Diary of Lieutenant X (Aime Ernest Motsch)

Thursday, June 9, 1898

On Land

This morning saw the beginning of the exodus of Spanish women aboard French, English, and German ships.

It is said that the Americans are holding back the insurgents while Aguinaldo bides his time until the end of the month, not realizing it will be too late. The Union’s troops will have arrived by then, and will have the upper hand.

The city is covered with smoke from fires everywhere, with Caloocan and Malabon in the hands of the insurgents. The noose is tightening around Manila. The last of the Chinese are ready to leave. The Yuen-Sang will transport them to Hongkong. The city looks dismal as the people depart.

The horrors of war are becoming apparent to me. I admire strength and action. Nothing, not even ideas, interests me the way battles do. But tonight I bear witness to these corpses laid to waste by blind, bloody violence. What have these poor Galicians, Andalucians, and lively Sevillians done to be disfigured and bloodied? They are beginning to decay, their eyes half-closed, covered with flies, their mouths hideously open in an attempt to emit a last cry, their hands mangled. They are 20 year-old boys who were thrown 3,000 leagues from their birthplace into the arms of a solitary death without the comfort of a wife or mother.