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Thursday, February 23d, 1899

Manila, Luzon Island –Entry made in parlor of No. 2 Calle Santa Elena, Tondo Dist.

The hour is now 12.10 p.m. I have returned (20 minutes ago) from the place where the fight commenced last night –the quarters of of C. Company 13th Minnesota Vol. Infantry. on Calle Lemory, an old wooden building in front of an iron foundry or machine shop. Shooting has been going on continually in that district since the Filipinos attacked the quarters last night.  The quarters are on the verge of a large town of nipa palm huts. It is rumored that 200 Insurrectos got thro’ our lines last night by following the beach. The major part of the huts were given to the flames & every native man shot who looked like a soldier.

I went down to the C. company’s barracks about 11 p.m. 4 or 5 sea captains came in (No. 2 Calle Santa Elena S.A. qtrs) Rev. Owens introduced me to them. Not waiting to talk to them I started out with my Kodak. Passed near the smoking ruins of Divisoria native market & the district since midnight. Reaching Paseo de Azcarraga (street) found 13th Minnesota soldiers posted along the burnt region at intervals. Accompanied a squad of 4 to their barracks. They showed me a large pool of blood where a native was killed just across the street from the Minnesota qtrs. The Filipinos did some shooting judging from the number of bullet holes in the entrance leading into the barracks yard. Several of the Minnesota’s were wounded. Two Filipinos were buried in the yard of the Foundry. A hog was rooting near their new made graves.

After looking about & taking a snap shot about 15 minutes A. + M. company’s 23d U.S. Infantry came marching up in column of 4’s. They halted about 200 feet beyond the place I was standing. Suddenly there was a shot or two fired. The 23d’s were ordered to take shelter behind a concrete wall. Suddenly they faced to the right and with the butt end of their guns smashed the wooden pickets facing Calle Lemery. They quickly strung out behind the wall & commenced shooting. Suddenly a cry was raised that they were shooting at Americans. The bugle sounded “cease firing”. Another cry was raised that they had killed a Filipino. There was a rush of soldiers to the back end of the foundry yard which is bounded by a narrow estuary. Lying on a bamboo raft near the bank was the dead body of a young Filipino dressed in white linen clothing and white shoes. His shoes were black with mud and his spotless rainment literally saturated with his red life blood. The poor fellow was shot in a number of places. I noticed particularly a hole under his chin, and another one in one leg. Blue clothing could be seen through the hole made in his white pants. I am convinced he was a Filipino soldier disguised in the clothing of a civilian. Turning away from this horrible sight, I sawe a few feet away under an open shed at the rear end of the foundry, several Filipinos –a family. I noticed an aged man as if bowed with grief & speechless, lying on a bench or some kind of platform lay an inanimate form, with a white cloth over its face.

Met Chaplain Stephen R. Wood of the 23d Inf. who accomapnied Cos. A. & M. of his regiment.

Heavy cannon are now (about 1 p.m.) firing in the distance. A great column of black smoke is rising again from the native district (Tondo) partly burnt last night. Our men are completing the work of destruction begun last night. Another column of smoke is rising from beyond Manila across the city –probably Paco district.

I see a procession of Filipinos bringing their household effects from the front. A boy is carrying a white flag on a tall pole in the lead. While the firing was in progress at the 13th Minn. quarters, while I was there, a procession of Chinese men with bamboo poles over their shoulders to which were suspended bundles of white & navy-blue packages of yarn came along. Some of the Chinamen’s arms were stained blue as indigo, perhaps they came from a dye works. Bringing up the rear of the “Chinos”, followed a rabble of Filipino women and children looking badly scared. The Americans permitted them to pass through.

x x x x

To go back to the events of last night (ever memorable) in order to catch up the thread of my narrative. Tired & sleepy with watching the fire across the city, I put out the light in the parlor about 10 o’clock p.m. and after prayers went to bed. About 12 o’clock midnight I was awakened from a brief sleep by the sound of shooting. Rev. Owens voice was also heard outside of my door inquiring if I were awake. Answered affirmatively. Got up & put on my clothes. The heavens were a blaze of light in our district –Tondo. The native shacks were afire. The towers of Tondo church looked grand thro’ the dense volumes of smoke & leaping flames.  (“I have been thro’ the siege of Paris but don’t think it was so grand as this”, just now remarked Rev. Owens as he took his telescope from his eye.) “Not so spectacular?” I replied. “No”.) Three or four Spanish & mestizo men, a Spanish señora & a Filipino woman came up stairs and remained until daybreak. A tremendous fire was in progress. Hour after hour I watched it burn. Appeared to start at the Divisoria market –native– about 3 squares from my house. A tremendous sight this proved. Many buildings were swept away. The mighty columns of smoke rolled skyward, the city was almost as light as day. The Chinese were greatly excited as their stores & warehouses were destroyed. Pigs squealed –probably caught by the flames, & amid the roar of flames, the whistling of the fire engine & occasional explosions, the crackle of bamboo rose –the sharp reports (thro’ the whole night) of small arms.

The Lord favored us. The fire passed to one side of our location & about 5 a.m. as day commenced to break, tired with watching & very sleepy I threw myself down on my bed again in my clothes & slept. When I awoke the sun was just above the eastern horizon but the rattle of fire arms sounded as if a battle was in progress in our district. The Owens were up. Mrs. Ownes thought it strange that I heard not the uproar that had been going on an hour or two, but I was too tired for anything.

God blessed me in my soul, praise His dear name. Oblivious of the horrid din of war, I was yet mindful of the love of God in my soul, and the sweet peace which the Lord Jesus gives to His redeemed ones.

x x x x x

8. o’clock p.m. I have seen enough since 3 p.m. to give me something to think & talk about for years to come. About 3 o’clock Rev. Owens and I started out into the native quarter where the fighting has been in progress last night & today. Much happened since I left the C. company quarters of the 13th Minnesota today about 11.30 a.m.

Arriving at the quarters again found a big crowd –soldiers, civilians and Filipinos, prisoners of war & refugees. I took several photos. The prisoners were squatting on the ground in the yard. Looked stolid & unconcerned. Several wounded Filipinos were having their wounds dressed.

We next went down to the estuary back of the foundry. The native killed while I was there this forenoon by the 23d U.S. Inf., was still lying in the muddy bank, but lower down the bank & cold & rigid.

Met ex-Sergeant W. Harper late of the 3d U.S. Artillery — heavy & he came along & together we three kept on out to the front & managed to get in advance of the Hospital vans, that is, so far as the service of this dep’t was accorded the Filipinos.The ground had been fought over but recently. Dead & dying & other wounded Filipinos were lying here & there singly & in groups, in lots; behind barricades in cars & in houses; some terrible to behold. Houses were in flames or just consumed. Ahead of us towards Caloocan shooting was in progress. Occasionally the sound of a heavy gun was heard.

In a lot the Filipinos, a detachment, made a stand behind some blocks of concrete. The fearful accuracy of gun practice with small arms showed the ghastly effect of American skill.
Corposes were lying thick on the ground in a corner. *

*Note: “Bloody Corral”. Calle Lemeré.

One man with his head battered in and his brains lying on the ground two or more feet from his head, in a mass.

Spoke to Mr. John F. Bass “Harper’s Weekly” correspondent. Rode by an a bicycle. Bass’ pantaloons were bloody. Caused by assisting an American wounded officer.

One or 2 “shacks” in the yard had been burnt, near the ashes of one lay a dead Filipino, his body drawn up, & the clothing burnt away leaving the corpse naked.

In the car house of the Caloocan dummy railroad we found a boy & man wounded; another in a car. As Filipinos attended to their wounds we passed on. At the upper end of the car yard the Insurrectos constructed a hasty barriace accroiss the road, of railroad iron, car wheels, oil barrels, shut iron & in short everything they could lay their hands on.

Near this we saw 2 men shot through the body, lying in the shade of a car. It was evident neither could live. One in delirium would turn completely around, putting his head where his feet had rested & vice versa, anon reversing his position the other way. These movements made the the blood pour out of his wound & saturate the blanket on which he lay. An ashen color on his countenance announced approaching dissolution. The other man was in great pain –shot thro’ the stomach– we gave him water which he drank eagery. Asked for a “medico”, but we felt a physician could do him no good, so passed on. Not far from him in the shade of the canal monument by the roadside, lay an old woman with white locks. The bloody on the lower part of her dress told of a wound in the legs. She was holding a woman’s umbrella over her to keep the sun off. I brought her water which she drank. Two soldiers ccame along. Three of us got some bamboo sticks in a nearby “shack”. A rough bamboo-pleated bed-bottom or gate (apparently) served for a stretcher & she was carried by Harper, Rev. Owens & the 2 U.S. soldiers to the horse car at the dummy car depot.

Another barricade had been constructed near the monument on the causeway raised to approach the bridge. With their backs against the barricade sat 2 wounded Filipinos. I brought them water 2 or 3 times. In a native hut close by lay on the dirt floor a dead Filipino, his face horribly distorted and the floor covered with gore. We left him there. The building will probably be burnt over his corpse.

Near the car house to the left facing Caloocan is a large walled-in cemetery. (Manila is pre-eminently a city of cemeteries.) Owens & I entered the gate. Behold a crowd of 500 or more Filipino refugees, homeless & friendless, principally old men, women & children. Three elderly men approached us when we entered. They took their hats ogg & were very obsequious. Begged the privilege of going into town. Was advised to remain in the cemetery till tomorrow. One showed us a pass and an American Cedula –just taken out– the last day or two.

Turned homeward. Overtook Harper. Tried to get some hospital men halted in a cross road with an ambulance to pick up the two wounded Filipinos. They did not care to bother with them.

Continued our way home. In front of a well built house Spanish style we found a barricade of concrete blocks & such piles of empty catridge shells that we we concluded a determined stand had been made at this point. Pushing thro’ an open basement door, the entrance room was piled & littered with a confused mass of furniture, bedding, dresses, tools, pictures, papers etc, etc., near the door inside was a puddle of mud & blood. Stepping on beds, dresses etc. we entered. Saw a young man –Filipino– lying on his back almost hid in the debris. Back of him in another –the back-room lay a frail delicate looking young man, on a table cold in death. (War is terrible). He appeared anything but a fighting man. I pitied him. Fishing out a bead-stead-bamboo- for a litter, & securing a piece of matting & a woman’s dress to cover his wound the furniture was cleared away to the front door. Just then 2 Filipino men –non combattants, a boy & several women & children came up with their baggage & babies. I ordered the men to put down their stuff & enter the house. They were made to lift the wounded Filipino on the bed & carry him about 3/4 of a mile. The load was heavy. Meeting another Filipino boy pressed him into service, & lugged the man to Lemere street to C. company’s (13th Minn.) quarters. Just then a physician rode up. Alighting he took out his knife ripped the shirt off the back of the Filipino, & dressed his wound. A bullet entered near his shoulder & came out of his back.

Asked the man when we first found him if he wanted some water. No, wanted a cigarette. Wouldn’t give it to him. While caring for the man who couldn’t speak Spanish, one of the Filipinos asked him for us in Tagalog what he would like to have. Replied he would like to have a gun to shoot us. “Malo umbra!” –bad man.

We stopped on the road at Tondo Catholic church & asked to leave him there. The men (13th Minnesota men) said no. Said last night when they were holding the church, the heat was so great they were compelled to cover their faces with wet handkerchiefs.

Near the church we overtook a barouche which 2 men –whites– were hauling in place of a horse –it was loaded with fine Spanish books, artistic vases & other articles. Suppose they looted a house.

Met a 13th Minnesota soldier –a Salvationist– returning from the front with a Mauser rifle in his hand. Quite a number of soldiers captured Mausers, Remingtons & other arms.

A private of the 23d U.S. Regulars gave me a machete, quite a good one. How the natives got their arms & how they slipped in past our lines –a hundred or two– mystifies me. Probably they were largely reinforced by the natives of this burnt-Tondo district. A remarkable feature of it was that the fight of last night & today took place behind one battle line, which lay between 2 forces.

Getting back home Rev. & Mrs. Owens & myself went down to the Escolta to buy groceries. Almost all the stores were closed. A poster was up requesting civilians to remain indoors after 7 p.m.

I am hungry. For dinner had 1/2 of a cold mince pie & lemonade; for supper 1/2 mince pie & a cup of cocoa. Have a beautiful moonlight night. All is quiet save the crackling of burning houses in the distance.

God providence was over our forces; glory to His dear name.

Englishmen –I think officers from British war vessels in port were in evidence out at the front; Spanish prisoners –officers & privates were allowed to go to the verge of the burnt district where the fighting & burning was in progress all day.