About the author: James Joseph Loughrey (July 4, 1869 — August 28, 1965) born in Ballmacargy, Co. Westmeath, Ireland and died at the Veteran’s Home in Calistoga, California, U.S.A. at the age of 96. According to the Dublin Historical Record, he was “a relative of several members of the Old Dublin Society.” In addition,
He was a veteran of the Spanish-American War having served as a sergeant in ‘A’ Company of the United States California Volunteer Infantry. As he became a sergeant on enlistment, it is open to conjecture that he may have seen previous service in another army. Unfortunately I have not been able to trace any further information regarding his background, no detailed records having been kept of the Volunteers. His service was based primarily in the Philippine Islands, although he also participated in the occupation of Guam.
About the diary: Titled “A Short History of What Took Place From Muster-in until Muster-out of my Regiment during the War between the United States of America and Spain in the Philippine Islands followed by the War against the Insurgent Filipino Forces 1898/1899,” it was published in The Dublin Historical Record, Vol. 56, No. 1, Spring, 2003. As the editor, Theo Mortimer, wrote,
He kept a diary of the events which took place from the date of muster until the date he left his unit. It is quite tersely written, having been jotted down while in the field by a serving soldier. However, it conveys a picture of war not often portrayed by either the generals or the historians who often provide a vista of the greater overall scene without showing the horror, brutality and sheer monotony experienced by the ordinary combatant. This lightly edited version of his diary is a fitting memorial to a long forgotten Irish-American soldier.
The diary is reproduced here in the Philippine Diary Project by the kind permission of the Old Dublin Society. We are grateful to Bernardine Ruddy, Hon. President, Old Dublin Society for generously giving the organization’s permission, and to Ken Finlay, who originally received our request and made sure it was promptly attended to.