Diary of John E.T. Milsaps

Friday, February 10th, 1899

Manila, Luzon Island –Entry made in parlor of No. 2 Calle Santa Elena, Tondo.

It is late in the afternoon. The Utah Light Artillery guards have half closed the double doors of their commissary warehouse; a very unusual proceeding. The Spanish men –2 of them– on the lower floor of No. 2 Call Santa Elena have come up stairs again. They are apprehensive of danger. The old Señora down stairs also excitedly drew her hand across her throat signifying what is expected. Word has been sent to the American military guards to look out for an uprising of Filipinos. With a telescope loaned me by one of the Spaniards I saw a few minutes ago the two towers of Tondo Roman Catholic church full of American troops. The heavy, barred gates of our basement have been closed on the street side. The streets of Manila are look deserted. During an hour the heavy roar of great guns from Dewey’s fleet has been heard here in our house bombarding either Caloocan or Malibon [Malabon]. Aguinaldo is massing his troops at Malibon [Malabon] and a decisive battle is expected.

I feel very sleepy. Captain A. Jensen of Co. E., 1st Montana vol. inf. found me sleeping or rather lying down on the ground among his men in the Spanish blockhouse* (*Blockhouse No. 2). He instructed a sergeant to make me get up & go to another part of the fort. Kept my clothes on & sat up almost all night with the noise of shooting to help keep my eyes open. Hines said the men of Co. E. did not like the way I was treated by their Captain. Says he has been drunk the last two or three days.

After breakfast Private D. Hines & I walked down the lines to almost the end of our left wing in the forest skirting the railroad where so much fighting has been done of late. The Americans 20th Kansas vol. inf. have constructed trenhes & rifle pits & are still at work. The Filipinos attacked our troops last night. While we were in the forest sharpshooters were still pegging away. A bullet came unpleasantly near to us.

Desiring sleep & feeling the need of recuperating I gathered up my belongings and struck out for home on foot. A long, hot, dusty walk. Arrived at home at last glad to be back. Civilians are not usually welcome in a military camp when war is in progress. They do no good (from a military standpoint) & may do much harm.

4.40 p.m. The sound of cannon is still heard in the distance. Rev. & Mrs. Owens treated me to dinner — ham & cabbage. Mighty glad to get it.

Private Clayton Scott called this p.m. from General Hospital. Had conversation & prayer. He took back with him 30 War Crys –San Francisco– for distribution among the patients of thew General Hospital viz. 10 No. 575, 10 No. 576 & 10 No. 577. Later Private Sam Jenson, Co. I, 1st Washington Vol. Inf. also called to see me. Had conversation & prayer together, Bro. Geo. Turner of the Ecclesia mission joined. (This brother during my first night’s absence at the front brough his family into No. 2. Came for safety. Some one warned him that he & his family were marked for death by the Filipinos.) Private Jenson donated $10. gold to the S.A. work; praise God. By Bro. J. I sent for free distribution to the Washington troops San Francisco War Crys: 10 no. 575, 9 no. 576 & 10 no. 577.

Rev. Owens who was out near the front returned this evening from near the front. The enemy has been driven back –charged. Dense clouds of smoke I saw rising heavenward was caused by the burning of Caloocan. I expect to go out to the front again tomorrow. Rushed down town at 6 p.m. & purchased some groceries. Wrote & copied a letter (my 14th weekly) to Lieut-Col. Alice Lewis, New York.