Diary of Chriss A. Bell

Aug. 13, 1898

Up at 4 breakfast at 4:15 and aboard the Kwonghoi at 7. When we went out to fleet at about 9:15 fleet move towards Manilla (sic) and bombardment commenced at 10 A.M. It was a pretty sight but we could not see well enough to tell effect of shot. Officers could see our land troops advancing. Shortly afternoon the town surrendered.

After a long wait we started for the city. When about 200 guards [yards] from pier, boat grounded and we had to go ashore in small boats. We landed just in time to see Old glory run up. Marching about the walls of the old fort we stopped near the flag and gave three cheers. Then proceeded through fort to castle. Here we lined up by companies and Spanish forces marched in front of us and surrendered. We then marched into palace and were quartered in the stables for the night. However it was not the first and probably will not be the last times we have to sleep on the rough stones. I secured from the palace a pretty little vase as a momento. The palace is an immense square building of stone two stories high. The interior of main rooms is beautifully fixed up. About the only feature that had modern appearance was the electrical lights. There was a general air of ancient grandeur gone to decay. There is also the case of the whole town which is very ancient.

The walls and Fort being typical of past ages with its old viru called walls, moats, porticullis etc. The old city could never be captured by land attack. In places the walls are 100 feet thick and the moat 200 feet wide.

It was a long to be remembered sight the raising of the flag and the surrender of the soldiers. Most of the privates seemed glad but the officers especially the younger ones were broken up, the women were also weeping and no one could not help feel sorry for them. Our boys are as usual all swelled up, were being given the post of honor. The landing party was a dangerous bit of work for there were only two batteries of us marching through a city where there were at least 5000 Spanish soldiers armed.