Diary of John E.T. Milsaps

Monday, Jan. 2d, 1899

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

Heavy clouds in the sky; no rain; cool on Manila bay.

Early this morning got out of bed, prayed read bible & cooked breakfast, then cleared out without waiting to wash dishes. Paid $1 Mex fare to Corregidor Island & back. General Tarnsley (formerly adjutant General of Colorado) one of the lessees of the steamer Manila No. 2, intended to make an initial trip to Mariveles, a small port or town on the Mainland 6 miles from Corregidor. He charged me nothing for the run across the strait & back.

Arriving from Manila. I went ashore in a small boat & hastened up to the native huts in town to look for shells. Bought 10 cts. worth. Met Sneiderman in town. The whistle blowed for me. Hurried back on board.

The steamer bow was turned into strange water. Nobody knew how it would turn out – the trips, because we were en route to an Insurgent town.

On the boat coming over from Manila I wrote 9 ½ pages MS of experiences re the Philippines. Feel relieved by writing something for the War Cry (S.F.)

Arriving in the bay on which Mariveles is situated our boat lay off shore & blamed her whistle. There is a good stone wharf with deep water (heard 30 feet) off the grounds of an ex-Spanish hospital, but Tarnsley did not care to make fast to a wharf and take chances on getting captured should the Insurgents prove ugly. Our boat flew the U.S. flag. After several blasts from the steamer’s whistle a small dug-out with bamboo outriggers put off. A native came aboard. He was sent back to bring Senor Don Julian, acting el Presidente, as he is styled. The alcalde or mayor of the town. Presently came on board. Is a mestizo & dresses well. Tarnsley tried to learn if he could get any freight from the town if he made regular trips. The alcalde & the president was absent at Malolos.

[S]eemed to have nothing but firewood to send away.

This bay is said to be unrivaled for fine fish; is very tranquil too in time of storm. Our Spanish sailing master was afraid to trust himself in the hands of the Insurgents for fear of dire consequences to himself, however the writer & Mr. Paxson, a U.S. hospital corps member went ashore in the boat which brought the president out ot the steamer. Mr. Paxson & I landed on the sandy beach & took a stroll thro’ the town as far up as the Roman Catholic church. I had my camera but did not dare take a picture as the Insurgents are very particular on this point. Large outbuildings are attached to the church. The windows of the second floor was crowded with Insurgent troops watching us.

Their sentries were armed. Mr. Paxson purchased some bananas & I a few shells – 3 cents worth & a Filipino showed us through the block house, fort or city hall for the structure partakes of the character of each. The first story or basement is made of concrete small port or rifle holes for firing parties. The second floor is constructed of wood. Holes for small arms have also been made through the walls. In a small dark room I discovered a large pile of Spanish newspapers and MSS. The latter apparently the town records. The Filipino who showed me the papers said they were from the Spaniards & were “no wano” – no good. Picking up a book, hand sewed, fools cap size, MSS. I asked him to give it to me. He readily did so. Is the Mariveles Governor’s records or minutes for the province. Contains 187 pages and is dated 1887 and 1888-1889. On our return to the boat – the whistle blew for us – the alcalde & his associate returned ashore. I secured several snap shots of the town & country also for Corregidor.

Only 4 white men – Americans – on board the steamer on this pioneer trip.

Gen’l Tarnsley said he will give me a free traveling card on his boat if I make regular trips for S.A. work. I spoke to several persons about salvation on the boat.

Mariveles is backed by heavy forest growths and high mountains. The Negritos or aborigines come this town from the interior to trade.

Arrived in Manila after dark having made a voyage of 62 miles, round trip & walked back home & brought 10 cts. Mex. worth of sugar on the road. Found my reading room lighted up.

Saw a steamer towering a sloop in from the China sea.

News came in that the natives captured Iloilo island of Panay & rephrased to allow the American expedition to land with their arms.

Transport arrived with 1300 more troops from the U.S.

Visitors today at No. 2 about 10.

Comrade Hines led the soldiers meeting. I closed it with prayer & praise to God. Appointed Landrum to lead the next. The 3d artillerymen are not allowed to go beyond bugle squad. Sent S.F. Crys out as follows: for Flansberg, 15, 572; 3, 573 & 5, 574, 13th Minn.; for Blaney, 2d Battalion with Penn., 20 assorted; for Schurmerhorn, 2d Oregon, 10, No. 572 & 17 No. 574; for Annie, for Utahs, & 3d Artillery, 8 copies each of Nos. 572, 573 & 574.