About the author: Karl D. White (? — 1940), private, 32nd Regiment Iowa Volunteer Infantry, U.S. Army. According to the Combined Arms Research Library,
was a member of Company K of the 32nd. He served with the unit from its formation in 1899, until his discharge in 1901. He kept diaries of his service time in three small notebooks. The diaries begin in October 1899, when he left Honolulu on the transport ship Glenogle, and continue until May 6, 1901, when he was in San Francisco awaiting discharge… After the war, he returned to his home town of Independence, Kansas, where he became a mail carrier. He was an active member of the 32nd Volunteer Infantry Association from its formation in 1934, until his death in 1940.
An entry in the Historical Notes of the Kansas Historical Society mentions Karl D. White a year before his death:
A stone marker honoring the Thirty-second U. S. Volunteer infantry, a unit participating in the Philippine war, was dedicated at Fort Leavenworth, September 16, 1938. The memorial, inscribed with the names of men killed in action, was erected at the old camp ground where the unit mobilized and drilled. Col. Louis A. Craig was commanding officer. Newly elected officers of the Thirty-second Volunteer Infantry Association, sponsors of the memorial, are: William P. Murphy, Shawnee, Okla., president; John Jenkins, St. Louis, Mo., first vice-president; Karl D. White, Independence, second vice-president; Ernest Richards, Waterville, secretary-treasurer.
About the diary: Listed as “Philippine Insurrection Diaries of Karl D. White Company K, 32nd Volunteer Infantry, 1899-1901,” the diary is cited by Ike Skelton Combined Arms Research Library Digital Library,
He kept diaries of his service time in three small notebooks. The diaries begin in October 1899, when he left Honolulu on the transport ship Glenogle, and continue until May 6, 1901, when he was in San Francisco awaiting discharge… The diaries were donated to the 32nd Volunteer Infantry Association upon his death. When the organization dissolved in the 1960’s, the diaries were donated to the Frontier Army Museum at Fort Leavenworth, along with the papers of the organization. They were later transferred to the Combined Arms Research Library where they are available for use by researchers.
A note on the contents, and on the transcription of the diary, from the Combined Arms Research Digital Library:,
On the contents:
Some of the language used by Private White is offensive to modern readers. He frequently uses the word “niggers” to refer to the people who were actively engaged in operations against the United States. He also uses the term “natives” to refer to the local population in the areas where he was stationed. He occasionally uses the term “niggers” instead of “natives” when referring to local non-combatants. This language is a reflection of attitudes commonly held by people 100 years ago.
On the transcription:
Abstract Notes on Transcription: The diaries were transcribed as they were written. No changes were made in the spelling or grammar. When words could not be deciphered, the best guess is given in red. Place names are generally misspelled. When the modern spelling of a place is known, it is shown in [brackets] next to the misspelled word. Diary 2 has many blank spaces indicated by…. This is because a mouse or some other small animal nibbled away a corner of the notebook. These nibbled areas are clearly visible on the pages with the images of the diary. In some cases, the best guess as to the cut off words is indicated by brackets as in : he we(nt)