Wednesday, August 24, 1898

There seems to be enough work fixing up quarters here to employ all hands, so we drill not, neither do we loaf. I have been engaged on a tile drain—the one that passes the cook-house door. The section in front of our kitchen is a trifle out of repair; in fact, it resembles a mud-hole more than a well-built drain. But there are plenty of brick to be had, and the job is not a bad one. As I was coming in with a cart loaded with brick I noticed that two companies were lined up in front of quarters. Thinking it was drill, I was going through the line when an officer shouted to drop the cart and fall in. I made a dive for my bunk and grabbed my belt and carbine, and got out just after E Troop had got outside the gates. I felt, what I had never been conscious of before, a strong desire to get with my troop to share whatever might come with the fellows I knew. When we were lined up on the parade-ground, we could hear several scattering shots, and I can tell you it sent a thrill through us to hear two sharp cracks of the Krag-Jorgensen to every one of the singing Mausers. The shots were few, and not in volleys, and we began to feel as if we had been fooled. When two bodies were carried across the parader ground on stretchers, we knew it was no practice alarm. Extra boxes of ammunition were brought out, and every man served out with forty rounds, which brought up the number of cartridges in our belts to ninety. We had not waited long
before three insurgent officers came across the green and went to the officers’ quarters. After they came out we were recalled, and attacked our late supper. The whole affair proved to be a blunder. A squad of insurgents had shot down two drunken battery men who were recklessly discharging their six-shooters on the way home from the town. The insurgents made matters worse by firing without reason at several of our outposts. The feeling to-night is one of great excitement, for there is liable to be friction at any time, as the shooting blood of the natives is up and they long to pull the trigger—officers or no officers. We sleep with gun and belt beside us, ready to fall in at any time. There is less noise and more thinking than last night.

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