Diary of John E.T. Milsaps

Friday, April 14th , 1899

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

Up & out of bed early. Read a chapter in Leviticus, prayed then cooked breakfast in a hurry. Bid “muchacho” good-bye. He sails for the island of Cebu today. Last night paid him $1 for doing a few chores for me, then added a dollar more as a gift.

Hastened down to the train on the wharf & after showing my pass rolled out for Manila in the 8.30 a.m. train. As usual the cars were full of soldiers. Arrived in Malolos about noon without anything unusual happening. Smoke still rose from piles of burning rice. In open fields — “paddy” fields — stood like lone sentinel, the range poles of the Filipino army. They are tall poles of bamboos surmounted by a section of nipa palm resembling a flag. Passed a train load of 10th Pennsylvania men en route to Manila from the front, a train load of 51st Iowa men went to the front this afternoon to take their place in the battle line. The wear & tear of constant service is telling on the troops; is wearing them out.

The sun was very hot when I stepped off the cars at Barasoain y Malolos (the name on the depot sign) but with umbrella overheard walked up to the main plaza, about half a mile. Met several acquaintances, first of note Ernest Tarr. Had a short talk. Then crossed over to the Filipino wooden artillery – 3 pieces, which I took a snap shot of with Bro. Tarr. These guns are made of wood with gas pipe cone or inside of barrel with iron bands around the outside to strengthen them. Private A.M. Walcott of the McArthur came up & introduced himself to me. Walcott was until the Manila expedition touched at Hawaii a successful teacher on the islands but united with the 8th Army corps (U.S.) He was the first man to accompany me on my trips to the war vessels to hold services. Walcott invited me to take dinner with his detachment. Did so. Walcott said that General (Brigadier) McArthur remarked when he saw me crossing the plaza that I ought to go out to the front & negotiate a peace with the Filipinos. After dinner, Walcott took me down past the General’s Headquarters to see the large buried modern rifle buried by the Filipinos. Has been uncovered by the Americans but lies in its grave. Is a fine gun. At the west end of town lies its mate. They fire 6 inch projectiles. Took a picture of the first gun, then the ruins (interior) of Aguinaldo’s erstwhile headquarters. Private Ernest Tarr rejoined me & together we walked out a street leading west from town. Visited the late Filipino prison. Saw the following names written on the wall in the rear yard: H. Huber, Jan’y 27th 1899, E. Honnyman Jan’y 30th Wm Bruce, Corp. A. Nevada Cavalry; J.O. Brien.

We tarried on the site of a burnt building where I saw a lot of papers & pamphlets scattered in the ashes. Here I secured 26 copies of the daily Filipino paper “La Independencia” for January & February 1899. I have quite a lot of these papers. The editions secured today will help to complete my file since the war began. Also secured several extras.

About one mile from The Plaza we came to the camp of K. Battery 3d Reg’t Heavy artillery. The men rec’d me cordially. I went out to see Bro. M. L. Devine (Landon) Salvationist, especially. He came up shook hands & then hurried off, making the plea that he had to go on guard this evening & wanted to clean his gun. I carried away the impression that he wanted to evade me. After greeting & talking to a number of artillerymen & visited Private O. Harris who gave me the warmest welcome. God bless him. Together Harris, Tarr, & myself knelt down beneath the [____] shelter & in prayer remembered God. Again I started out to look for Devine. Went to the swimming place – in the deserted village called (I think) Bayamban. Looked again on my return, but failed & felt disappointed. Met Captain Hobb who had a pleasant conversation. Everybody treated me well. Devine ceased cooking today and returned to duty in the field. Is still troubled with dysentery.

Walked back thro’ the hot sun to the railroad depot.

Waited an hour or two for the train. Met & spoke to Lieut. Kessler of the 3d artillery. Also Lieut. J. H. Hubbard. Co. E. 1st South Dakota Vol. Inf. The latter is a zealous Christian. God bless him. Here too dropped in rather unexpectedly upon me, Messrs Jackson and Glunz of the Christian Commission. They were dressed like soldiers, each carrying a revolver with belts full of cartridges. We occupied the same section in the passenger car back to Manila. The train slowed up when passing the Manila depot. Here I jumped off & struck out for home.

Spoke to several men personally about salvation. Called at the Cuartel Meisig (3d artillery reg’t) for my Evening “Times”. Received 4 copies. Private Stahl of Houston, Texas saw me. Is now acting as cook. Treated me to a supper of fried rice fritters, tea and stewed peaches.

Arriving at home found the house empty. The Owens had gone out on the bay for a visit to friends to stay over night.

The U.S. transport “Sheridan” arrived today with 1768 troops – 12th Infantry 1318 & battalion of the 17th Infantry 450 men. The vessel was 54 days from New York via the Suez canal.