Bamboo Tales by Ira L. Reeves
HOW I SAW
THE FLIGHT OF
HOW THE SPANIARDS CAMPAIGNED IN
A TRANSLATION FROM A SPANISH OFFICER'S DIARY FOUND AT SAN FERNANDO
DE PAMPANGA, LUZON, BY AN AMERICAN OFFICER.
It happened that we left such a hidden retirement and we went into
Taal. We employed more than a whole day on the road, more than half of
which we passed in a lagoon with water up to our waists. We arrived on
After six days of rest, on guard every other day, we embarked the
thirteenth for Paranaque, where we arrived the fourteenth in the
morning, and on the following day we left with rations of sea biscuit
for three days, and at the end of the day we arrived at the camp of St.
Nicholas, where we found encamped the Division La Chambre, which we
On the eighteenth we set out with a convoy for Salitran, and after
passing a whole day in the water, we had to halt, because neither the
darkness of the night permitted us to go any further, nor did the fire
of the enemy permit us to follow the road.
Next morning at dawn we took up the march, arriving at half-past
nine. We sent away the convoy, and at one p. m., after having eaten our
ration of rice and ham, we started out again for camp, arriving at
eight p. m., with some firing.
The twenty-third we set out on the same road toward Imus, which
fell after an hour firing with innumerable loss. Imus was then the
center of the insurrection. The General-Coronal, who was not yet
wearing his insignia, died.
On the following day we came upon the second trench of the town
above mentioned, and there entered it with guns 'at rest,' as we had
promised the most excellent La Chambre.
In this last capture the division lost about forty, the greater
part of them officers.
Until now the officers coming from the Balearic Islands have
received no news, but some of the men have.
It is March 25th, and we have been told that the review of the
Commissary is to be passed in Noveleta, which is in the possession of
On the thirty-first of the month we left Ymus, going toward
Noveleta, and without following any route we found ourselves at
night-fall on the road which goes from Noveleta to San Francisco de
Malabon, which is also in the power of the Tulisanes.
During the day there was some firing, and finally we found a
trench, which we captured with the loss of one man. The unfortunate man
was the captain from Majorca, who died from a ball which exploded,
entering through his left eye and exploding in the middle of his head,
so that he died instantly. I could not look at the corpse.
We slept, as I have said, in the middle of the road, and on the
following day, April 1st, we fell like a plague on Noveleta, into which
only one company entered with their arms in their hands, since all the
rest of the column carried them 'at rest' in fulfillment of the promise
During the firing we had the protection of artillery, and we ate
our ration without breaking ranks.
The entrance into Noveleta did not cost more than a loss of fifteen
Europeans, but more than thirty of the natives.
Noveleta was attacked three days after it had been taken without
other result than the leaving upon the field a number of the mutilated
bodies of the natives, which were buried by our valiant men with
respect, not for what they had been before then, but for what they
represented at that moment.
On the day after taking Noveleta, the important town of Cavite was
taken, which was bombarded by our marines till they saw the division
coming, which had all our men except four companies, which remained
The column returned the next day from Cavite and then set out for
New Cavite, where we took rations for four days of biscuit and wine,
setting out the same day for Noveleta, and on the sixth the division
started to attack San Francisco de Malabon, last point of Cavite
Province in which there was an insurrection. This point was well
fortified, and this is what was the death of them.
In an hour or seventy minutes, the enemy was dislodged, leaving
more than fifteen hundred bodies behind the trenches. There was one
corpse whose head fell more than two hundred feet from its body,
carried off by a ball of artillery. This picture was terrible to look
at. We could not look in any direction without seeing a mass of bodies,
some in pieces and others burning up as if they had been a mass of
We lodged that afternoon, and night in the houses which remained
standing, and on the following day set out for the suburb of San Juan,
which had been abandoned when they saw that San Francisco was falling
into the power of the Chasseurs.
On leaving San Francisco, we were able to salute the Flag Regiment,
No. 70, composed of natives, whose flag was now adorned with the
seventh stripe of San Fernando.
In the same town was found a prisoner of the enemy and wife of the
man who had been captain of the 'Guardia Civil,' who had died there
when the insurrection of San Frerelledo broke out.
We set out, as I have said, for the suburb of San Juan, which was
abandoned, and in the same state was that of Rosario. Between these two
points I could see the ruins of what had been the dwelling of the
Augustinos, who also died at the breaking out of the rebellion.
We reached Noveleta at night-fall, and after two days' rest, set
out on the march toward Ymus (or Imus), passing through Zapote and
Bacoor, which important points had been taken the day after the
entrance to Ymus, of the taking of which I can relate nothing, since at
this time I was recovering from illness.
We reached, as I have said, Imus, passing through Zapote and Bacoor
on the afternoon of the eighth, and we were there till the thirteenth
of the same month of April, without having in all this time any
religious ceremony, except on Palm Sunday, when we had a mass said by
an Augustino; one of those who had come from Manila to take charge of
the convent, etc.
The Division La Chambre and the brigades which had been formed
returned to Noveleta by means of the steam of a locomotive, which was
at the same time used to move the wheels to press the green cane in
order to transport it from the plantation to the factoryrefinery.
Being again incorporated in the company, we were ordered to cover
the line of security established in the quarter of Piga (?), from which
we were relieved on the seventeenth of Maybirthday of His Majesty the
King, Alfonso XIII.and day also on which ended the term of
indulgencepardongranted by the Most Excellent Primo de Ribera.
We were in Fananan from the seventeenth to the twenty-ninth, when,
the brigade having been organized, it was divided into three columns.
The second column set out for Banadero on the twenty-ninth, waiting
there till the following day, when the aforesaid column, having been
joined by another, which came by the way of Mount Semgay, and by
another small force which had come from Bayuyangan; all these forces
having been joined together, they fell at the same time upon the ruins
of Talisay, which had been taken from the insurgents last October, and
later they had taken possession again of its ruins.
On the evening of the thirtieth we received orders not to set out
again until further orders, and on the thirty-first we came upon the
trench destined for the third column, which did not arrive in time; and
the second column, which was on the left, and in which I was, moved
forward more than it ought to have done, by reason of not being able to
attack in front; and seeking the right side or flank, we fell upon the
enemy without giving them time to defend themselves in the least, so
that there was not more than one killed and one slightly wounded. We
then united on the same ground with the first and second columns. The
first had been reënforced at Cale by a section of volunteers from
Albay, who are very conversant with the territory, because they are
natives of this district.
The second column entered Talisay without firing a shot. The flag
in the trench was set up by the second lieutenant of the second company
of the Thirteenth, Don Carlos Gonzalez Lara, who is orphan on his
father's side (!), for his father had been killed by the insurgents
because they had demanded from him a thousand pesos, and he replied
that he did not have them there, and then they cut his throat.
About two o'clock p.m., we took up the march toward Bayuyangan to
see what had happened to the two companies which from there were to go
to Talisay, and which they had not effected, the same as the column
Sarralde, which came by way of Mount Semgay, which was not seen until
they had taken their position, and which had brought us more than
fifteen hundred Tulisanes, which had been presented to them on the
The two companies from Bayuyangan did not show themselves either,
because of the narrow passes of the road they had met with resistance
and by taking another way the road would have been left free to them,
so that they might have escaped; which did not suit us, because in this
way they would have fired upon Bayuyangan, and it might be that the
reserve force might not be present; the rest would be too few to defend
At night we arrived at Bayuyangan, and I was to see again the land
watered by the blood of my captain and friends.
In memory of my captain mentioned, in building and dedicating the
fort, they named it after himYenaas being the same place where he
From there we went out the next day, tearing down all the trenches
we found on the way. We passed through Banadero. We went on and entered
gloriously and victoriously into Yananan, from where, after three days,
we were detailed to the two small forts at Cale, where we are very
I have just learned that I have been promoted to the honorable
position of first lieutenant.
Cougar Daly's connection with the company had not extended two
days till he was duly installed as dog-robber for Lieutenant John
Buestom, the most handsome, soldierly-looking, and intensely despised
officer in the th Foot. Buestomor Bues, his enemies called
himmust have had liver complaint, for his temper was always riled
like stagnant water full of crawfish; and when Captain Bobson left the
company for a few weeks to go on a hunt up the St. Joe River, the
non-coms resigned in a body, every man of them, so hot did he make it
for them during that brief period. As for the batch of recruits, fresh
from the drill-sergeants and bulldozing of the recruiting rendezvous,
they deserted by platoons and sets of fours, for the life with them was
unbearable. Had the Old Man Bobson remained away a few days longer,
he would have had no one of his companythe one pride of his lifeto
greet him upon his return, with the possible exception of Private
McCoy, who had been in the service since George Washington was a lance
jack, and who swore that all the damned shave-tails in the Army
could not drive him out.
Many hard things were said of Buestom, but not half that could have
been told and yet save one's reputation for veracity and secretiveness.
Among the things he could not keep were his word and servants. Not even
would a Chinaman attend his many wants. His last effort was a big
Manchu from northern China; and he had no more than been installed and
began his work with the usual celestial energy, till in rushed Bues,
as savage as a bear, and gave him more instructions in a minute than
the frightened menial could have executed in a month. To cap the
climax, he taught poor Chino to stand at attention, and ordered him
to ever thus stand when in his august presence.
This was more than the faithful fellow of the pigtail locks could
stand, so he made it known in his own English: Me squit jlob. Me no
dalmn sloder. And he slipped into his pajamas and was gone.
Then came a long series of soldier servantsdog-robbersbut none
could endure him for more than a day or two, and seldom got their pay
for that. The complaints were all similar: He asked me to bathe his
mangy dog; or, He ordered me to stand at attention when rocking the
damned cradle, so precious are his 'brick-top brats'; or, She, for
Mrs. B. was not angelic, wanted me to fan the flies off her
ring-tailed cat while that animal chose to nap; and so they ran. Thus
they growled and quit their places, usually without giving notice. Then
Private Jones, Brown, Smith, or whoever the offender might happen to
be, endured his turn of torture and calling-down when at drills and
other duty till there was a fresher victim on whom this choleric
officer could wreak his vengeance.
Now came Cougar Daly, fresh from the Bowery, with the odor of
stale beer and twofers on his seven-dollar cit suit marked down to
five ninety-nine, which was hanging in the orderly room, and which he
was sure to don when on old guard pass and sober; but Daly was like
all soldiers in one respecthe always got drunk in uniform.
Daly, indeedas true a Dutchman as ever bore an Irish name. Daly,
he of the ingrowing face; kidney-foot Daly; Daly, the man wid his
chist on his back, were just a few of the handles he enjoyed.
It was Archie Fettin, lately of the Queen's Own, but now a buck
private in Uncle Sam's service, who aptly said: Daly, tek off yer
bloomin' 'ed and put it on facin' t' the rare and ye'll hev as foine a
brace an' as smaart 'perance as any non-com 'n the Quane's Guayards;
mesel', fer example.
Unfortunately for poor Daly, he could not follow Fettin's advice,
and must content himself with his dromedary set up. The company
non-commissioned officers were disgusted with him, for the company
enjoyed the reputation of being the best drilled in the regiment, but
here came this hopeless recruit to muddle the rear rank at parades and
walk on the heels of his front rank man. Corporal Self, the meanest
martinet in the outfit, drilled him till his tongue was hanging out,
and then reported to the captain: Sir, there's slight hope fer thet
spalpeen o' a rakroot Daly, fer th' more sittin' up ixercise I giv' 'm
th' bigger th' lump on 'is schloping shoulders.
Daly, the newest recruit in the regiment, now dog-robbing for
Bues, and excused from cook's police, room orderly, guard, fatigue,
and, in fact, everything except drill, and he would have been relieved
from that had he not been sorely in need of it. The men hated him more
cordially than the devil despises a Christian who refuses to
black-slide. A man with the slightest hint of spirit would have
resented their insults, heaped so lavishly and frequently, but he was
as impervious to the names, epithets, growling, and swearing as a
duck's back is to water.
Rising in the morning long before reveille, he noiselessly slipped
out of the barracks, always carrying his shoes in his hand till away
from the quarters, and then went to Buestom's house and began his day's
work by building fires, preparing the bath, and assisting in the
cuisine. He never ate his meals with the companyalways served himself
in the kitchen or back yard of his master. Master? Yes; for a more
menial slave was never sold from the block.
When nothing else to engage him, he had his orders to take the mangy
dog out for a walkand what a dog! What breed? Just dogthe yellow
kind. His comrades always spoke of these walks as two curs out for a
constitutional. But that same dog was Daly's only friend, and he no
doubt enjoyed his society.
Then came the great railroad strike, and the tie-up of the mails.
The regiment was ordered out to open up the roads. To everybody's
delight, Buestom remained behind to take care of the post; but a
greater delight was when Daly asked to go with his company in the
field, for now he would get more than his share of duty to make good
the work thrown on his comrades while he was excused from everything.
The non-coms were laying for him.
When it came to choosing tent-mates, Daly was left a widow, for even
Rassmussen the SwedeRouse mit 'em der sweetthe worst reprobate
that ever wore a uniform, refused to pair with him; so he hied himself
to the nearest escort wagon and slept under it.
They marched past miles of obstructed railroad track to Patterson,
where the switches were crammed full of freight cars and killed
engines. The work of clearing the tracks went on for many days, till
finally they were cleared, and a train made up to take the first mail
through that had passed since the strike began. Soldiers were
everywhereon the tops of cars, on the platforms, inside, on the
tender; and riding on the cow-catcher, loaded rifles in hand, were
Archie Fettin and Cougar Daly.
This heavily guarded train sped on at a lively rate, through
tunnels, over cuts and fills, coughing a continuous challenge to the
groups of strikers gathered along the way to watch it pass. On it went.
The soldier-engineer, taking courage from the docile attitude of the
strikers, pulled the throttle wide open, while the soldier-fireman was
heaving coal into the fiery furnace, even though the steam was at the
time blowing off. The giant machine leaped forward like a spurred
stallion, easily making fifty miles an hour. Daly and Fettin were
holding on like grim Death, for the track was rough and the speed
unprecedented for that roada new one.
A bad curve was just ahead, but the speed was not slackened. Like a
racing horse on a small track, the engine struck it and leaned toward
the inner circle, but an instant later straightened up and flew on its
Just as the curve was turned, a few hundred paces ahead, stood a
small group of tramps. Seeing the train, they hastily broke and ran for
the timber along the edge of the right-of-way, but not before one of
them hurriedly stooped and placed something on the track, A hundred
eyes were on him, and as many rifles were instantly raised to fire, but
Daly was the first to pull the trigger, and the man fell backward down
the enbankment, bearing with him that which he had endeavored to place
on the rail.
In firing, Daly was compelled to let go his hold, which kept him on
the train, and he lost his balance and fell forward, crushed into an
unrecognizable mass beneath the wheels.
The train was stopped, and a hundred aching hearts, which had melted
in the presence of death, went tenderly to their duty of gathering up
poor Daly's remains.
The tramp had been shot fairly through the head, and he had died
holding in one of his clenched fists a deadly bomb, which, but for the
presence of mind and quickness of action of the despised recruit, would
have sent every soul on the train into eternity.
The next day the Rocky Mountain Daily Eagle contained this
Associated Press report:
The late Private Daly, of Company E, th Infantry, who was crushed
beneath the first train out of Patterson, Mont., while firing at
Antonio Bressi, the anarchist, was from New York City, where he has a
mother and younger sisters and brothers dependent on him for support.
His right name was Leonard Dresel, and the name Daly seems to have been
assumed when he entered the Army to conceal his identity. There was no
apparent reason for this, as he has an excellent reputation for honesty
and industry, and he enlisted in the Regulars because he could obtain
no employment elsewhere. He worked for officers of his regiment in
order to make additional money that his brothers and sisters might
remain in school.
Antonio Bressi, who died from the deadly aim of Daly, was a noted
anarchist leader, prominent in the Coeur d'Alêne riots a few years ago,
which were so promptly quelled by the th Infantry. It is believed
that for this reason he endeavored to blow up the train, for it is
known that he is not in sympathy with the striking railroad men.
A week later Company E was paid, and that night a money order
payable to Mrs. Catharine Dresel, No. Baxter Street, New York, for
$150, left on the east-bound train.
In the little cemetery at Fort Meredith there is an elaborate
granite monument bearing the inscription:
Private Patrick Daly,
Co. E, th Inf.
He gave his life that others might live.
Erected by his comrades.
A DYING SPANIARD'S REQUEST
An auxiliary brigade, consisting of one regiment and one battalion
of infantry and a mountain battery of artillery, was formed at
Calumpit, on the Island of Luzon, to ascend the left bank of the Rio
Grande, and to form a junction with Lawton some distance above. This
expedition was accompanied by two gunboats belonging to the mosquito
fleet, and one launch used to tow the cascoes, or native freight
barges, bearing an extra supply of rations and ammunition. This was in
I was provost-marshal of this expedition. When we first entered a
town or city, after capturing it, it was my duty to find out what
buildings contained valuable property, and immediately place a guard
over them, in order to prevent the place from being looted. Large
warehouses containing immense quantities of rice, sugar, silks, piña
cloth, and other things equally as precious, were frequent finds. They
had to be guarded.
We met with but little resistance on this expedition till we reached
the town of San Luis, about twelve miles up the river from Calumpit.
The heavy fire of our infantry and artillery, ably assisted by the
little pepper-boxes afloat, soon put our dusky enemies to flight; and
we marched straight into town, with colors flying, over trenches,
barricades, and other obstructions hastily thrown in our way.
Among the largest stone buildings of San Luis was the tribunal, or
public house, something after the style of our town halls, with the
difference that it is always open for strangers, who cook, eat, and
sleep in it. Among other useful apartments, it had a cell, probably
used as a jug into which the native policemen ran the over-exuberant
youth who was guilty of imbibing too freely of his cherished vino, or
the head of the family for the non-payment of taxes, or allowing his
water buffalo to play in his neighbor's yard.
Previous to the occupation of the town by the Americans, this
dungeon-like cell had been occupied by Spanish prisoners, who were held
by Aguinaldo's army. When I first saw the room, not more than ten
minutes after our arrival, I saw one of as sickening sights as any
person ever beheld.
This dungeon, or cell, was about ten feet high, the same in width,
and about fifteen feet in length. Through one small grated window
passed all the light that ever cheered this ante-chamber of hell. The
door leading into it was in a dark corner, and when one was on the
inside, he scarcely noticed whether it was open or closed.
By the aid of a lighted candle I saw the rock floor scantily covered
with coarse rice straw, flatly mashed by the emaciated bodies of the
Spaniards who had slept upon it. A few articles of Spanish uniforms,
tattered and torn, were strewn about. In the cracks of the walls were
hordes of vermin. Filth was present everywhere in its most germ-bearing
form. In the center of the room were a few live coals and over them a
quart cup about one-third full of boiling riceprobably the entire
meal for the six doomed prisoners whose home had been for weeks that
abode of lurking death.
At the end of the room and opposite the window was a raised
platform, eighteen inches high, made of rough boards. This was covered
with dry blood, and in the center was a large, quivering pool of
clotted gore, which had not more than an hour since coursed through the
veins of its owner.
Above this platform, a little higher than the height of the average
native, was the dangling end of a rope, freshly besmeared with the
life-blood of a recent victim.
On the plain white wall was the newly made print of the murderer's
hand, who had wiped the warm crimson fluid of the sufferer from the
blood-stained hand which held the throat, while the other, with the
deadly bolo, severed the head from the trembling body.
Everywhere were evidences of a recent, horrible murder. A trailing
streak of blood led from the platform toward the door and faded when
the street was reached.
I diligently looked for some last message from the victim or
victims. The walls showed nothing but spots of blood thrown there by
the struggles of the dying, and armies of pests traveling aimlessly
over the cold, bare surface. The plain, rough boards told nothing but
that the life had passed from many a defenseless soul while hanging
over them. But these boards were not nailed down, I turned one over and
looked beneath, but all was darkness. The candle was lowered to the
bottom. Nothing was to be seen but great dried pools of blood that had
leaked through the cracks above. One stone looked as though it had been
recently disturbed. I tried it, it was loose. When raised from its
resting-place, I saw a small roll of paper lying beneath. There was
A further search revealed nothing. The gory board was replaced and I
gladly walked out of this chamber of horrors, bearing with me the piece
Reaching the light, I unrolled it. It was dimly written. Evidently a
bullet had been pointed and used as a pencil. The greasy sheet had been
torn from a prayer-book. Just above a chapter of prayers for Easter
Sunday was written in Spanish:
To the Americanos:
If my body is here when you make your entrance into the city,
give me a Christian burial. I am to die because I refuse to
fight you. My five companions have taken arms against you in
order that they may not die by the hands of the Tagalos. I
prefer death to fighting in the Filipino Army.
The trail of blood showed me that his body had been carried out and
probably thrown into the river.
We could not perform his last request.
A-a-a-hum! What's that? was the waking remark made by Captain
Randolph Sever, as he slowly turned over on his back to face the owner
of the voice which had so dimly penetrated the dreamless slumber
resulting from a twenty-four-hour tour on outpost duty.
He struggled with his sleep-laden eyes and succeeded in opening one,
with which he looked at the intruder, but, on recognizing the Colonel's
orderly standing at his side, hastily arose to a sitting posture, and
proceeded to rub open the other optic; meanwhile repeating his former
question, but this time assuming a manner more in keeping with the
dignity of his rank.
Sir, the Colonel presents his compliments, and asks the Captain to
step over to regimental headquarters.
Having delivered his message, he saluted and disappeared, leaving
his weary superior to gather himself into a more military appearance as
well as frame of mind.
Sever looked at his watch and found that he had slept for just
forty-eight minutes and fifteen seconds. He mentally berated the whole
outfit. Stepping over to regimental headquarters meant a walk of a
mile and a half through the relentless hot sun of a tropical country;
for the dotting of an i or the crossing of a t, which had
carelessly been overlooked by both company commander and clerk. Then
would follow the hair-splitting Colonel's permission to step back
The th Infantry, arriving at Manila late in the spring of 1899,
had taken its turn at doing duty on the outskirts of the city, and was
now participating in the nocturnal fights of the interior. It had been
at San Fernando de Pampanga for a little more than a month and both
officers and men showed the wear and tear of sleepless nights and
tropical climate, which tested the hardihood of the stoutest
constitution among them.
With temper yet ruffled, Captain Sever retraced his steps to his
bamboo hut. When he arrived there, he found three of his brother
officers in possession. With that hearty and genial tone of
good-fellowship which is only used and felt between men who have passed
through hardships together, and know the true worth of each other, they
He confided to them the cause of his unusual exertion after a trying
night on outpost duty, and wearily dropped himself onto some
ammunition-boxes, which were serving the purpose of a chair.
The talk naturally turned to the condition of affairs, but argument
waned for lack of an opposing sidethe unanimous opinion being that
the gugus did not and never would know when they were licked.
Sever arose, walked over to a native bed, and began cleaning his
revolver, occasionally glancing toward the enemy's lines. Finally he
said: Say, Parsons, I wish you would reach up in that cracker-box
above your head and hand me my glasses.
Lieutenant Parsons was a long, lank fellow, who never exerted
himself any more than was absolutely necessary, so he simply unwound
one of his arms, which was twisted around one of the posts of the bed,
and blindly felt above till he found the article desired. Handing them
to Sever, he indifferently asked: What's going on over there?
Without replying, Sever took the glasses and looked intently at the
gugu trenches. Having satisfied his curiosity, he returned to his
work of cleaning his six-shooter; then answered the almost forgotten
question: Oh, nothing, I guess; only I thought I saw a 'nigger'
running. Its such an unusual sight to see one of those fellows 'get a
move on,' especially when the sun is beating down like it is now,
unless something is after himlooks like there might be something up.
Parsons reached over for the glasses, got up, and walked to the
door; but before he raised them to his eyes, he casually glanced to the
right and stopped, saying: Hello! here comes the 'old man's' orderly,
He had scarcely finished his favorite expression, lickety split,
when the orderly had ridden up, dispensed with the courtesy of
dismounting, but hurriedly began: The Commanding Officer directs that
officers get their companies out at once, and proceed to the north
outpost line. Messenger just in with information that the Filipinos are
swarming over our outposts there.
He had no sooner delivered his message when the sounds of a few
stray shots in the direction named were heard.
Sever, Parsons, and the other officers, experienced campaigners that
they were, swiftly buckled on their revolvers, and in an incredibly
short time were on the company parade-grounds shouting to their
menthe few, who had not already turned out. Most of them had heard
the message as it was given the officers, and had hastened to their
huts, not waiting for instructions, warned their comrades of the
impending fight, and again appeared with rifle and belt.
Forward, double time; march, and Captain Sever was off with his
companysuperb fighting machinefor the line of battle.
The fire was now rapidly increasing. What at first sounded like a
few heavy drops of rain on a tin roof was now an incessant shower.
On went the gallant company. Stray shots crashed through the
thickets to the right and left of them; struck the earth in front and
near them, throwing up great quantities of débris; others,
singing their death-song, passed uncomfortably close to their ears.
The outposts were now in sight. Some of them had been killed;
others, wounded, were bravely striving to repress groans of pain.
It was a desperate fightfew against many. The natives were pouring
down on the little handful of men like a great avalanche. The sure and
deadly aim of the Americans alone served to impede the over-powering
Reënforcements arrived none too soon. Just as the insurgents,
intoxicated on vino, beaten and sworn at by their officers, began a
mad charge on the decimated ranks of the Yankees, Sever had finished
the deployment of his men in battle formation, and was ready to receive
Meanwhile, other companies arrived and were strengthening the lines
to the right and left. Then began those destructive American
volleysone following another in quick succession. No flesh and bone
could live under such fire.
The more advanced of the charging column were now within a few feet
of the outpost's trenches; but here they wavered. Vacancies occurred in
their ranks like the falling of grass before the blade. They hesitated.
Their officers rushed wildly to and fro, excitedly waving their swords,
shouting in their twangy language above the din of battle.
There was a brief halt; then the line broke, and a surging,
terror-stricken mass of humanity trying to escape from this disastrous
fire was all that was left of that hopeful army of insurrectos who but
a moment before were so near experiencing the exhilaration of victory.
Word came down the line to cease firing. A moment later the expected
charge was sounded by the Colonel's bugler. Up rose that khaki line,
and, with that terrorizing American yell, swept like a whirlwind across
the fields in pursuit of the flying natives.
It was just another of the many victories. The fight was now over.
The enemy was pursued for several miles beyond the limits of the
American lines, losing many in killed and wounded.
Most of the troops were withdrawn. Captain Sever with his company
was detailed to search the field for killed and wounded.
The outposts returned to their stations, and there was nothing but
the faint groans of the wounded, and the presence of the dead, to tell
that but a few short moments before a deathly struggle had occurred
between two determined armies.
Sever and his men had just started on their humane duty, performing
it with that tenderness and earnestness which the brave alone show to
those in their power, when his attention was attracted by a low moan in
the tall grass near by. He stopped and listened. Another
half-suppressed groan was heard, apparently coming from the cogonales
to his left. He parted the grass. There, lying in a pool of his own
blood, was a Filipino soldier, frantically endeavoring to conceal
himself and smother further groans. The expression on his face was a
mixture of fear and pain. Seeing that he had been discovered, he put
out his hand as if to ward off a blow.
It was evident that the boyfor such he looked to bethought he
would be murdered on the spot, or at least unmercifully dealt with.
The officer spoke to him in Spanish and assured him that no harm
would befall him, but that he would receive every kindness and
The poor lad was too weak to say much, but allowed the American to
gently bear him to a more comfortable place in the open.
After a few moments' rest, the sufferer opened his eyes and beckoned
Sever to draw nearer. His whole expression had changed from hatred and
fear of his rescuer to that of implicit confidence. In good Spanish he
told that he had been wounded when they had charged the Yankee line,
but, having heard of how heartless and cruel his enemy was, he followed
his retreating and panic-stricken comrades till so weakened from loss
of blood he could go no further. Knowing they were being hotly pursued,
he crawled into the cogonales, hoping to escape the eyes of the hated
Sever arose to seek a surgeon. The old look of terror returned to
the wounded native's face, and he reached out his skeleton-like hand as
if to hold him, and implored: No, Capitan, don't go; the 'medico' may
not be so kind as you, and I might die before you came back. I cannot
live much longer.
The brave and sympathetic officer then said: Let me get some of my
men who will carry you to the hospital. I cannot remain longer nor do I
wish to leave you.
The wounded Tagalo looked wistfully into his face and feebly
murmured: Will you do something else for me?
The Captain hesitated for a moment, apparently wondering what the
request could be, then gave a nod of assent, and stooped to listen,
bending closer and his interest increasing as the suffering fellow
struggled with his narrative.
It ran: He was called Benito Gonzales, and he had been forced to
take up arms by the insurgent authorities. He had a sweetheart named
Juanita Tarinto, who had at the opening of the war taken refuge in a
convent in Manila. He wished to send her his anting anting (his good
luck charm), and some little money he had saved before the war began.
Would the Capitan take charge of these things and deliver them?
Having received assurance that his tokens would be carefully taken
care of, he closed his eyes as if in great pain, a moment later a smile
passed over his face, and he knew nothing more.
Just then the regimental surgeon approached, and Sever called to
him. They gently removed the clothing from the boy, and discovered that
he had received a frightful wound in the side. They carefully and
tenderly placed him on a litter borne by two Chinamen, and sent him to
the town, some distance back.
After this futile attack of the little rebels, the days passed with
the same monotony that existed before.
Captain Sever, hearing nothing more of Benito, sent the remembrances
given in his care to his wife in Manila, with instructions to deliver
them to their rightful owner.
Mrs. Sever had no difficulty in finding the dusky lass, and, after
gently breaking the painful news to the lovely girl with
sorrowful-looking eyes and beautiful jet black tresses, offered to lend
her any assistance she might need.
Grateful for the kindness, and anxious to earn her own living, she
accepted, and was soon domiciled with the Señora Americana, as she
was pleased to call Mrs. Sever.
One morning, after several fatiguing days on reconnaissance duty
waist-deep in mud and water, Company E, of the th Regiment of
Infantry, like a lot of rollicking school-boys on a holiday, were
indulging in numerous sports outside their huts in the street. The
spirit of the soldiers was contagiouseven the native venders seemed
to feel the reaction. Their voices, usually so harsh and unpleasant,
had a more cheerful ring as they cried their wares; and the customary
stoical expression of their black faces had actually given place to a
bearable smile, by this atmosphere of good humor and fine spirits.
The always-busy commander of Company E, Captain Sever, was engaged
with delayed papers and reports, and was writing with an energy seldom
seen in that enervating country, when he was interrupted by a bold
native at his elbow crying: Huevos, leche, mangoes, lucatan. Quiere,
Capitan? (Eggs, milk, mangoes, bananas. Do you wish, Captain?)
The Captain turned abruptly, and was about to reply with usual
American brusqueness, but was halted by the broad smile and unusual
intelligent look of the invader of his privacy. As he studied the face
trying to recollect where he had seen it before, the expression changed
for one of disappointment. Then did he recognize in the strong and
athletic figure before him the shrunken and emaciated one he had seen
borne off the field of carnage, but four short weeks before.
Hello, Benito! where did you come from? he began, and offered a
friendly hand to the native; continuing, You don't look much like the
chap I found in the cogonales, trying to hide from me a short time
back, beyond the north line. I thought you'd moved from this land of
strife, lizards, and mosquitos, and staked out a claim in the celestial
regions. Did not know you at first. You must have seen some pretty
tough times before I found you if this is how you look after undergoing
a month of American cruelty.
He ran on in this train, not giving the dusky soldier-merchant a
chance to answer, but all the time studying the face and taking in
every line of the splendid specimen of a Tagalo before him.
Benito was taller than the average of his tribe. His muscular limbs
showed a strength and athletic training that would be the envy of any
Yale man or West Pointer. His back was as straight as the proverbial
ramrod and as supple as the leaf of the cocoanut palm. His eyes were
brown, and fairly danced with good nature and intelligence. They were
frank, too, an unusual thing with a native. All in all, he was a
perfect model of the physical man in bronze.
He placed his tray, laden with the luxuries he had cried, on a box
near by, and seated himself in such a natural and easy manner, making
himself so perfectly at home, that Sever's feeling of surprise at the
action, soon changed into one of amusement over the unusual familiarity
of a Tagalo toward a hated Yankee. But he was to find out that this
compatriot of Aguinaldo was unusual in many ways.
After talking over his experiences at the First Reserve Hospital at
Manila, Sever asked his guest what he intended doing.
Benito replied that his future was undecided. While in Manila he had
seen Juanita, and they had decided that he should seek the Capitan and
ask his advice. That was how he happened to be peddling along the line.
You don't intend to return to the army again? asked Sever.
On receiving an emphatic negative answer, the Captain continued:
How did you happen to cast your fortunes with the insurgents in the
first place, and why were you so terror-stricken when first discovered
after you had been wounded?
Benito's answer to this double query was lengthy, but in effect he
said: His father had been a captain in the Corps d'Elite, Aguinaldo's
body-guard, during the Filipino insurrection against Spanish rule.
Hoodwinked and misguided by the juntas as to the designs of the
Americans, he continued in the service after the Spaniards had been
driven out. During the outbreak against the Americans on February 5,
1899, he was killed. Shortly afterward he received word that he must
take his father's place. He knew what it meant to refuse to enter the
insurrectionist service after having once been notified. Fearing
assassination should he refuse, he at once joined his father's regiment
and was given his father's company.
His regiment gradually fell back into the interior as the Americans
advanced. Nothing but tales of brigandage, rapacity, and cruelty were
heard of the actions of the enemy.
Driven beyond San Fernando de Pampanga, Aguinaldo established his
headquarters at Tarlac, and determined to make a final stand; here
taking oath that he would take the city of San Fernando inside of a
week or lose every man in his command in the attempt.
Then followed the attack in which Benito was wounded. From what he
had heard, he expected the Captain's sword to run him through; or
worse, be taken alive and afterward subjected to the cruelty of the
Yankee soldiery, or sold as a slave and shipped to the States.
Now he had seen with his own eyes the benign attitude of his former
enemy. His connection with the rebellion had ended.
Sever offered to employ him as his valet.
The beaming fellow arose, bowing obsequiously, and replied: As you
From that moment his bearing and actions changed from those of a
friend to those of a servant.
Benito proved a model valet. His master's wants were anticipated;
his shoes looked more like mirrors than prosaic foot-gear, and his
clothes were always neatly pressed and immaculately clean. The culinary
was not neglected. It was soon noised about the regiment that Sever was
the best groomed and fed officer in the Division.
Then came the time when the wily little rebels cut the railroad and
telegraph communications, and there was no intercourse with Manila. The
morning after this occurrence there was noticeable the absence of
Filipino venders of bananas, eggs, and other edibles on the streets of
San Fernando. This always meant an early attack. To Sever the most
ominous thing was the disappearance that night of his trusted valet,
Benito. But he refused to believe that he had turned traitor; he vowed
the native would duly appear in time.
Early that evening orders came from regimental headquarters to
strengthen the outposts, especially those of the norththe point
always the object of attack of the insurgents.
The south line was reënforced by Captain Sever's company alone. He
arrived there about dark, and soon made a careful disposition of his
men, personally superintending the placing of each man.
Then came that extreme darkness known only to sentries on posts in
While not expecting an attack from the south, Sever's men were
nevertheless vigilant. Their gallant commander refused to lie down, but
groped about in the darkness amid interminable underbrush, through
banana grove and bamboo thicket, over rice-paddies and briery hedges,
instructing and reassuring his men.
Just as he was finishing his two o'clock rounds, and was feeling his
way back to the company rendezvous, he was startled by the sounds of
the footfalls of a galloping horse in the direction of the city, which
were rapidly drawing nearer. He at once knew its import. There must be
something serious. Orderlies were not sent out at that hour of the
morning unless the cause was pressing.
He retraced his steps toward the main road leading to the city and
down which the now rapidly approaching horseman was coming.
Of a sudden the whole sky to the front was lighted as if traversed
by the fiery darts of an electric storm. Then came the sounds of
volleys fired at close range, and the crashing of the bullets as they
He ran toward his men, shouting words of command. A few returned the
fire as best they could, but it was too late for that kind of fighting.
The insurgents had crawled to within a few feet of the outposts, by a
given signal began a murderous fire, then, whipping out the deadly
bolo, pounced upon the unsuspecting sentries. It was a death-struggle;
a hand-to-hand combat; a few against many.
This mere handful of Americans bravely wielded the bayonet and
clubbed with the rifle, but the odds were too great.
Sever arrived on the scene of action with flashing eyes and set
jaws, determined to die with his men. In an instant he was surrounded
by a half-dozen grinning natives, brandishing their shining knives in
his face. He fought like a madman, effectively using his revolver, but
it was an uneven fight, and he fell by a heavy blow which barely missed
his head, landing on his right shoulder and sinking deep into his body.
He sunk heavily to the ground. Another boloman raised his weapon to
administer the final cut which would end his life, but his raised hand
seemed fixed in that position. There was another strugglethis time
native against native.
Benito appeared just in the nick of time to save his friend's life.
Hundreds of feet were now heard coming from the rear.
Plunging through the darkness, falling over vines and rice-dykes,
into ditches, came the yelling Yankees. The tide of battle turned.
The insurgents who had broken this weak line and were pouring in
toward the city heard that awful and unexpected Yankee yell. They
halted. A moment later there was a clash that lasted but a second.
Sweeping everything before them, the reënforcements changed the
fortunes of the fight.
The next day Benito visited his severely wounded master at the
hospital. It was then that the Captain learned that Benito had
overheard some Filipino venders inside the city drop a hint of the
proposed attack. That night he set out to learn the details if
possible. He arrived at the rebel lines safely, unrecognized and not
suspicioned. He soon learned the plan of attack by hiding near a group
of officers who were discussing it. He started back to inform his
master of what he had learned, but was apprehended when trying to
recross the Filipino lines. Charged with being a deserter, he was
closely watched that night and the next day. The following night he
evaded his guard during the confusion incident to the preparations for
the battle, and made for the Americans as fast as his feet could take
him, arriving in town at about one o'clock in the morning. Searching
for the Captain, he could not find him. He then reported what he knew
of the plans of the fight to Lieutenant Parsons, and learned from that
officer the whereabouts of Sever and his company, and ran with all his
might to warn him, for it was rapidly nearing the hour for the
murderous onslaught. Parsons, after listening to Benito's story of what
he had learned while in the enemy's camp, immediately started a mounted
orderly to the Colonel. That worthy hastily dispatched a warning
messenger and reënforcements to Sever. The rest has been told.
A month later Sever was carried up the gang-plank of an army
transport, on his way to the United States to recover from his wound.
Benito was by his side. When the deck was reached, he took his master
by the hand. Great tears were gathering in his eyes and tracing down
his fine, dusky face as he said: Adios, Capitan.
The American officer struggled to make a reply, but there was
something in his throat which prevented him.
The two remained clasping hands for a minute, then Benito turned and
slowly descended to the lighter.
Benito and his wife had urgent invitations to accompany Captain and
Mrs. Sever to God's country, but they chose to remain in their native
THE ARMY MULE.
That republics are ungrateful,
Is adage old as sin;
That only he who has a pull
Can rake the chestnuts in;
And he, the faithful, honest heart,
Who meekly bears his humble part,
Is often dubbed a fool.
Oh, Dewey gets a mighty praise,
And everywhere they shout
And yell for Schley until they raise
Their very livers out;
Of rank and file much praise is heard,
But then you never hear a word
About the Army Mule.
He calmly bears his heavy pack,
And twists his tail in glee;
And chews at night a gunny sack,
When corn has gang a-glee;
But for his patient, loving ways
No annals speak a word of praise
Of that poor Army Mule.
He nobly marched where bullets fell,
With calm and even tread;
And when he heard the bursting shell,
He only shook his head;
And at his post he nobly stood
To help the boys what e'er he could,
That faithful Army Mule.
'Neath burning sun of Cuba's isle,
He brought the train along,
To furnish Shatter's men the while
They sang the rifle song;
And but for him supplies were vain;
They must be brought through sun and rain,
By that same Army Mule,
In Luzon where the Army moves,
The festive Mule is nigh;
Too slow the pokey carabao proves,
For Yankee soldiers fly;
In heat or cold, in wet or dry,
In mud or dust, they can rely
On the true Army Mule.
He brings relief to sick and well,
When other sources fail;
His worth the soldier cannot tell,
His glory shall not pale;
And here a monument we raise,
A tribute to the worthy praise
Of the American Mule.
But first and foremost of them all,
In duty or in danger;
With biggest ears and loudest call,
And to fatigue a stranger;
The first on Santiago's brow,
And in Luzon the friskiest now:
Oh, that's the Missouri Mule.
W. S. Platt.
COMEDY AND CARNAGE.
The Sky Pilot and the Dutch Corporal.The Mule that Sounded the
Charge.Bull's-Eye Kelley and the Fire-Bug.
War, with all its horrors, laconically described by General Sherman
as hell, is not without its comedy. The marching through rain and mud;
camping in marshes; digging in trenches, using the bayonet for a pick
and the meat-ration can for a shovel; wading rivers by day and sleeping
exposed to the elements by night, are all sandwiched with numerous
mirthful incidents. Soldiers, above all people, have an eye for the
ridiculous, and are ever ready to make merry and laugh over the most
trivial matter. Even the horrors of battle are unable to quench the
spark of gaiety ever present in the make-up of a Yankee Doodle
There are even times when comrades are lying about dead and dying,
and the missives of death yet speeding by, searching for new victims,
or to penetrate the quivering form of the already wounded, that
something occurs to bring forth peals of laughter.
THE SKY PILOT AND THE DUTCH CORPORAL.
During the mobilization of the Army at Tampa, Fla., at the outbreak
of the Spanish-American War, an orthodox minister enlisted as a private
in one of the infantry regiments. On the 6th of June came orders to
break camp and prepare to go aboard transports for the invasion of
The railroad facilities from Tampa to Port Tampa, where the
transports were waiting, were not equal to the emergency. Traffic
became more or less clogged, and it was early the next morning when the
regiment to which the preacher belonged was entrained. During the early
part of the night the men were gathered in groups, some playing
shuffle the brogan, others busy at nosey poker, while the greater
part of them were smoking their pipes and telling yarns, or stretching
their weary limbs on rolls of canvas, or on the bare ground asleep.
The orthodox minister appeared worried. He was walking to and fro in
an aimless manner like a headless chicken. After having paced backward
and forward past a pile of mess-chests several times, each time sizing
it up, he suddenly began to mount it, planted himself on the very
pinnacle, and with a fog-horn voice began a patriotic harangue.
Long, hair-raising, and Spanish-scalping sentences rolled from his
lips like crude petroleum from a five-inch pipe. Each inflammatory
oratorical flight was dramatically climaxed with the words, For it is
sweet to die for one's country.
The sleeping ones restlessly turned over, rubbed their eyes, and
opened their ears to this wonderful address. The entire regiment,
officers included, soon became his audience, and all were inspired with
the oft-repeated words, For it is sweet to die for one's country.
This regiment was one of the first to land in Cuba, and took a
prominent part in the attack on El Caney. Its position during this
fight, for many hours, was within a few hundred paces of the famous
stone block-house, in a sunken road, and was suffering heavily.
Along about two o'clock in the afternoon matters began to look
blueeven a general officer who had fought in many hard battles of the
Civil War, and spent the best years of his life combating the Indians
on the frontier, was overheard to mutter to his adjutant that he was
afraid we've bitten off more'n we can chew.
There was not a cheerful face to be seen. Men with grinding teeth
were soberly looking Death in the face. Sir Orthodox was burrowing his
face into Mother Earth in a wild effort to shield himself from Mauser
bullets. A German corporal was doing the same thing about fifty feet
further down the road.
As the corporal, better known as Dutch, was burrowing his face in
the mud, an idea struck him, and, like all Teutons, he must make it
known. He raised his head and looked up and down the line of prostrate
soldiers till his eye fell on the flattened figure of the minister. In
a voice that could be heard the full length of the regiment, he bleated
out: Say, dere, Sky Pilots, id aind so schveet to died for vonce
countries, aind id?
The effect was magical. Amid this scene of carnage and death a wild
yell of merriment went up that brought courage to many weakening
hearts, and Caney had fallen before the men had ceased to laugh at the
joke on the preacher.
THE MULE THAT SOUNDED THE CHARGE.
He was a Colonel with enough dignity to rule the universe, but he
knew no more about music than a pig does of navigation. With his
regiment he was slipping up on a Filipino town at night. It was purely
a clandestine movementorders were given in whispered tones by
tiptoeing orderlies. The men were holding their bayonet scabbards
against their legs to obviate screeching and rattling, and every effort
was made to minimize the sounds of a marching body of men.
The Colonel with the battalion on the right had arrived within
charging distance of the insurgent trenches. It was the pre-arranged
plan for all the companies to arrive on this line before the general
advance would be made. When all were ready, the charge would be sounded
by the Colonel's bugler.
The battalion with the Colonel was all ready for the bloody charge.
Not knowing if the companies of the other battalions had arrived, the
impatient commander sent his adjutant, mounted on a native charger, and
his bugler, mounted on a Missouri mule, down the line to investigate.
When all was in readiness, the adjutant was to have the bugler sound
the charge, when the whole khaki-clad line, like a thousand demons,
would set up that awful, gu gu terrorizing Yankee yell, and wade
into the unwary Tagalos with cold steel.
The adjutant and his bugler found that the companies on the left
were yet some distance to the rear. The former, while waiting for the
companies to come up, dismounted to tighten his saddle-girth, while the
latter busied himself looking for some signs of life in the enemy's
trenches not two hundred yards ahead. His mule dropped his head in a
dozing attitude. He suddenly appeared inspired, raised his head high in
the air, looking toward the insurgent lines. Then, with a grunt, as if
of satisfaction, elevated his chin, began working his huge ears
backward and forward in a pumping motion, and set up a long-drawn
A-w-e ye! a-w-e ye! a-w-e ye! a-w-e ye! in threatening tones, which
sounded through the midnight air for miles around.
The faithful animal had not finished his challenge when the deep
voice of the Colonel rang out completely drowning it, giving commands
for the charge. He flashed his saber, and gallantly led the only
battalion on the line into the midst of thousands of dusky soldiershe
had heard the mule sound the charge.
It was a brilliant victory. The town fell with but a single American
casualtythat casualty left the bugler without a mount.
BULL'S-EYE KELLEY AND THE FIRE-BUG.
Where is there a soldier whose name is dry on the muster-rolls who
has not heard of Bull's-Eye Kelley? Kelley gained his enviable name
of Bull's-Eye by having spent twenty-two successive seasons on the
target-range without ever making a bull's-eye. As a reward for long
and honest servicenot for marksmanshiphe was warranted a sergeant,
and went with his regiment to the Philippines.
While the regiment was doing garrison duty at one of the interior
towns in Luzon, it was constantly harassed by the little rebels. One
dark night in June they made a determined effort to drive the Americans
out. The regiment had run short of officers, so this night Kelley was
in command of his company. He was a strict disciplinarianso much so
that when out of his hearing the privates referred to him as the Duke
The night of this attack his orders were to keep his men lying flat
on the ground and perfectly quiet. There was to be no talking,
whispering, coughing, or smoking; or, as Kelley himself expressed it,
no nothin' would be allowed.
All sorts of insects, including lightning-bugs as big as
incandescent lights, were singing and flying about, causing the men to
put their hands and faces through a most unique series of gymnastics.
The rebel fire was becoming alarmingly effective. Although they knew
nothing of the location of Kelley's company, yet stray bullets coming
that way had already hit two of his men, instantly killing one of them.
He suspected that something was betraying his position. Looking down
the line, he was horrified to discover what was unmistakably a man
smoking. Flushed with anger, he shouted louder than his instructions
would have permitted, Hie there, me man! put thet cigaroot out, but
the light remained undisturbed. I say there, ye insultin' divil of a
rekroot, put out thet cigaroot, stormed the enraged Kelley.
In reply came the low, mourner's-bench, meek voice of a South
Carolina recruit: It hain't a cigaroot, Sergeant; it's a lightnin'-bug
as big as a search-light on 'Pin-Head' Hebb's mustache.
The undaunted Kelley was not to be beaten thus, but sternly
commanded: I don't give a dom what 'tis, put it out.
HOW I SAW AGUINALDO.
An Army Officer's Curious Experience in Luzon.A Tight Place and a
It was during the early part of the month of June that my company
was doing outpost duty on the north line at San Fernando, one of the
largest inland towns on the Island of Luzon. We had been on the south
line, but on the morning on which this incident took place, were
directed to relieve a company of another battalion of the same regiment
on the north line.
Our arrival at the outpost was very early in the morning; so early
that it was impossible to distinguish a man from a high stump at a
distance of 100 feet. The lay of the land was new to me; I hadn't the
slightest idea of the contour of a foot of the ground to be covered by
my company. After getting my men properly stationed along the line,
guarding a front of about 1700 or 1800 yards, I took an old, reliable
sergeant with me and proceeded to reconnoiter the territory to my
front, and to make a rough sketch map, showing on it what I could of
the Filipino trenches and their outposts.
We started just as the sky began to turn a deep red in the east, and
the chuck me chameleon, the harbinger of the early dawn, began his
morning challenge. Our progress was very cautiously made through the
cane-fields, banana groves, and bamboo jungles, halting and
investigating the slightest noise, the rustling of a leaf or the
breaking of a twig not escaping our attention. First, I would take the
advance and then the Sergeant. When we passed through cane-fields we
found the plowed grounds but little less than marshes, for the rainy
season had just begun with torrential showers. Our bodies were soon
soaked to the skin, for the leaves of the cane and banana stalks were
burdened with water. The cane was a trifle higher than our heads, and
the wide-spreading leaves of the banana hid the sky from view.
After wading and splashing along toward the Filipino lines for about
1400 yards, we suddenly and very unexpectedly came upon a well-traveled
road, fringed with bamboo on either side, with quite a stretch of open
ground beyond, in which was lying at the farther edge, the trenches of
our enemies, which seemed to be at the time swarming with dusky
soldiers preparing their morning meal.
Believing ourselves not have been observed, we withdraw a short
distance from the bamboo fringe into a banana grove, a position that
afforded us concealment as well as an opportunity to make observations
of the position of the trenches and location of the outposts of the
I was busy making copious notes and my maps, while the Sergeant,
with my field-glasses, was making most wonderful discoveries of masked
batteries and gas-pipe cannon, when, all of a sudden, a cavalcade of
insurgent officers, followed closely by a large body of foot soldiers,
appeared down the road to our left, where there was a slight curve, not
more than 200 yards away.
What were we to do? At that short distance from our open-eared and
alert rebellious fellow-citizens, we could not beat a precipitate
retreat, or an orderly one, without disclosing our presence; and that
fact once known to this body of armed men meant almost certain death,
or worse, to be taken prisoners by this half-savage band. We held a
hasty council of war in whispered tones, and decided to hold our ground
till the danger passed.
It was but a moment till the little steeds and their haughty riders
were directly in front of us, not fifty paces away, and, to our intense
surprise and discomfort, halted. There they stood, with the first ray
of the rising sun resting full upon them, seventeen horsemen, officers,
and just back of them about 5,000 infantrymen, all within a stone's
throw of us. What made our position all the more precarious, the
infantry was standing at a rest, and were, as all soldiers do when
first halted, looking in every direction in search of somethingan
enemy, fruit, a stray porker or a fowl. Our chances of being discovered
were becoming momentarily greater. We could plainly see them, so
naturally, if they would but look in the right direction, they could
see us. What may not five hundred busy eyes discover?
The danger of the mounted men seeing us was not so great, for they
had discovered something interesting in our lines and were active with
their glasses looking over our heads.
Sixteen of these officers were dressed in light blue uniforms of
some thin cloth, wide-brimmed sombreros, russet leather leggings, and
clanking sabers dangling by their left sides, almost trailing the
ground, while the trappings of their horses were enough to make the
eyes of a militia major snap with envy. The other officer, who rode at
the head, and the recipient of the most obsequious attentions, a man
about middle age, with close-cropped hair, small restless eyes, and
somewhat lighter complexioned than the average inhabitant of those
far-away tropical islands, wore a neat-fitting uniform of khaki cloth
over his diminutive body, and a helmet of the same color upon his
well-shaped head. His mount was a beautiful dapple gray Filipino
stallion, some larger than the average-sized native animal, and much
more gorgeously caparisoned than the charges of the other officers.
This pompously equipped commander wore at his left side a most handsome
saber, and on his right he carried a revolver and field-glass case.
The foot soldiers were of the famous Corps d'Elite, Aguinaldo's
body-guard. We knew them by their bright red uniforms. Where Aguinaldo
goes, there they go also. They are his constant attendants. They were,
of course, all armed with Mauser rifles and laden with ammunition.
We were so interested at the sight of this picked regiment of
Tagalos, of which we had heard so much, that we almost forgot our
danger, and actually raised our heads higher in order that we might
have a better view of them. Just as we were craning our necks and
straining our eyes to their utmost capacity, we were suddenly brought
to a realization of our terrible danger by the officer in khaki
dismounting, throwing the reins to an orderly, and advancing to the
edge of the bamboo just in front of us. Like a flash the others
followed him, and stood at attention just in his rear, gawking and
peering in our direction. This was a trying moment for us. There stood
the flower of the Filipino Army, facing two almost helpless servants of
Uncle Sam, and, for all we knew, were deciding our fate, for they were
discussing some important subject in the Tagalog tongue, all of which
was Sanscrit to us. Our hearts were in our throats and kept up an
increased throbbing in their new positions. Had we been discovered?
Were those snapping, half-savage eyes now resting on us, and was the
mode of our death being discussed? We knew not. Our faces were being
pushed in the mud till our ears were begrimed in our mad efforts to
conceal ourselves. We felt it would be but a matter of seconds till our
hides would be perforated with Mauser bullets, or we would be bound,
hand and foot, prisoners of a revengeful enemy.
Their talk became excited. Something was being discussed with great
interest and moment. The suspense was awful. Minutes passed as hours.
Our skins would cringe when the thought of a volley liable to be fired
into our bodies at any moment occurred to us.
Would they never leave? Their conversation warmed. The khaki-clad
officer said a word, and then they faced about, reëntered the road, and
passed down it out of sight, one officer alone remaining with the foot
soldiers, who gave some directions to the orderlies, and the horses
were led across the road and hitched. We slowly raised our
mud-besmeared faces. The infantry, still looking and chattering in the
twangy language of their tribe, were holding their ground. We heard the
officer in command say something about aqua in Spanish, then a few
words of command followed. They instantly came to the attention,
moved forward till the center of the column was opposite us, wheeled to
the right by fours, and stacked their arms. Aqua; that meant water.
We knew they would soon break ranks and go some place, we knew not
where, to replenish their water-bottles. So far, then, we had been
unobserved. But we remembered that just a few yards to the rear of us,
and in a direct line from our enemies, was a rippling stream of crystal
water. We exchanged looks. Oh, what looks! The Sergeant's expression
was awful, and I knew mine to be none better. Here they came; 500 of
them were moving toward us. Was it too late to run? No. I whispered,
Come on. We were about to rise and make a wild dash for life, when a
sharp blast of a trumpet was sounded to our front. All stopped in their
tracks. Another trumpet-calla rush to arms. The officers came tearing
back and remounted.
We waited for the volley that was to send our souls into eternity.
That we had been discovered we were sure.
Boom! A loud report from our rear. It was unmistakably a cannon
shot. An instant later a shrieking shell passed over our heads and tore
its way through a stone sugar storehouse, 100 yards ahead, rending
demolition everywhere in that vicinity.
The officers madly spurred their diminutive mounts in a wild effort
to secure speed. Off they rode at break-neck rate over rice-paddies and
small ditches in the direction of the bamboo thickets beyond the open.
But the infantrymen remained steadfast! They kept their close
formation, facing us. I ventured to raise my head a trifle higher when
I noticed the Sergeant putting his face through a series of grimaces
that would tend to make it as muscular as his brawny arms. His struggle
was in vain; he could not help ithe sneezed, not once, but twice, and
Five hundred ears pricked up, and as many pairs of eyes were thrown
upon us. It was but a second till a dozen rifles were raised to as many
shoulders, the muzzles all pointing in our direction.
As a last effort to save our lives, I yelled to the Sergeant to
follow, and started a disorderly retreat toward our lines.
Boom! Was it a volley? No, another shot from the cannon. The shell
struck between our enemies and ourselves and exploded. The sky was
filled with everything. We looked back over our shoulders, but could
not see the red uniforms for flying débris.
An instant later we heared a crying, screaming, terror-stricken mass
of humanity breaking through the bamboo on the farther side of the
road. We halted. There they went, over dykes and ditches. All
organization had fled with the winds in their wild efforts to escape
the next shot from our artillery.
Now we were safe, and sauntered lazily back to the company, giving
our hearts an opportunity to resume a normal state of affairs.
When we reached our lines we found that a recruit battery of light
artillery had come out from the city that morning for target-practice.
An experienced non-commissioned officer fired the first shot, which hit
the sugar warehouse, the target. A recruit gunner fired the second,
which, falling short, saved our lives. They knew nothing of the
presence of the Filipinos or of my little reconnoitering party.
The next day our native spies reported that Aguinaldo and his
body-guard had come down from Angeles early the morning before, but had
I laughed when I heard this report, for I knew the circumstances.
The dapper little officer in khaki was Aguinaldo, and this is the
story of how I saw him.Sunday Globe-Democrat.
WHAT THE WOUNDED SAY AND DO.
An American Officer's True Stories of our Latest War.Brave Men who
Meet Death as Heroes Should.
No two men behave alike when hit in battle. There is just as much
difference in their actions as there is in the behavior of the members
of a volunteer fire brigade at a country-town conflagration. The look
of the mortally wounded is nearly always the same. There is always that
deathly pallor that creeps over the face, and that fixed
starehorrible look of resignationthat tells so plainly that all is
over with the unfortunate soldier. A few instances will serve to give a
general idea of how the victims of the messengers of death receive
On the 1st of July, a company of regular infantry, in reserve, was
lying flat on their stomachs in a sunken road, a few hundred yards from
the stone block-house of El Caney, Cuba. The men were under a terrific
fire, but were not allowed to reply to it, for ammunition was growing
scarce. For hours they remained in this position. They began to get
restless and to shift about. As long as they kept low, there was no
danger from Spanish fire, for the bank of the road was sufficiently
high to afford security. Curiosity occasionally got the better of a
man, and he would poke his head above the embankment and peer in the
direction from which the bullets were coming. In the company was a
large, muscular German, who had early become restless and curious to
see what was transpiring. He would occasionally break out and swear
because he was not given a chance to fire at the hated Dons. Of a
sudden he ripped out a choice lot of the best in his vocabulary, raised
his head above the bank, and shook his huge fist at the line of
sombreros to be seen just above the Spanish trenches to the right of
the block-house. Ping! ping! thud! Wasn't that an awful sound? a
dozen soldiers chimed. There is no other sound produced that can be
compared with it. It stands alone for all that is sickening and
horrible. All knew that some one had been hit. A moment was passed in
suspense. The German whispered, in the tones of death, to his comrade
at his side: Wipe the blood off of my face! It was his last words. He
drew his knees to his chin in the agonies of death, turned over on one
side, burrowing his face in the mud, and died without a groan. A Mauser
had hit him squarely between the eyes.
A short time later a sergeant of one of the companies of the same
regiment moved a few yards forward, trying to get a pot-shot at some
Spanish sharpshooters who were snugly perched in the spreading tops of
some royal palm trees, and were hitting some of our men. He sighted one
and had his rifle to his shoulder, taking a fine bead, when all at once
the rifle fell to the ground and his hands dropped helplessly by his
side. He coolly faced about and walked toward the rear, his arms
dangling like pendulums, not even so much as muttering a word. One of
his company officers asked him what was the matter, to which he
laconically replied, Hit, and continued on his way to the
dressing-station in the rear. He was shot through both shouldersa
serious wound, but he recovered.
About an hour after the German was killed the same company was
ordered to take a position farther to the right. They walked along,
goose-fashion, single file, moving by the right flank toward their new
position. Next to the last man in the rear was a corporal, a new man,
just a few months in the service. Biff! ping! bang! went the deadly
missiles. One struck a man's rifle-barrel, cutting it almost in two.
Another split the stock of a gun in a man's hand. Then one struck the
recruit corporal's left arm, passing through the biceps. With an
expression of great surprise he for a moment stood still, saying
nothing. His eyes began to dilate, and then of a sudden he threw his
fowling-piece high in the air, grasped his left arm with his right
hand, and started for the rear at a disgraceful gait, yelling so as to
be heard above the din of battle: I've got it! I've got it! I've got
it! The last that was seen of him that day he had it, and was taking
it to the rear with him.
On San Juan Ridge, July 2d, just as Chaffee's brigade had reached
the crest, they were ordered to lie down and intrench, using the
bayonet as a pick and the hands for shovels. A dashing young fellow of
one of the companies on the right of the line was some distance in
advance of his fellows when the halt was made. Instead of falling back
on the line with the other men, he stopped where he was. One of the
officers shouted at him several times to fall back, as he was in danger
of his own men shooting him, but he did not hear. The officer then
walked down to where he was, grabbed him by a leg, and started to drag
him back to the line. He had but started when he felt the man's whole
body quiver, and he flopped himself over on his back, saying as he did
so, I'm done for. Some of the men came to the soldier and assisted
the officer to carry him to a place of security. With a bayonet one of
the men cut off his clothing, when a Mauser hole was seen just above
the heart, where the bullet entered, passing through his body and
coming out between the shoulders, near the spine. The man said no more
at the time. His wounds were bound by sympathetic hands. All except the
wounded man returned to the firing-line. The Spanish fire was heavy,
and kept up for four hours, occasionally a soldier dropping out,
wounded or killed. When all was quiet, the officer and one of his
soldiers returned to see if the young man were yet alive. They found
him sitting against a small tree. His first words were: Bill, give me
a cigarette. The man is living to-day.
Just about the time this man was wounded a man in the next company
on the right suddenly threw down his bayonet, jumped to his feet,
paused for a second or two, looking in the direction of the Spanish
trenches, then threw both hands to his breast, saying, I'm hit. He
turned about and walked into the dense thickets of cactus and Spanish
bayonet, and was never seen nor heard of again. He undoubtedly crawled
far back into the heavy tropical growth and died, where the vultures
One of the coolest men who ever received a wound was an infantryman
at San Fernando, in the Island of Luzon, on the 16th of June. The
insurgents made a determined effort to retake the town early on the
morning of that day. They opened up simultaneously from every quarter,
and the kind and variety of missiles used would be beyond the wildest
expectations of that sweet-throated midnight serenader, the Thomas-cat.
Out of an old smooth-bore cannon they threw railroad spikes,
horseshoes, old clocks, lemon-squeezers, and cobble-stones. From their
Remingtons they shot large cubical and irregular-shaped lead slugs. One
of these struck this cool man high in the right groin, deeply imbedding
itself. The pain must have been excruciating, for the man was terribly
lacerated. He hobbled to his company commander, saluted, and asked
permission to fall out and lie down, as he had been hit. He was lying
near a road where his comrades passed to and fro during the entire
fight, but no one heard a word or a groan out of him unless he was
During the same fight, in another company of the same regiment, a
battalion sergeant-major was ordered to take two squads and proceed to
a point about 400 yards down the Angeles Road, where there was a small
trench, and defend it. When about half-way down, one of his men, a
green rookie, received a severe wound in the leg. The Sergeant
endeavored to start him to the rear, with a man to assist him along,
but he protested. Nothing but to continue to the front with his squad
would do. He loaded and fired with the other men till the fight was
over. This man was recommended for a medal of honor by his captain.
From Leslie's Weekly, of December 9, 1899.
THE FLIGHT OF FATHER TIME.
A Case of Mistaken Identity.
Captain C. was what soldiers call a fussy officer. He was
constantly prying into matters that concerned him but little, and
wasted his energies in performing duties usually within the province of
a corporal. In fact, he would march a set of fours to dinner. In a
fight, however, his soul enlarged, and he was ever to be found at the
front directing his men, and doing much to atone for sins committed
during less exciting moments. Always in the van, his long, gray
whiskers gently flowing in the breezes, his sword drawn and pointing
toward the enemy, suggested to the men the pictures they had seen in
almanacs of Father Time; and when speaking of him among themselves,
he had no other name.
In August, 1899, his company was at Angeles, in Luzon, and was
entrenching on the outskirts, for the pesky little niggers were
constantly threatening and frequently attacking the place.
The Quartermaster Department hired a lot of Macebebes, who had
offered their services, to do the harder part of the work of
trench-digging, for the men were exhausted by an arduous and exacting
One bright morning about two hundred of these laborers were put to
work a short distance to the front of the trenches under construction,
to cut away a dense growth of cane, and open up a field of fire toward
the enemy. The faithful fellows jumped into the work with a vim seldom
seen in that country, slashing to the right and left with bolos,
machetes, knives, hoes, scythes, and a variety of other edged
implements, felling the large cane stalks with great rapidity.
Father Time's company was just in rear of them, with rifle and
belt, ready to protect them from the insurgents, who hated a Macebebe
even worse than a despised Americano.
The usual activity in the cane-field was soon discovered by the
festive little rebels, who promptly proceeded to pour volleys into the
place where the cane was so mysteriously disappearing. The unarmed
Macebebes stood their ground for a moment, but when the Mauser bullets
came whistling uncomfortably close, and one of them had been slightly
hit, they could stand it no longer, but, with an unearthly yell of
fright, they broke for the rear like a herd of stampeded cattle. A
regular race of mad men.
When the firing began, the soldiers threw themselves upon the ground
as flat as pancakes. The Captain was busy writing in a nipa palm hut a
few hundred yards in rear. He rapidly buckled on his equipment and
took up the double time to join his men. As he neared the trenches he
raised his head to look for his company. Not a soldier was in sight. As
he stood in wonderment it seemed that the gates of the infernal regions
were standing ajar and the inmates escaping toward him. Two hundred
black devils, every imp of them screaming and yelling at each leap
forward, were coming for him, armed with bolos and other death-dealing
weapons, to mince him in a thousand pieces. He knew his men had been
massacred to a man. He alone remained to face this mass of uncivilized
warriors eager for every drop of his blood.
No general ever more quickly decided upon a definite maneuver, or
put one into execution with a more fixed determination than this
veteran officer, hero of three wars, decided to decrease the distance
between himself and the main body of his regiment in town. Two miles
over muddy roads and rice paddies is not an easy march for a young
man, but when a valiant gentleman of sixty summers covers the distance
at a forced-march gait, without a halt, a record has been broken.
When Father Time learned that not a man of his company had been
hurt, he was pleased; but the news that he had mistaken a lot of
Macebebes, hopelessly stampeded, for a blood-thirsty enemy, had to be
broken to him gently by the Colonel.
CAMP ALARMSFALSE BUT STARTLING.
The Red-Headed Recruit and the Cuban Dog.The Charge of the
Hospital Corps.Private Timmons and the Carabao.
In the face of his reputation for undaunted courage and dashing
deeds of valor, the American soldier has at times allowed himself to
become frightfully alarmed and on the eve of being panic-stricken, when
taken unawares. He soon collects himself, however, and is ready to meet
all emergencies, let them come from whatever source they will. Even the
old vet may lose his head for a moment or two, and find some
difficulty in establishing his equilibrium. The Yankee soldier is ever
ready to obey his officer, and if the latter will but keep his wits,
order may be restored out of hopeless demoralization.
The Civil War was replete with camp alarms, some of them of the most
ridiculous type; and our war with Spain and the Filipinos has added
greatly to the stock. The tropical countries, with their dense growths
of vegetation, myriads of crawling creatures, and hair-raising sounds,
form a replete field for alarms, which are usually started by
frightened sentries on lonely outposts.
THE RED-HEADED RECRUIT AND THE CUBAN DOG.
One of the most notable alarms that occurred during the campaign
about Santiago was within two miles of the Stone Block-House, at El
Caney, on the night before the attack on that place. The brigade that
did the hardest fighting there, and that had been in advance the
greater part of the time from the landing at Baiquiri, received orders
late in the afternoon of June 30th to move forward and take a position
within easy striking distance of El Caney, and to there rest on arms
for the night. The march began at dusk, and, by a long, circuitous
route, ended at 12 o'clock midnight at an open field, which the guides
said was within two miles of the nearest Spanish position in the town.
The march, in single file, up and down hills, over slippery ground, by
men as silent as mice, was a tiresome one. All were glad to hear the
word passed along in low whispers to quietly lie down, retaining arms
and equipment, and bivouac for the night. The silence of death
prevailed. The long line of dark figures on the open field, silhouetted
against the star-lit sky, and the stillness that reigned, reminded one
more of stereopticon views thrown upon canvas, than of the presence of
eighteen hundred fighting men, stealing upon their prey.
It was not a minute after the whispered command to lie down was
given till all except a few selected for duty on outposts had stretched
their weary limbs on the dewy grass.
The outposts were placed around the main body, some few hundred
yards distant, most of them in the direction of the Spanish lines. The
command was soon asleep. There was the usual number of disturbed
dreamers, and occasionally the snorer would burst out in loud and
long-drawn tones, only to be promptly kicked in the ribs by his
light-sleeping comrade. The nocturnal cigarette-smoker was prohibited
from indulging in his nightly practice, and soon there was a long mass
of sleeping humanity, not a sign of wakeful eyes to be seen.
As sudden as the flash of lightning the woods in the direction of
the Spanish lines was filled with yells, screams, and the heavy falling
of feet in rapid retreat.
The brigade sprang to its feet as if each man had been lying on a
stiff spring and the whole touched off simultaneously by the pressing
of a buttonevery man with loaded and cocked rifle in hand. Then began
the low, mumbling sound of a suddenly aroused camp. The efforts of the
officers who had kept their heads to keep it down were fruitless. It
was a long line of buzzing sounds like the swarming of bees. But the
screaming and yelling continued and grew nearer.
Shouting at the top of his voice at every jump, They're coming!
they're coming! tall, lean, red-headed, and hatless, the recruit
sentry came by leaps and strides, and close at his heels a half-starved
Cuban dog, playfully pursuing him, soliciting some of the hardtack in
the recruit's haversack.
It was near dawn before complete order was restored. Many eyes were
opened by that alarm raised by the panic-stricken recruit that never
again closed till closed in death.
THE CHARGE OF THE HOSPITAL CORPS.
The campaign in the Philippines against the wily Tagalo has been
replete with false alarms, owing to the prowling and sneaking nature of
the enemy, and the unearthly noises made by the animals of that
sun-scorched and water-splashed country.
There is a line of trenches and block-houses around the city of
Manila, the average distance being about two miles out from the
suburbs. This was called the firing-line. On first arriving from the
United States, regiments were sent out to occupy a part of this
position, to recuperate from the long sea voyage aboard crowded
transports, and at the same time help maintain the line of defense
around the city. Most of the newly arrived regiments were filled up
with recruits with but a few months' service; so this position afforded
the opportunity to get these men in shape for field-service.
This line of defense was the theater in which was acted the comedy
of the war. Here is where occurred the most foolish alarms and at the
same time some serious ones.
There is one famous charge (?) that occurred in a newly arrived
regiment, which was spending its first night on the Island of Luzon in
these trenches. It is known as the Charge of the Hospital Corps, and
promises to be handed down in army tradition. The gallant leader of
this daring advance was a young surgeon, recently appointed to the
regular establishment as a battalion pill-dispenser. His command
consisted of three privates and an acting steward of the Hospital
Arguing that he was fighting a savage enemy, not a party to the
Geneva Convention, and consequently would not recognize as
non-combatants the wearers of the red cross, he succeeded in having a
requisition honored by the ordnance officer for five big forty-five
caliber six-shooters, with which he armed himself and command.
This embryo warrior and his gallant following were tickled with
their toys, and flourished them most dangerously during the day, vowing
death and destruction to any thousand Filipinos who would dare to face
them and their death-dealing weapons.
The doctor, or Pills, as the men called him, established his
battalion hospital in a ravine in a break in the trenches. It was a
lonesome place. Night came on, and the corps men retired to sleep their
first night on Luzon's soil; but their sleep was not easy. Visions of
gore and midnight slaughter passed in review before their drowsy eyes;
and just as a black-faced little rebel had them by the throat and was
plunging a great long knife into their vitals, they would awaken with a
start, feel under their heads for their fire-arms, to reassure
themselves, pat the trusty weapon a time or two, call it good old
Bets, and again doze off to sleep, only to repeat the performance.
One hungry, gaunt-looking fellow, who his comrades said had a head
that would fit in a regulation full-dress helmet, could stand the
nervous strain no longer. The noises that came from the little thickets
of bamboo and cogonales into his little tepee were more than he could
stand. He had listened to them in his mind, enlarged, multiplied, and
magnified them in his own imagination, till he was sure the whole
insurrectionist army was quietly, inch by inch and foot by foot,
slipping down upon him. Up he jumped, revolver in hand, gripping the
handle and gritting his teeth, and proceeded to investigate the sounds.
Approaching within a few yards of a thick bunch of trees not far in
front of the hospital tent, he halted to listen. Yes, they were there
beyond all doubt. He could almost see them crawling toward him; a
hundred dusky demons upon all fours, with long, glistening, razor-edged
knives held between their shining teeth. They must be stopped. With a
loud voice, trembling with fear, he challenged: If you're an American,
for God's sake say so, or I'll shoot. The noise made no reply, and the
shooting began promptly as promised.
The valiant Pills landed on his feet in the middle of his tent,
rallying his men, and was soon leading them to the attack. Bang! bang!
biff! bang! rang out the loud-mouthed Colt's revolvers. A moment later
the Krags began to pop to the right and left, the alarm traveling up
and down the line with lightning-like rapidity. Soon six miles of
grim-looking rifle muzzles were pointing toward the innocent nothing to
the front, a volley occasionally resounding through the midnight air at
an imaginary enemy.
Dawn found Pills searching the field of battle for dead and
wounded. He discovered numerous bullet-holes in his tent and medicine
chests, made by 45-caliber balls; and, lying near the place where the
gaunt, hungry-looking corps man first fired upon the enemy, he found
poor Paterno, Company E's monkey mascot, with a short and bloody
tail, that member having been lost in the battlea penalty for his
PRIVATE TIMMONS AND THE CARABAO.
Timmons was a recruit private in an infantry regiment, and, when
stationed in a temperance community, was a mighty good soldier. True to
his steel, he met death in the general advance from San Fernando, in
August, 1899. He was one of those jolly, good natured fellows who can
sit in the mud and crack jokes, and sing standing in water to his
arm-pits. And what is better, he possessed the happy faculty of
imparting his exuberance to his long-faced, homesick, and downcast
fellow-privates. His temper was as smooth as a becalmed sea, and seldom
was it that a ripple passed over the smooth surface. There was just one
word in the soldier's vocabulary that would disturb him, but this word
never failed to bring on a typhoon. This innocent yet magic word was
carabao, the name of the water buffalo, the beast of burden that
formed the American cracker line in the Philippines before the
introduction of the ever-faithful mule. This is how it came to have
such a terror for poor Timmons:
His regiment was undergoing its training on the firing-line, and
his company furnished twelve men daily for the lunette, a kind of
detached bastion about 800 yards in front of the line in the direction
of the enemy. This was a lonesome detail. Just twelve men to man an
isolated little fort, the enemy known to be in great numbers not more
than four or five miles away. It came Timmons' turn to go on this duty
for, the first time. The detail, in command of a sergeant, marched out
at sundown and relieved the men who had been on the previous
twenty-four hours. The old guard turned over its orders and at the same
time reported having seen some armed gugus in the direction of the
Mariquina River, which ran in front of the lunette about a thousand
yards away, the intervening space being an open rice-field.
The old guard marched off and the new one on, throwing off their
blanket-rolls and making themselves as comfortable for the night as
possible. But two men at a time were required to remain awake and
Night came on as black as the enemy they were fighting, and with it
all the breath-stopping and hair-raising noises that the myriads of
flying and crawling animals of that war-ridden country produces. There
was the vantriloquest bird, gifted with a voice that is the essence
of all that is frightful and hideous in soundsforty demons running
amuck and coming your direction.
In painful harmony was the low, deep tones the chuck me, whose
vocal cords are tuned after the left end of the key-board of the pipe
organ. Then there were slimy lizards, chameleons, tree-frogs,
scorpions, and wonderful bugs, all with voices peculiar to their
families. There were lightning-bugs as big as jack-o'-lanterns, and
tarantulas with round and velvety bodies, and a spread of legs that
would cover a frying-pan. All this and the known presence of a sneaking
enemy was enough to test the nerves of veterans, so its effect on
recruits can easily be imagined.
Timmons' time to remain awake and go on post duty arrived. Jones,
who called himself an old vet, because he had served in Cuba, went on
with Tim, as his comrades called him. Their turn began at midnight.
The Sergeant, who had posted them, was soon lying down taking a
non-commissioned officer's sleepone eye closed, the other on the
qui vive. Both sentries were on the alert. Many suspicious noises
came to their ears, and imaginary murderous-looking niggers were seen
lurking in the grass, behind rice-dykes, and lying crouching on the
ground. If Tim discovered something that he was certain was a
death-dealing boloman, he would tiptoe over to Jones and hold a council
of war. That worthythe old vetwould dispense nerve-soothing
whispers in his ears, and he would return to his post a less nervous
The time dragged wearily on, and finally arrived when they were
about to be relieved. The blackest of the night was on. Jones left his
post to arouse the Sergeant and acquaint that official with the hour.
Tim was now alone. A slowly moving figure loomed up before him not
fifty yards away. Then came the sounds of heavy tramping feet. The
sounds were rapidly drawing nearer. There, before his dilated eyes,
dimly outlined, and within pistol-shot, was the enemy in great numbers,
who would soon close around the little garrison and murder them to a
man. What should he do? His orders were strict about giving undue
alarms, but if he wasted a moment longer, there would be no time for
defense. If he left his post to arouse his comrades, the enemy would
rush upon them. No. He would give the alarm by firing and one dead
Filipino would be the result of it. He nervously raised his rifle, took
deliberate aim at the advancing figures, and fired. There was a
sickening thud, a heavy fall, and low, deep moans. The men were aroused
and manned the fort. The Sergeant ordered a general fusillade. The
regiment was in the trenches in a moment and remained there till dawn.
The first light of day revealed, lying in a great pool of his own
blood, Big Bill, the bull buffalo that drew the headquarters
water-cart, who had been out grazing that night.
AN ENCOUNTER WITH BOLOMEN.
A True Narrative of a Personal Experience in the Philippines.
By a Lieutenant of Infantry.
The organized bands of Filipinos known as bolomen are so called
because their principal weapon is the long, broad-bladed,
vicious-looking knife called the bolo, with which they do their deadly
work. They make many boasts of their prowess and skill in taking human
life, and one of their proudest feats is to sever the head from the
body with a single blow. Our men in the Philippines who are on detached
duty, or who for any cause are away from their commands, are frequently
attacked by these men.
As a rule, bolomen do not carry rifles, although many carry
revolvers when they can get them. Their work is to kill at short range.
With the stealth of a cat they slip up on their victim, strike him a
deadly blow, and then beat a quick retreat to their own lines.
Many of the insurgent officers and soldiers carry bolos, but the
genuine bolomen are an organized body belonging to Aguinaldo's army,
who have as distinct a work to do as the different branches of our own
service. Their work is solely to surprise the unsuspecting outpost,
officer or soldier, to dispatch him and run away before the deed has
Their feats are commonly committed in the darkness of the night Then
their cat-like tread serves them well. Stealing noiselessly along
through banana groves and bamboo thickets, cane-fields and cogonales,
they approach within a few feet of their intended victim and lie for a
few moments watching him as a snake eyes a defenseless bird.
During the months of June and July, 1899, my regiment was doing duty
at San Fernando, about forty miles from Manila. The companies of the
regiment took turns on outpost, going on this duty every fourth day and
being in reserve on the outpost line the day preceding that on which
they went on post. This gave the companies two nights in houses in town
and two on the line out of every four.
My company did duty on what was known as the north line, extending
from San Fernando a full mile toward Angeles. The entire distance was
an almost impenetrable jungle of bamboo and banana trees, intertwined
and interwoven with vines, thorn-bushes, and many other forms of
To the front was an immense cane-field, with a paddy-field beyond.
The cane was from five to seven feet high. Along this deep fringe of
bamboo and matted undergrowth, and near the edge next to the
cane-field, our pickets, or Cossack posts, as they are properly called,
were stationed at distances ranging from one hundred and fifty to two
hundred and fifty yards apart, one corporal and six privates at each
On the tenth of July my company went out in reserve, and early in
the morning relieved the company there on the outpost line, Nothing
took place during the day except the usual exchange of shots with the
insurgent pickets. Most officers when in command of companies on this
duty visit their sentries some time during the night, in order to
reassure their men, and to see that they are well-instructed and on the
alert. I have always followed this practice.
I started on a tour of inspection at about 9:30, visiting first the
post on the railroad on the left of the line, then taking the other
posts in succession down toward the right It had rained in torrents for
several days, and wide, deep pools of water had formed everywhere along
the way. Because of these pools, I was wearing high-topped rubber
boots. Shortly after ten o'clock I arrived at the next to the last post
on the line, which was about two hundred and fifty yards farther on.
Between these two pickets was the most dense growth of bamboo trees and
banana stalks to be found in that neighborhood, and the entire distance
was a continuous chain of diminutive lakes. There was a path leading
through this net-work from one picket to the other.
It was drizzling. The immense spreading leaves of the banana and
thickly matted foliage of the bamboo formed a canopy that shut out
every trace of light. No dungeon was ever darker than this path.
Notwithstanding the gloomy surroundings caused by the death-like
stillness, the darkness of the night, the water dripping from the
overhanging vegetation and completely saturating my clothes, my
occasionally colliding with a thorny shrub, or tripping over a
low-hanging vine, I was in excellent spirits. I groped along the
cave-like way, humming in a low tone The Girl I Left Behind Me, and
had reached a point about midway between the pickets. Then, although I
could see no one, I suddenly became aware of the presence of a human
I stopped as if I had been struck dead, and strained my eyes. There,
just in front of me, near enough for me to grasp with my hands, I saw
the dim outlines of a short, thick-set man. Was he one of my men? No,
for no man would dare to leave his post at that time of night. Should
he be discovered in such an act, the penalty for his crime would be
Hello! Who are you? I said. There was no answer from the man;
instead, I saw his right hand quickly strike out from his shoulder, and
the flash of a glistening blade. I threw up my left hand, and our
wrists met in heavy collision; but his blow was stronger than my ward,
for I felt a sharp sting in my face just below the left eye, and a
moment later the warm blood trickled down my cheek. With my left hand I
grabbed his wrist just below the thumb and gripped it like grim death,
but he was not to be beaten thus. I felt the sinews of his wrist rise,
and the grinding of the muscles, and then the same stinging sensation
that I had felt in my face I now felt in my wrist.
I could count the cuts as he made themone, two, threeall on my
left wrist and hand, and then the blood began to run down my forearm,
as our hands were elevated.
This occupied but a second of time. He raised his left hand, and I
saw another flash. What it was I knew not, but I immediately grasped
his wrist and tried to force this hand behind him. Before I could do
so, he fired, and the ball passed through my left boot-leg. The muzzle
was so close to me that the force of the powder almost threw me to the
earth. I ground my teeth in a desperate effort to force his hand behind
him. My left hand, cut and bleeding, still held his right. Now forcing
the fight with the revolver, he tried vainly to raise it and shoot me
in the body. Throwing my whole strength on my right arm, I succeeded in
forcing back his revolver hand. At this he began to shoot at my feet.
The first shot missed, but he immediately followed it with another.
It struck, for my right foot felt as if it had been hit with a club,
and grew numb. Four more shots came in quick succession. One of
themwhich I cannot tellstruck the same foot and broke the bridge,
as I knew from the immediate loss of strength in that member.
Now all was quiet. We stood with our heaving chests touching. I felt
his breath in my face, and his heart palpitating against my breast.
There was a lull in the battle. I felt safe, as far as the revolver was
concerned, for he had emptied that, but the deadly knife was still
poised over my head. My life depended entirely on the strength of my
wounded hand and wrist, which were holding the knife away from my
Now I remembered that bolomen never travel alone. That he had
comrades within a few feet of me, who were trying to distinguish
between us, so that they might be sure that their knifes should enter
my back instead of his, I was certain. My flesh cringed at the thought;
I could almost feel the cold steel enter my body.
It was time for me to force the fight. My right foot was badly
wounded, but the knee was yet unhurt. With this I struck the man a blow
in the abdomen, and quickly followed it with another. It was evident
that he was weakening. He again made a desperate effort to free the
hand which held the bolo, but my endeavor to keep him from succeeding
was greater. I drew back the right leg as far as I could, doubled up
the knee, and, with all the strength that I possessed, drove it again
into his abdomen.
The effect was marvelous; his muscles relaxed, his struggles grew
feeble, and his breathing was badly interrupted. This was the decisive
part of the fight, and I grasped the opportunity. With all my might I
threw him from me. He fell among the bushes, and was lost in the
blinding darkness. I drew my revolver from the scabbard, and fired in
the direction in which I had thrown him. This shot was answered by a
cry which told me he had been hit.
At this moment I heard the twigs breaking and the leaves rustling
behind me. Like a flash I faced about and fired at the approaching
figuresmy assailant's fellow-bolomen. The effect of the shot was to
cause a heavy rustling and the sound of many feet in rapid retreat.
I had been careless enough to come into this jungle with but two
loads in my revolver, and these had been fired. When I began to reload,
my right foot gave way and I fell. Lying on the ground, I loaded and
fired again. The groans of my wounded enemy were getting farther away,
and the sounds finally died in the direction of the Filipino line.
I hobbled to my nearest outpost, where one of the men bound my
wounds, and later I received the attention of a medical officer. I
believe myself to be the first American soldier to live to tell the
tale of his fight with bolomen.From Youth's Companion of February
A Midnight Reconnaissance in the Philippines.
Carabao Bill, from his dress and manner, might be said to be a
typical United States Army officer. His figure would probably fall
short of the standard, but he was no less strong and healthy than his
brother knights of the sword. His strength was more to be compared to
that patient animal after which he was nick-named, the mighty carabao,
but he lacked the grace of form and dignity of bearing that the average
wearer of shoulder-straps in Uncle Sam's army is supposed to possess.
The soldiers said he waltzed like a cow and walked like a
camelmoving one corner at a timewhich was indeed a graphic way of
describing his movements.
William Van Osdol was his name, and he was a second lieutenant in
the th Infantry. After several months of hard service in the
Philippines he earned for himself the unenviable sobriquet of Carabao
Bill, because his awkward movements, ox-like strength, and slow but
sure gait were so much like the sturdy animal that formed our cracker
line that that name could not but suggest itself.
In Cuba he served as a sergeant in one of the regular infantry
regiments. He was the proud possessor of a bayonet scabbard, several
times punctured by Mauser bullets, which he had worn in the charge up
San Juan Hill. It was for gallant and meritorious conduct during this
fight that won for him the recommendation for commissioned rank; and it
was but shortly after he had returned from fever-ridden Santiago, when
in the hospital at Montauk Point, that the much-coveted document,
making him an officer in the United States Army, reached him.
Van Osdol was a born fighter. The set of his lower jaw and the quick
snap of his light blue eyes left nothing to be guessed at on that line.
While he was not a picturesque nor dashing officer, yet his heavy
growth of fiery red locks was ever to be seen in the front of the fight
and seldom under cover. An Irish corporal, who had once fallen a victim
to his disciplining, declared, The sorril-topped lootenint hain't
brains 'nuff to git scart, but this was not true. While not a man
renowned for brilliancy of intellect, yet he was a level-headed thinker
whose judgment was always good on minor matters. He was frequently
selected to conduct scouting expeditions where good horse sense and
nerve were much more expedient than a superabundance of gray matter
abnormally developed with theories of fine tactics and maneuvers.
When the th Infantry, to which he belonged, was doing duty at a
convent some fifty or sixty miles from Manila, on the Manila and
Dagupan Railroad, the Tagalos gave the usual annoyance. Their
threatenings and feeble attacks came mostly from the west, but as the
rainy season approached the torrential showers soon flooded that
vicinity, so they changed their base of harassing to a village of
bamboo and nipa palm huts on the further side of a river running
parallel to the American outpost line on the south, about five thousand
yards away. The intervening ground was taken up with rice paddies,
banana groves, cogonales, or tall grass, and occasionally a bamboo
The rebels had no sooner occupied this new position, than they began
to entrench, take possession of the huts, and make themselves
comfortable in other ways, giving promise to make matters lively for
our troops the rainy season.
They were frequently reënforced, greater activity was seen among
them, and their boldness was unprecedented. Some days, when the
tropical sun was beating down its sweltering rays, and our men were
seeking every vestige of shade, the pesky little Filipinos would
suddenly emerge into the open rice-field, deploy into line of
skirmishers, and advance in a most threatening manner toward the
The outposts would become alarmed and call for the regiment to
support them. Out the companies would rush at double-time, amid
swearing and sweat. When the deployments were made and all was ready to
receive the dusky foe, he would suddenly face about before he had
approached within effective rifle-range. The regiment's orders were to
hold the convent; consequently the enemy could not be pursued beyond
the outposts' limits.
One morning during the latter part of July, 1899, it was observed
that there were no signs of the festive gugus in the accustomed
place. No smoke; no outposts; no soldiers in short white pants and wide
brimmed sombreros. This was an unusual thingfor, while Aguinaldo's
men were never known to hold a position against the mad attacks of our
boys in blue, the voluntary abandonment of their works was an
Treachery, or the same thing, Filipino strategy, was strongly
suspected. They were playing some game, and the senior officer at the
convent determined to learn the trump.
Just as the shades of evening began to gather, on the day when the
Tagalos made their mysterious disappearance, Carabao Bill, who was in
command of his company on outpost, and had it quartered in a church
which had once been held by the natives and abandoned under pressure,
turned out his men to do the daily police. While he was busy
reprimanding a private, who was noted for laziness and shirking his
duty, and had just been adding to his reputation for such, a battalion
adjutant, a tall and handsome fellow with a slight partiality for legs,
came dashing up on a native pony. His knees were bent and elevated
toward his chin in order that his pedal extremities might not collide
with the frail limbs of his steaming mount.
Owing to the shortness of his stirrup-straps, he dismounted rather
ungracefully, but soon gathered himself into military shape and smartly
saluted Bill, saying: Sir, the Commanding Officer presents his
compliments and directs that at twelve o'clock to-night you take a
non-commissioned officer and fourteen privates of your company and make
a thorough reconnaissance of the grounds between here and the enemy's
position on the south, and determine if possible their whereabouts,
strength, and probable intention; and report to him immediately on your
His message delivered, the dashing young officer remounted and rode
rapidly back to headquarters.
Van Osdol slowly ran his freckled fingers through his auburn locks,
and gave a shrill whistle, his signal for his first sergeant to report
to him. That worthy of multitudinous duties immediately appeared and
received orders to arrange the detail for the reconnaissance duty.
The night was blindingly dark. There was a density to the darkness
that almost excluded the penetration of thought. The mind could pass no
farther than the immediate vicinity. Since the sun had set a thick
layer of clouds had lined the canopy of heaven, veiling the winks of
the brightest stars and the benignant light of the moon.
Sergeant Schriner, with soldierly punctuality, reported with the
detail just as the sentry over the rifle-stacks at the church called in
a subdued voice the hour of twelve.
The little party promptly started on its hazardous mission, feeling
its way through the matted bamboo jungles fringing the stationthe
officer leading, the sergeant and men following in goose formation,
single-file; each keeping in touch with the person before him.
The advance was slow, for during the day the border around the place
was almost impenetrablethe darkness served to multiply the
It was a night to try men's souls. Bolo parties frequently lay in
ambush in these places of perfect hiding, and suddenly pounced upon the
unsuspecting Americanos, and cut them to pieces before a hand could be
raised in defense.
Or there was the possibility of receiving a volley at close range;
for it was known that at night the Tagalos invariably approached nearer
our lines. Since they had so mysteriously disappeared during the day,
there was a strong probability that they would take up a new position
that night. Where, no one knew.
Lonely huts, amid vines and bamboo, that had been deserted when the
place fell into our hands, were frequently passed. A half-starved dog,
that had refused to follow its master from home, set up a mournful howl
that tended to chill the marrow in the bones. The very silence was
appalling. The breaking of a twig was as the discharge of a rifle. The
lightest footfall resounded in the distance. To the party it seemed
their shoes were of iron and the earth a ringing plate of steel.
After a hard struggle with Nature's obstacles, and many halts to
locate and determine the cause of suspicious noises, the little band
finally emerged from the dense undergrowth into an open field. Almost
simultaneously with the entrance into this open space there was a
slight break in the clouds, and through the crevice the moon and stars
gave sparingly of their light.
The men were now deployed into line of skirmishers, and moved slowly
and cautiously forward. There was just sufficient light to cause the
imagination to see an enemy behind every rice-dyke or bunch of grass.
The advance was made to within 150 paces of the river, when a halt
was made. A vague outline of the village and trenches could be seen.
Someone saw the dim figure of a rebel sentry. All eyes were turned on
the spot, but he remained as fixed as the stars.
Van Osdol decided to go alone to investigate the trenches and
village, for in doing this there would be less danger of detection.
The Sergeant remained behind to take command of the detachment. The
intrepid officer, with revolver in hand, went on his way toward the
river. His advance was slowonly a few feet at a time, then he would
stop, lower his head to the ground, and listen intently.
Now the trenches loomed up before him not more than fifty yards
away. He strained his eyes in effort to see some signs of a living
occupant, but nothing save the fanning of the giant leaves of the
banana, and the waving of the tall grass under the gentle breeze of the
south wind, was seen to move. There was reigning the stillness of
deaththat awful omen of lurking danger. A few feet further he wormed
his way, now crawling on all fours. Just in front of him was a
foot-bridge across the river, made of a single stringer of poles and a
hand-rail with which to balance the body.
Over this bridge he began to cross. Not more than two short steps
were taken when he heard a low, whistling sound. He halted instantly,
squatted on his haunches beneath the hand-rail, and listened, as fixed
as a statue. The whistling was repeated; this time nearer, but the
Was it the signal of an alarmed sentry, or was it one of the many
nocturnal noises which the Island of Luzon produces?
Another low whistlethis time nearer; then the speaking of that
instinct that tells us of the presence of human beings in the blackness
of the night.
He slowly faced about. There within four feet of him, crouching upon
the ground near the water's edge, was a man with a rifle in his hand.
Quick as a flash he threw the muzzle of his revolver in his
faceremembering his surroundings, he never fired or uttered a word.
Struggling between a whisper and a low talk, breathless through,
fear, came the words of Private Holmes: For God's sake, don't shoot,
Lieutenant; it's me.
The officer lowered his revolver and beckoned the man to draw
With his mouth to the Lieutenant's ear, the soldier told that the
men left behind had seen a number of moving figures in the village and
trenches, not twenty-five yards away from where they were then
crouching; and that he had been sent to warn his officer of his danger.
Here is where it tried the steel of Carabao Bill.
The two kept their positions, scarcely daring to breathe lest they
be heard. A plan of operations soon formed in the mind of the
resourceful young officer. He whispered to Holmes to return and have
the Sergeant hold his men in readiness, with magazines filled, for an
emergency should he need them.
Before Holmes had covered half the distance between the Lieutenant
and the men, there was the sound as the cocking of a rifle; a second
later came the flash and sharp report of a Mauser. True to his
training, the soldier fell to the ground and lay motionless.
By the light of the flash Van Osdol saw the black face of the
Filipino sentry who had fired.
Soon began that mumbling, chattering, rattling noise that an alarmed
camp alone produces. The shrill commands of the little officers in
frantic endeavor to steady their men, the patter of many shoeless feet,
the breaking of rifle-stacks, and the clanking of bayonets and swords,
made a medley of camp music that was hideous to hear.
The alarm was soon quieted. The aroused men returned to their sleep,
and soon all was again quiet. The sentry who had fired at Holmes made
loud and emphatic assertions in the twangy language of the Tagalo of
having seen something at which to fire, but he was disbelieved, his
belt removed, deprived of his rifle, and another man put in his place.
This was pleasant for the squatting American officer on the bridge
After patiently waiting in deep suspense for more than half an hour,
he noticed the substituted sentry stand his rifle against a tree and
sit down. A moment later his head fell forward and he was asleep.
Determined to learn more of the enemy's position and strength,
Carabao Bill, inch by inch, silently slipped across the bridge and to
the edge of the trench, a few yards to the left of the sleeping sentry.
Here he made a rapid survey of the insurgent camp and position.
Hundreds of them were lying stretched in sleep behind the shelter of
His mission accomplished, he slowly turned to the unconscious
sentry, thinking to secure the Mauser rifle as a trophy of the trip;
but he had no more than grabbed it when the man awoke with a start,
and, like a flash, whipped out a shining bolo. Before the native had
time to use his weapon, Bill raised the rifle above his head, and,
with a powerful blow that resounded through the midnight air, sent him
reeling over the trench among his slumbering companions. Then, with a
shout that would tend to raise the dead, he began to empty his revolver
into the rapidly awakening rebel soldiers below.
Quick-witted Sergeant Schriner had no sooner heard the blow of the
rifle and the shout of his commanding officer, till he had taken in the
He gave the order for a charge; and this small band of Uncle Sam's
men rushed like demons, screaming and yelling like maniacs, toward the
little bridgethen over it, and began to pour an awful, close-range
fire into the confused mass of humanity beyond the trench.
The effect was magical. The drowsy enemy, taken unawares, routed and
disorganized, beat a disgraceful retreat. In vain their officers tried
to make them stand; but the thought uppermost in every man's mind was
how to get to a place of security in the quickest possible time.
In less time than it takes to tell it; there were no Filipinos on
the scene of action, excepting the dead and wounded. The number of
these, considering the darkness of the night, did credit to American
The sound of retreating feet was occasionally broken by the reports
of a poorly directed volley by a few of the bolder characters, who had
the rare nerve to halt and fire at the audacious Yankees.
The situation was ridiculous. Sixteen men had charged and taken a
well-fortified position held by at least one thousand Tagalog.
The victors sat down on the bank of the river to talk and laugh over
the adventure. Meanwhile, the terror-stricken followers of the
misguided Aguinaldo were being rallied by their officers beyond the
range of fire. They were now aware of the inferiority in numbers of the
To capture and hold the enemy's works was not a part of Van Osdo's
instructions. Now realizing this, he decided to return and report. The
men were called together, and the start began for the return.
But the bridge! In their wild advance over that frail structure it
had been so shaken that it had fallen into the river and was washed
The stream was full to the banks and too deep to wade. Not a third
of the men could swim it with their arms and accouterments. The rebels
were every minute drawing nearer and intensifying their fire. They were
truly between fire and water. There were no boats to be had nor could
the time be taken to construct a raft of bamboo poles.
On came the howling, revengeful, murderous black devils, frenzied by
their recent defeat by this inferior party. The leaders were
frantically waving their swords over their heads, and shouting words of
encouragement to their men; offering rewards to the first to reënter
Our diminutive army was now on the defensive. They leaped into the
ditch and began to take pot-shots at the more daring of the rapidly
approaching mass, determined, to hold the place or die in the
attemptindeed, there was no alternative.
They succeeded in arresting the van.
The enemy in turn sought shelter and began a fire that had results,
for two Americans were soon rendered hors de combat; the trench
not affording as good shelter from the side from which the insurgents
were approaching as on the other side.
This long-range duel kept up for many minutes. Ammunition grew
scarce and was finally exhausted, Van Osdol alone retaining loads in
From the slackening of the American fire, the rebels soon became
aware of their scarcity of cartridges, and again began a mad rush for
Nothing remained for the bold little band to do but to meet them
with the point of the bayonet and sell their lives at a precious price.
The unhurt members of the detachment rallied around their gallant
leader with bayonets fixed. Now the foremost of the wildly rushing
horde was within a hundred yards.
A brilliant thought struck Sergeant Schriner. He ran forward,
grasped a Mauser near one of the rebels who had fallen when the
trenches were taken, undid the belt of the lifeless owner, buckled it
around his own waist, and returned to his comrades. All followed his
example. With their own arms and ammunition the advance of the
blood-thirsty enemy was again checked. With the newly acquired arms and
ammunition the brave little band inflicted a decided injury to their
would-be slayers. Now every shot was expended with the greatest
Again the American fire slackened, and again the stubborn
insurrectos rushed forward. At last the recently acquired belts were
emptied. There was now no further hope.
With renewed shouting, and rending the air with their hideous
screams, the twice-checked enemy came madly on. Once more the defenders
rallied to meet their death together.
On a sudden the yells seemed a hundred times multiplied, and from
the rear as well as front. Had they been surrounded? To the rear the
shouts were rapidly drawing nearer, but it was not the sharp and broken
yell of the Tagaloit was the familiar Yankee yell; that invincible,
gugu"-terrorizing Yankee yell.
Five hundred brave defenders of the stars and stripes had heard the
first firing, when the trenches were taken, and immediately started to
the rescue of their comrades.
Upon his return, Carabao Bill reported that he found the enemy.
PATERNO, THE DISGRACED MASCOT.
Ostracism in Monkey Society.
There is a certain analogy between the Chinaman's pigtail and the
prehensile appendage of that very astute little animal, the monkey, for
the proud possessors of either of these grotesque physical adornments
lose social caste the moment they are bereft of them. That there are
reasons to believe that the tail of the monkey is his credentials to
the polite society of his race the following incident will serve to
One day in May, 1899, when one of our infantry regiments which had
been ascending the Rio Grande, in the Island of Luzon, in pursuit of
the wily and festive Filipino, had halted to rest, it was decided to
have an exhibition of company mascots. Each company had a monkeyan
even dozen of them all told. There were Pat and Mike, who proudly
wore strips of billiard-table cloth about their necks; and Aguinaldo
and Paterno, named respectively for the leader and brains of the
Tagalo insurrection. Aguinaldo wore with dignity a little tin sword
by his side that one of the men of his company had made from a salmon
can, while Paterno looked gay and world-wise in a ballet skirt
ingeniously contrived by a company tailor from a bit of red
mosquito-bar. The others all had names, most of them for some
distinguished military commander to whom they were supposed to bear
some facial resemblance.
The show was a decided success. Every contestant put aside his
work-a-day tricks, and performed those only that were intended for gala
days. Aguinaldo was a sure winner from the first, for he had learned
to draw his sword, wave it dramatically over his head, cheer for a few
seconds in monkey talk, then break and dash to the rear. Paterno was
an easy candidate for second honors. He gave a giddy dance and looked
But pride goeth before a fall. It was decided to let the mascots
have a social gathering. They were brought into a ring formed by
grinning soldiers. All went well for a moment or two. They grinned,
caressed, and made merry. Just in the very heights of the ecstacies, a
playful young monk, that had been exchanging sheep's eyes with
Paterno, in a fit of playfulness made a grab for the latter's tail,
but lo! there was none. The news spread like the incoming of amigos
after the capture of a Filipino town. A damper fell upon the meeting.
All scorned the maimed fellow with that frosty bearing that a reigning
belle bestows upon a promising débutante, or the monkey family
toward their tailless fellow-monks.
The disgraced animal begged and entreated for further notice, and a
renewal of the general good time that had been so unceremoniously ended
by the recent discovery, but his solicitations were in vainnone
condescended to again notice him.
With Paterno, patience at last ceased to be a virtue. Knowing that
the playful young monk who had made the discovery caused his downfall,
he looked for a moment at that guileless-appearing creature. The
expression of his face rapidly changed from a look of entreaty to that
of ferociousness. With a vicious bound, he pounced upon his enemy,
clawing, tearing, and biting. The other members of this solemn
gathering simply separated the belligerents, none daring to do harm to
the socially ostracised fellow.
Finally, giving up the struggle, Paterno withdrew from the crowd.
In the mêlée he had lost his skirt. He looked long and pitifully
at his fellow-mascots who had so suddenly turned against him. Great
teardrops gathered in his eyes and trickled down his hairy cheeks.
Raising his head, he spied a bamboo thicket in the distance. With a
wild yell, he sprang through the line of sympathetic soldiers and made
for the jungle.
Company E had had their last sight of Paterno, their tailless