Diary of John E.T. Milsaps

Sunday, Mar. 19th, 1899

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

Sky quite clear and weather warm.

Reading in Exodus, prayer & then cooked breakfast. Dishes washed my next thought was to get a Bible lesson for the military prisoners incarcerated in Bilibid. Walked down the broad street, Paseo Azcarraga, to the prison. The sentries passed me in without difficulty & I was given the liberty of the place as it were. Arrived about 11 o’clock & passed about 30 minutes looking for Provost Sergeant M. Ryan. When I found him he unlocked 2 wards & announced my meeting in four, including the bakery. I had an audience of about 15, which included the sentries. The prisoners seated themselves in the abutting stone foundations of the first right hand building as one enters Bilibid from the main iron gate. Handed them California (S.A.) camp meeting Song Books & the prisoners (American) helped me to sing. The praying (twice) Bible reading and exhortation fell to me without aid. At the close I put a vote to the men to hold up their hand if they wanted me to come again next Sunday. Every man held up a hand.

One prisoner, a backslider, asked me to pray for him. Said this is his first experience behind the bars. Has been praying & claimed to have returned to Christ since his incarceration. To God be the glory.

Spoke to Lieut. Geo. Wolf & also Major Bean re a pass to come in (myself) & for others in case an alternate should be needed to take my place, when I go elsewhere to hold a service on Sunday. The Major replied that none is necessary.

This forenoon before going Private Clayton Scott called. He longed to be free to accompany me. He was out hunting caraboa [carabao] carts & drivers to do transportation work for the U.S. Quartermaster Dep’t. Took a little time to drop in and see me. We had prayer & conversation together.

During the afternoon glanced over a pile of Washington D.C. & New York secular papers sent me by an unknown party. Cooked supper, washed dishes and then turned to write some copy for the San Francisco War Cry as per request of Lieut-Col. Wm Evans. Wrote 5 pages MS. under the subjoined sub-heads: “Keeping Early Hours,” “With the Fifty-First” (Iowa Vol. Inf) “Prepared for a Siege” and “In Prison.”

This day has been unusually quiet. No sound of fighting at the front, and no fires. Night closes in quiet.