Diary of Simeon Villa

December 2, 1899

At 5 o’clock in the afternoon the honorable president received a verbal report from two officers coming from Mount Tila, to the effect that the Americans had taken all our trenches in Tila; that General Pilar had been killed by being shot through the head; that other soldiers had also been killed; and they, the officers, were sure the Americans must be in Angaqui at this very hour. According to the statement of the officers, General Pilar died at 10 o’clock a.m.

At 8 p.m. the honorable president, his retinue, and the remaining troops marched out of Cervantes and started for the Cayan settlement, reaching there at 12 o’clock midnight, and immediately going on toward Tadian. At this last-mentioned place we took a direction toward Bagnen.

At every step we found the mountains getting higher and the cold more chilling. It was 3 o’clock in the morning. A strong wind was blowing. The cold becoming more and more intense was penetrating almost to our bones. Our skins had become dead to feeling and our lips drawn and purple from cold. We traveled on over the precipices, which each moment seemed to get deeper because we were getting higher and higher. The first rays of the sun shone dimly in the east and night bade us farewell; but the intensity of the cold was the same.

We never halted in our journey. At 6 o’clock in the morning we could make out the settlement of Bagnen, and one hour later we arrived there.