August 8/20 Sunday 1899

At daylight we steamed on. Of course, one of the boys had to gall into the H²O. About 8 a.m. we struck river and soon had on clean clothes and greeted the other boys. Got a shave, took bath, put on dry, clean clothes and went to sleep. Sunday. Wish I was home.


Saturday 8/19/1899

Calamba is well-drained and is swept in eve by fresh winds from Laguna de Taal (SW) in Batangas Provincia, which makes the city a very healthy place. Troops are in good shape, except for natural results of heavy outpost duty –fever and diarrhea. Natives speak very little Spanish, are very healthy and are insurrectos, every one. Houses are thatched with grass. Cocoa nuts 5¢ –bananas 1¢, oranges 1¢ Mexican. Orders at 1 p.m. to fall in, –and a new Batt of 21st relieved us, on line and provost.

Loaded my rations on car and had them on board cascoe by 3 p.m. Picked up by “Oceania” and started out into lake at 5 p.m. Was raining hard, the heavy clouds hung low over Calamba’s haunted peak, and, as we pulled away, the sound of ringing volleys from rt. f outpost lines, reached us thro’ the rain and breakers, borne on wings of the rising storm… “Adios, Calamba.” We shaped a N course, wind sharp and squally from NW with driving rain, and were soon bro’t around and dropped anchor, where we laid in the rain & wind until 5 a.m.


Friday 8/18/1899

Slept late. Ate 10 cakes for breakfast. All very quiet today except a few shots early in a.m. –perhaps a parting shot from their outposts when relieved. 21st Battalion left Pasig this a.m. –but have not yet appeared, but are expected tonight. Sun hot, air very heavy and sultry. Light airs from fresh breezes from SW and W in eve., bearing clouds –heavy and black indicating storm and wind.


Wednesday 8/17-1899

Sky clear, sun burning. Two Co’s flanked the niggers early in a.m. Slight brush. Several cases of stealing guns occurred this week. One was captured today and will be sent to Bilibib [Bilibid] –the horrible place of the Indio.

Maj Canton today offered me either Serg’t Maj or QM of the 11th Cav if I would stay. My finals would amount to over $500.00.

Strong to heavy wind in p.m. from NW & N and a driving rain until 7 p.m. Rumors that we will be relieved tomorrow. Am restless and apt to think too much.

Ins shoot at fires, so all campfires are out by 8 p.m.

Clouds cleared away from range from our E. to south of StCruz, showing a very beautiful contour running from Calamba Mount (2500 ft) to volcano S. of StCruz which is, perhaps, 4000 ft high. Clouds raked the forest at 1000 ft elevation.


August 16th –’99– Wednesday

Cloudy & pleasant. Light to gentle breezes from W & SW in a.m., changing to heavy winds from NW accompanied by sudden showers, which flooded roads & raised river rapidly. In eve, bright starlight. Moonlight when not obscured by passing clouds –in which were seen numerous flashes of lightning. Little firing noted today along the lines, although’ a chinaman laborer of 21st was shot thro’ head and killed on N line. Drew beef in a.m. for 1st Wn Reg. QM Clough returned & reported all OK in Taguig. Also bro’t mail from home dated 7/5 from Etta Son, dated 7/3 from Miss Cahghran. Light airs from SW to midnight, when I went to sleep on the floor.


August 15 — Tuesday 1899

Some firing along lines around by shore early in a.m., but all day was very quiet. Killed a fat hog today and the boys fed well. Washing clothes in p.m. and laid around until they were dry. Many of the 21st boys suffering from fever. They are green, only been here four mos. Today they were going to take city, but the attack has not yet come off. The family of Dr. Jose Rizal, Patriot, lives here, and runs a stand. Also his brother, a General and the paymaster Gen. of the Phil. Army. The stock in trade of the Rizal tiende [tienda] is composed of ten lemons, several oranges, bananas, native cigarettes & cigars, sugar, two chickens, and H²O, and is well-stocked, too, for a native store. City is running full swing now –stores, shops (Tailors, barbers, meat, bakers, jewelers, dry goods, restaurants, &c) are all open. A general commissary is being put in.

A SCOUT TRIP

Took the outpost up about ¼ mile, to a point where we could view a stretch of open, and established the h’dqt. in the tall bamboo stems. I reconnoitered up the east tributary of the Pasig to where the river narrowed suddenly and was all but covered in by the interlocking boughs.

The current was running about 4 knots per hour and, after the moon sunk, I heard, behind a tier of comulous clouds, several canoes slip into the stream from the watery ways of the forest between my position and Laguna de Bahia. The paddles were handled with great care and I heard a whisper, but soon the showy, blinding forms drifted out of sight towards St Anna.

The right mist behan to steam & wreath upon the desolate rice fields and where the loathy floor of liquid mud lay bare beneath the bamboo dumps. Upon the floor of interlacing roots, great purple bugs were crawling with a clicking sound, as of a man in armour; a heavy, sickening, graveyard smell stole across the fields from the old cemetery and the depressing influences of that doleful place made me sick at heart. I sneaked back to the sentry, posted to command the white road to the bend 150 yds in front.

Then the weird, ghostly, oppressive silence –ugh! Wailing sadly, the slate-colored water rails off across the mud into the dreary dark of the black rings of jungle dumps ahead; the hoarse-voiced lizards, hidden among the bananas, broke the silence with a sudden shout, then all again was silent as the tomb behind.

Lines of tall herons stood dimply in the shallow H²O like white ghosts; and I almost expected to see a crew of skeletons glide past the openings where the river ran. All was foul, weird, sullen –then the storm broke.

We lost 4 men killed and 4 wounded. I was the only one who escaped.


August 14th Monday 1899

This morn early the rebs made a vigorous attack on the north lines. They shot high and the balls made the city a very uncertain place to be in. They shot very regular at times, which leads us to believe they had a machine gun. They also fired a cannon. Very Hot. Very little firing along picket lines.


August 13th — Sunday, 1899

Our regular fighting day and the 12th and a very good outlook for it all day, but all OK up to 6.30 p.m. Went to retreat. Hundreds of rebs turn out to hear the band play on the plaza. They have all learned to take off hats at “Star Spangled Banner” — when OId Glory comes down. The commissary department has many tons of rations here. Enough to keep a small army for months, and natives say that the rebs are going to try to take it on the 15th.