts of the city, in church
towers and every place that would give any advantage in keeping a
lookout for any indications of trouble.


Before Aguinaldo's attempt to enter Manila the friendly natives outside
the city were suffering from a fatal epidemic of some character,
apparently so, judging by the number of caskets taken outside. This
continued for several days; one or two caskets every day were allowed to
pass out by the guards, although orders were issued to search all boxes,
trunks and baggage; yet these caskets were allowed to pass through
unmolested for about fifteen days. Finally the guard's suspicion was
aroused by these frequent burials and it was decided to open a casket,
which was packed full of Mauser rifles. This ended the funerals outside.
This demonstrates the trickery and smuggling schemes of these people.

I have known prisoners to escape by exchanging clothing with their
wives, who were permitted to visit their husbands in jail, the man
passing out and leaving the woman in prison. A great many prisoners
escaped in this way before the scheme was discovered.

Dummy guns and soldiers were placed in forts in a manner to deceive
Americans as to the strength of the works, but the Americans were not to
be bluffed so easily and this scheme was worthless.

Almost the whole American force was on the streets of Manila watching
and expecting an attack for two weeks before it was made. We were always
prepared to fight. We had to keep our clothes on all the time and our
guns and belts by our side. I did not have more than fifteen nights'
rest from the 20th of January to the 24th of May. Frequently we would
just get on our bunk when a call to arms would be given; every man would
rush out in a hurry and sometimes had to march four or five miles,
before stopping, through rain and wind, or whatever weather we might be
called out in. There we would stay the balance of the night. If we
wanted to lie down we only had one blanket to put on the wet ground.
Every man had to look out for himself and get the best place he could.

We would only be in a few hours from one march until orders would be
received to march to some other dangerous point; it appeared that we
were only marched back to the city to take a bath and change clothing,
which we needed.

I believe these marches in the night or day, in the hot climate of that
country, lying on the wet ground sometimes every night for two weeks,
has killed more men than were ever killed by the Filipinos. Those who
never died from the exposure died from the kind of rations they ate out
on the lines. It has been a mystery to me how I ever reached America
again. I have been through everything and have seen as hard service as
any soldier in the Philippines, and have eaten as hard grub as any of
them ever ate.

I believe the Twenty-third had call to arms no less than twenty-five
times. Every time we thought a fight was on hand and we would see some
fun with the Filipinos. Whenever we got them started to running, which
most always was easily done, then the fun was on. We were sent out a
great many times to guard some town from the enemy's torch.

Company "E," of the Twenty-third, was detailed to guard the first
reserve hospital in Manila and was on duty ten days. The officers feared
that enough of the enemy would slip through the lines to enter the
hospital and commit many depredations and kill the wounded Americans, so
we were detailed to guard it and walk the streets and hold up every
vehicle of the Filipinos and search them for arms and ammunition. This
holding up and searching gave the sentries all they wanted to do. All
the time we were there on duty we could not leave without permission. We
laid about in the hot sun in the day time and at night on the ground.
Some of the soldiers pulled grass and made beds to sleep on the side of
the streets.

The only thing to help pass the time while on this duty was to go
through the hospital and look at the wounded, some with arms off, others
with a leg gone, while there were men wounded in almost every imaginable
way to be living. Some would get well when it looked almost impossible
for them to recover. I have seen thirty to forty wounded piled in a box
car and sent into Manila, where they were put on a boat and carried up
the Pasig river to the hospital. They were taken from the boat and put
in a cold place till the doctor puts them on the operating table and
handles them like a butcher handling a beef. Almost every day women and
children were brought in with burned hands and feet, the Filipinos
burning every town which they thought was about to be captured, and the
women and children suffered; doubtless, many were burned to death.

Fire is a dangerous resort of the Filipino. About one hundred got
through the lines into Manila and made an effort to burn the city, but
the promptness of the Americans saved it, only five blocks being burned.
The soldiers were kept busy guarding the negroes and keeping them away
from the buildings. Big stores were burning and the fire department was
too poor to save them; the proprietors told the soldiers to go in and
get anything they wanted.

While the fire department was doing all it could to save the city and
sneaking Filipinos were hindering the department all they could by
cutting the hose. They would assemble in crowds and then the hose was
cut; every one caught in this act was shot down on the spot. Six or
seven were thus punished that night. It was an exciting time and looked
as if Manila would be burned in spite of all our efforts to save her.
The Twenty-third Regiment did guard duty all night on the west side of
the city. The enemy, failing to burn Manila, fired a little bamboo
village outside; the bursting bamboos could be easily heard by us. The
noise was just like that of guns and the Filipinos took advantage of
this noise to shoot at us in the city. They would get behind the light
of the burning village and when an American could be seen in the light
of the burning houses in Manila he was shot at. This was kept up all
night. Our great trouble was to distinguish between the noise of the
bursting bamboos and the report of a Mauser rifle. The noise of bursting
bamboos could be heard three and four miles, some of them not much
unlike a six-inch gun, and the reports from a burning bamboo village was
almost a reproduction of a battle and would last several hours.

After guarding the burning district of the city all night we returned to
guard duty at the hospital. Orders were received to march to the firing
line at San Pedro Macati. We marched there on the first day of March and
stayed till the tenth. We were in trenches at the front; our provisions
were more than half a mile at the rear and details were made out each
day to bring up provisions to the men in the works. These details were
fired at in going and coming by the Filipinos, but their fire was
ineffective, owing to their distance from us, until the detail neared
the trenches, where the distance was not so great, and it was very
dangerous. Some were wounded.

A man behind the works could not get out for a few minutes' exercise
without being fired at, and if he did not get under cover soon they
would get him. I have seen many men shot that way; they thought the
Filipinos could not shoot. I have seen some fine marksmen among them.
They could do some good shooting until they became excited and fled for
some place of safety.

I have seen squads of Filipinos come near our trenches and open fire on
us. A squad of Americans with their arms would jump out of the trenches
and start towards them and they would soon disappear like so many
frightened deer. I was in a squad of soldiers who ran three Filipinos
for two miles. They were shot at several times, but got away.

We were out ten days and had two engagements; we had a very hard time on
this excursion. Water was hauled two miles and a half on a two-wheeled
vehicle, in old vessels holding four or five gallons. By the time we
could get to the kitchens about half of it would be spilled.

Buffaloes were used like oxen in this country. They were much larger,
however, of a dark brown color and very easily frightened. When one
started to run away no man could hold it. I have seen them run as fast
as a good horse. Their horns were of immense size and flat, considerably
extended. They generally did not turn aside for smaller objects when
running away. On one occasion I saw one run against a stone building,
knocking himself down. He arose and ran on as fast as before. Those that
run at large will get in the water where it will cover them and stand
with their noses out for half a day.

The fourth day out at San Pedro Macati we had a bush skirmish and some
hard fighting for about two hours.

This was my first fighting and I have to confess to being a little
frightened this time, but kept my nerve on all other occasions. We ran
them back from the trenches and out of sight. They were not to be seen
even by the aid of field glasses any more that day. We could not
estimate the number of killed, as they left none on the field.

The first sergeant of my company was slightly wounded in the chest by a
spent ball, from which he recovered in a few days. I was near him and
heard the bullet strike him; it almost felled him. This was the first
soldier I saw wounded.

The way the bullets were coming I thought every one of us would be
killed, but no one was shot except the one just mentioned. Out-posts
were always stationed two hundred yards or more from camp every night,
or in front of our trenches, to prevent a night attack. If the enemy
started through our picket lines they were fired on by the pickets, who
would then rapidly fall back to our lines of trenches. This out-post
duty is very important and very dangerous, especially when the sneaking
Filipinos were in the community.

Many nights the Americans would be aroused from their slumbers by the
enemy's attacks and efforts to surprise them, and we would lie in our
trenches and fire on them till they left. The enemy would be stationed
on an opposite hill and they would sometimes get very close to our
out-posts, who could see them moving about and talking and hear them
walking in the leaves and underbrush. Our sentinels had orders not to
fire on them unless they made an attack, when the sentinels fired and
got back into the trenches as quickly as possible to escape being killed
by our own men.

They violated the custom of the white flag frequently. A party of six or
eight would leave their lines with a white flag and advance a little
and wave the flag. A party of Americans would start to meet them.

Every time the Americans stopped the Filipinos stopped. They tried to
get our men as near them as possible and when they thought they could
get our men no nearer they would seize their rifles, which they would
have concealed behind them, and fire on our soldiers. Their scheme
evidently was to kill all the officers they could, but they only
succeeded in killing two, as far as came to my knowledge. After a few
attempts of this kind they were fired on regardless of their white flag

While at San Pedro Macati the First Colorado Volunteers would go out and
sleep all night on the hill-top. Some one was killed, or wounded, every
night this was done. But few Americans were killed before the advance
was made on the enemy. A strong post was taken and many Filipinos killed
and captured. Ninety were captured in one little bamboo village of a
dozen houses. This was the morning of March tenth. That evening orders
were received to return to Manila. We had been in the trenches the
greater part of the ten days at San Pedro Macati, and had two
engagements, one the fourth and one the tenth of March.

We set out on the return to Manila late in the evening of March tenth.
We had a march of six miles to make. A heavy rain drenched the soldiers,
reaching the walled city of Manila about eleven o'clock that night.

After a few days' rest Company "E" of the Twenty-third went up the Pasig
river on cascos to Laguna de Bay, a distance of fifty miles from
Manila. This is a body of fresh water twenty miles wide and sixty miles
long, and deep enough to float a large steamer.

A gun boat, which stayed there in the bay, and of the same name, was
boarded by a part of our soldiers and steamed up the bay for the purpose
of capturing Santa Cruz. We had to go up in front of the town in full
view of the Filipinos, who saw the approach of the gun boat and left in
haste for the mountains.

Our boat grounded and we had to wade out a distance of two hundred
yards. The bottom of the lake was uneven and by the time land was
reached we were wet from running into holes of deep water. On reaching
land a line of skirmishers was formed and the town was entered without
any trouble. But one Filipino was seen. He was almost frightened to
death. With the aid of field glasses we could see Filipinos on the
mountains. When we left they returned, but before going we burned some
large buildings in which supplies were stored, mostly rice and sugar. We
returned to the gunboat and cascos late that evening.

Captain Grant, of the gunboat, wanted to go about thirty miles up the
bay from Santa Cruz. We made the run in three hours. It was a very
bright moonlight night. The objective point was reached about eight
o'clock. On getting very close to shore an old priest was seen on the
dock waving a big white flag, which he continued to wave until we
landed. Captain Pratt took an interpreter with him and learned from the
old man that everything there was all right. He informed Captain Pratt
that he thought the town would be bombarded if not surrendered without
it. There was a fine church at this place; the town was built of bamboo.
A few stores and about four hundred Filipinos were there. The Filipinos
had gone to the mountains while we were landing, but returned when the
old priest rang the church bell as a signal that all was well. We were
preparing to sleep in their bamboo houses, but Captain Pratt, fearing
some treachery, ordered us to the cascos and gunboat to sleep, but as we
were wet and muddy large camp fires were built where we could dry and
eat our salmon and hard tack before going on the boats.

We had had some hard service for four days and felt very much like
sleeping, but the boats rolled and plunged until we could not sleep. We
were in a dangerous place. Had all the Filipinos who came into that
place that night been around they could have given us a hard fight, and
possibly have killed us, but, fortunately, they did not appear to have
any arms. Next morning two cascos were loaded with captured wood and we
left this place to go down and across the lake to take another town.

Our boats were anchored two miles out and an armed detail sent out in a
small launch to reconnoitre. It was found to be too strong for our
forces. A strong fort and almost three thousand Filipinos were in the
town. We remained in front of this place until the next morning watching
for Aguinaldo's gunboats. He had four in the bay. One had been
captured. Just before dark one of these gunboats was sighted coming
around the point of an island. It was going into port, but seeing our
boats it turned back. We made no effort to pursue this vessel, as our
boat was slow of speed and night was coming on. Nothing more was seen
during the night and next morning we went down the lake to the Pasig
river, which is the lake's outlet. Going down the river about five miles
we awaited orders from Manila.

We were out on this expedition for ten days, part of this time on the
Laguna de Bay and the remainder in the Pasig river.

We had a good time after starting back towards Manila, but little to do
and less to care for. While awaiting orders on the river we consumed a
great deal of time hunting chickens and ducks. These were very plentiful
and easily caught. We fared well on these every day for a week. We also
killed all the hogs that were necessary to supply our wants, and there
were plenty of them. The first ones were killed by Lieutenant Franklin,
who took a rifle out one evening and was gone almost an hour. At last he
returned with two fat pigs which he had shot. We expected to enjoy
eating them the next morning as they had to be dressed and cooked. Next
morning our hopes and expectations of a good meal were exploded by
finding that the pigs were spoiled. After that we profited by that
experience and always ate our hogs as soon as they could be prepared.
The trouble about keeping fresh meat there was the hot, moist climate.
This would soon spoil it, especially if not dressed immediately after
being killed.

On the ninth day of this expedition about twenty-five men went out on a
hunt for porkers. Six very good-sized ones were secured by this party,
to which I belonged. Another expedition went duck hunting and bagged
eighty fine ones. Great numbers of chickens were everywhere in the woods
and towns. They belonged to the natives. A party of soldiers caught
fifteen of these while the hogs and ducks were being secured. These
three parties returned about the same time loaded with the spoils of the

The cooks tried to please every one and set us at dressing our game.
They cooked every hog, chicken and duck for dinner that day. There were
about ninety men in this company. This was one of the last three days
out on this expedition of ten days. The other seven were very rough and
hard ones for us.

One night some of the men made a new arrangement about sleeping. The day
had been hot and clear and the open air was desirable to sleep in where
we could enjoy the full benefit of a nice cool breeze which was blowing.
The deck of the gunboat we thought an ideal place to spend the night. We
were very sleepy. This spot was free from mosquitoes and we were
preparing for a fine rest. Captain Grant looked out on deck at our
positions and said: "Boys, look out up there tonight. It rains here in
this country sometimes." The sky was almost cloudless and we thought
nothing of rain.

About two o'clock I awoke, thoroughly drenched, and the rain falling as
fast as I ever saw it in my life. Any one who has not seen it rain in a
hot country has an inadequate idea how hard a tropical rain really is.
My blanket was perfectly wet and the water was standing on one side of
me in a pool. It took me so by surprise that I was bewildered. Finally I
decided to leave that place and seek shelter. I wrung the water out of
my blanket and groped about in the inky darkness and went into the
engine room, where I stayed until morning. That drenching rain seemed to
affect all who were exposed to it and resulted in severe colds in every
instance. The twenty-fourth of March we were about fifteen miles from
Manila, up the Pasig river, awaiting orders. The Pasig river is deep and
wide, large steamers being able to traverse its waters. A strong under
current made swimming difficult and dangerous.

Observing some soldiers across the river at a deserted bamboo village I
decided to go over to them. I set out and swam till tired. Looking back
I discovered that I was about half way across the river. I swam until I
was almost too exhausted to raise one hand above the other. I could not
tell whether I was moving or not, except, perhaps, down stream.

I was in a critical condition, but did not give up nor get excited. Had
I done so I believe that I would have drowned. I know of about twenty
soldiers who were drowned while trying to swim across the Pasig river.

By struggling with all my strength I succeeded in getting across. I did
not know how I could get back without swimming and I decided not to try
that. I was very exhausted and rested and planned a long time. Finally I
found a piece of plank and getting on that I went across all right. This
experience was sufficient for me, and after that I never went into water
too deep to wade.

We left our river post and went into Manila. On the way down the river
we met with an accident that might have been fatal to about fifty men. A
casco had been captured in the Laguna de Bay, and about fifty men,
including myself, went on board the captured vessel and were being towed
into Manila by a launch. Our vessels had to pass under the Bridge of
Spain. The captured boat was too high and in attempting to pass under
the bridge the whole top of the casco was torn off, timbers and
fragments of the broken vessel were flying in every direction, and it
looked as if the men could not escape these missiles. I was in the stern
and thought that half of the men on deck would be knocked out into the
water and possibly drowned. Quicker than it takes to tell it, I was
lying on my back in a close, narrow place where there was just enough
room for me to wedge into. The casco was being pulled to pieces against
the bridge and as it went farther under the bridge the rudder beam was
pushed around over me with such force that it left grooves in a piece of
timber not more than an inch above my face. It was that piece of timber
that saved me from being crushed to death.

After the excitement had subsided a little I found that I had been
struck on one side and hurt, but only slightly. The launch tore loose
from the casco and before it could again be fastened another accident
threatened us. Several large sailing vessels lay at anchor along the
river and the casco was about to run into them. This accident was
avoided and we were landed and marched into the walled city of Manila.


Our company arrived at Manila on the night of March 24, 1899. The next
night our regiment was ordered out to re-enforce the volunteers in
capturing Malabon. This town was full of Filipinos, who were fighting
the volunteer forces then trying to capture the town. Our forces marched
to the north of the town and camped. Every soldier had to cook his own
provisions, if he ate any that were cooked. The march from Manila to our
camp was twelve miles. Every man carried one hundred rounds of
cartridges, knapsack and his provisions. The site of our camp was on the
bank of the Malabon river, which was reached at sunset. We had to cross
the river before camping and the only chance was to wade or swim. Some
could wade, but those who were short had to swim. We wanted to cross
without getting our blankets and provisions wet, but some were more
unfortunate and lost them. I tied my blanket and provisions to the
bayonet fixed on my rifle and crossed with them dry, but my person
suffered by the water and mud. Night had come on by the time the
regiment reached the camping side of the river and guards had to be put
on duty at once. Our blankets were piled up for no further service while
we were out on this expedition; the men, wet and muddy, had to pass the
night the best they could. There were supposed to be from 3,000 to 4,000
Filipinos near by and our night camp was a hazardous one. Everything
must be done with the utmost caution.

The men, wet and muddy, fought mosquitoes all night and had no rest. The
Filipinos could be heard all night busily tearing up the railroad track
and destroying a bridge a few hundred yards from us. They dug pits in
the ground and built fires in them, over which the track rails were
placed till hot enough to easily bend. Bending the rails, they thought,
prevented the Americans from using them again in shipping supplies over
the road. The site of our camp was a low, mucky place on the river bank,
where mosquitoes literally filled the air.

That was the hardest night on me of all the nights of two years' service
in the Philippine Islands. I was so sleepy and tired next morning that I
could scarcely hold up my head, and my condition seemed to be no worse
than that of every other soldier in the regiment. Mosquitoes had bitten
me through my trousers and brought blood. Frequently I have been
sleeping after a hard day's service when the mosquitoes would bite my
face and the blood run out and dry up in hard drops. When I could not
get water to wash off these places I would scratch them off. In some
cases these bites were poisonous. I have seen soldiers with large sores,
caused by scratching mosquito bites. I was cautious about poisoning
during my service in the Philippines.

The morning of the 26th, about four o'clock, I saw from my post, where
I had been all night, a big fire in the direction of Malabon. The
Filipinos had fired the town and left it. It was our purpose to capture
the place and take some forts on the river, but the tricky Filipinos
preferred burning their town to surrendering it to the hated Americans.

Our forces took up the advance on the enemy, who stubbornly resisted us
from ten o'clock in the morning until four in the evening, when they
retired to Malinto and took another stand behind a stone wall and held
this position until driven from it by a charge. We had to advance up a
long slope of open ground for one and a half miles. Firing was kept up
rapidly all the way. The enemy was driven out and the town taken. About
thirty men were killed and wounded on the American side. The enemy's
loss was not known, but must have been very heavy.

One poor fellow who was among the wounded in this battle I remember very
distinctly. He was first sergeant of Company G, Twenty-second Regiment.
He was shot through the head. The doctor dressing the wounds as he came
to the wounded saw this sergeant and said there was no use to do
anything for him, that he would die in a few minutes. The wounded man
replied that he would live longer than the doctor would and wanted his
wounds dressed. He lay there and talked to his comrades, who were around
him, and cursed the doctor for neglecting him. He remained in this
condition an hour or two and died.

After a short rest in Malinto we marched about one mile south and back
to Malinto again. That night we marched to a point near a station on the
Manita and Dagupan Railroad and camped. We were then about eight miles
from Manila, and opposite Malabon, which is off the railroad and on the
beach near the mouth of the Malabon river. Our camp was located more
than two miles from where we had left our blankets that morning on going
into battle. A detail of ten men, including myself, was made out to go
after the blankets. They were obtained and we returned to camp with them
about ten o'clock that night. We had to cook our rations for supper
after our return, but being rather a frugal meal of easy preparation but
little time was required to prepare it; frying some bacon in mess kits
composed all the cooking; hard tack and canned tomatoes composed the
remainder of the meal. The ground with the starry heavens overhead and
one blanket was both house and bed. The next day we marched into Manila,
arriving about twelve o'clock. We remained there doing guard duty till
the 30th day of March.

In the evening of the 29th orders were read out to provide three days'
rations, fill our canteens and each man to be furnished with one hundred
and fifty cartridges. We all expected a battle and were anxious for it,
but did not know where we were most likely to get it. Every one was busy
and anxious to be marching, especially the officers, who usually could
hardly wait for the time to come after receiving orders to march.

We were to have supper on this occasion at five o'clock, but all we had
were some scraps and crumbs from the camp kitchen.

Our orders were to march to Maricana, which was held by the enemy. We
marched twelve miles before camping. It rained before we started out
from Manila and cleared up, but left the roads very muddy and made
marching very hard. The twelve miles were made by ten o'clock. That
night the wet ground served as couch and one blanket as all the
covering. We had to recline, if we lay down at all, with gun and belt at
our side, ready at a moment's notice to meet the enemy's attack should
they swoop down upon us in camp. After a halt of six hours we set about
at four o'clock preparing breakfast, every man cooking his own rations
in camp kit and making coffee in a quart cup.

Men were gathered around their little fires of wet wood on the damp
ground trying to burn wet wood and cook over the little fire it made.
Some of the hungry men had just succeeded in getting their fires to burn
and commenced to cook when orders were given to prepare for the march to
Maricana, which we were expected to capture that day and to take the
Filipinos prisoners or drive them into the neighboring mountains. It is
needless to say that those men who failed to get their breakfast were
ready to fight. They had an opportunity before many hours passed.

From the camp it was five miles to Maricana. The march began at
four-thirty, while it was still dark, and we could move unseen by any of
the enemy who chanced to be lurking in our vicinity. We marched through
the woods and without speaking above a whisper marched close to the
enemy before we were discovered. Their sentinels in the church towers
were the first to discover our approach and give the alarm by ringing
the bells.

Maricana is located on the bank of a river and we advanced within one
hundred and fifty yards of the opposite bank before we were discovered.
We advanced at double time and reached the river bank, when we lay down
and opened fire just as the early daylight was appearing. Our skirmish
line covered the whole town, in which the enemy were stationed as a
reserve force to their advanced lines along the river. This advance, or
outer line of the enemy, were fortified behind a stone wall. Our line
was at the disadvantage of being in the open ground. The lines thus
formed were hotly engaged for some time when the command was given to
cross the river and charge the enemy's lines. The river bank in front of
me was about ten feet high, but this offered no obstacle to me when
bullets were falling thick and fast near by. At the command to cross I
jumped and somehow got down the bank and into the water. Looking back I
saw no one else coming. The bullets were coming around me so fast I had
no time to form any plans and I pushed on into the water until it was
almost over my head. I remained in this condition until I saw my command
crossing about one hundred yards below me. I could not get out on the
bank to go down and decided I would wade down to the crossing place and
join our forces there. I was almost exhausted when I reached the shore.
The enemy, seeing our intentions to attack their line, remained behind
the stone wall and fired at us until we were nearly across. Then they
could stay there no longer and fled from their strong position. We
crossed and entered the town, capturing five armed men. The enemy beat a
hasty retreat, rather a pell-mell flight across the open country towards
the mountains, at whose bay they had entrenchments and a large reserve
force. The fight lasted from daylight till about two o'clock in the
evening. The battle of Maricana was as hard as any fought in the
Philippine Islands. About three thousand American soldiers were engaged.
Several were killed and a great many of the Filipinos.

When an American was wounded his wound was dressed and some soldier's
blue shirt hung up near him to designate the place where a wounded
American was. In this way no one would be left on the field after the
battle when the dead and wounded were picked up.

The Filipinos were not so well cared for. I saw a great many soldiers
run out of their way in order to step on a dead or wounded Filipino.
They would shout with joy at their punishment of the poor Filipino.

I was near three Americans who were shot that day; two of them were
killed. The one who recovered was a member of my company. A ball passed
through his body, entering the back and passing out on the right side.
It didn't seem possible for him to live, but in one month he was again
at his post of duty. A lieutenant of the Fourth Infantry had his horse
killed under him. Jumping off he took out his field glasses and got on
his knees and began looking for sharpshooters. In less than a minute he
was shot through the heart and fell dead without speaking. I thought
every second I would get a bullet, for they were flying so thick and
close that I did not see how I could escape them. Before the battle was
over I wished I might be shot, for I never was so nearly dead in all my
life. My condition did not appear to be any worse than that of every
other American soldier.

We were run almost to exhaustion and were awfully hot. I drank water
that day from ditches and holes when the water looked green and tasted
very badly. I knew the water was filthy and even dangerous to drink, but
I was not going to die for water when there was plenty of it near by.
During the heat of the battle I was lying down near an old soldier. We
were both trying to get cover. We were fighting hard with no protection
but the ridges in a large rice field which we were fighting over. Our
firing line was in a line of skirmishers. A bullet hit the ground in
front and between the old soldier and where I lay. It knocked dirt in
our faces. The old soldier looked at me and appeared to be very much
frightened. I only laughed at his funny looks. Before I got away from
that position I felt a hard shock on my chest. I thought that I was shot
at last and put my hand up to examine the wound. Finding myself all
right I looked at the ridge and saw what it all meant. A bullet was
buried in the ridge. I dug it out with my bayonet and kept it, and I
have it yet as a souvenir of that day's battle. I have several more
bullets which struck near me at different times and places. All of
these I treasure, for I do not expect to get any more bullets just as I
did these.

The American loss at Maricana was twenty-four killed and nineteen


After leaving the battlefield we returned to the camp we had left that
morning. The whole force was almost exhausted by the day's service and
marching was a slow, burdensome task. A great many men lost their
provisions in the battle or in crossing the river. Mine was lost in the
river together with my mess kit, canteen and haversack. Those who were
fortunate enough not to lose their rations of canned beef and hard tack
were enjoying a hasty meal. At this juncture orders from Manila were to
march to Caloocan Church that night, a distance of about twenty-three
miles. It was then getting late in the evening and this march to be made
before camping was not very pleasant news to already footsore and tired
soldiers. Before marching out of sight of our camp men began falling
out. I marched about half an hour and had to fall out of ranks and
straggle along as best I could. My company set out for Caloocan with one
hundred and twenty-eight men, only eighteen of whom marched through that
night. The others were scattered along the route, footsore and worn out.
Many of them pulled off their shoes to relieve their blistered feet and
marched barefooted and carried their shoes in their hands, and, like
myself, stopping almost every hundred yards to rest a few minutes. We
were afraid to stop long at a time. We would have become too sore and
stiff to move.

We continued to move along in this tedious, toilsome way as rapidly as
possible. My party of three were proceeding as best we could. In the
darkness of the night we lost our way by taking the wrong road and went
into a small town, where we found a few white men, one of them a doctor
belonging to the First Regiment of Colorado Volunteers. He made many
inquiries about us and our regiment and asked all about the battle
fought that day. He looked after our welfare by providing us with
shelter and beds, but there was something else we wanted before
sleeping. We were perishing for food and all we had between us was a
small can of bacon, a ten cent United States coin and one small Spanish
coin (a paseado). With these we went out to buy bread. We found a
Chinaman and bought a piece of bread that was so hard we could scarcely
eat it, but we made a very good meal on that and the bacon.

We slept on a good spring bed and I awoke next morning in the position I
was in when I fell asleep. I was so stiff and sore that it was miserable
to have to move. After breakfast we went into Manila and took the
railroad for our command.

A number of soldiers arrived after we did and reported for duty. All the
provisions that I ate on this expedition, which lasted three days, would
not have made more than one good meal. Before my party reported at
Caloocan one of the other two and myself were reported captured by the
Filipinos, or lost. That night we all went back into Manila to resume
guard and patrol duty. Police duty was all done by soldiers until a
force of Macabees was organized. The Macabees are enemies of the
Filipinos, and soon became our allies and were very good soldiers and

Manila has a population of nearly 400,000 people of different tribes and
nationalities. It is the capital of Luzon and the most important city of
the Philippine Islands. The energy and enterprise is due to foreigners.
There are several miles of narrow gauge street railroad and a system of
electric lights.

To mingle with these people it is necessary to know two or three
languages, if not more. Spanish is the prevailing language. Most of the
business men can speak several languages.

The Chinese are the filthiest people there. I have seen hundreds of them
living in their workhouses where a stench was arising too great for a
white man to approach. These filthy people cook, eat and sleep all in
this filthy hole. Their principal food is rice and soup. One dollar of
United States currency will buy enough for one person to live on a whole
month. When the Americans first entered Manila it was very filthy. The
air reeked from the accumulation of filth during the siege of the city.
This made the place a little worse than usual. It took the soldiers
three months to clean out and clear out the streets.

The only thing apparently that kept down a great deal of disease and
death is the continual blowing of the sea breeze.

Those killed in battle outside the city had been carried in and buried
in shallow holes, or probably I would be more correct in saying, about
half covered with earth and left that way for dogs to scratch up and
pull about by the arms and legs.

I have seen dead Filipinos carried out of the hospital, thrown on carts
and carried to the burying ground and handled like dead hogs. They would
be covered a little and left to the dogs. I don't believe I ever looked
towards the place without seeing dogs there eating and pulling the
bodies about.

Hundreds of beggars are to be seen squatted down at all public places
and on the street corners. They do not sit down like Americans. This is
the case with all the natives. They sit in a peculiar, squatting way,
which is positively tiring to any one else but these natives.

The Filipino men wear trousers rolled up high and a long white shirt of
very thin material, the tail hanging out over the trousers like a
sweater. They wear nothing on the feet and most of them wear nothing on
the head. They are not fond of clothing, and many wear very little,
almost going nude. They find a great deal of pleasure in the possession
of a gun and it seems that they are content with a gun, fighting and
running in the mountains. They care little for life and will fight till

A squad of Filipinos was captured near Manila by some of the Fourteenth
Infantry; when they were approached to give over their guns to the
soldiers they would make a motion like giving up a gun, but instead jump
back and attempt to shoot a soldier. If he succeeded in shooting an
American some other American would shoot the Filipino. Several were
killed in this manner.

When a Filipino is captured his greatest desire is to keep possession of
his gun, and sometimes fight for its possession after being captured.

The Filipinos are a natural race of gamblers; they gamble and trade,
many of them, for a living, refusing to work as long as they can get
anything to eat without working for it. Their principal cause for
idleness is the cheapness of their living, rice and fish being their
principal food. They will catch fish and throw them in the hot sun for
two or three days; they are then taken up and smoked and burned a few
minutes over some coals and chunks, and then eaten.

If any Americans are watching them they will say, "mucho chico wino,"
while eating this delicacy of their indolence and filth. The Filipinos
and native tribes are extremely filthy in their eating, as well as
everything else; they eat almost anything that an American will refuse
to eat.

The Macabees is another negro tribe on the Island of Luzon. They are a
much better people than the Filipinos and more intelligent. This tribe
is hostile to the Filipinos, and fight them whenever an opportunity is

Two regiments of the Macabees were organized and equipped by the
Americans, and placed in the field against the Filipinos, and they made
very good soldiers.


I missed being placed on a detail of twenty-five men to serve on a
gunboat; I wished to get out on some kind of service and leave the
regular and dull service in Manila. I missed this detail in all
probability by being out in the town when the detail was being made out.
I tried to get on when I returned, but failed, the detail having been
made out already. This detail from my company saw much more service than
those remaining in the company.

Their discharges show a record of more than a dozen engagements. They
served in this detail five months, and had plenty of hard service. They
were only paid once during the five months; a few of them, however, were
not paid until discharged, if I was correctly informed. Their
descriptive list was lost, causing two men to have to serve ten days
longer than they enlisted to serve.

Much "kicking" was done by men in other parts of the service who were
not paid for a year or more, but all to no purpose.

I was on the alert for another detail to be made and to get on. At last
I succeeded, on the tenth day of April, in getting on a detail of only
ten men to perform guard duty on a dredge boat that was dredging at the
mouth of the Malabon river. This was twenty miles from Manila. The
object of the dredging was to make a channel in the shallow water at the
river's mouth sufficient to enable gun boats to enter the river, which
was deeper after leaving its mouth. This was very slow work, requiring a
great deal of time and labor to perform it. This dreging had been going
on for a month. We were on duty there for ten days, and, judging by what
I saw, it must have required two months' more work to open the desired

From our station numbers of natives could be seen on shore, and passing
up and down the river. It seemed that the country was full of Filipinos.

We watched them a great deal. Their methods of catching fish was very
interesting to us. They never used a pole, hook and line as we would. At
night great crowds could be seen, each one in a boat, and carrying a big
torch. They would be near the beach, going out but a little way from the
edge of the water; they would beat and splash in the water, and drive
the fish into large traps or nets, just like a hunter driving quail into
a net, only the fishermen were more noisy.

After beating the water and banks until it was supposed the fish had
gone into the net, or trap, they were left in it until next day, when
they were seined out. Great quantities were caught in this way.

Another method of fishing was to get in a boat with a long gig and move
the boat slowly, and when a fish was near enough gig it. The large fine
fish were only caught in this way.

Our detail returned to Manila in the evening of April tenth, and
remained there until that portion of the 23d Regiment was ordered to
the Island of Jolo, where we started on the seventeenth day of May. I
had been in the old walled city of Manila a little more than six months;
part of my regiment had been there ten months. We had had very hard
service there, and the close confinement, almost like imprisonment, made
us glad to change, and held out a hope that we would find easier service
and more interesting.

The wall of the old city of Manila extended entirely around the old
city. The sally ports and all the streets were always guarded until no
soldier could go outside without exhibiting a pass to the guards signed
by the company and commanding officers. All the time that I was
stationed there I was never out without the required pass.

Guards were stationed on top of the wall, and made it unsafe to try to
climb it to get out, although I have seen this done by means of a rope;
men would pass out this way and stay out as late as they wished to and

This was not safe. Even the guards did not discover the attempt, for the
wall was not less than thirty feet high, some places even higher, and
forty feet wide. Stone houses are built in this wall, and used for
military stores. On top of the wall on the sea-side were three hundred
large cannon when the city was surrendered to the Americans. Around the
old Spanish arsenal about two acres were covered with cannon balls,
guns, bayonets and rifles, all scattered about in a mass until it was
difficult to get over the ground. It required two months of the
American's time to pile up and arrange these munitions of war
surrendered by the Spanish.

After the treaty of peace all these were returned to Spain.

A great many Spaniards live in Manila, and are subjects of Spain. They
have some very peculiar customs. One that came to my notice is that of
the courtship of a Spanish youth and his sweetheart.

The young man is not permitted to enter his sweetheart's home, but
stands on the outside and makes love to her though the iron bars of a
window. I saw a great deal of this before I learned what it all meant.

The Spanish seemed to have a very bitter hatred for all Americans just
after the fall of Manila. When we first entered the city the Spanish
women would throw anything that menaced us in passing the streets, from
their windows. They would do anything to harass and endanger the lives
of Americans that they could think of without exposing themselves too
much. Starvation was staring them in the face when the city was
surrendered. They had been reduced to rice almost wholly for sustenance.
The pay of the Spanish soldiers was very small. I was informed that it
was only six dollars Spanish per month, equivalent to only three dollars
of United States currency. Yet this meagre sum had not been paid for
several months.

A Spaniard is not a very frank, attractive looking fellow to an American
soldier. He has a sneaking countenance, and a disposition out of harmony
with that of the American. However, this opinion may be modified
somewhat with those able to speak Spanish and become better acquainted
with them. Being unable to speak their language I was barred from this

Luzon and some other large islands are very fertile, and under proper
agricultural management would yield millions and blossom as the rose,
but as yet they are blighted by the uncivilized natives. A man would be
taking his life in his hands to go out into the country and try to
engage in anything. As conditions existed when I was there, bands of
hostile Filipinos were scouring the whole interior, and frequently were
bold enough to raid near the American posts, leaving devastation
wherever they went. The soil is very fertile, a warm temperature and
plenty of water to irrigate with if desired for that purpose.

The natives use the most crude implements, and have but very little
knowledge of farming, and are too indolent to put into practice what
little they do know of soils and crops. It seems to make little
difference what season they plant in. The climate is always warm, most
of the year extremely hot; too hot for an American or white man, to
labor in. It is just the climate that suits the negro. Chinese and
negroes work for fifty and sixty cents per day.

A very fine tobacco is raised, and most of it exported. A cigar factory
in Manila manufactures a great quantity of cigars.

Rice is easily raised, and is the principal food of the natives.

The rough rice is husked in a very crude way; a wooden trough, or dug
out, is used to put the rough rice in, and chunks of wood are taken in
the hands, and the rice is pounded with these until the husks are all
broken off, the rice taken out and separated from the husks.

Sugar is an important crop, and is extensively raised. No less than
fifteen sugar mills could be counted from the top of the walls of the
city of Manila.

Under improved methods of agriculture that country would be a wonderful
one in the production of sugar and rice.

The Philippines will, in all probability, become important in the near
future in the production of minerals, principally gold. There are some
very good veins of gold ore in the mountains of Luzon, some of which I
saw myself. Several pieces of stone on which gold was easily seen, were
picked up by the men of my regiment. I saw rocks with both gold and
silver in them. The men would not tell just where they had found them.
They probably thought that at some time, after their service expired,
they would return and work the places found.

I knew one man, an old, experienced miner, who would spend the Sundays
out in the hills and around the foot of them, where he was not exposed
too much to the enemy, prospecting for gold. He was successful in
finding good indications of rich minerals. He appeared to make a
confidant of me. At one time he showed me a lot of gold and some silver
that he had found out on his prospecting tours, but would not tell me
where they came from. He told me that when he was discharged he
intended to return and work the mines. I knew that the paymaster had
considerable money belonging to this old miner, who told me he should
invest it in the mines, and in purchasing mining machinery.

I saw and heard enough to cause me to believe that when the natives are
civilized, and when men would be safe in the mountains, that the mines
in the Philippines will attract more people than the Klondike ever did.
There are advantages in the Philippines which are not found in the
Klondike region, the most important being the climate, not considering
the quality of the mines, which I believe to be equal to that of the

The mountain regions are rich in various minerals.

In the Island of Mindanao coal has been mined ever since Americans have
been there.

This country will find out in a few years what is in the Philippines. I
believe it is a rich country. Almost anything can be raised that is
desired in the line of field and garden crops; fine timber is plentiful
and saw mills are yet unknown. I don't believe there is a saw mill in
the Island of Luzon. All sawed timber is imported that is used at
present; not much is used in building as most of the houses are built of
stone or bamboo. The frame buildings which we have in America are never
seen there. All the native houses and small towns are built of bamboo,
and covered with grass. The bamboo grows very large, the joints are two
and three feet long, and some of the larger bamboos are as large as a
common tree. They are the same thing that people in this country know
as canes, the difference being in their size only. Houses are built of
bamboo without the use of nails. Nothing for flooring but the naked
earth. Split bamboo is worked into the houses fastening the whole
together. I have seen the natives build houses, and have no other tool
than a large knife. The roof of grass is fastened on with strips of
bamboo, and is three to four inches thick. This roof is superior, in
point of comfort, in a hot country, to that of anything I ever saw. I
have been in the hot sun and in metal roofed buildings, and on going
into a grass covered house the difference was noticeable immediately,
the grass roofed house being much cooler.

Manila is built of stone; the buildings look very old, but are good yet.

One night when the Thirteenth Minnesota Regiment was on police duty, and
no one was allowed on the streets after seven o'clock at night, with a
fellow soldier I started out to go to a dance outside of the city walls;
we knew that if we were caught we would be court martialed. To avoid all
the risk possible we went out before seven o'clock, and took chances on
getting back to quarters safely. We could not return to our quarters
without passing sentinels, that much was certain, but how to pass them
safely was the question then most important to us. I had an army pistol,
and with that in my hand I directed my friend to play the part of a
prisoner and march before me. We proceeded in that way only a short
distance when a guard halted us. I explained that I had a prisoner
carrying him to headquarters. The guards were to see orders for a pass
or whatever orders I might have, but this one allowed me to pass on with
my prisoner without showing any orders. We passed in by all the guards
and patrols on the streets, and were halted and some questions asked and
answered, but none of them asked to see any orders regarding my
prisoner, who all the time was just in front of me. I was afraid that
every guard and patrol would demand my orders, and then our scheme would
fail, and we would be in trouble. I told them it was late and I must
hurry in with my prisoner, and so we passed them all and reached our
quarters in safety. The men worked a great many schemes to get out and
in, but it was for my friend and myself to play the part of prisoner and
guard first.

I never tried any more schemes on the guards, but was always in at
night; I did not like to risk so much just for a little fun. We were
very careful about keeping our little scheme from the officers, but told
some of our comrades about it, and enjoyed the joke with them.


On the seventeenth day of May the Thirteenth Regiment and two battalions
of the 23d Regiment went on board the Spanish transport, "Leon," and
sailed for the Island of Jolo.

I was a member of one of the battalions of the 23d. We boarded the
"Leon" under a Spanish crew and sailed under the Spanish flag. The
"Leon" was a large vessel of rapid speed, and made the run from Manila
to the Island of Jolo in a little more than forty-eight hours, a
distance of 800 miles south of Manila. Land was in sight almost the
entire voyage. We passed through straits and seas, by Iloilo on the
Island of Panay, Cebu, Negros Island, through the sea of Jolo to
Zamboanga on the Island of Mindanao, and to Jolo. The group of islands
forming the Sulu Archipelago is the southern islands of the Philippines.
The "Leon" sailed into the Jolo Bay in the evening on the nineteenth of
May. A large force of Spanish soldiers was stationed in the town
performing garrison duty. Our force was to relieve them, and they were
to return to Spain on the transport "Leon." On the twentieth of May we
went ashore. The Spanish soldiers seemed to be very glad to be relieved
and return to Spain.

The garrison was short of rations, and the soldiers were living very
hard when we relieved them. These Spanish soldiers were the last who
left the Philippines for Spain.

We were landed in small boats, which could not carry very many men. The
boats were rowed by Chinese. All supplies have to be carried in by these
small boats. It is a very slow and tedious piece of work to land the
contents of a large ship, and requires several days to do the work.

Captain Pratt was in command, and Company E was ordered out to the block
house, which stands about one thousand yards back of Jolo, and towards
the mountains. A guard detail was made out, and the Spanish soldiers
were relieved. I relieved the first Spanish of his post at Jolo. When I
approached him he began to speak in Spanish and tried to make me
understand what, I supposed, were his orders he was turning over to me.
I could not understand him, and told him to go. Of course I had enough
orders without his, if that was what he was trying to explain to me.

The Spanish went to work with a rush getting everything ready to leave.
They had been there for a long time. I learned that the commanding
officer, who was an old man, had been there twenty-eight years. In the
evening at two o'clock the Spanish flag on the block house was hauled
down by the Spanish soldiers and the Americans unfurled to the breeze
the Stars and Stripes. The Spanish seemed to be very much grieved, the
officers wept; the Americans were jubilant. Everything passed into our
hands, and the various responsibilities of the place with all its
dangers also passed to us. The natives, who belong to the Mono tribe,
are treacherous. We knew nothing about them and their intentions. Guards
were put on duty at once, six being around the block house so that a
Morro could not get in if the attempt were made to enter it, and thus
made it a place of security to our troops. The Morros a few years ago
massacred more than one hundred Spanish soldiers in the block house
Astora. It was a cruel and treacherous piece of cunning of savage
barbarians. The Morros had been warring against the authority of Spain,
and causing the Spanish troops much trouble. At last apparently tired of
rebelling, the Morros agreed to make peace with the Spanish. According
to an ancient custom of the Morros, when making peace with an enemy they
would give pearls or some other gift to their enemy. The captain of that
Morro company was going to make peace, according to this custom, and
taking some fine pearls and a body guard of one hundred of his men he
entered the enclosure where the Spanish soldiers were lined up in two
columns with unloaded arms to receive them. The Morro captain and his
body guard marched between these lines, and as the guard neared the
Spanish captain the Morro advanced with his pearls, and getting near the
Spaniard instead of giving him the pearls he quickly drew his sword and
dealt the Spanish captain a death blow. The Morros, who understood the
prearranged treachery, opened fire on the Spaniards, who were helpless
with unloaded guns, and the entire garrison of more than one hundred men
was massacred except one man, who, in the noise and consternation,
succeeded in crawling into a sewer pipe, and through it into a big
stream of water, and escaped without injury. The Morros gave the Spanish
a great deal of trouble, probably as much as any other tribe of the
Philippines. The Morros have a bad record. I believe that I had rather
fight the other tribes than the Morros; they are more treacherous than
other tribes. They go armed all the time with the bolo, a large knife
carried in a wooden scabbard. From the oldest man down to little boys,
they all carry the bolo or a big knife. I have seen old men, so feeble
they could scarcely walk, carrying a fine bolo. They will not part with
them day or night, but keep them as their only friend, refusing to let
any one take them from their hands to merely look at them. These arms
are very fine, and range in cost from five to fifty dollars. They are
manufactured of the very finest steel, the handle of many of them is
made of silver and finely engraved. The edge is kept very sharp. The
blow of this dangerous weapon is generally enough to kill a man. I was
informed that a Morro never struck his enemy but two blows with his
bolo, one on each side; if that did not disable him the Morro would run
for his life.

A steel armor is worn by a few of them, to furnish protection to their
bodies. But most of the tribe would rather risk their life than wear
anything, even clothing. Only a piece of cloth is worn around the waist
and loins. In this piece of cloth is carried a box containing a stuff to
chew called beadle nut. Only the married men are allowed to use this, as
they have a law prohibiting its use by the single men. It is a soft
green nut growing on a tree which looks very much like a hickory tree. A
piece of the nut is placed on a leaf, which is always carried in the
chewing box, and some salve is also placed on the leaf, then the piece
of nut and the salve is rolled up in the leaf, and the chew is ready for
use. The married men can be very easily distinguished from the unmarried
ones simply by the use of this, which makes the chewer's mouth as red as
red paint and the teeth black. The teeth of the single men are very
white, but just as soon as one marries he begins chewing beadle nuts,
making his mouth red and teeth black in a few days. Their marriage
customs are not exactly like ours in America. A Morro can marry a woman,
or buy one for a price ranging from fifty dollars up to one hundred and
twenty-five dollars. After marrying a woman or buying one, if she
doesn't suit her husband he doesn't have to wait for a court to set
aside the marriage, but can simply let her go and proceed to get another
in the same manner.

The men are prohibited from having a plurality of wives at one time, but
are allowed to have just as many as they desire, simply getting rid of
one and then getting another.

The women wear big legged trousers, which only reach down to the knees.
Sometimes women are seen with more clothes on, but they look as if they
were torn almost off. The clothing of both men and women is worn out
before they ever change. A few who lived in the towns wore more clothing
than those in the country. The men wore pants which seemed to cling to
the skin, they were so tight. Those in town were no cleaner than
outsiders. They get so filthy and slick that an American can smell one
as far almost as he can see. The more clothes a Morro wears the filthier
he is. Those wearing no clothing, except the girdle around the loins,
are the less filthy. Nothing is worn on the head and feet.

Leprosy is a common malady, as well as numerous other diseases of the
skin. All of which doubtless arises from the filthy habits of the
people. Doby itch is very common. It is a very bad skin disease, and
hard to cure when it gets a firm hold, and will have fatal results in a
few years in that warm climate. One doctor said that it would require
three or four years' careful treatment to cure an acute case of doby
itch in another climate.

Almost every day I saw a bad case of it. The legs will become swollen,
and large knots and tumors cover them until walking is extremely
painful. It is easy to contract doby itch. About two weeks after I
reached Manila the first time, I discovered a small sore spot on my leg,
which looked like ringworm. I was informed that it was doby itch, and
that I should have it doctored before it spread. I began to treat it,
and it itched seemingly to the bone, and began to scatter. I would wake
at night scratching and clawing the itching spot, and lie awake for two
and three hours. I had to trim my finger nails closely to keep from
ruining my leg scratching it. It continued this way for several days
before I checked it. Many of our soldiers had a similar experience,
some of them much worse than mine. I guarded against it afterward, using
all the precaution I could to avoid it. A friend of mine who enlisted
when I did, caught a severe case of the doby itch which kept him in an
almost helpless condition for eight months. He was finally discharged
for disability, a wreck for life, without anything but a small pension
of about eight dollars per month.

To the Morros again. There is a class whose religious teaching is that
when one of them kills seven white men he will go to a better country
when he dies. He thus makes sure of his entrance to what is heaven in
their religious belief.

The Americans soon learned to distinguish one of this class, and watched
them very closely. One of them will not wait for much of a chance to
kill a white man, but will make his chance to do his deadly work. I have
seen a great many of them, and know that they attempted to kill our men
on duty as out-posts. They would not have any guns and would go to the
walls of the fort and try to scale them to get to the Americans and kill
them with bolos. Without trying to kill them the soldiers would shoot
towards them to drive them away. When one of their number dies the grave
is dug one day and early the following morning the funeral begins. Every
one carries something to eat, a big bottle full of beno (a native
beverage) and a bottle of whiskey. Four men carry the corpse on two
small poles, all the others fall in behind in column of twos and then
they proceed to the graveyard, drinking their beverage and enjoying
themselves. The crowd stays at the graveyard all day, and drink and
carouse until they are well filled with liquor, and all get drunk. This
is the program every time one of them is buried. It is a big picnic for

Once a year regularly they prepare some of the best rations they have
and carry them to the graves and leave them there through the night,
believing that these are enjoyed by the dead. I learned that this was an
ancient custom of theirs, having been learned probably from the Chinese.

The Morros seem not to care for anything, not even for life. A large
number, probably two-thirds, never had any home. They did not know where
they would go, and seemed not to care.

Some of the islands had two or more tribes of negroes, who would have a
governor to each tribe and make laws for themselves. If natives of one
tribe crossed the line into the territory of another and stole fruits,
cocoanuts, of anything else, and the injured tribe could catch the thief
or thieves, their heads were cut off and their bodies left on the spot.
This is according to their laws. Beheading for theft, and leaving the
bodies where they were beheaded. I have seen five or six in this
condition two or three times.

One tribe would sometimes array itself against another for battle and
fight till great numbers of them were killed. Our troops stopped several
such battles by going out where they commenced to fight. As soon as we
would arrive they would stop fighting, and there seemed to be an end of
the trouble between them. They appeared to be in great fear of our
guns. They have a few old rusty guns, which are only used to fight
enemies of other countries; never using them to fight each other with.
When General Bates made a treaty of peace with the Sultan of Jolo, the
sultan was received by General Bates the first Sunday in May, 1900; we
were drawn up in line and presented arms to his excellency. The sultan
was to maintain peace on the island of Jolo, for which he was to receive
500 dollars Mexican coin every month. We presented arms to him, and were
forced to treat him with great honors. I can assure the reader that for
myself it would have been more pleasant to have gone out to meet him on
the battlefield, and when I speak thus I feel safe to make the assertion
that many more were of the same disposition.

After these formalities were over I had opportunity of examining the
guns of the sultan's body guard, also the ammunition. The guns were so
rusty that I would have considered it safer to be shot at by one of them
than to shoot the gun. The barrels were almost closed with rust.

A lot of the bullets were wrapped with cloth, and stuck in the shells.
Some of the bullets were loose, and some were driven in very tight. All
of the shells had the appearance of being in use a long time, and that
they had been fired as many times as they would stand.

A man was taking his life in his hands to go out into the country alone.
Many people have been killed in this way. There is a tribe that would
cut off a man's head for amusement, or to see how it looks.

Guards were kept on duty all the time, and no American was permitted to
go outside of the wall without having a pass. This was kept up for a
long time after we went to Jolo, and was then restricted to one thousand
yards from the fort, and no less than four men together. The Morros gave
us very little trouble, doubtless the result of extreme caution. They
never had an opportunity of making any demonstration, so it is uncertain
what they would have attempted had the opportunity been given them. They
are too treacherous to be trusted about anything whatever.

They have very little knowledge of firearms; probably the only guns they
ever had, and also those of the sultan's body guard, were old, worn-out
guns given or sold to them by the Spanish. With our improved rifles I
believe that one man could withstand the attack of twenty of them armed
with bolos, that is to say, were the American in some fortification, and
opened fire on the Morros when they came in his range. They, of course,
would not fight in this way, their method being one of sneaking
treachery. They slip up behind the unsuspecting victim and behead him
with their bolo.

I was anxious for them to engage the Americans in a fight. I desired to
know something more of their methods, but they seemed not to care to
fight us. They are a wandering people, seemingly with no definite
purpose. As night suits their sneaking better than open day time they do
as much traveling, or more, in the night than in the day time. They
could be seen on the hills around Jolo with torches moving about all
night. When we first went to Jolo and saw these torches at night we
thought they were signals, and close watch was kept on their movements.

They evidently made some preparations for resisting us at first, and
stored away such arms as they could obtain, for later I saw twenty-eight
new Mauser rifles hidden in an abandoned house on the beach. Another
soldier and I secured a pass and went, at the risk of our lives, beyond
the limit of our pass, and on this outing discovered the hidden Mausers.
We went up the beach about fifteen miles, and went into two towns where
there were a great many Morros. We watched their movements very closely,
and kept at some distance from them, and never bothered anything or any
one. They watched us very closely, and acted to us very strangely, but
made no effort to get near us. We were a little frightened and thought
it safer to get away from them, when we started on our return, the
nearest and quickest route that we could. Our pistols were no doubt the
instrument of keeping them away from us, and at the same time tempted
them to kill us to secure them.

Some of the soldiers were afterwards killed, and their guns and
cartridges taken. It was very dangerous for two or three men to be out
in the woods away from any help. In the mountains of Jolo and Mindanao
are wild cannibals, who would kill and eat a white man should he be
found in their midst. We were not allowed to go out in the mountains,
but the places where we were prohibited from going by orders of the
commanders were the places most desirable of all for us to slip out and
go to. The dangers to us by going out were only fascinating rather than

It was my belief while there that the natives were gathering up and
storing away arms and ammunition preparatory for resisting the Americans
when they thought the proper opportunity was offered. The guns I saw
hidden in the house on the beach, and many other things, led me to this
belief. They claimed to have some big guns posted back in the mountain.
Whether this was true or not I am unable to say, for we never went to
ascertain the correctness of the story. While stationed at Jolo a vessel
arrived loaded with ammunition for the sultan. It was discovered and
taken into custody by the custom house guards.


All the larger islands have an abundance of game, wild hogs, chickens
and deer. Wild dogs are plentiful in the woods. They are very wild,
running off almost at sight of a man. At night they seem to be bolder
and come around the outside wall and howl so much that people are kept
awake all night.

A detail was sent out by our commander's orders to lie in hiding and
shoot them when they approached near enough. We could see them away off
during the day in the grass, but could not get to shoot them. The only
chance for that was to hide at night and wait for them. We frequently
went out and killed a number of nice fat wild hogs and carried them in
and feasted while they lasted. These animals were very wild, like the
dogs. A man on the ground could not get near enough for a good
shot--they would discover him and run. We would climb a tree and wait
for them.

The town of Siasse, on Tai Tai Island, was the station of Company H for
three months. Morros almost swarmed on the island. The captain of the
company permitted a squad of men every few days to go hog hunting when
the supply of meat began to get short. Some of the Morros were trusted
by the soldiers and were allowed frequently to go out with the soldiers
on a hog hunt, as these trusted ones were thought to be harmless. One
day the captain sent out five men early in the morning to hunt hogs.
They hunted until tired in the evening, when four of them sat down to
rest and play a few games of cards, while the fifth went to the beach
near by and bathed his feet.

A crowd of Morros, twenty or more, gathered around the players to see
the game. The soldiers were not afraid of them doing any mischief, as
the Morros appeared friendly and quiet. As the game progressed and
became more interesting the players became less conscious of their
position, and those standing around.

To be more comfortable and have better use of their bodies and limbs
their belts were taken off and laid by them with their guns. The Morros
gathered around the soldiers saw the opportunity for mischief and seized
upon it at once. They seized the soldiers' guns and belts, while six of
them drew their bolos and began their deadly work. The first soldier who
was struck with a bolo had his head cut off at one blow. The soldiers
were making a desperate fight for life against what seemed no chance for
success. Two soldiers were killed in the fight, another grabbed for his
gun; getting hold of it he received a heavy blow on the head with a
club, was cut dangerously in the neck, but succeeded in securing his gun
so that he could fire it. The firing frightened the Morros, who
commenced running. The soldier on the beach ran back where he left his
comrades when he heard the shooting, but the Morros were then out of
sight. Two soldiers lay on the ground dead, another was cut so much that
he bled to death before they could get him back to camp, while the one
who did the shooting had a terrible wound in his neck and had received a
heavy blow on the head.

It was a long way to camp, and one boat with room enough for two
oarsmen. Night was almost on, and the situation was perilous in the
extreme. The man who was not in the fight carried the dead and wounded
men to the little boat, and set out for camp as rapidly as possible. As
above stated one more died while being carried to camp, making three
dead and another with his head almost half off. The sea was a little
rough, and only one man rowing, with a feeble help of the wounded man
with one hand, made slow progress.

Camp was reached at three o'clock next morning. The wounded man
recovered but could not turn his head; when he looked around he had to
turn his whole body, and was discharged from the service for disability.
He draws a pension of thirty-six dollars per month. Next day after the
Morros killed and wounded the hunting party, sixty men were sent out to
capture the murderers. The chief of the Morros was offered a large
reward for capturing them and turning them over to the Americans. The
Morro chief captured them, turned them over to the Americans, who then
failed to pay the reward as previously promised. Six Morros were all
that were guilty; these were bound together, carried out of camp and


Seassa is situated ninety miles south of Jolo. Few of the men liked to
be on duty there. At first entrance of our troops they had to go into
camp, as there were no barracks. Barracks were built later at Seassa and
Buangior by the soldiers stationed at these places. The captains of
those companies were mean and cruel to their men, and worked them very
hard. Some men were almost killed by the hard work at these barracks and
in the swamps cutting timbers for their construction. Some while at work
in the swamps had mud slashed in their eyes and almost put out. The mud
poisoned them. Some had their feet poisoned by the black mud. The
captains made the soldiers do the work, instead of hiring natives, and
kept the money appropriated for this work and used it for their own

A soldier had no opportunity to report such frauds. If he wrote to the
department commander to report anything without the permission of his
immediate commander he would be court martialed. And of course an
officer guilty of such conduct was not generous enough to permit a
private to report his conduct to a superior officer, and thus the
privates were ill treated by some unscrupulous officers.

The hardships of the service were greatly increased or diminished
according to the honesty and unrightness of the officers in command. A
private is only a tool in the hands of his officers, and can be managed
just as they please as long as the private remains in the service. I
always thought it better to obey all orders, agreeable or disagreeable,
and serve out my time of enlistment and get a good discharge, and then
be free and independent. I enlisted merely to get the experience of army
life, and to know just what the service really is. I found out to my
satisfaction all about the army that I cared to know. The army is all
right when its officers are all right. But many of them fall far short
of the standard--officers who will not give a private justice as he

A few soldiers deserted the army. I cannot blame a man much for it. Some
had good cause. But to desert the army in the Philippines and attempt to
get away from the islands is almost impossible. Any one leaving there
must have a passport to present when they attempt to go on board any
vessel, and then if the passports are not properly executed they cannot
go on board.

I know of a few soldiers trying to get away, but the farthest point they
reached was Hong Kong. They would be caught very easily.

The one who reached Hong Kong was apprehended by English officers and
returned to Manila and delivered to the American authorities.

One man who enlisted in Manila was discovered to be a spy for the
Filipinos, securing all the information possible for the advantage of
the Filipinos, and conveying it to them at every opportunity. This spy
had gone with a company to which he was assigned, to Bungio for duty.
While at Bungio he induced two other soldiers to desert their company
and go with him to the Filipinos, promising each a commission in the
Filipino army. He was an officer in the Filipino army, and a very
dangerous man, resorting to all kinds of schemes and treachery to
accomplish his purposes. Having pursuaded two soldiers to go with him
they seized a small Morro boat, and with their rifles and a good supply
of ammunition they set out in the darkness of the night headed for the
island of Mindanao. Ninety miles of water lay before them and their
small boat. They encountered a rough sea, lost their bearings, and
finally the boat capsized, and they lost their clothing and one gun
after a battle with the sea for three days. Instead of reaching Mindanao
they drifted on the Island of Jolo, about twenty miles from the town of
Jolo, almost starved to death. In preparing for their trip they had not
thought as much about rations as about ammunition. They fell into the
hands of the Morros, who carried them to Jolo and delivered them to the
Americans, who placed them in prison. Two of the poor fellows' feet were
blistered all over by marching over the hot sands, having lost their
shoes when the boat capsized. These two were unable to walk for some
time. They were tried and sentenced to terms of imprisonment from five
to six years. This was the common fate of all who tried to desert the
army and get away.

I was on duty on several islands and in many towns in the Philippines,
but Jolo suited me better for service as a soldier than any other place
I was in. I was on duty in Jolo for thirteen months, and know a great
deal about the place. Most all the soldiers who did service there liked
it. Sailors enjoyed their visits to Jolo. Quite a number of sailors told
me that they had been in a great many towns of the tropical countries,
but that they would rather live in Jolo than any of them. The most
undesirable feature of the town is that there are no pleasure retreats
except to go to the mountains and among the Morros, and besides, we
soldiers were confined very closely within the walls and on duty. The
town is very small. A man can walk all through in less than an hour.

I have known of recruits on going into Jolo express their delight at the
idea of doing duty in such a fine place, and wish they could stay there
the three years of service for which they had enlisted. But in less than
two months, seeing the same things every day, they wanted to get away,
and would have given anything for an opportunity to go to another post.
Everything became monotonous, and seemed somehow to be wrong.

This seemed to be the common experience of all. The town is beautifully
laid out with broad streets, which are set with beautiful shade trees
that are green winter and summer. A person can walk all over town the
hottest days and be in the shade all the time.

Three small, but very nice parks with beautiful and delightfully
fragrant flowers and shrubbery lend a charm to the town.

I have been walking out in the town at night, and would smell the sweet
odors from the parks for two or three blocks away. This was not
occasionally so, but all the time. The soldiers enjoyed sitting in the
parks and on the piers at night, taking in the cool sea breeze after a
hot day. I have seen as many as three and four hundred soldiers sitting
out on the piers before going into quarters.

As in all other parts of the Philippines, chicken fighting is a favorite
sport in Jolo. Outside of the city wall is built a grand stand and pit
for chicken fighting. It is all enclosed, and ten cents (Mexican)
admission is charged unless you have a chicken to enter. Some fine
chickens are entered in these fights, and a great deal of money is put
up on them. Gambling is not prohibited, and chicken fighting is engaged
in every Saturday all day long. The natives will gamble away the last
cent they possess before they will stop. A suburban town of Jolo is Buss
Buss, nearly half as large as Jolo, and built out over the water on
bamboo poles driven into the mud, and left projecting above the water.
The houses are then built on these poles.

Buss Buss is built over shallow water, running out over the water for
one hundred and fifty yards. The houses are all built of bamboo. This
seems to be a Chinese town. Many Chinese live there and engage in
business in Jolo. Chinese are engaged in various kinds of business in
Jolo, but all live in Buss Buss. The Chinese and Morros are not
friendly, and it is probably due to this fact alone that caused Buss
Buss to be built.

Major Sweet was in command of the post at Jolo for some time. He would
not allow more than one hundred Morros inside the city walls at one time
for fear of trouble with them. The Morros supplied our forces with
vegetables, fish and fruit, which they brought in and sold to us. To
prevent the town from filling up with Morros a strong guard was
stationed at the gate, which was closed at six in the evening and opened
at six o'clock in the morning. The Morros would be crowded around the
outside of the gate every morning waiting for it to be opened to go in
and dispose of their produce. Frequently there would be twice as many as
were allowed inside at one time. When the gate was opened they would
rush for it, but not more than one hundred were allowed to pass inside.
When one disposed of his produce, etc., and returned to the gate he was
allowed to pass out, and another from the outside could pass in, and so
on until all had been in and passed back.

Not far from Jolo, out towards the foot of the mountains, is a coffee
field. There are several others on the island besides that one. In these
coffee fields a great many Morros work all the time gathering and
cleaning coffee, etc. The method is like all others of theirs, very rude
and poor. They dig out long troughs of wood and place them in running
streams in such a way that the water will run in at one end and out at
the other. Into these troughs the unhusked coffee is poured, and then it
is tramped under the feet of the cleaners until the husks are all
broken off and float away with the water. The coffee is then taken out
and sacked and dried out for shipping. This is the only method I ever
saw in use for coffee cleaning.

Tropical fruit is everywhere abundant. The bread fruit tree grows in
Jolo to a great size. The fruit is about the size of a cocoanut, except
it is of a flattened shape. It is covered by a thin soft hull easily cut
open with an ordinary pocket knife. The first time that I ever saw the
fruit I ate half of one. I thought it as good as anything I ever ate. I
believe it will alone sustain life. Cocoanuts and bananas grow in
profusion. Cocoanuts are cut and dried, then exported. Oil is
manufactured of the dried cocoanuts, which is of excellent quality. We
used it to oil our rifles all the time we were stationed in the
Philippines. Chinese and natives caught quantities of fish, which were
cut up and exposed to the sun several days to dry. The fish get almost
black in this process of drying and smell badly before they are dry
enough to be sacked and shipped. I saw a great deal of this business,
but never learned where it was shipped to or what use was made of it.

Hemp is produced from a native plant growing wild in the forests, and
looks something like the banana plant. It is baled and exported in great
quantities. Natives bring in small bundles of it from the mountains. Red
pepper grows abundantly in the woods on the high and dry lands. It grows
on a small bush, which is loaded with the pods, which are very strong.

The natives in all the islands make a beverage of the dew which
collects in the cocoanut buds. This dew and water stands in the buds and
is collected early in the day. It is called tuba, and is liked by all
the soldiers. I drank but little of it. I saw soldiers get drunk on it,
and be crazy for a week. It is like all other beverages of the islands,
but little is necessary to make a man drunk.

About twice every month we went out on a practice march for one day,
only leaving about one company on guard. Every man would carry his
dinner, and have almost a picnic, enjoying it much more than at other
times and places, when we would be marched out in double time several
miles and have a hard fight. We went out on these practice marches up
the beach and returned across the mountains, stopping to rest frequently
and and gathering and eating cocoanuts. If any Morros were around we
would give one a cent of Mexican money to climb the trees and get
cocoanuts for us. The trees are hard to climb, but a Morro seems to
climb them very easily. He will tie a piece of hemp just above his
ankles and go right up a tree by jumps until the top is reached. Having
secured the cocoanuts we would cut a hole in them and drink the icy
water in them. This water is very nice and cold, and is particularly so
to hot and tired soldiers.

When we would start out on what was a practice march most of the men
would think we were going out to fight, and would not know differently
until we returned, for it was generally known only to the officers where
we were going or what the object of the march was. Sometimes we would
have a long, hard march, and always through the woods and forests, for
there were no roads. In the forest marches we frequently chased monkeys,
of which the forests were full. We saw more monkeys in Jolo than in any
other island we were on. Sometimes when three or four monkeys would
discover us they would make a great noise, and, jumping from one tree to
another, keep in one direction, and all the monkeys within my hearing
would join in the procession, and keep up the noise and jumping. The
trees would appear to be full of monkeys over us, all jumping in the
same direction, and making a great noise. We amused ourselves and added
to their trouble by throwing stones at them until they passed out of our
line of march, which was frequently half an hour. The wild ones are hard
to catch. Young ones, too young to climb well, were easily caught, and
some were captured for pets.

Natives would catch them and sell them to the soldiers.

The Sultan of Jolo was fortified about ten miles across the mountains
from Jolo. He lived in his fort with his army. My last practice march
was made for the purpose of viewing the sultan's position, and to know
something about his forces if we had to fight them. It was about ten
o'clock on the morning of the 13th of May, 1900, when our commanding
officer in great haste issued orders to get ready at once. We all
thought we were going to fight that time. We were formed into a
battalion as hastily as possible, under the commander's orders, who was
present on his charger, and directing everything. We were soon moving
out to no one seemed to know where, except our commander. No dinner was
taken with us this time, only guns and as much ammunition as we could
carry. We marched about five miles before halting for rest. It was very
hot, and several soldiers fell out overcome by the heat. Some doubtless
fell out to avoid a battle, as they thought. Two men just before me,
whom I knew were great cowards, and who feared that we were going into a
battle, decided that they could not face an enemy. I heard them talking
about falling out ten or fifteen minutes. Their minds were made up to
fall out and avoid fighting; one said that he would fall out if the
other would stop to take care of him. This suited them exactly, and out
they went, and were left behind. Our march was continued until we
crossed the top of the mountain, and from the other side we could see
the sultan's fort and trenches below us. It was then about three
o'clock. We rested and looked at the sultan's fort, and looked over his
position carefully. This was the object of the commander in marching us
out there. He was expecting to have to fight the sultan, and decided
that we should see his location and know as much as possible the
conditions we would have to meet in fighting his forces. Returning we
arrived in Jolo in the night.

Our commander expected the sultan to attack our position, and wished to
know just what to expect of us, and how quickly we could get into
position to defend the fort. To ascertain this, and also to keep us in
practice, a call to arms was given every month, when every man would
get out and string around to the port holes in a very few minutes. Every
soldier went as if he expected to have to fight. There were five
companies of the Twenty-Third Regiment in Jolo while I was on duty
there. Besides these one company was stationed in the Astoria block
house, one company at Seassa and one at Buanga. These companies did not
have as hard duty as the companies in Jolo, but every three months a
company was sent to relieve one of these posts, and the relieved company
would come into Jolo, where it could have the same duty and drill that
the other companies had in Jolo. The companies at each of the three
places just mentioned were relieved every three months.

Company E, of which I was a member, went to the Astoria block house
about two months before we left Jolo and the Philippines. My company was
doing guard duty at the block house when orders were received for
recalling one battalion of the Twenty-Third Regiment, called the depot
battalion, made up of sick men and those with less than six months' more
service under their time of enlisting.

Those who had less than six months to serve were given the opportunity
to stay or to return to the United States. I was not slow to accept the
chance to return and was truly glad of the opportunity.

The transport Warren came to Jolo for the battalion on June 15th. The
transport had come by the Island of Negros and Cebu, and took on board
a battalion of soldiers who were going to return to the United States.

The "depot battalion" was made up of sick men and those who had short
times. It was several days before we left Jolo. The men who were going
as sick and disabled were examined by the physician. Those he believed
could not endure the climate long and be able for duty, he recommended
to be returned to the United States, and those who could endure the
climate and proved to be healthy, stayed, unless they were of the class
of short-time soldiers.

A man could not stand the climate of the Philippines many years unless
he was very healthy and acquainted with tropical climates.

I do not believe the Philippines are a white man's country. I have heard
doctors tell soldiers that if they stayed there, that five or six years
would be as long as they could live.

Two friends and I had decided that when we served out our time that we
would return to the United States by another route than that taken in
going over, and thus make the trip around the world. We would go through
the Mediterranean Sea to London and then to New York. But when the
orders came that we could return on the government's time, and by a
different route, we decided at once that we had seen enough of the
world, and that the route taken by the transport would be long enough
for us, and satisfy our thirst for travel.

The soldiers who had been taken on board from the islands of Negros and
Cebu landed at Jolo, and went into camp, where they remained for eight
days awaiting preparations of the soldiers at Jolo.

I was transferred from Company E to Company K on June 18th, and with
those who were returning to the United States went into camp outside of
the wall of Jolo in a cocoanut grove, where we stayed till the
twenty-third day of June, when we boarded the transport Warren and
sailed for Manila. Manila was reached on the morning of the twenty-sixth
of June, where we stayed until the first day of July. A great many
soldiers were added on at Manila, many wounded men and fifteen dead
soldiers were put on to carry back to the United States, where the dead
were sent to their relatives for burial.

While waiting a few days for all preparations to be made I obtained a
pass and entered the city for the last time and viewed everything that
was so familiar to me when on duty there.

It was during this short stop of only a few days that we heard of the
trouble in China.

Three regiments of United States troops were immediately ordered to
China: the Sixth, Ninth and Fourteenth Infantry then at Manila. The
Ninth Infantry went on board the transport Hancock, which was lying
alongside our transport, the Warren, and sailed just before us on its
way to China.

A rumor was circulated that our transport was sailing to China, and that
we were going there for service. A great many very foolishly believed
the report.

July first the Warren sailed from Manila bound for San Francisco. The
first day out from Manila, late in the evening when supper was eaten, I
ate very heartily, and went on duty in the stern of the transport. The
sea was rough, and gave the transport a rolling motion. Shortly after
going on duty my head commenced swimming, and I was ill. A soldier told
me that I was sea-sick. I had never been sea-sick and knew nothing about
how a person felt. At last I vomited freely, and in less than an hour I
was all right, except the swimming sensation of my head, which lasted a
while longer. This little experience was all that I had in going over to
the Philippines and returning to the United States.

The fourth day from Manila we arrived at Nagasaki, Japan. The following
morning the transport was ready for inspection, the crew having worked
most all night preparing for it. Every man on board and everything had
to be inspected before we were allowed to enter the harbor. Nagasaki has
a fine, deep harbor, where steamers and war vessels coal and take on
supplies. Many large ships are in the harbor at all times.

The bay leading into the harbor is between hills which are almost
entitled to the name of mountains. It is apparently a hilly and rough
country to the traveler entering the bay to Nagasaki. On the left-hand
side of the bay on entering is a large marble monument standing on the
side of the hill. This is a monument in memory of Japan's first king. Of
course I did not read the inscription, it being in Japanese; but the
monument can be seen at a great distance. I learned about it from a
resident of Nagasaki. While in Nagasaki I also learned that the Japanese
are the hardest working, or rather the most industrious people, and
receive the least compensation for their work of any race of people. Ten
to fifteen cents per day is the regular price of labor. Several hundred
are constantly employed in coaling vessels that enter the harbor. The
coaling is done in a peculiar way. A line of men pass baskets filled
with coal from one to another while the empty baskets are passed back to
the place of filling by a line of children standing close enough to
reach out one way and get a basket and pass it on to the next one
standing on the other side; thus a continuous chain of baskets is kept
going until the vessel is sufficiently coaled: the filled baskets going
one way and the empty ones in the opposite direction. Men, women and
children all work. Apparently no one is idle.

The lot of woman is extremely hard. A mother will fasten her child to
her back and work all day with it there; sometimes it is asleep and
sometimes it is yelling, but it is all the same to her. Children there
do not receive the attention they get in America, but are handled
roughly, and soon have to work, beginning work almost as soon as they
can walk.

Hundreds of small boats, large enough to carry two or three people, are
always ready to carry passengers to and from the ships and the landing
for ten cents (Mexican). They are not allowed to charge more.

These small boats are provided with sides and a roof like a small house,
into which passengers can go and close the door.

When you get ashore there are hundreds of little vehicles called
jinrikishas, which look something like baby carriages with only one
seat and an umbrella. The Japs will come trooping around jabbering to
you to ride. You get in one and a Jap will get between a small pair of
shafts and trot away with you, and go that way as long as you want him
to for ten cents an hour. The traveler can go anywhere he desires in one
of these vehicles. They do not use hacks and vehicles as Americans do. I
never saw but one horse in Nagasaki. It was working to a dray, and was
almost worked to death. The Jap's back seems to be his most convenient
method, and almost the only one he has, of carrying anything.

Another soldier and I walked through the city looking at everything we
could see. We soon discovered that almost every one was poking fun at
us, all because we were walking instead of riding in jinrikishas. It
seems that everybody there rides in them everywhere they go, and it
appears funny to them to see anyone walking the streets. Peddlers are
the exceptions, it seems, to this rule. A great many peddlers are seen
walking the streets to vend their wares, and they have a great many
articles that cannot be bought in America.

Every Japanese house has a rug or carpet on the floor--these are very
nice articles. The funniest thing of all is the custom of stopping
everybody at the door and have them take off their shoes before entering
the house. They will not allow any one to enter their houses without
pulling off his shoes. The reason of this, to my mind, is the fact that
the rugs and carpets are made from grass and are very heavy, and catch
dirt very easily.


The Japanese are industrious, good natured and friendly people. They
treat every one kindly, and every one invited us to go into his house
and chat awhile. Our greatest difficulty was to understand them. They
appeared to be anxious to do anything they could for us, and considering
everything as I could see it in our short stay, I believe I would like
to live among them.

A great many Europeans are residents of Nagasaki. It is a fine town, a
great deal of business is done there. The city is spread out along the
bay back of the city, and all around the bay, except the entrance to it,
are large hills, and on these a great many large guns are mounted. These
natural barriers enable the Japanese to make the city a strongly
fortified place. The government of Japan is good. Laws are rigid and
strictly enforced. Theft is regarded as a very grave crime, and is
punished with severe penalties.

Men with whom I talked in Nagasaki seemed to desire to leave the
impression that Japan was well prepared for war, in fact better prepared
than most any other country.

The transport Warren sailed from Nagasaki July ninth for San Francisco,
taking the northern route of the Pacific Ocean. This route is claimed
to be about two thousand miles longer than the southern route over which
we sailed in going to Manila. The ocean currents and winds make a great
deal of difference in which route a vessel is sailing in, and the
northern and southern routes give the advantage to the vessels. Ships go
the southern route from San Francisco to Manila and return the northern

After a few days out from Nagasaki we found colder water, which
continued most of the way to San Francisco, only getting warmer a short
distance from San Francisco. After getting out into this cold water the
temperature of the atmosphere also fell, and every man who had an
overcoat or even a heavy uniform put it on. Those who had only the thin
uniforms called khaki worn in the Philippines, suffered from cold.

It was cold and disagreeable for all on board except the officers, who,
as usual, fared well at all times and in all places.

There was a casual detachment of discharged soldiers numbering one
hundred and thirty-eight on board, two hundred and forty-one officers
and privates of the Twenty-third Regiment, sixty prisoners and
twenty-one passengers, a total of four hundred and sixty men on board
besides the crew. The transport Warren is a large vessel, and all on
board had plenty of room.

Those men who were not thoughtful enough to start back to the United
States with their heavy uniforms looked somewhat pitiful crowding around
the engine rooms and boilers, and getting anywhere that offered some
protection from the chilly air and sea breeze. I was fortunate in not
being one of that number. I had plenty of warm clothing and fared well
returning. I was on the lookout for myself, and provided myself with
everything I desired, and had to call on no one for anything. My rule
was to look out for myself all the time I was in the army, and usually I
had everything I desired. If I wanted anything to use I always went
where I could buy it, and never borrowed from the soldiers.

I always thought that was a good rule for a soldier; I noticed that
those who did that fared much better than those who did not practice
that rule.

I never liked to loan my gun and belt to a soldier when he has all those
things of his own. But some soldiers would keep their guns polished and
oiled, and set them away and borrow guns and belts from other soldiers
to do guard duty with. These received the appellation of "orderly
buckers" by their comrades, and were too lazy to walk post and perform a
soldier's duty. Duty on the transport in returning to the United States
was very hard on those soldiers who were well. Almost every soldier was
on the sick report, and called by the soldiers the sick battalion. The
few who were put on duty had it to perform every other night. I was one
of the latter, and I considered it pretty tough too. Cooks on the
transports were assigned for one year to cook for the soldiers. They
were as filthy as hogs with everything they cooked. They cared nothing
about how the rations were prepared nor how nasty they were, just so the
cooking was over with as quickly as possible. They had no sympathy;
anything seemed to the cooks good enough if it did not poison him. On
our return we had plenty to eat if it had been cooked decently so that
men could eat it. The reader may say that it should have been reported
to the officer in command. This was done, and reported also to the
officer of the day, and the next day after the reports were made we were
given cabbage for dinner, and every man founds big worms in his plate of
cabbage. While the officer of the day was passing by one soldier had the
nerve to show him what was on his plate; immediately the officer of the
day went to the cooks about it and that seemed to end it. One soldier
found something in his plate that looked almost like a tarantula.

Some of the officers and a great many privates had a monkey apiece.
Great care was taken of them by their owners. Two large monkeys belonged
to some of the crew. These and the smaller ones had the whole vessel to
run through and nothing escaped them--they were into everything. Finally
the commanding officer gave orders for all the monkeys to be taken up,
but the order was not carried out and he had the doctor chloroform the
two large ones and throw them overboard. That made the crew very mad and
sounded the death knell to all the monkeys on board.

That night the crew very quietly caught every monkey and threw them
overboard--not one escaped. It was then the officers' turn to be mad and
they did everything they could to learn who destroyed their monkeys. One
old captain who had lost a monkey offered a reward of ten dollars to
know who threw his monkey overboard, but he failed to find out who it
was. I never heard such a fuss about as small a thing as a monkey

We arrived within one or two miles of the Golden Gate on July 30. The
transport stopped and the whistle was blown for the quarantine officers
and a pilot. We could not see land, the fog was so heavy, until we got
to the Golden Gate. The sight of land sent a thrill of gladness through
every one on board, especially the soldiers who were beholding their own
country, where they were soon to be discharged, and once more be free to
go and come at their own pleasure. Just before night we went to the
quarantine station on Angel Island and remained until morning, when
everything was taken off the transport. On the first of August we went
ashore at the Presidio wharf, landing in the evening.

We were not received as royally as we had departed, no big reception was
awaiting us, although I am quite sure the soldiers would have enjoyed
one as much as when they were departing for the Philippines. I suppose
it was thought that when we went away that we would never get back.

When we boarded the transport for the Philippines several thousand
enthusiastic people witnessed our departure and a great display of
patriotism was manifested. When that portion which returned when I did
were landing only one woman and a little boy were present to show any
feeling of rejoicing that we had not all perished in the Philippines
from the awful climate and the Filipino bullets. This great patriotic
display being over we went into camps at Presidio and remained there to
rest and await further orders, which came in a few days, as soon as
arrangements for transportation over the railroad could be made; and
then Companies I and L went to Fort Douglas, Salt Lake City, Companies K
and M were assigned to Fort D.A. Russell, Cheyenne, Wyoming. August
sixth we left San Francisco and arrived at Fort D.A. Russell in the
evening of August ninth. Companies K and M were under the command of
Captain Delair, who is a good officer. Captain Devore had command of
Company K, to which I then belonged and I remained with that company
until discharged.

Captain Devore was a very good old religious kind of an officer, very
strange and different from any other officer. The most that he believed
in was to keep clean. He was very fond of seeing brooms, mops, picks and
shovels in use. He liked to see work going on. He seemed to be too
economical to eat as much as he needed of government rations. He would
never allow any of the company's funds to be spent for any purpose, but
was all the time adding to the fund.

The company was allowed twenty pounds of sugar every ten days. Of this
Captain Devore would take off one pound for company funds. This is only
one example, or illustration, of many ways of adding something to the
funds of the company.

The company cook was preparing prunes one day for dinner when the old
captain came around inspecting everything; the cook told him that he
was cooking prunes. The cook was then asked how the men liked them, to
which he was answered that the men would eat all that were being cooked
and then not have more than half enough. The old captain said there were
too many for the company--that six was enough for anyone. He further
said, "I don't eat but two or three and that is as many as I want."

The company was always kicking about him. He was never pleased on
inspection to find something cooking. He liked to find the stove cold
and the cooking vessels all clean, then everything with him was O.K. He
would give a man who had had a number of summary court martials an
"excellent" discharge and some soldiers who were good duty soldiers and
never had a court martial would get "only good." I have noticed that if
he likes a soldier he will always get "excellent." He seemed never to be
governed by a soldier's record. I had "very good," all I cared for, as I
was so happy to get it.

I left the army November 11, 1900, en route to Dallas, Texas, where I
remained a few days and went to Pleasant Point, where I spent several
days with two of my brothers, John H. and Juney H. Freeman. Here I met
many friends whom I had known before enlisting in the army and again I
was free to join them in their sports as I had done before.

December twentieth, I started back to Georgia. I took the route via New
Orleans, at which place I stopped about thirty hours and took another
look at the old town. I wanted to look at it once more and compare it
to the time when I was in camps there. I satisfied myself and proceeded
on my homeward journey to the old red hills of Georgia, which I had left
five years and two months before.


*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Soldier in the Philippines" ***

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