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Cecil Taylor, December 24, 1899

Christmas in Luzon

Fighting and Marching. Aguinaldo’s Army Dispersed. The Town of Panique .

The following letter has been received from Cecil Taylor, of the 12th Infantry in the Philippines. It is written to his father in this city and is of interest to his friends and the friends of the other New Bern men serving in the American army in Luzon.

                                                            Camiling, Luzon, P.I.

                                                                        Dec. 24th, 1899.

 “I received your letter of October 10th about 9 months ago and have just gotten time to answer it, as we have been on the move ever since November 10th. We had no fight taking Malabacat, the first town from Angeles (5 miles). Then the next day we had to go back to Angeles for rations and back with the “bull train” to Malabacat. The next morning early we started out to take Bamban where they were strongly intrenched on the opposite side of a deep and swift running mountain stream. Here under a heavy fire from our own artillery they were flanked and driven out with a good many killed and wounded, while the only loss on our side was a Lieutenant killed, and a private wounded in the 26th Vol. But it was a hot old time around there for about three hours. That was the last scrapping that was done by this regiment.

Cabas was the next town entered. We were then guarding a “bull train”, and if we didn’t have our hands full “I’ll eat my hat”, we had to build corduroy roads through almost impassable swamps and then once in a while a cart would turn and spill everything in the mud. If the situation had not been so dangerous it would have been exceedingly ludicrous but “where there’s a will, there’s a way”, and we soon had things in running order again, and got out as quickly as possible, (which was one solid day). After resting there all night we started out for a little spurt of 15 miles for Tarlac, [Emilio] Aguinaldo’s capital. Here was where we were expecting a big fight, but such was not to be, and we marched into the town without firing a shot and in columns of fours. After staying there a week, we were hustled off again to Panique. The same old tale of the “bull carts” but in a much easier style. The day that we left Panique (18 inst.) a through train was run between Manila and Dagupan. The engineering corps had done great work, repairing broken and in some cases entirely demolished [bri]dges [?] and laying about 20 miles of track in less than a month. We took the train from Panique to Bayamban, and then a seven mile march brought us to our present home. The 1st and 2nd Battalion are at Panique and only the 2nd is here, and it is though that we will remain here for some time, as we have come here for the purpose of establishing a civil government.

This town is the prettiest and largest town I have seen since I have left Manila. It is situated at the foot of the mountains on the opposite side of which is the ocean and on the other is a river about 50 yards wide and in the deepest about 3 feet, and what is better still, it is as clear as crystal. So you see it affords a good place for bathing as well as for scenery.

Very little more fighting will be done on this island and Aggie’s army is well nigh broken up. It consists at the present of only about 500 men which are broken up into small bands of “ladrones” or robbers.

This is our “menu” for Christmas dinner. Stewed corn, macaroni and cheese, fricassee chicken, eggs to order, roast beef, chow-chow, garden peas, coffee and cigars. So you see we won’t fare so bad for something to eat for Christmas after all, even though we are on the firing line.

I am expecting some letters tomorrow as a squad is going down to Bayamban this afternoon, for provisions and mail which came to Manila about a week ago, and have just gotten that far. I am now Company clerk, that’s why I am writing with pen and ink. There is to be some one in the company appointed corporal within the next few days and I stand a pretty good show for it, let us hope that I come out victorious.

                                                            Cecil Taylor,

                                                                        Co. “H”, 12th, U.S. Inf.

[New Bern Daily Journal, February 1, 1900, page 4, col. 3]


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