|Letters of soldiers during the Philippine-American War|
Soldiers' Letters during the Philippine-American War
Being Materials for the History of a War of Criminal Aggression
(Anti-Imperialist League pamplet, 1899). "Soldiers' Letters: Being Materials for the History of a War of Criminal Aggression." (N. p.: Anti-Imperialist League, 1899 Found at: http://www.boondocksnet.com/ai/ailtexts/soldiers.html In Jim Zwick, ed., Anti-Imperialism in the United States, 1898-1935. http://www.boondocksnet.com/ai/
News about the Philippine-American War was routinely censored by the U.S. military in Manila before it was allowed to be sent to the United States. Letters home from soldiers fighting there often presented new and startling information and were given considerable attention in the local and national press. This collection of letters was published by the Anti-Imperialist League in May 1899, just a few months after the war began. Many of the letters are from volunteers who enlisted to fight in the Spanish-American War and found themselves engaged in a very different war in the Philippines.
The Anti-Imperialist League believes that it is due to the people of America that they should have all the information obtainable, and all the side-lights possible, upon the condition of things in the Philippines, to the end that they may be able to render an intelligent decision as to our policy there, with all the facts before them.
The rigid censorship of all news from Manila, -- a censorship directed not against the Filipinos, but against our own people, -- makes it the more necessary to secure all unofficial views and reports bearing upon the case, the military authorities giving only such "news" as they choose to furnish.
The Anti-Imperialist League, therefore, publishes these letters of soldiers, mostly written to relatives and friends, but many of them published in local journals, as a valuable source of information as to the real situation.
As it is often unable to verify their statements, or even to identify the writers, it disclaims responsibility for their truthfulness. The letters are given for what they are worth.
Most of them bear evidence of the sincerity and trustworthiness of their authors. There seems little reason to doubt their statements, though some show a tendency to boast of brutal deeds, probably exaggerated, and a loose morality, which indicate the demoralizing effects of war even upon educated young men.
Let these letters, good and bad, be read and judged by the citizens of the United States as an aid to their verdict upon this war of subjugation.
Private Fred B. Hinchman, Company A, United States Engineers, writes from Manila, February 22d:
- "At 1:30 o'clock the general gave me a memorandum with regard to sending out a Tennessee battalion to the line. He tersely put it that 'they were looking for a fight.' At the Puente Colgante (suspension bridge) I met one of our company, who told me that the Fourteenth and Washingtons were driving all before them, and taking no prisoners. This is now our rule of procedure for cause. After delivering my message I had not walked a block when I heard shots down the street. Hurrying forward, I found a group of our men taking pot-shots across the river, into a bamboo thicket, at about 1,200 yards. I longed to join them, but had my reply to take back, and that, of course, was the first thing to attend to. I reached the office at 3 P.M., just in time to see a platoon of the Washingtons, with about fifty prisoners, who had been taken before they learned how not to take them."
A private in the Utah Battery:
- "The cable news has kept the home folks fully informed as to the progress of this 'goo-goo' hunt, so it is unnecessary to recount any details of battles. The cruelties of Spain toward these people have been fully discussed, but if the thing were written up by a recent arrival here, he would make a tale just as harrowing. But the old boys will say that no cruelty is too severe for these brainless monkeys, who can appreciate no sense of honor, kindness, or justice.... With an enemy like this to fight, it is not surprising that the boys should soon adopt 'no quarter' as a motto, and fill the blacks full of lead before finding out whether or not they are friends or enemies."
Arthur H. Vickers, Sergeant in the First Nebraska Regiment:
- "I am not afraid, and am always ready to do my duty, but I would like some one to tell me what we are fighting for."
Another soldier in the Nebraska regiment:
- "We came here to help, not to slaughter, these natives; to fight the oppressor Spain, not the oppressed. It strikes me as not very fair to pursue a policy that leads to this insurrection, and then keep us volunteers out here to fight battles we never enlisted for. I cannot see that we are fighting for any principle now."
A Corporal in the California Regiment:
- "We sleep all day here, as we do our duty all night, walking the streets. We make every one get into his house by 7 P.M., and we only tell a man once. If he refuses, we shoot him. We killed over three hundred men the first night. They tried to set the town on fire. If they fire a shot from a house, we burn the house down, and every house near it, and shoot the natives; so they are pretty quiet in town now."
Guy Williams of the Iowa Regiment:
- "The soldiers made short work of the whole thing. They looted every house, and found almost everything, from a pair of wooden shoes up to a piano, and they carried everything off or destroyed it. Talk of the natives plundering the towns: I don't think they are in it with the Fiftieth Iowa."
General Reeve, lately Colonel of the Thirteenth Minnesota Regiment:
- "I deprecate this war, this slaughter of our own boys and of the Filipinos, because it seems to me that we are doing something that is contrary to our principles in the past. Certainly we are doing something that we should have shrunk from not so very long ago."
Sergeant Elliott, of Company G, Kansas Regiment:
- "Most of the general officers think it will take years, and a large force of soldiers, to thoroughly subjugate the natives. And the unpleasant feature of this is that unless the conditions change radically there will be few soldiers who will care to stay there. There's no use trying to conceal the fact that many of the men over there now, especially the volunteers, are homesick, and tired of fighting way off there, with nothing in particular to gain. There is not one man in the whole army now in the Philippines who would not willingly give up his life for the flag if it was necessary, but it isn't pleasant to think about dying at the hands of a foe little better than a savage, and so far away from home. And the thought of its not ending for several years is not an especially pleasant one, either."
Charles Bremer, of Minneapolis, Kansas, describing the fight at Caloocan:
- "Company I had taken a few prisoners, and stopped. The colonel ordered them up in to line time after time, and finally sent Captain Bishop back to start them. There occurred the hardest sight I ever saw. They had four prisoners, and didn't know what to do with them. They asked Captain Bishop what to do, and he said: 'You know the orders,' and four natives fell dead."
Sylvester Walker, of the Twenty-Third Regulars, February 20:
- "There has not been a night for the last ten days we have not had fighting. Our force is too weak, and we cannot spare any more men, and will have to wait for more troops. Then we will have hard fighting, for there are so many that, no matter how many we kill or capture, it doesn't seem to lessen their number."
Martin P. Olson, of the Fourteenth Regulars:
- "We can lick them, but it will take us a long time, because there are about 150,000 of the dagos back in the hills, and as soon as one of them gets killed or wounded there is a man to take his place at once; and we have but a few men in the first place, but we are expecting about 8,000 more soldiers every day, and I hope they will soon get here, or we will all be tired out and sick.... This is an awful bad climate and there have been from two to four funerals every day. The boys have chronic diarrhea and dysentery, and it just knocks the poor boys out. You musn't feel uneasy about me, because I don't think there is a Spanish bullet made to kill me; it is disease that I am most afraid of."
Fred D. Sweet, of the Utah Light Battery:
- "The scene reminded me of the shooting of jack-rabbits in Utah, only the rabbits sometimes got away, but the insurgents did not."
Capt. Albert Otis describes his exploits at Santa Ana:
- "I have six horses and three carriages in my yard, and enough small plunder for a family of six. The house I had at Santa Ana had five pianos. I couldn't take them, so I put a big grand piano out of a second-story window. You can guess its finish. Everything is pretty quiet about here now. I expect we will not be kept here very long now. Give my love to all."
Ellis G. Davis, Company A, 20th Kansas:
- "They will never surrender until their whole race is exterminated. They are fighting for a good cause, and the Americans should be the last of all nations to transgress upon such rights. Their independence is dearer to them than life, as ours was in years gone by, and is today."
J. E. Fetterly, a Nebraska soldier:
- "Some think the insurgents are disheartened, but I think they will make a desperate struggle for what they consider their rights. I do not approve of the course our government is pursuing with these people. If all men are created equal, they have some rights which ought to be respected."
Arthur Minkler, of the Kansas Regiment, says:
- "We advanced four miles and we fought every inch of the way; . . . saw twenty-five dead insurgents in one place and twenty-seven in another, besides a whole lot of them scattered along that I did not count.... It was like hunting rabbits; an insurgent would jump out of a hole or the brush and run; he would not get very far.... I suppose you are not interested in the way we do the job. We take no prisoners. At least the Twentieth Kansas do not."
Burr Ellis, of Frazier Valley, California:
- "They did not commence fighting over here (Cavite) for several days after the war commenced. Dewey gave them till nine o'clock one day to surrender, and that night they all left but a few out to their trenches, and those that they left burned up the town, and when the town commenced burning the troops were ordered in as far as possible and said, Kill all we could find. I ran off from the hospital and went ahead with the scouts. And you bet, I did not cross the ocean for the fun there was in it, so the first one I found, he was in a house, down on his knees fanning a fire, trying to burn the house, and I pulled my old Long Tom to my shoulder and left him to burn with the fire, which he did. I got his knife, and another jumped out of the window and ran, and I brought him to the ground like a jack-rabbit. I killed seven that I know of, and one more I am almost sure of: I shot ten shots at him running and knocked him down, and that evening the boys out in front of our trenches now found one with his arm shot off at the shoulder and dead as h___. I had lots of fun that morning. There were five jumped out of the brush and cut one of the Iowa band boys, and we killed every one of them, and I was sent back to quarters in a hurry. Came very near getting a court-martial, but the colonel said he had heard that I had done excellent work, and he laughed and said: 'There's good stuff in that man,' and told me not to leave any more without orders. Well, John, there will always be trouble here with the natives unless they annihilate all of them as fast as they come to them."
Tom Crandall, of the Nebraska Regiment:
- "The boys are getting sick of fighting these heathens, and all say we volunteered to fight Spain, not heathens. Their patriotism is wearing off. We all want to come home very bad. If I ever get out of this army I will never get into another. They will be fighting four hundred years, and then never whip these people, for there are not enough of us to follow them up.... The people of the United States ought to raise a howl and have us sent home."
Captain Elliott, of the Kansas Regiment, February 27th:
- "Talk about war being 'hell,' this war beats the hottest estimate ever made of that locality. Caloocan was supposed to contain seventeen thousand inhabitants. The Twentieth Kansas swept through it, and now Caloocan contains not one living native. Of the buildings, the battered walls of the great church and dismal prison alone remain. The village of Maypaja, where our first fight occurred on the night of the fourth, had five thousand people on that day, -- now not one stone remains upon top of another. You can only faintly imagine this terrible scene of desolation. War is worse than hell."
Leonard F. Adams, of Ozark, in the Washington Regiment:
- "I don't know how many men, women, and children the Tennessee boys did kill. They would not take any prisoners. One company of the Tennessee boys was sent to headquarters with thirty prisoners, and got there with about a hundred chickens and no prisoners."
D. M. Mickle, Tennessee Regiment, at Iloilo:
- "The building had been taken possession of by a United States officer, and he looted it to a finish. I suspected something and followed one of his men to the place. I expected to be jumped on by the officer as soon as I found him there, as I was away from my post, but it seems he was afraid I would give him away; in fact, we were both afraid of each other. He was half drunk, and every time he saw me looking at anything he would say, 'Tennessee, do you like that? Well, put it in your pocket." ... The house was a fine one, and richly furnished, but had been looted to a finish. The contents of every drawer had been emptied on the floor. You have no idea what a mania for destruction the average man has when the fear of the law is removed. I have seen them -- old sober business men too -- knock chandeliers and plate-glass mirrors to pieces just because they couldn't carry it off. It is such a pity."
A private writes:
- "In a word, I believe they should be accorded all the rights that we claim for ourselves. As for myself, I marched into the battle to make them free, not to make them subjects. I understood our mission to be one of humanity and for the cause of freedom, but our offering on the altar of liberty has been prostituted."
Theodore Conley, of a Kansas Regiment:
- "Talk about dead indians! Why, they are lying everywhere. The trenches are full of them.... More harrowing still: think of the brave men from this country, men who were willing to sacrifice their lives for the freedom of Cuba, dying in battle and from disease, in a war waged for the purpose of conquering a people who are fighting as the Cubans fought against Spanish tyranny and misrule. There is not a feature of the whole miserable business that a patriotic American citizen, one who loves to read of the brave deeds of the American colonists in the splendid struggle for American independence, can look upon with complacency, much less with pride. This war is reversing history. It places the American people and the government of the United States in the position occupied by Great Britain in 1776. It is an utterly causeless and defenceless war, and it should be abandoned by this government without delay. The longer it is continued, the greater crime it becomes -- a crime against human liberty as well as against Christianity and civilization.... Those not killed in the trenches were killed when they tried to come out.... No wonder they can't shoot, with that light thrown on them; shells bursting and infantry pouring in lead all the time. Honest to God, I feel sorry for them."
F. A. Blake, of California, in charge of the Red Cross:
- "I never saw such execution in my life, and hope never to see such sights as met me on all sides as our little corps passed over the field, dressing wounded. Legs and arms nearly demolished; total decapitation; horrible wounds in chests and abdomens, showing the determination of our soldiers to kill every native in sight. The Filipinos did stand their ground heroically, contesting every inch, but proved themselves unable to stand the deadly fire of our well-trained and eager boys in blue. I counted seventy-nine dead natives in one small field, and learn that on the other side of the river their bodies were stacked up for breastworks."
A Henry County boy in the Washington Regiment:
- "It would be a novel idea to those who so strongly favor territorial expansion, for political reasons only, to make a thorough investigation and research of the land to be so acquired, and especially estimate its resources, and the expenditures in maintaining peace with the hostile and treacherous natives. It would require a vast army to keep them within bounds, and it can easily be foreseen that new difficulties would continually be arising, for they are almost unanimous in the determination of ruling themselves. Why should we desire to annex revolting and oppressive people? The expense of maintaining peace would be enormous, and, taken from a financial standpoint, I fear they would not prove very remunerative."
Colonel Funston, Twentieth Kansas Volunteers:
- "The boys go for the enemy as if they were chasing jack-rabbits.... I, for one, hope that Uncle Sam will apply the chastening rod, good, hard, and plenty, and lay it on until they come into the reservation and promise to be good 'Injuns.'"
A private from the Miami County Kansas Regiment:
- "I suppose the people back home did not expect us to have any fighting, but we have already had the greatest land fight of the war, and it may take a great deal more to finish it yet, for we may have to kill all the black rascals before they are conquered.... Occasionally a Filipino would fall forward apparently dead, wait until he was fairly under the heels of the Americans, and then foolishly rise and attempt to gain safety. To shoot a man at six feet range with a Springfield rifle is a hard thing to do, but the orders were to let no insurgent live, and off would go the whole side of his head, or he would fall with a wound in his abdomen large enough to drop a potato through."
E. D. Furnam, of the Washington Regiment, writes of the battles of February 4th and 5th:
- "We burned hundreds of houses and looted hundreds more. Some of the boys made good hauls of jewelry and clothing. Nearly every man has at least two suits of clothing, and our quarters are furnished in style; fine beds with silken drapery, mirrors, chairs, rockers, cushions, pianos, hanging-lamps, rugs, pictures, etc. We have horses and carriages, and bull-carts galore, and enough furniture and other plunder to load a steamer."
N. A. J. McDonnel, of the Utah Battery, February 22d:
- "The enemy numbered thousands and had courage, but could not shoot straight. People can never tell me anything about the Rough Riders charging San Juan. If these natives could shoot as accurately as the Spanish, they would have exterminated us. Fighting goes on all along the lines, many natives are killed, but we capture very few rifles, as they seem to have men to take them. Official reports say over four thousand two hundred natives have been buried by American troops. How many they have buried themselves and how many more are dead in the brush no one knows."
Frank M. Erb, of the Pennsylvania Regiment, February 27th:
- "We have been in this nigger-fighting business now for twenty-three days, and have been under fire for the greater part of that time. The niggers shoot over one another's heads or any old way. Even while I am writing this the black boys are banging away at our outposts, but they very seldom hit anybody. The morning of the 6th a burying detail from our regiment buried forty-nine nigger enlisted men and two nigger officers, and when we stopped chasing them the night before, we could see 'em carrying a great many with them. We are supposed to have killed about three hundred. Take my advice, and don't enlist in the regulars, for you are good for three years. I am not sorry I enlisted, but you see we have had some excitement and we only have about fourteen months' time to serve, if they keep us our full time, which is not likely. We will, no doubt, start home as soon as we get these niggers rounded up."
Edgar Thomson, a Cresco soldier:
- "A few days ago a vote was taken in the regiment to determine how many wished to remain for an extra six months, and the result showed that none cared to stay any longer than they have to. So the colonel did not volunteer the service of the regiment, but informed us that it is his opinion that we will be home and out of the service by the first of July. This seems like a long time yet, but it is not so bad when compared to a year and two months. Our enlistment read 'for two years, unless sooner discharged, to serve in the Spanish-American war.' So you may see we did not enlist to fight these insurgents, and as few of the men are in favor of holding the islands, we do not feel it our duty to enlist for an additional six months. Now that the treaty has been ratified by Spain and the United States we are entitled to our discharge within sixty days; at least that is the way we understood it when we enlisted, and our captain says that is the way he understood it; but we will not complain if they get us home by the Fourth. I do not care to spend another Fourth of July in the service of Uncle Sam if I can avoid it."
Anthony Michea, of the Third Artillery:
- "We bombarded a place called Malabon, and then we went in and killed every native we met, men, women, and children. It was a dreadful sight, the killing of the poor creatures. The natives captured some of the Americans and literally hacked them to pieces, so we got orders to spare no one."
Lieut. Henry Page, of the Regular Army:
- "After a stay of about eight months among these people, during which time no opportunity has been lost to study their qualities, I find myself still unable to express a decided opinion about the matter, but I can unreservedly affirm that the more evidence collected the greater my respect for the native and his capacities.... The recent battle of February 5th was somewhat of a revelation to Americans. They expected the motley horde to run at the firing of the first gun. It was my good fortune to be placed -- about ten hours afterward -- near the spot where this first gun was fired. I found the Americans still held in check. Our artillery then began to assail the enemy's position, and it was only by the stoutest kind of fighting that the Tennessee and Nebraska Regiments were able to drive them out. The Filipinos' retreat, however, was more creditable than their stand. Perfect order prevailed. One of their companies would hold our advance until the company in the rear could retire and reload, when in turn this company would stand until the former had retired and reloaded. A frequent exclamation along our lines was: 'Haven't these little fellows got grit?' They had more than grit -- they had organization.... In each town a church, a convent or a priest's home, a 'tribunal,' which is court-house, jail, and record office all in one, and a school, constitute the public buildings. The schools were neat, substantial buildings, which testified that the Spanish made an honest effort to educate the masses. The Filipino is very anxious to learn, and the new government of Aguinaldo used every effort to start afresh these schools. The number of natives who speak Spanish as well as their native tongue, and who also know how to read and write, is remarkable. No School teacher has been appointed in San Jose, and the school buildings are held by the American officers. In spite of this discouragement there is a private school flourishing in a native hut."
A private of Company H of the First Regiment, Washington State Volunteers:
- "When we got in the woods maybe we didn't strike a hornet's nest. I never stood such a hot fire, but we kept right on, and killed fifty-two of them, while about three hundred got away. Pretty good, wasn't it, for about sixty men? ... They sent four companies to reinforce us, but they could not catch us, as our blood was up, and we wanted revenge for poor _______'s death. The men were just crazy. I got three of them. We had one man killed and five wounded. Soon we had orders to advance, and we rose up from behind our trenches and started across the creek in mud and water up to our waists. However, we did not mind it a bit, our fighting blood was up and we all wanted to kill 'niggers.' This shooting human beings is a 'hot game,' and beats rabbit hunting all to pieces.... We soon charged them again, and such a slaughter you never saw. We killed them like rabbits; hundreds, yes, thousands of them. Every one was crazy. I tell you it was awful after it was over. But it was war.... We will soon round them up and kill them all off. No more prisoners. They take none, and they torture our men, so we will kill wounded and all of them.... The weather is intensely hot, and we are all tired, dirty, and hungry, so we have to kill niggers whenever we have a chance, to get even for all our trouble."
Charles R. Wyland, Company C, Washington Volunteers, March 27:
- "This war is something terrible. You see sights you could hardly believe, and a life is hardly worth a thought. I have seen a shell from our artillery strike a bunch of Filipinos, and then they would go scattering through the air, legs, arms, heads, all disconnected. And such sights actually make our boys laugh and yell, 'That shot was a peach.' A white man seems to forget that he is human.... Hasty intrenchments were thrown up to protect our troops from this fire, the bodies of many slain Filipinos being used as a foundation for this purpose, intrenching tools being scarce. Other bodies were thrown into the deep cuts across the road, and with a little top dressing of dirt made a good road again for the Hotchkiss gun serving with the left wing to advance to a position commanding the bridge, where the regiment was to force a crossing in the morning. Many other bodies were thrown into the trenches and covered with dirt, while others, scattered about in the woods and fields over which the battle-line swept, still remain unburied."
Albert Brockway, Company M, Twentieth Kansas:
- "We must all bear our portion of the shame and disgrace which this great political war has forced upon us. Unless speedily remedied it will be, or at least should be, the death-knell of the administration. To those who intend to make the army their profession, and have more regard for personal interests and glory (?) than for the country's welfare it is a grand opportunity. I wonder how reports are given in the United States of matters here! The press censorship will not allow our papers to publish accounts of deaths, etc., hence we, on one end of the line, scarcely know how the others are getting along."
Frank Fay, Twentieth Infantry:
- "Our soldiers are performing the task set them by the government with admirable skill and valor. They are sacrificing their own lives without hesitation, and, so far as any sign appears, without reluctance or regret. But it is a sombre thought that a little tact with the Filipinos might have prevented the rain of 'fire and bullets,' and saved tens of thousands of the natives, and hundreds and thousands of our own brave men."
Sergeant Will A. Rule, Co. H, Colorado Volunteers:
- "When you can realize four hundred or five hundred persons living within the confines of five or six blocks, and then an order calling out all of the women and children, and then setting fire to houses and shooting down any niggers attempting to escape from the flames, you have an idea of Filipino warfare."
Fielding Lewis Poindexter, of the Second Oregon:
- "About dark, before Company D's return, Colonel Summers rode over to General Wheaton's headquarters. Shortly after reaching there reports, which afterwards proved to be somewhat exaggerated, came in that two companies of the Twenty-second Infantry had been literally cut to pieces, having fallen into an ambush. After a hasty consultation it was decided to proceed at once to kill or drive into the lake every native possible to be found in the half-moon-shaped district lying between the mouth of the Mateo river and the farther end of the lake, a distance of twelve miles."
Robert D. Maxwell, Corporal Co. A., Twentieth Kansas:
- "Sometimes we stopped to make sure a native was dead and not lying down to escape injury. Some of them would fall as though dead and, after we had passed, would climb a tree and shoot every soldier that passed that way. Even the wounded would rise up and shoot after we passed. This led to an order to take no prisoners, but to shoot all.
A. A. Barnes, Battery G., Third United States Artillery:
- "The town of Titatia was surrendered to us a few days ago, and two companies occupy the same. Last night one of our boys was found shot and his stomach cut open. Immediately orders were received from General Wheaton to burn the town and kill every native in sight, which was done to a finish. About one thousand men, women, and children were reported killed. I am probably growing hard-hearted, for I am in my glory when I can sight my gun on some dark-skin and pull the trigger. Let me advise you a little, and should a call for volunteers be made for this place, do not be so patriotic as to come here. Tell all my inquiring friends that I am doing everything I can for Old Glory and for America I love so well."
Herbert Cooper Thompson, Co. C, Second Oregon Regiment (Volunteers):
- "Of course I feel pity for the dead and wounded, but it all adds to the general feeling of horror for the whole business of war. I wonder if people would have wanted these God-forsaken islands if they had foreseen the cost. That twenty million dollars that they paid bought only Manila. Most all the men who think in the Army Corps are opposed, and have been from the start, to holding these islands. Well, I hope we may never get another weak-kneed politician in the presidential chair at a critical time like this."
Rev. C. F. Dole writes:
- "I have a letter from a father in another State whose son is a soldier at Manila:
- "'The longer I stay here, and the more I see and think of the matter, the more fully convinced I am that the American nation was and is making a blunder. I do not believe the United States is equal to the task of conquering this people, or even governing them afterwards.... I don't think I would miss the truth if I said more non-combatants have been killed than actual native soldiers. I don't believe the people in the United States understand the question or the condition of things here or the inhuman warfare now being carried on. Talk about Spanish cruelty: they are not in with the Yank. Even the Spanish are shocked. Of course I don't expect to have war without death and destruction, but I do expect that when an enemy gets down on his knees and begs for his life that he wont be shot in cold blood. But it is a fact that the order was not to take a prisoner, and I have seen enough to almost make me ashamed to call myself an American.'"
Raymond Ellis, late corporal in the Seventeenth United States Infantry, makes some unusual charges in a letter to his father. He was in the Santiago campaign, and after returning to the States was sent to the hospital at the Columbus (O.) barracks. He had hardly recovered from his illness, and had but three months to serve of his enlistment, when the regiment was ordered to Manila. Corporal Ellis asked permission to remain, as his time was almost up. This was refused, and he arrived at Manila just before his time expired. On the date of expiration he says he asked for a discharge and transportation home. The commanding officer wanted him to re-enlist, and on his failure to do so, refused transportation home, and he had to work his way on a transport which has recently arrived in San Francisco.
C. B. Hollingsworth, of the Tenth Pennsylvania:
- "It is generally believed by the men 'that we have got the worst of the bargain.' . . . It will be necessary to keep a standing army there, and the men deteriorate morally and physically under the influences of the people and the climate."
A sergeant in the Pennsylvania Regiment:
- "At Deloma Church, where we came upon a detachment strongly intrenched, we buried four hundred and thirty-one Filipinos, while our loss in killed was only one. We buried eighteen in one grave at that place."
Robert E. Smith, of the Second Oregon:
- "We have only to go less than two thousand yards from our present camp to find thousands of well-armed Filipinos ready to give us all the fight we wish. When the battle is on the native seems to be in his element, and the longer this insurrection lasts the more proficient will he become in the use of arms, and the steadier under fire. Those who think Aguinaldo is a quitter can rest easy or uneasy, just as it suits them; but many of us here do not believe it of him, and think there will be some desperate fighting and insurrection for years to come, owing to the bad feeling now existing against the Americans.... Death, suffering, and desolation are looking with baleful eyes upon the thousands of poor Filipinos -- men, women, and children -- on this unhappy island. The American volunteer is as generous as he is brave, and, while knowing that many of his comrades must fall, and perhaps himself, in the struggle about to begin, there is always sympathy in his heart for the enemy in distress. The faces of women and children have a sad and woeful expression, and they will perhaps never learn the fate of fathers, husbands, and brothers."
Harvey Stark, of the Hospital Corps:
- "I am a pronounced anti-expansionist, and the boys are all anxious to come home. Out of twenty-five thousand troops on the Island, I do not think that a regiment of them would care to reenlist, providing their time was out."
James A. Reid, a Colorado Volunteer:
- "Maybe you think this isn't a fine country -- to keep away from. In fact, all of the country around here is just 'lousy' with 'niggers.' To the right of us is the lake. About seven miles away, to the north and east, is the little town of Marquina, which will soon have to be taken. As it is the birthplace of Pio del Pilar, one of 'Aggie's' great generals, we expect quite a fight. Malabon and Malolos have not as yet been taken. Don't know about Malolos, but Malabon can be taken any time, as it is next to the bay.... We are not nearly as anxious to fight these people as some people may think we are, and we do not enter any of the fights with the same spirit we did when fighting the Spaniards. If a vote was taken to take us home now or wait six months and discharge us here with our travel pay and finals, which would amount to nearly five hundred dollars, I do not believe that ten percent would be willing to stay, so you see how the men look at this addition to the United States. The chances look very slim for getting out before our term expires, which is about fourteen months more, and if the people don't get us out of here soon the asylums will be filled to overflowing. None of the men are the same as they left home, either physically or mentally, and the only thing that will do us any good is to get us home. Any one can have our share of these islands any time they let us get home. There have been about one hundred and twenty-five killed and three hundred wounded all together, and, when you consider that these beastly islands are not worth one American life, you can see what they are costing.
- "Small-pox is still raging in all the regiments, and every day some poor soldier if gone beyond recall. Is it any wonder we want to get home? Well, I have come to the conclusion that soldiering is not what it is cracked up to be, and if Uncle Sam wants any of our services he had better keep us as long as he can now (and I guess he is doing it, too). We are all living as well now as can be expected, and will, probably, through the rest of the service, but that doesn't blot out any past misdeeds. One of our pet expressions now is, "You couldn't tell us what you think about the army without using profanity, could you?' and the answer generally is in the negative. Oh, yes, we will be afraid of not getting any mail that you write in the next six months. I have absolutely given up all hope of getting home soon. If we don't get away from here before the rainy season sets in there are a whole lot of us who will never get back. The signing of the treaty, or rather ratification of it, wont have much effect on the volunteers here. The Second Missouri is indeed to be congratulated, and they can thank their lucky stars that they were not ordered over here."
Private Ruppenthal, Company M, Twentieth Kansas:
- "Have been in numerous battles and skirmishes since February 4th, and with my own hand set fire to over fifty houses of Filipinos after the victory at Caloocan. Women and children were wounded by our fire."
- "I am tired of fighting, and I am tired of seeing my men killed. More of the men in my regiment have been killed than in any other regiment in the Philippines. Since March 25 fifteen of my brave boys have been killed and one hundred and twenty wounded, and there are but six hundred and fifty men in the regiment."
H. S. Murdock, Sergeant-Major First Battalion, First Nebraska:
- "Two crawled along the bank wounded, and the word came, 'Knock them, boys!' and the rifles would boom out and over they would go."
- Secretary Root's Record:"Marked Severities" in Philippine Warfare, the extensive Anti-Imperalist summary of the findings of the Lodge Committee. Listing many of the atrocities and the military and government reaction.