The Conservative (Nebraska City, Neb.) 1898-1902, August 16, 1900, Page 8, Image 8

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

    8 Conservative *
It must have been about 0 o'clock for
I hnd just finished cleaning up the galley -
loy when a small stenin launch caine
gliding up. The stars and stripes floated
from her bow. Under her canopy sat
a largo man dressed in white with a
largo Panama hat pulled down over his
eyes. Ho was inclined to bo stout and
the way ho came up the ladder gave one
the impression that ho was well satisfied
with himself and his present condition.
Smiling blandly , ho shook hands with
the commanding officer , talked a few
minutes and left , taking several officers
with him. Government officials , appar
ently , have an abundance of time , for
he did not coino again until the third
day. Wo were all in agony to go
ashore. Everyone was sick and tired of
the old ocean tramp. Wo left the ship
in several large launches. I remember
leaving in the second 0110. After run
ning shoreward a couple of miles , she
passed among hundreds of small boats
on which were houses made from palm
leaves. Then she ran along by an old
stouo wall that was cracked in many
places and green with ago , and over the
top protruded a long row of queer
shaped brass cannon. I hoard some one
say wo were in the Pasig river. On the
left side was a stouo pier where wo dis
embarked , every one in high spirits.
I will never forget that moment ; how
good it felt to have firm mother earth
under my feet once more.
The regiment was halted in front of a
low stouo building which looked as if it
had stood for two centuries. Travel
ling rations and ammunition were
issued , each man receiving one hundred
rounds. It began to look like war. The
streets were full of natives watching us
curiously from the corners of their little
yellow eyes. Some had oranges and
cigarettes for sale. At the end of the
block was a narrow railway and the
strangest cars I ever saw ; coaches with
seats like church pews and a door at the
end of each seat ; the flat cars wtre not
much longer than a centre table. We
lay around there all that day , smoking
black Manila cigarettes and wondering
what the next move would bo. Towards
evening more cars came up , drawn by a
tiny arrangement about ono third the
size of an ordinary locomotive , which
made about fifteen miles an hour. Into
the coaches we were ordered. Our bag
gage was placed upon the flat cars ,
there was a great squeaking and jerking
and the seventeenth-century engine be
gan to move. We soon left the suburbs
of Manila and started down a beautiful
valley. The heat of the day was over
and the air was heavy with the sweet
sickening frngrauce of a tropical growth.
On either side were low green ranges of
mountains. Several of us climbed on
top the cars and , as far as the eye could
reach were waving fields of yellow
rice. In ono place I saw a man plowing
with a forked stick and another harvest
ing Paddy with a bolo knife.
Thou wo stopped at a place called
Calocoou where coal was taken on.
One native stood on the tender , while a
long line of others passed the coal up in
small baskets. There were deserted
rifle pits all about. In one of these I
found a canteen inado from a bamboo
polo and further on a pair of faded red
trousers with a great rent in one leg.
For mouths the Filipinos held these out
posts until driven back by the First Ne
braska Volunteers. The engine gave
several little shrieks ; wo hurried into
our places and she slowly pulled out.
Next we passed through Malabau ,
then Sauferuando where wo tried to
make some coffee , but the engineer got
in a hurry and wo had to desert coffee ,
cans and all. Every body was hungry.
By the rarest good luck I managed to
get a pie from a Ohinaman. Ho said it
was apple pie ; I found one small slice
of dried apple in the centre. I do not
know what the rest was made of. Here
and there along the track were wrecked
engines , ditched cars , ruined depots and
burning plantations. Every bridge we
crossed was patrolled by a heavy guard
of men. Things began to take on a
warlike appearance.
Then like a great veil the tropical
night settled down. Strange noises
came from the cano brakes and large
bats kept continually snapping
their teeth , flew about , while the little
creaky engine kept pounding away. It
must have been about midnight when a
man , with a lantern , came running
down the track shouting "Bridge out !
bridge out ! " We all jumped off. The
companies soon got together. Then the
order came "Fours left , column left ,
march. " Several natives came up with
bull carts and began loading up with
baggage. On one of these I climbed ,
the driver cracked his whip and we
started. The caribou walked about
half a milo an hour and lay down in
every water hole ho came to. On and
on we went but never came up with the
boys. At last I became worried , so
taking the driver by the shoulder , I
yelled "Saldado , " the only Spanish
word I knew. But he only went the
slower. Picking up a tent pole I shook
it at him , at the same time repeating
"Saldado. " The effect was wonderful.
In less time than it takes to tell it , he
had turned the cart about and , in not
more than twenty minutes , drove up to
the regiment. I will always believe that
fellow was trying to take me , baggage
and all , into the rebel lines , not a mile
Everything was confusion , a fine rain
had begun to fall and the boys were
trying to put up their dog tents in the
slippery sandy mud. They said wo were
going to bo attacked and half of the
bunch were thoroughly frightened.
Pretty soon an officer came along , say
ing : "Any man found with a unloaded
gun will bo put under arrest , " but that
did not help matters any. Many times
since I have seen these same fellows lay
down in the mud and go to sleep with
out ever thinking of loading their rifles.
I rolled up in my blanket and tried to
sleep. I heard the guard tramping back
and forth through the weeds ; when I
dozed off ho was still splashing along. I
don't think "reveille" was blown at all
next morning , for , when I woke up , part
of the boys wore chewing away on hard
tack and canned beef , while many were
still soundly sleeping. On every side
was a beautiful country ; all seemed
peaceful and happy , eave for the
presence of guns scattered about and a
crow which kept continually cawing
from the top of a bamboo break , but the
enemy was watching us and closely at
that. All felt that there was going to
be trouble soon , but that did not seem
to worry many , for , I remember , wo
sat around the camp-fire that night ,
smoked , laughed and told stories.
A person can only truly write of what
he sees himself. I took no active part
at all in the scenes I shall now describe.
I was a non combatant , but now it rises
like a great panorama before my eyes as
if it were but yesterday that long road
to Mandaloug , the wet , sandy ground ,
the great walls of deueo bamboo , the
waving rice fields , the grey dawn how
things are burned into one's mind some
times !
The Advance.
"Reveille" was blown at half past
three a. in. There was a confused mur
mur of voices , clanking of guns and
equipment. Men groped their way
slowly into line ; a whispered command
passed down the front ; double columns
of fours swung to the right and marched
off ; the splashing of many feet was all
that could be heard , as men stumbled
their way along. With the quarter
master , I followed in the rear. On and
on we went , over rico fields and wading
deep water holes. A rifle cracked in
the distance and I heard the leaden
messenger go whistling overhead. In
the east the sky was breaking into hills
of grey.
"Fours left , halt 1" and down we lay
behind a high field of sugar cane. Have
you ever watched the coming of a storm ?
How very quiet all is. It was such that
morning. The dawn slowly came ; then
I could see beyond the cane patch to the
rice field. It was skirted by a water
way along which loomed indistinctly a
ridge of yellow sand and cut bamboo.
"Bang ! bang ! bang ! " Such was the
dawn. Then came a rattling volley and
a hundred shrieking messengers clipped
the leaves from the cane stalks and went