Arrived in this camp 2 years ago today from Camp O’Donnell Prison have been through a lot in these 2 years. Lots had happened, but very little that I am aware of. Went swiming [swimming] today while looking gravel for road in the woods. Was wonderful and theriver is quite deep. Came across a mangoes tree and we were each allowed two apiece. Will take a week or more to ripen, but I’ll wait. Anything for chow. Have been bringing “pig weed” in when I can find it and we eat it with relish. Anything to get something in your gut. The worst thing that happened to me this week was a Nip taking away an Iguana which I caught in my trap in the woods. I sent him in on the afternoon truck by Mr. Ford and it was taken at the gate. Would have made wonderful meal for the the six of us. It only makes me want to get att these guys that much more, will just add a few more to my list. Our time will come. In a letter Mr. Lirda mouth received from his mother, she stated that she had been in formed that we were receiving one red cross box a week. One a year is what we have received Tooks [looks] like graft to me. The Red Cross holds themselves up as an organization that can deliver under any circumstances. Phooney – – –
The latest news from Camp O’Donnell reported the death toll of some 30,000 prisoners to this date. This is the most stupid and criminal monstrosity we’ve ever heard of during the war. With a little hygiene and organization in the distribution of food, medicine and sanitary work, this mortality which cries out to high heavens could have been avoided. Those who have been freed recently are indignant about the abuses, neglect, and usurious practices being committed in the concentration camp.
Fortunately, since about two weeks ago, the situation has improved and the congestion was relieved. Aside from releasing the greater number of survivors, the Japanese have assigned American doctors to do sanitary work in hospitals and quarters. So much has been the work accomplished that the day after the doctors arrived, the mortality decreased to 19 deaths in one barrack where there used to be 50.
I talked to some released prisoners. They recounted the treatment they had received at the concentration camp. They were not maltreated nor molested, nor even required to work, especially the Filipinos. Their release was undoubtedly an act of magnanimity, although the skeptics believe that it was due to the lack of food for their sustenance. Perhaps it was also for the purpose of winning public sympathy and loyalty, as the families of the released prisoners were constrained to be careful about the behavior of their wards and relatives.
The death toll at Camp O’Donnell has reached alarming heights. More than 30,000 were buried in Capas, where Camp O’Donnell is situated. Malaria and dysentery, aggravated by lack of food during the sojourn through the mountains of Bataan, caused general weakness among the soldiers. Instead of receiving medical care after their surrender, they were made to march from Bataan to San Fernando, the sick mingling with the healthy. There were some 60,000 of them herded into barracks which were meant to accommodate less than 2,000. The epidemic was widespread. The death toll was something like 500 to 600 a day, and their bodies were dumped into common graves. There were no medicines because those sent by people of Manila through the Red Cross were channeled by unscrupulous doctors to the black market, or sold to the prisoners at prohibitive prices.
Wainwright & party arrived Tarlac. Meat issued for first time, the two issues at O’Donnell having been negligible.
Bide & Halstead arrive from O’Donnell with news of transfer of American prisoners from that place to Cabanatuan, including Cothran & Tisdelle.
Tomorrow is M’s Birthday — We are to be ready to move back to O’Donnell today. Moved to O’D.
Not much change in condition. Rain bad — On detail in O’Donnell for wood ordered ready for outside detail.
Corregidor reported fallen.