Diary of Chriss A. Bell

Feb. 6, 1899

This morning reports show that our [troops] advanced driving natives before them. Most of the firing at night is by the natives answered by and [an] occasional volley from our men. But at daylight much to the purpose of the natives who expected us to remain quiet, our men opened fire at the same time. Dewey let them have it. The result was something awful. Natives were killed by them by the hundreds. They did so much shooting from bamboo huts that an order came to fire the huts as the men advanced. This was done & men, women, and children suffered. The natives are but poor fighters & do not understand our style charging under fire. Freeman was in the thick of the fight but was in the company and could not get away.

In the evening I got permission of the Capt. to take a walk. Carr, Jim & I started and we met Dustin & (?)dale who joined us. We started for Kansas lines but got on a road which finally led in the jungle & stopped. We could see a quarter of a mile to our right a big hut on fire so we retraced our steps. Crossed a rice field on the dikes and reached the fire but if our men started it they did not remain now. Just before reaching fire we ran on a hut. The inmates were watching fire on seeing us they began to yell “Buenos Noches, Onega Cara Beno.” [“Buenas Noches, Amigo Cara Bueno“] They were nearly frightened to death. From the fire we soon ran across the main wad & soon met some boys of G. Co. Kansas going to the front with blankets. We went across with them but once ran off the road & ran into Montana outpost. We turned back & in about an hour reach block house where Kansas Co. was located. It was on top of a hill to left of church where 3rd A battery was sited at. We could see but little and there were only a few stray shots fired so we did not go into action. In the return we got a ride in as far as Bibi Bid [Bilibid] We got back about 12 & went on guard at 4A.M.