Diary of Lieutenant X (Aime Ernest Motsch)

Thursday, May 19, 1898

. . . Dewey

Hongkong newspapers give a full account of Dewey’s glory being more widespread in New York than on his own battlefront. He may even find himself on Capitol Hill in Washington with the kind of luck he has had. I agree that he is a man of talent, but it takes more than that to produce a great naval man. A true victory is not the result of a well-conducted  target-shooting exercise. It certainly did not need any special talent to gun down a defenceless city.

Dewey may be a good naval officer, but he lacks the intelligence to lead his men to war.

Marshal Primo de Rivera is reported to have said: “Without the infrantry, the Americans will never enter Manila.” It is in this context that Dewey decided to prove a point.

I find the American habit of boastful impertinence most offensive, a sentiment shared by many Europeans. How can they convince those who are not as barbaric as they that their gold, their cities, and their homes are superior? Can they compete with the Spaniards in the art of bragging? Perhaps, except for the fact that the Spaniards are the underdogs right now.

The MacCulloch has arrived with the mail. The Americans began to have fears when they did not see it return from Hongkong. All kinds of dispatches are arriving on the war in the Antilles. The Spaniards are on the defensive and are not taking any initiative, a subtle sign of defeat. Five thousand men have left San Francisco to occupy Manila.

The officers of the MacCulloch expected to see the Union flag flying over Manila on their return. But Manila was easy prey for Dewey.