Diary of John E.T. Milsaps

Thursday, Feb. 9th, 1899

Caloocan Battlefield — Entry made in stone fort* (*Blockhouse No. 2 at La Loma) early in the morning of February 10th.

Am sleepy this morning. Was kept awake the entire night. Stayed with Co. E* (*Note. Capt. A. Jensen in command) 1st Montana vol. inf. in the stone fort (Blockhouse No. 2) on the hill. Yesterday or rather today commenced the day with bible reading & prayers. Felt refreshed by the night’s sleep in No. 2. Living on half rations and loss of sleep is pulling me down considerably. After cooking breakfast took a bath which refreshed me considerably. Went down town. Called at the post office & rec’d 3 letters. (1) from Chaplain Stephen R. Wood of the 23rd U.S. Infantry, who sent me a printed bulletin advertising me to lead the Wednesday evening (Feb. 8th) services in place of the Y.M.C.A. meeting but he explained that the regiment had been suddenly called into action, so the meeting failed to materialize as the place was turned into a prison. (2) Ensign Jackson, HongKong who acknowledged receipt of the $5. donation I sent her. Wrote that she needed it. Was taken sick and came near dying. (3) Eli Higgins, Niagara Falls, N.Y. an old friend. I answered Chaplain Woods’ letter immediately.

When in town I got shaved in a Spanish barber shop; also called at the General or Brigade Hospital to see Private Clayton Scott. He is up again & getting well. Advised him to do as much work for Jesus as possible among the patients. From town returned home, took a bite to eat, bundled up some things & struck out afoot for the Caloocan battlefield. While trudging out Dulumbayan street through the dust and sun heat, a couple of Utah light artillery men overtook me. They were taking mail out to their comrades in a carromata. Invited me to ride out. I gladly accepted the invitation. Arrived on the battlefield about 4 p.m. Put my luggage in the stone fort. Private D.C. Hines fished me up a soldier’s kit & some supper from the company (E.) cook. After supper Hines & I went down the battle line. The men are about in the same place, but have constructed trenches. Encouraged some of the Christian soldiers to remain true to Christ.

Returned to the stone fort (Blockhouse No. 2), spread our blankets on the ground & lay down with the intention of sleeping but did not sleep all night. About 10 o’clock p.m. firing started up in the forest over on our left wing & with slight intermissions had continued until daybreak. The outposts over on our right fired at real or imagined foes. I could hear them cry out “Pennsylvania outpost” in the darkness probably to let their comrades know their whereabouts so as not to fire on them. Company E. 1st Montana lined up (some) behind the fort walls at the portholes & others went outside into the rifle pit. They fired one volley. A bullet presumably from the enemy struck our corrugated iron roof with a bang.

An officer* (*Note. Captain Andrew Jensen) of Co. E. ordered a sergeant to make me get up and change my bed. Would not permit any of his men to sleep.

The sun is now up but an occasional shot still rings across the battlefield. Brother Lloyd has just brought me some fried pork, boiled potatoes and coffee so I must discontinue this entry and pay my respects to soldiers’ rations. The men are cross this morning because robbed of sleep.