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Cecil Taylor, January 21, 1900

Boys in the Philippines .

Cecil Taylor Writes of the Late Campaign. In a Filipino Village .

Wood and Walker are Well.

                                                            Camiling, Luzon Island ,

                                                                        Philippine Islands ,

                                                                                    January 21, 1900

Mr. C.L. Stephens, Editor of New Bern Journal.

Dear Sir:--Your Journals were received last night and it afforded me a great deal of pleasure to get them.

I have been unable to write you for some time as we have been moving so frequently. We left Angeles on November 10th, and received no opposition whatever in going out of the town, although we were expecting it every moment. After scouring the country thoroughly we arrived at Mabalacat, about ten miles distance, which had been taken by Col. Bell with the 26th Infantry on the preceding evening. The next morning a battalion went back to Angeles for rations. Angeles being the base of supplies for the “North Lines.”

Early on the morning of the 13th of November, the 9th, 12th, and 36th Infantries with a machine gun and six 3.2 inch field pieces took Bamban which is three miles from Mabalacat.

There is a low range of mountains at this point and about three hundred yards from the base of these there is a deep and swiftly running stream. The insurgent trenches were at the very foot of the mountains, and these were what we were there to take.

We deployed on the extreme right, the 9th on the center and the 36th on the left, one battalion of the 36th occupied the high hill where they could look right down into the enemy’s trenches. These kept up a continuous firing with their rifles and machine gun while every once in awhile we could see the shrapnel bursting in the trenches. You could hardly hear yourself for the roar, but the zip-zap of the bullets overhead continued to warn us that there was death in the air. After keeping this up for an hour or more a battalion of the 36th flanked their trenches and charged. But like the Irishman’s flea, when you went to put your finger on them they were not there. They had skinned out on a train leaving a good many dead and wounded, while the only casualties on our side was a lieutenant killed and one private wounded, both the 36th.

That evening our bull train got in and we had rations galore. At two o’clock the next morning we were up again and after a hasty breakfast of hard tack, bacon and coffee, we started again, our regiment being in charge of the bull train. Well, we soon found out that we had our hands full, for we had to build a corduroy road through about a mile of an otherwise impassable swamp. But we got through all right and pulled into Capas late that afternoon only to find that the 17th Infantry was there ahead of us and the 36th had pushed on to take Tarlac.

We were up again before daylight the next morning ready for a fifteen mile march to the Rebel Capital. We had coolies to carry our rations for the roads were impassable to the bull-carts. We got there about twelve o’clock , to find that Col. Bell had entered without any opposition whatever. When he found everything so quiet there he feared a trap so throwing out a skirmish line he fired two volleys into the town but received no reply, so he marched in. Every thing had been deserted. Aguinaldo had again fled, taking his army with him.

The 12th stayed at Tarlac for three weeks when we moved again. This time to Panique, where we remained for a month, in fact two battalions are still there doing garrison duty and one here. This town is about eleven miles from the railroad, the nearest town being Bayambay, where Col. Bell made his great capture of field pieces and small arms. Rations have to be hauled from that point to this on bull-carts we pulled by carribous or water buffalo. This is about the only means we have for transporting rations across the country to towns off the railroad as there are very few government mules anywhere on the island except in Manila .

The insurgent army is a thing of the past. It has been broken and scattered until all that remains of it is a few bands of “ladrones” of thieves who prey off the poor and harass small bodies of soldiers and but seldom coming out in the open to give fight. Five hundred of them were captured at Arayat, which is about fifteen miles east of Angeles. They had several American prisoners with them, and when they saw that they were lost they tied their prisoners up to trees and shot them, killing four and wounding the remaining five. Among those wounded were Lieut. Gilmore who was captured off the “Urdanetta” in the first part of the war.

The Manila & Dagupan railroad has been repaired, the broken culverts and bridges replaced, the debris from the wrecks along the road cleared away and the burned stations being replaced, and now there is a through train from Manila to Dagupan and vice versa every day.

A civil government is being formed in all the towns and provinces and soon everything will resume the even tenor of its way and these people who have been oppressed by the haughty Dons for centuries will know what the word “Freedom” means.

The people here are as a general rule an easy-going, self-reliant people who do not seem to care for anything except a little rice, a nipa shack and a little money to play “monte.” They also enjoy music very much. Even in this small town there are three bands. We are serenaded every evening by one of them.

Don Wood and Dolph Walker are at Panique and in good health when I last heard from them.

Yours very truly,

            Cecil W. Taylor,

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

[New Bern Daily Journal, March 2, 1900 , page 4, column 3]


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