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About Frank V. Thompson

About the author: Corporal in Company A of the 44th U.S. Volunteer Infantry in the Philippines, serviong in Bacolod and Bohol in 1900 until 1901.

About the diary: Scanned and published online as Manuscript diary of American soldier fighting in the Philippine-American War, 1899-1901 by the Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, California.

The diary was acquired from a dealer, whose notes include:

The diary is written on 19 loose sheets of good-quality, unlined Spanish paper (8.5 x 12 in., watermarked “Jose Vilaseca”) that appear to have been removed from a larger ledger or record book. These are housed in a limp leather portfolio that has very faint writing on the front, including Thompson’s own name and additional notations in Spanish in two different hands. Most likely the paper and portfolio were looted. The narrative is approximately 3,700 words. It begins with a short section written a few months after the fact, recounting Thompson’s enlistment on September 4, 1899, training at Fort Leavenworth and the Presidio, and journey to the Philippines, where he was originally stationed at Bacolod, Negros Island. The “real-time”” narrative begins on April 3, 1900. Thompson describes the company’s frequent movements, as they went on forays into the mountains looking for rebels, engaging in occasional skirmishes, and were sent to other towns to procure rations (which seem to have been scarce). In addition to the diary, the portfolio contains a handwritten roster of the 106 men of Company A; a lengthy handwritten poem titled “How we took Bohol,” signed by William A. Higgenbotham of Company B, 44th U.S.V.I.; and two pencil drawings signed with initials—one of a guard house and one of a dancing woman, titled “Inez Martinez, Bacolog, Negros Isl., P.I.”