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1899-1901 Shocking, Remarkably Detailed Frontline Account of the  Philippine-American War from the Perspective of a US Soldier

1899-1901 Shocking, Remarkably Detailed Frontline Account of the Philippine-American War from the Perspective of a US Soldier

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1899-1901 Shocking, Remarkably Detailed Frontline Account of the Philippine-American War from the Perspective of a US Soldier

by Unknown Soldier In The Philippino-American War

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Poor with no dust jacket
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About This Item

Donsol, Pilar, Manila, Philippines, New York, Malta. Poor with no dust jacket. 1899-1901. Other. On offer is an unbelievable handwritten account of 19 months of action on the frontlines of the Philippine Insurrection (the Philippine-American War) between November 1899 and June 1901. An unknown American soldier writes of his experiences in a level of detail that cannot be overstated. This diary places the reader in the Philippines with shocking realism, making this diary exceedingly rare. The 139 pages of this journalled account of events have been removed from a larger document and someone has pinned these loose pages together. This writing begins at the end of a sentence penned on (presumably) November 17, 1899 and concludes half way through a sentence written on June 23, 1901. There seem to be very few missing pages from within the journal, and it reads very smoothly. The content is outstanding. The diary opens with our soldier diarist sailing from New York to the Philippines, via the British Naval base at Gibraltar and the Suez Canal. He describes his experiences sailing, sharing about a stop ashore in Malta, a Thanksgiving spent at sea, a concert enjoyed aboard the gunboat Nashville on the way to Manila and more. He arrives with his regiment in Manila on Dec 22, 1899. The troops explore Manila and meet Filipino locals. In early January of 1900, they receive orders to head to southern Luzuon on the Kobbe Expedition, which refers to General William Kobbes Expedition to Bicolandia. This expedition was in response to an urgent order from Washington to open up hemp ports of Southern Luzon due to an American hemp shortage. The problem was, the port towns were largely controlled by Filipino Insurgents. Our diarist provides absolutely remarkable detail about Americas role in defeating the Insurgents, and the tragedy of the Filipino peoples experience. Context indicates that our diarist was possibly a member of the 43rd Volunteer Infantry Regiments USV, Company A. An excerpt that provides a sense of how our soldier explains the circumstances in the Philippines follows: Jan 16th we got the order to pack up and get ready to leave [Mikata] and to proceed to the Southern part of Luzonwe were put aboard the transport Hancock which was at anchor in the Bay of ManilaAll combined we were named the Kobbe Expedition to the Southern Luzon to open up the Hemp ports and protect the natives from the Insurgents down thereOn the 21st of Jan 1900 our boats dropped anchor in a bay named the bay of Sorsogon in the Province of AlbayAll over this province there are large gangs of Insurgents holding the towns, so at many towns our boys had a hard fight with the Insurgents before they could take the towns and the gun boat had to shell many of the towns. Our Regt. Occupied nine towns. Our detachment of A and D. Co. Were taken to a town named Donsol, the gunboat Helena took us ashore from the HancockOn their arrival ashore they were met by a crowd of Philippinos. They had an order from the officers of the Insurgents it read saying that they would not haul down their colors nor surrender for three days. So our Major returned to the gunboat and a short conversation was held with the officers of the gun-boat and it was decided to prepare the gun boat for action and land all of us. If the Insurgents fired one shot at us the gun-boat would shell the townThe hills were full of fleeing people. A detail of men were sent out on the hills at once then the Insurgents fired their first shot at us. Our boys had a warm fight for 15 minutes. They found the hills well entrenched and also found one big cannon. Lots of spears, Bolas and wooden guns. They returned to town bringing in a few prisoners. A scouting party was seent and they saw a lot of Philippinos fleeing to the mountains. This town had a population of 10,000 and three hundred were Insurrectors. The next thing we done was to find ourselves some good houses to live in. Outposts were put out all around the town. A few natives came across our post for a few nights and on the 22th Jan the Insurgents paid our town a visit, setting fire to one of the big houses where our men were sleeping. Our men got out of the house without anyone being hurt. We surrounded the town fired a few volleys. Later in January our soldiers regiment goes on the first of many missions, all of which he describes in glaring detail. On this mission, the troops attempt to leave Donsol for Pilar when they run into trouble as the connecting bridge was destroyed by Insurgents. They make it to Pilar and find the town has been deserted. As they march back to Donsol, they find someone has lit the bridge ablaze: Jan 28th We had a very hard time crossing the bridge burning our shoes and legs but we got safely on the Donsol side before the bridge fell with a crash into the river. We marched onwe heard several shots from the Mauser and Remington rifles. Next we discovered a big fire and [a] call to arms and fire call was soundedThe fire of the Insurgents got heavier. Our Major gave an order not to fire. He was going out in the front of our lines. He went out with a detail of men and discovered that our town was surrounded and the hills were full of Insurgents. He fired a few volleys then he came into town. The Insurgents answered him by firing a cannon. Then the Insurgents gave a yell and started to advance and we kept quiet and let them get close to our lines. Then we got the order to commence firing and the boys opened up all around the town and we soon put the Insurgents to flight firing a few shots as they ran. Next morning we discovered a few dead Insurgents close to our lines. The Insurgents almost always carry their dead and wounded along with them in their flight Our soldier does an absolutely phenomenal job of describing not only the day-to-day in Donsol, where he spends majority of his time, but also the various missions in which he participates. His words paint a fulsome picture of the war: 21st Feb at noon our Major asked for a detachment of men to volunteer to go up the river on a scouting expedition. I along with 12 more men went out of our company and 12 out of D. Co. Along with Capt. Hart of D. Co. And our Major left Donsol in a hard paddle boat and one white boat in towOn our way up the river we could see high hills on each side and the river was very narrow. There were many Insurgents outposts in the high trees all the way up and we fired at every one we saw. We went up a distance of 8 miles before we thought of coming home as it was getting lateWe had traveled one mile on our homeward way when the Insurgents fired on us from the left hand ashore. Our men in the rear boat fired a volley into the two Insurgents and were taking good aim for a second volley when the hills fairly echoed with the yells from the Insurgents. They then opened up on the right hand side which was aimed at the white boat hitting one of our men, our companyin the head and he was killed instantly. Then we answered their shots from each of our boats and from that time until we got back to Donsol we were under the hot fire of the Insurgents, we could see the hills full of Insurgents and we had plenty to shoot at. We made every shot count. The insurgents even fired rocks at us from the high hills. More texture is added when our soldier discusses aspects of the war that dont involve active fire. Some examples follow: March 5th Gen Kobbe of the 8th Army Cor was here on a visit and he said these two companies were a very industrious lot of men and that the building of the stocade and trenches was a very sensible work, he also brought us 17 of the Battery G 3rd Artillery men and one Hotch Kiss gun for reinforcements. April 10th the mail boat was here bringing the report of Gen. Pawa [likely Jose Ignacio Paua] an Insurgent Gen in Command of the Insurgent troops through this province. He surrender to our Colonel in Legaspi [Legazpi] and was sent to the Military Prison in Manila. April 21st We took a long march across the hills in a round about manner to a town named Sevilla merely an Insurgent camp. The town was deserted on our arrival. Fires were still burning in the houses. Everything was just as they had dropped it in their flight. We passed through the town and discovered many traps laid in the roads for us. One trap was an arrow trap on each side of the path in the bushes and by pulling a strong the arrows would stick into anyone going down the path. None of their traps caught us. Our soldier writes frequently about expeditions for which he volunteers. He describes a mission to Banningaran [sic]. En route, the men captured Captain Hernandiz [sic; possibly Adriano Hernández y Dayot] and his family before being caught unprepared by the Insurgents who severely injured one of the American sargeants. On their hike back to Donsol they are again attacked by the Insurgents, this time caught off guard as they attacked from the rear. And so it goes for many more months. Our author describes the movements of the men with whom he is stationed, his commanding officers and the various wins and setbacks of both the Americans and the Insurgents. In May of 1901, our soldier and his regiment begin the process of boarding a ship to return to America. There is, of course, never a straightforward path, and there are many bumps in the road. However, our soldier does eventually board a ship and begins again to describe his journey in detail. The diary cuts off abruptly, mid-sentence, on June 23, 1901, as our soldier is describing being at sea with nothing but a sailboat in sight for miles. While we do not know our soldiers identity, we do know he was safely heading home at the conclusion of his diary. We know he was a highly motivated volunteer soldier who displayed total buy-in to the mission of the Americans in the Philippines, and we know he was a gifted writer, penning his experiences with such texture and realism that the reader feels as though they, too, have been on the front lines of a bloody, wet, miserable, war in the Philippines - fighting for America and for the displaced Philippino people, forced to flee from the Insurgents to the mountains. This journal measures 8x5 inches and contains 139 single-sided sheets. The pages were all loose so the author has pinned them together with a single round-headed fastener post. There are no covers to this journal. As a result, the first and last few pages show obvious and significant wear and tear including a large corner of the first page being completely ripped off, obstructing the text. The handwriting is quite legible. Overall Fair to Poor. ; Manuscripts; 8vo 8" - 9" tall; 139 pages .


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Katz Fine Manuscripts Inc. CA (CA)
Seller's Inventory #
1899-1901 Shocking, Remarkably Detailed Frontline Account of the Philippine-American War from the Perspective of a US Soldier
Unknown Soldier In The Philippino-American War
Book Condition
Used - Poor with no dust jacket
Quantity Available
Place of Publication
Donsol, Pilar, Manila, Philippines, New York, Malta
Date Published
0.00 lbs
Philippine-american War, Philippine Insurrection, American Volunteer Soldier, Frontline War Diary, Philippine Insurrection, Pilar, Donsol, Manila, Malta
Bookseller catalogs
19th Century Diary; 19th Century Manuscript; 20th Century Manuscript; 20th Century Diary;

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About the Seller

Katz Fine Manuscripts Inc.

Seller rating:
This seller has earned a 5 of 5 Stars rating from Biblio customers.
Biblio member since 2009
Cochrane, Alberta

About Katz Fine Manuscripts Inc.

Katz Fine Manuscripts Inc. (formerly M. Benjamin Katz Fine Books/Rare Manuscripts) is based out of both Ontario and Alberta, Canada. We do business by appointment, and have had an online presence selling fine books and rare manuscripts since 1999. Specializing in handwritten, historically significant books, manuscripts, diaries, documents and ephemera. A member of The Manuscript Societyeach treasure on offer is guaranteed authentic and as represented for life. Worldwide clientele includes esteemed collections and public, private and university libraries on both sides of the Atlantic and Pacific. Always buying collections and estates.

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