Diary of Alfred Burton Welch

Wednesday 1-11th-99

Call to arms at 10 p.m. yesterday and at 10.30 were out in Paco, marching along with not a word spoken –not a cup rattling– no sound save the “heartless” tramp of a heavy column. We were sure this time that it was a fight, and when Capt. Adams’ (act. Maj.) low commands were passed up the lines –at b.h. 11– 100 yds. from the ins. pickets –to display skirmishers, everything was so still, and I never shall forget a certain perfume which floated out from some night blooming plant.

Without a whisper, we were soon in skirmish fighting line. Not a sound came from the ins. line — but we could see the pickets upon the bridge, which at that point, were not 25 ft. from our own sentinels. In about 30 mins. we could hear a large body of insurgents come up and strengthen their lines , –all night long we knew we were within very easy stone’s throw of them, and perhaps a much stronger party. At 3 a.m. we fell back –to Calle de Pena Francia [Peñafrancia] y Calle de Real –a squad at a time, so that they could not know we had left. A strong guard was at b.h. 11. rested in a pile of old ruins until 5 a.m. when we marched to Cuartel, on order. Co. E, Co. B, Co. D. During the night there was a large fire in Matate [Malate] –and a sentry killed a Fil soldier about 8 o’clock. Do not know the positions of the other regiments, as our lines are still closed. Dress parade on the Luneta will be at 4 p.m. Fil. are leaving by the hundreds today.

Later: 4.30 p.m. About 3.30 –when everyone had on white suits and were all ready for dress parade –an order came to dress for the field, and a soldier drove by on the gallop shouting, “They are at it, boys.” –Oh! what a cheer went up. Now the streets are fill with a mob, leaving the city, shouting and running & cursing.

2nd Lieut. Lamping was in the P.O. when a Minn. police gave the alarm. In ten min. every store & shop on the Escolta was closed, and the people were fighting for carriages. He says it was a display of frenzy of a terrified mob. We are still laying on our arms, ready at a moment’s notice.