Diary of Lieutenant X (Aime Ernest Motsch)

Thursday, August 11, 1898

Still nothing. Admiral Dewey is essentially seeking an opportunity to bombard. But then again, the Americans are not so sure of themselves and fear being ambushed by the Tagals. This view is shared by many, in which case, Dewey will attack. If Merritt releases the insurgents in Manila, it would be the perfect excuse.

The Petrel and the Concorde are guarding the city and have completely blocked it from other ships anchored at bay. Yesterday the German consul had to request permission from Admiral Dewey to enter Cavite. Tension is constantly rising in the city. Fresh foodstuffs are unavailable, a rumor denied by some. The French consul has been advised that the Americans have categorically refused to grant the seven-day extension requested by the governor to enable him to inform his government.

Tonight, the American fleet is under pressure. The whole day was spent meeting with General Merritt at his camp. The Belgian consul was also present, having been designated the spokesman for the captain-general. While diplomatic discussions continue in diplomatic parlance, the most important element in the group remains silent but plans to attack anyway.

There is probably a plan to surrender Manila while pretending not to do so. What a contemptible idea! They are prepared to sacrifice these valiant people in order to provide these nonsensical negotiations a semblance of truth. Our sympathy goes to these brave Spanish soldiers. Never have soldiers had such poor leaders completely lacking in intelligence and consistently making incoherent and inconclusive decisions. They should have either surrendered Manila three months ago or defended the city to the very end. These small battles being waged by 10, 20, or a hundred poor souls, fighting hopelessly with all their strength, are futile. They are fighting for an unknown objective in the interest of a non-existent plan. This farcical attack will take its toll on more human lives, making them sacrificial lambs in the name of this so-called “honor.” The Spanish governor is resigned to give himself up but will go through the motions of actual battle, at the expense of 200 or 300 soldiers who will die for what he believes to be the real cause.

General Agustin was not willing to accept this plan up to the very end. He has consistently complained of his role in this deplorable situation. When someone had the audacity to declare and show evidence to the Cortes that there were 20,000 Spanish soldiers and 200 of the latest cannons in Luzon, the unfortunate general, outraged, responded with a telegram on June 21 describing the real situation, and this is the reason he was relieved of his command. Everyone praised him for his conduct and his sincerity. He took over the government of Manila the day before the Spanish defeat and surrendered it on the eve of the city’s capitulation.