Diary of John E.T. Milsaps

Sunday, Dec. 25th, 1898

Cavite, Luzon Island –Entry made in parlor of No. 2 Calle Santa Elena, Tondo.

1898 is fast slipping into eternity. Only one more week and the old year will be gone.

Out of bed early & after prayer & bible reading cooked breakfast & hurried down to the 8.30 a.m. Cavite ferry. Reaching Binondo plaza saw by the clock in the Catholic church that I had 5 minutes to make the boat. Jumped into a quilez on General Blanco bridge. Paid the driver one paseta [peseta] fare. As the ferry boat was pulling out a man threw one paseta donation on board which made up the amount thus expended. Paid my own fare. Scott did not come along. Private Hines, Lloyd, Berry & Freeman of the Montana regiment accompanied me.

Arrived in Cavite & called on Capt. D. C. Geary of Battery A. California Vol. heavy artillery, who is provost marshall & acquainted him with the fact that Col. Van Valzah sanctioned open-air meetings. Geary said he did not oppose me & would grant a provost guard for protection if necessary. Thanked him.

Our party called at the Recollector Roman Catholic church or Calle Real. I urged Ex-Capt. Chas. Spurgeon of K. Co. 18th U.S. Inf. Reg. to return to Jesus & the S.A. refused. We knelt down in the wing where the company is quartered & prayed for Spurgeon while he stood. The young man is seeing hard times. Had a newspaper under him to sleep on. Was up last night doing guard duty. The city was filled with guards. Two Filipinos had been overheard saying houses would be blown up with dynamite.

Before dinner I led a service under the porch, on the side of the “Teatro Caviteno” in front, nearest the sally port of the wall of San Roque gate. Audience 22. We were much disturbed by Filipino (boy & men) brass bands & bamboo bands. The latter were very odd. I never saw anything like them before.

From the Teatro Filipino we proceeded to the house on Calle Arsenal notorious for the murder of a Spanish officer. May 1st on the back room on whose walls came blood stains & the inscription “Sextus Gloria”. M. Company of the 18th U.S. Infantry, regulars, occupies the same. We held a service on the street in front. Men noisy and disturbed us. Went ahead in spite of ridicule. Audience 30 not counting natives.

Meeting over we adjourned to Silver’s American restaurant on Calle Real where we took dinner. I paid $1 of the bill. Explored more of the walls, rooms & dungeons of the old Spanish fortifications also San Domingo church.

Visited quarters of Co. A. 18th Regular Inf. to find Corporal Long came, but failed. Expected to hold an open air in front of the building. Time however was lacking and the men were very busy packing up for a voyage to Iloilo. They said tonight or tomorrow.

We returned to Manila by the 2p.m. ferry.

In Manila I cooked supper but had no time to wash dishes. The soldiers gathered while I was at supper.

Led the meeting in No. 2 Calle Santa Elena. Audience 17. The Lord blessed the effort. At the close Private Geo. A. Masser of Co. H. 20th Kansas Vol. Inf. an ex-campbellite claimed to have his backslidings healed thro’ Christ; praise to our blessed Jesus; amen. Our comrades rejoiced thereat.

I am very sleepy. Had but little rest last night. The Filipinos had instrumental music in the yard below my window almost till day light.

Visitors 20.

Two Spanish prisoners held by Insurgents escaped to the American lines last night. Swam from Baker U.S. soldiers gave them clothing. Look starved & hunted.