Diary of Robert Bruce Payne

Febr. 5, 1899

Sunday morning dawned bright and clear. The sun had no sooner rose bright and clear than the Americans began an advance on their entire lines. The advance was an inspiring sight. Our soldiers fired volleys by the platoons and then advanced under cover of the smoke and lay down behind the convenient rice ridges. Unfortunately our fort was soon behind the firing line and we could not fire. However I got in three shots at a sharp shooter in a tree. At this time a private in Co. C who had come out of the block house with me to get a crack at the sharp-shooter was shot through the shoulder. Then the Col came along and ordered us out of the block house and into the trenches. The men were coming back at this time from their advance and lay there the rest of the day. The Utah Artillery [Utah Volunteer Light Artillery] did fine work in their fire on block house no. 7 which was held by over 200 Filipinos, at San Juan Church at the Filipinos quarters just south of camp, and at two cannons they had mounted. The Filipino heavy cannon were soon silenced and general retreat of the natives took place all along the lines. The gunboat which had specially been prepared for this occasion came up the river Posig [Pasig] and began firing on churches and buildings occupied by the native troops. Many churches and other buildings were built of a sort of soft stone that is bullet proof of rifles, but the guns on the gun boat sent great holes in these buildings and soon there was not a native to be seen in five miles. In the afternoon I visited the battle field where my CO. “D” had been located. I saw there fifteen dead Filipinos, and heard that [Pvt. John L.] Bronson one of our men had been severely wounded in the arm. Many of the boys had killed from one to two Filipinos but they were not there to be found so of course it is hard to tell who killed the luckless fellows laid so low, one with the whole top of his head torn off and others with ghastly holes in them. This shows how deadly a weapon the Springfield is. During the day Dewey took some part in the fight in firing on towns and cutting off trains with reinforcements from Malolos. A whole train load was wrecked it is rumored. In the afternoon our boys crossed the river San Juan and took all of the Filipino works and occupied their headquarters which was the resevoir and filtering station of the waterworks. These places were occupied and held without attack for the night.