Diary of Alfred Burton Welch

May 19th-99

Was on outpost down river last night. Mosquitos are awful there but do not bother us in church. The scouts jumped the niggers early, and I went out, and took position in open on rt. side of line. We advanced slowly, firing at every puff we could see, when about half way to old ins. trench we were suddenly fired upon from a new trench built last night, at a distance of 100 feet. The boys charged the breastworks and the niggers turned & run into open within 100 feet of me. I had some splendid shots –as about 30 or 40 of them came out in a line, run around a bamboo thicket and into the bushes. One had a sash over his shoulder –was running, stooping. I pulled low on him & he fell back clutching his back, but he got up & ran. Three flips were laying there dead. One had a charmed shirt which is supposed to protect from bullets. The wearer had a ball thro’ his back & it came out thro’ his heart. I took the shirt as a relict of superstition. We had to advance slowly as we were afraid of ambush –so, it gave them time to get to next line of trenches. I tracked the red-sashed officer as far as we went, and think he is mortally wounded. We got one Captain and quite a good number of others, perhaps 25 all told. We took one man shot thro’ lung to camp. When he came to he tho’t we would kill him. He said their officers made them fight. One dead man was naked and covered with tattoo marks. It was quite a fight.