Diary of John E.T. Milsaps

Thursday, April 20th, 1899

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

I am returned from a village about 2 miles beyod Malolos, Paombong, and feel thoroughly tired and sleepy and still hot or rather feeling the effects of walking miles in the fierce sun. Rev. Owens purposed the other day that we go today, but when the time came he had an excuse and did not go.

I got up early, read as chapter in Leviticus & a psalm, prayed, cooked breakfast & then walked down to the 8.30a.m. train and at that have rolled north to Malolos where I arrived between 11 & 12 o’ clock noon. Spoke to a soldier about a salvation on the way down to the train. On my way to the main plaza from the depot met an old Filipino woman (beggar) crawling along the street. Gave her 2 cents Mex. Made my way to Battery H. 3d Heavy Artillery. On the way out by invitation went in the hospital to sit, chat & cool off.

Then struck out again to the extreme outpost towards the bay south west of Calumpit. All the way out met acquaintances. Half a mile before reaching Paombong I struck the American outposts facing the bay or marshes on that side & a watercourse from whence that Filipinos surprise & attach came last week. The boys are alert now for anything of the kind, which is likely to come at any moment. This forenoon when our train passed Guiguinto station south of Malolos, the 13th Minnesota men informed us that an attack had been made upon them a few minutes before our arrival. This several miles in the rear of our battle line. On my return by the 4.30p.m. train south, I could see in the direction of the foreman attack clouds of smoke ascending from a burning village & farm houses.

After passing the Filipino beggar woman on the depot to the town of Malolos. I met Bro. Georgeson of Co. 1st South Dakota Vol. Inf. He is a backslider Salvationist. At one period, G. was a true Christian. Says now he tried to live a true Christian in the U.S. army but failed, can’t succeed so thinks trying is useless. Urged him earnestly to try again. Seemed more affected than any previous conversation since his downfall. G. had his gun & cartridges as if out on patrol.

Reaching the Roman Catholic church, a solid stone structure with thick walls & heavy buttresses at the base, a soldier acted as guide. I ascended thro’ some man-holes resembling passages in mines to the roof, where one or two American sentries were watching the surrounding country, at present occupied by the enemy. I saw a town in a forest. The men thinks it is Calumpit, but are not certain.

When I came down from the roof 3 men who rode up to the church on horseback were just preparing from dinner in the main entrance on an old broken bench. The men were 2 representatives of Frank Leslies’ Illustrated newspaper. Mr. and Mr. . also Dr. of A. Battery, Utah Light Artillery. The Doctor opened a can of baked beans, this with ginger snaps, soda crackers, and pea nuts (latter supplied by me) & water out of a canteen constituted our repast. These gentlemen were very friendly to me. God bless them.

On my trip I addressed salvation advice to 2 crowds of soldiers on outpost & spoke personally to Brothers, Oden, Harris, Rensberger, Hofferstine of the churches & Devine, (Landon) Frank Amie & an Army convert. Amie & I prayed together in a native hut. He brought me coffee beans and bread for dinner, but I thanked him for the food, accepting the will for the act. Devine was standing guard on the bank of a stream a few yards from where 2 of his commanders were shot last week. We talked of matters of Christ’s Kingdom as he sat in the shade of a pandamus tree. Indeed, all the men of H. battery I spoke to were on the extreme picket line.

Arrived in Manila about 5.50p.m. after a railroad trip of 42 miles. This makes my third to Malolos.

This evening’s “Times” denies that Gen. Pilar is captured.

I cooked supper after returning from the front. Did not feel like it. Rev. Owens gave me some stew. Was welcome. I am glad of the prospect of a grand night’s rest. The sweat is oozing from my body from every pore – the calming perspiration of this hot, steamy quarter of the earth.

The Christians in the batteries are keeping close to Christ. Praise God. I am very glad to learn this. Bro. Devine looks better. Is improving in health.

There is talk of another advance forward.