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December 25, 1899

At daybreak we found ourselves at the foot of Mount Polis. We continued the ascent, although under painful difficulties, as our bodies were already weakened by loss of sleep and continuous marching. Through constancy and patience we at last reached the summit at 11 o’clock in the morning. Without halting we commenced the decent of the mountain. We arrived at Banane at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, and at once cooked some food and ate it.

After eating, the honorable president and Señora B. and V. discussed among themselves what direction we should take. As we were unable to determine which route would be the best—as the enemy were infront of us and behind us—the honorable president said that the only remedy left was for all to make up our minds for death; that we should continue marching forward; that if we encountered the Americans we should resist them and undertake to break their columns, even though it might cost many lives, since in this manner we might pass their lines and go to the mountains of the north; whereas, on the contrary, if we did not resist they might capture us alive. Seeing the reasonableness of the honorable president’s idea, and being convinced it was the only way to save ourselves B. and V. concurred in it, and agreed to continue the journey at early dawn tomorrow, even though we might meet the enemy.

This afternoon, at 5 o’clock, we learned that the Americans behind us had arrived at Ambayuan, the place from which we had just come. At 10 o’clock at night our sentinels reported to us that they saw many lights in the mountains in the direction towards Ambayuan. “Can it be the Americans?” was the first suspicion we had, for Ambayuan is very close to this place, Banane. So we all got up and went to look, but the lights were very far away. We expected them to come closer, but 11 o’clock and 12 o’clock at night passed without their approaching.

Exhausted by fatigue and loss of sleep, we again lay down, wearing our equipments, that is, our shoes and revolvers; likewise the soldiers lay with their guns and cartridges ready.