Diary of Chriss A. Bell

June 18, 1899

The Reg was put in Hills – Lawton’s division for a trip through Mariquina battery and around lake [Laguna de Bai] tomorrow [June 2] we started in. In evening of 3 marched eight miles to Waterworks there we deployed into rice fields got supper and Dept. H Cos first experience as a company in the field. The eight mile hike we stood fairly well but you may be sure we all were ready for supper & bed.

On the 4th we were up at 3:30 breakfasted and started in the March at4:30. There were several regiments ahead of us but later in day we took lead. Crossed Maraquina [Marikina] river and started across valley when about half way across we started up valley it was here we took lead. Our scouts & a calvary scout was thrown and fired a few shots. After about an hours march and an unaccountable halt for about some time we eventually found right and started back across the width of the valley. Another halt of two hours where a 11 foot slough washed and in eve. went within a mile o fa few shots from the scouts.

Warned us the gugus [insurgents] were in front. Saw the order camp. Column right in front into line of squads and old H was deploying for our first scrap as a company and there was not a man in company but meant to go to the top of the hills if it were in him. In a few minutes came the order forward guide center H company was center so on us depended the line for advance and we all excitement & desire to make a name for the company went at it with a rush.

The first quarter of a mile was easy through rice patties that were dry and the edges low. Then we came to a swamp and as we were right in the middle of it the gugus [Filipinos] opened fire [but] their aim was poor. Just beyond the swamp was [a] cornfield surrounded by chipped juice through which we had to go. Through it, over it, under it any way we could [,]by this time we were all tired and double timing through soft plowed ground was awful. At the quarter edge was a natural rise[,] here we doubled and commenced firing first at will, then by volley’s.

We could see but few gugus though they could see us and as we came through the field the range was good and bullets whistled all around us after firing a while we again went forward on the double time another swamp and another cornfield and boys began to drop out. [I] was sick at stomach & puked but would rather have been shot than quit. Major Heath told me to take the wood but I refused to have the squad.

Now we struck the hills proper and forward we went double time for awhile then a up to fire a few volleys. Several times I threw up but managed to keep going until the top of the hill was reached. Left far in advance of the line, only a few men followed out. The gugus had left so we halted to rest.

In summarizing up we found we had one man wounded Rea is through the usual no service after this fight we were ordered to wait for the reserve & when it arrived we went back down the first hill & resumed the march. There was some 4 or 5 who could not stay with us but caught up when we camped for the night.

Next morning we started up when we camped for the night. Next morning we started up the cut one reg was rear guard [and] progress was slow [we had] no breakfast we passed through Antipolo and reached a small town called Theresa [Teresa] in morning. [We] waited for supply train to catch us & had bkfst [breakfast] about eight o’clock started on the lake and reached Morang [Morong] in afternoon after an awful march during which many of the boys were [exhausted] from heat.

Next day we boarded caecues [cascoes] & came to Manila reaching there about 10 P.M. Our stay at Manila a just few days on boat were without note. We reached Nagasaki on 19 and stayed there several days getting shore leave each day from 7:30 to 6:30. Spent all my time & money sightseeing. Left Nagasaki evening at 2:30. On morning of 24 entered the Inland sea. So was a fine trip though nothing particular to note.

[This concludes the Philippine portion of the diary, which only has one more entry, on June 24, 1899 noting the sea was smooth and the grub was good.]