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Joe Brock, March 16, 1900

Among the Filipinos

Brock of the 4th Cavalry Writes of His Experiences

                                                             Maricabon, P.I. March 16, 1900

Well I have changed my location since I wrote last. Forty men were ordered out about ten days ago to take charge of some place, we did not know where and I was one of them. We came here and relieved two companies of the 49th Volunteer Infantry Regiment.

This is only a small village and we are quartered in what used to be a large convent. There is a stone wall about 6 feet high all around the building, and port holes are cut in the wall about 5 feet apart. I suppose the Spanish used them to fire through. We go out on patrol every morning mounted and every night ten men go out on foot for about an hour. A few nights ago there was a good deal of firing near here in the middle of the night and all of the men got up, thinking we were going to be attacked, but it turned out to be a party of ladrones who robbed a house killing one of the inmates and wounding two. I have heard nothing of them since.

I have a nice little bay horse now, gentle as can be, and when he has the saddle on he follows me wherever I go. We had orders to saddle up the other day and go down to the barracks about three miles from here and have our pictures taken by the biograph machine. You have read, I suppose, how it reproduces everything moving and life like. We went by 4 abreast in a trot three times, and then in platoon formation until we were just in front of the machine, and then at the orders, “right forward, fours right” we changed into fours. I’ll send you one of the pictures if I can get it.

There is a young fellow in the troop, a German, named Leslie Kreegier, he a very funny at times. The other day he came in from patrol, and said, (with his funny accent) as he was passing a group of natives one of them looked up and said, “Och, dere’s dat Lanie, I no shoot tonight.” He is the fun of the company.

I heard Numa Nunn was in San Fernando, about 45 miles from Manila. I have not seen him yet and I have not seen Cecil Taylor since we left San Francisco, he is up in the north somewhere. Does he mention any skirmish or engagement? I have not heard of their being in active service.

I think I mentioned in my last letter, it was rumored the regulars would be ordered home in June, but I hear it is not to be, and have no idea how long we will be here. One reason why I think the army is a bad place for boys, they grow so careless in their talk, and use such profane language. Drinking and gambling are the chief pastimes to break the dead monotony, and after a fellow has been a soldier, he seldom has sufficient energy to take up any kind of business. If we could be in active service all the time, we would like it better. I’ll write again in a few days.  Remember me to all.

                                                            Yours truly,
                                                            JOE W. BROCK,
                                                            Troop B, 4th Cavalry.

[New Bern Daily Journal, May 13, 1900, page 4, col. 3]


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