DEAR FATHER: I left the hospital the 2oth of this month and have been with the Ninth since then. Things are quiet here as far as the insurrectos are concerned. Night before last I was on outpost with part of my company (Co. C) and part of H Company — about seventy men in all. We had a line of four outposts along a road in front of the centre of our lines. The Seventeenth had their outposts to my right along a fringe of bamboo which is two or three hundred yards in front of the road I guarded. My headquarters were in some native huts at a railroad crossing. I had twenty-one men; a sergeant, three corporals, and my second lieutenant came down in the evening, having returned from a short pass to Manila. The orders at this central post were to reénforce the Seventeenth post on the bridge down the tracks. There are a good many men guarding this bridge and supporting some of the artillery. There is a telegraph station at the railway crossing, and in case any deserters or Chinos wish to pass through our lines, they are held at whichever post they approach, and the brigade commander, General McArthur, is notified. In case a flag of truce approaches any post, it is met, and General Wheeler is telegraphed to. Everything went
smoothly from seven one morning until seven the next morning, and I inspected the line of outposts at dusk. During the night it rained very hard and we could see signal rockets on the insurgent side. That may have meant something, but the rain may have dampened their powder or their spirits. I have not heard any shots fired at the front since I have been here. Of course there is more or less target practice during the day, and a couple of bands are practising or playing part of the time. The larger part of the Ninth is camped along one street and have comfortable houses. My company is at the end of the street, where another street turns to the right and goes past General McArthur’s headquarters to the plaza in front of the church. This church is well built and in it is the hospital, which accommodates a good many men. The troops have been advancing toward a valley along the tracks. The country is flat, well cultivated with sugarcane and rice. I should say that there is not much, if any, work being done in these fields. There are numbers of bamboo trees and patches of banana (plantano — Español) trees scattered here and there. To the northeast and northwest are low hills and mountains, and it is near these elevations or some distance in front of them that the insurgents have their trenches. They command the railroad some distance to the north, and when the early morning attack was made here two weeks or so ago, I was told that the insurgents were thought to have carried cannon on cars and rushed them back when they were thought to be in danger of capture. The insurgents have several guns, some of which were taken from one of our small river gunboats which ran ashore and was captured. They have some Krupp 3 2/10-inch rifles. We are waiting here for supplies and expect to move before long, as General Lawton has gotten into a town called San Isidro somewhere in the insurgent rear. It was reported that he had been attacked a day or two ago. Aguinaldo will have to put on his thinking cap when Lawton gets in his rear. Colonel Liscum is in command of the Ninth, and he is a very pleasant, lively old man. Captain Noyes is the adjutant and a Boston man; Captain Harris is quartermaster and ordnance officer; and Lieutenant Mumsen, commissary. The lieutenant-colonel came from near Boston somewhere and is named Coolidge. He commands the First Battalion (my battalion), and Major Reagan the Second Battalion. A few officers are on detached service in Manila, namely, Major Lee and Captain Ramsay (who is captain of my company), on General Lawton’s staff. Captain Finloy, the last quartermaster of the regiment, is going to recuperate in the States. Captain Anderson is sick in Manila. There are a few others in the States, and a new captain named Brewster has been promoted from the Seventh Infantry. Most of the officers are young, and there being so few captains, the lieutenants get the companies. Second-lieutenant W.H. Waldron is with me in C Company, and he had had the company some time before I came. The company is one of the old ones, but it has changed almost entirely since the Cuban campaign, and most of the men are new. First-sergeant Bean is a good soldier, having seen twenty odd years of service, and the other non-commissioned officers, what little I have seen of them (about half of them being sick), are good men. I was very glad to get into the regiment, as it has a fine record in past fights, and there are so many young officers in it. With love to all, Yours affectionately, ED.
P.S. Captain Wilde of the battleship Oregon has been very courteous to me, and he has written me two or three letters. He wrote me once in Manila and again at Calambia, inviting me to visit his ship, and I was not able to go until I was convalescing in Manila. The Government launch runs daily to Cavite, and October 7 I took the trip and called on Captain Wilde. He was very kind to ask me to come to Hong Kong on the Oregon and took me downstairs in the cabin and showed me a large cabin which I could have for my use. The ship was going to be at Hong Kong to be overhauled and scraped and was coming back in three weeks. This was an unexpected invitation, and, as the ship was to sail that afternoon at four o’clock, I hustled back to Cavite on the trim little launch of the Oregon and telegraphed to Manila to get a sick-leave of two weeks, but it was too short a notice, and I had to give it up. This letter of Captain Wilde’s was written before he sailed, and shows what a fine man he is. I hope I shall always be fortunate enough to meet old schoolmates of yours who are anything like him. The Zaphro is a government supply vessel, and I could have gone on her, but I wanted to be with my regiment, and I did not think I would need the leave. I
hope to get a chance to see more of the East before we return. Most of the regiments crossing the Pacific have stopped at Honolulu, and it is said to be a beautiful place.