Diary of Alfred Burton Welch

Monday 1-16-99

Friday night at 9.00 we were deployed from the convent at b.h. 11 across the front to b.h. 12. The rice fields had been purposely flooded, and H²O was about 18 in. deep. Fixed a rocket board at b.h. 11and made my bed on a knoll. Went to sleep. Turned cold and started to rain. Awake at 11 p.m. & was lying in six in. of H²O.

The dark forms of our pickets, and along the bank of the creek, our cossack post, the noiseless tread of the ins. on the bridge, the clang of an officer’s sabre; the furious storm; the flapping of banana leaves; the creaking of bamboo clumps –and upon the west wings of the cold east wind was borne the midnight chant of the convent.

Walked up & down the road & my tho’ts were far away, but easily bro’t to earth upon hearing some unusual noise. General King rode up at four a.m. and we drew in cossacks and marched by left flank to Convent gate where we asked admission, and got behind the walls after threatening to break in the gates. Many fugitives are there & it was pitiful to see their white starved faces.

Stayed here until 10 a.m., when r’t. by file –we took a dike home. 24 hrs. in the rain and the dark night. Changed clothes & slep rest of the day. The whole 1st Division was out for support. 1st Ca. in Paco & 4th Cal. in Calle Looban but they kept their peace & Aguinaldo’s threat to eat dinner in the Palace did not hold.