Diary of John E.T. Milsaps

Saturday, Dec. 24th, 1898

Camp Santa Mesa –Entry made in parlor of No. 2 Calle Santa Elena, Tondo.

Christmas Eve on a foreign shore, but our environments are radically different from what we have been accustomed to in the home-country. Anywhere for Jesus. Cooked breakfast of ham & chocolate, fried oatmeal mush left over from last night.

Struck out for San Miguel & took 3 photographs there & left a film with a soldier-photographer to develop for me. Comrades Hines (who is a company barber) shaved me for free. From the 2d to 3d battalion barracks I returned to the Escolta. Could not get either a postal money order, note or check at the post office or bank for $3 to remit that am’t to Staff Captain F. Symons at Hongkong for the balance required to print my Kodak films. Returning home about noon near Calle del Rosario passed the quarters of part of the 20th Kansas Vol. Inf. Their guns were stacked in the street, their knapsacks packed & ready inside the building & the soldiers lying around waiting orders. So much for Filipino friendship. The Montana and South Dakota regiments were roused up late last night. False alarm from the outpost. This condition of affairs cannot continue much longer.

Comrade Eletson of “Olympia & Dansare of the “Charleston” paid me a visit this afternoon likewise Private Harry Kline of Co. K. 1st California Vol. Inf. He brought me 12 Kodak films, sent by Lt.-Col. Wm Evans from San Francisco.

I had a long talk with Kline who is in a backslidder state & advised him to return to Jesus. Prayed with him. Would not give his heart to the Savior.

Write & copied 4 letters. Took dinner with Rev. Owens.

Kline said ex-Lieut-Col. J. J. Keppel & wife are returning to California to take charge of the American volunteer work for the Ballington Booth’s movement. Kline also brought me gloomy tidings officers & soldiers leaving the Salvation Army because of double-dealing on the part of the Booth-Tucker, Mrs. Evans & their respective chief assistants. I hope what K. said is not true. Made me feel bad. May God direct the S.A.

Took a cup of lemonade, 2 bananas & some dry bread for supper. Then hurried away to the Escolta where several Salvationists had agreed to rendezvous. Comrades Hines, Berry, Lloyd & Freeman of the Montana regm’t & Clayton Scott of the North Dacota’s met me there in front of the post office. Two quilez’ were hired & drove us out to Camp Santa Mesa where the 1st Nebraska’s Vol. Inf. are encamped on a hill. We arrived late; found the Chaplains tent filled with singing soldiers. Had an audience of 50 Chaplain Mailie testified, also our 6 Salvationists & some others. While the meeting was in progress I heard an Insurgent bugle blast or call in the distance. The Filipino troops, I heard surround Camp Santa Mesa on three sides.

I read the Scripture – Luke re the birth of our blessed Christ & exhorted the troops to yield to Him. None came forward. Several invitations were extended to us to come again.

An agreeable flutter of excitement struck the Montana boys today while I was in their quarters – Christmas boxes came.

Visitors 7 at No. 2 Calle Santa Elena.

Rev. Owens’ said he heard that tonight is the time set for the Filipinos to break loose.

Bro. Eletson of the Olympia said Rear Admiral Geo. Dewey is troubled much by autograph fiends who annoy him with their importunity. Dewey goes through his waste paper basket & hunts for everything personally bearing his signature & run a knife across it to spoil the signature. Eletson knowing the Admiral’s habit in respect resorted to a stratagem to secure an autograph for Senator Perkins of California. The Senator tried to get it but failed. Eletson sent in a request asking an extended furlough ashore – not expecting as a matter of course to get it. In due course request was returned, with the Admirals signature refusing to grant permission.