Diary of Robert Bruce Payne

Febr. 11, 1899

When we got up this morning we had a two miles march in heavy marching order to make before breakfast. This gave us a good appetite, but breakfast was not ready when we arrived which annoyed us somewhat as we expected to advance against the Filipinos. We had orders to be in readiness after breakfast as we were to be in the reserve but the advance after meandering around the country all day returned empty handed. So today has been a day of rest with us. I have had a bath again in the San Mateo [river]. Its bottom is sandy and the gravel is plainly visible and the smallest fish can be seen. Ten days rations were just issued to us here and our dinner was an excellent one we had been having poor fare since we have been in field hitherto. It is nearly supper time and I am writing seated in a species of rubber tree. This tree is large and spreading and close to camp. Under it is an immense stone a boulder with steps up it, so one can walk up the steps and step off in the tree. There was a bombardment of Caloocan, a small town, by Dewey this morning. During the middle of the days the heat is hardly bearable but in the evenings and mornings it is quite cool and the nights are cold. Very dry here now, even too dry to plow. We hear many banterings and quarrels now about what troops did this and that. But I can hardly realize the honour that is to be gained any way fighting a people struggling for liberty. Many of the boys have a poor opinion of the Filipinos simply because they have talked ill of them so long that now they hate them. I think they are doing unwisely in fighting so powerful [a] nation as the U.S. It reveals at once the[ir] patriotism as well as their ignorance. Nor is it by any means all ignorance.