Pennsylvania Volunteers
in the Spanish-American War


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PA Spanish American War

The Diary of John Henry Asendorf

The Story of a Pennsylvania Volunteer
During the Philippine-American War (1898 - 1899)

The Story of a Pennsylvania Volunteer
During the Philippine-American War (1898 - 1899)

February 1999

Wednesday Febr 1/99

Weather fine as ever but verry hot the Regiment goes trough regular drills we have 7 men on Guard and 11 on Outpost every thing remains as quiet not many Solders land in the Guardhouse all are pretty well broake now and try too keep out we have fresh Meat to day I worked all day in the Comisary Lt Woods still remains sick in his Quarters we have 7 men off duty on account being sick

Thursday Febr 2/99

Weather is fine we goe through regular drills Morning and Evening 7 men are on Guard and 15 on Outpost things are verry quiet in general Lt Howard and Woods remain still sick and we also have 7 men in Quarters unfit for duty

Friday Febr 3/99

the Weather is fine but Night are verry cool and we can make good use of our Blankets we goe trough the regular Routine of duty 7 men are on Guard and 15 men on Outpost the Outpost reports that the Filipinos are strenghten their Outpost considerable and things looks suspicious but nothing is feared the same 7 men remain on the sick Book

Saturday Febr 4/99

The Weather is fine but terrible hot the Company is undergoing a strickt Inspection of Quarters and Arms everything was O.K. Guns espesally where strickt Ect camed the Outpost came in at 8 and reported thing restles on the Insurgents line but we didnt send but 15 men on Outpost and 7 men on Guardduty about the Quarters the day was rather quiet in the City all day wich was broken in the stillnes of the Night by sudden shots being fired about 15 minutes after min but in a short time their where shots fired all along line but most of it near the Waterworks where Nebraska Regiment was encamped all Boys rushed to their respective Quarters and dressed for Aktion and befor the Call for Arms sounded every men was already in Line each caring 70 Rounds of Ammunition we started of double time to H and I quarters in Front of the Prison "Bilibon" here we where joined by the rest of the Regiment the Colonel ordered I co to guard General Ottes Quarter and Co C to patrol our End of the City while the rest went on in double quick "to the Front" the firing was now along the line some shots even landed in the City some went through the Roof in our Quarters jeas every place befor 10 o Clock the Utah Battery had several Guns going all Filipinios where ordered in their Houses we had but verry little trouble in the City the firing Kept on all Night

Febr 5 Sunday 1899

The Weather was fine all Night and we patrolled the City at 8 o Clock we ate Breakfast on the Short Bread and Coffee at 10 o Clock 40 of the Company filled their Haversack with Ammunition 300 per men and carried the same to the Front all returned but 4 or 5 I stayed myself with the Colonel permission I laid along side of the right to H Company I Kept 100 Rounds myself we continued a Heavy Fire on the Enemy wich was stationed all along the lines but the strongest Fort they had in Filipino Hospital but the Utah Battery soon put shell after shell into it and a few Minutes later we made a charge all Boys along the line cheered as we advanced Keeping on firing as we went this made them run in all direction most of them fleed to the chinese Hospital about mile further back here we laid flat down into the Riece Field but the where now a good deal too much for us they just poured their led in to us but in short time C Co arived I now retreated to my Company and laid between Charlie Playford and Milbert Johnson we laid here for a full Hour but firing was most impossible for us and seeing that we couldnt stand their Fire we crept on Hands and Feet to the right wich was a Hillside on wich was a chinese Cemetary with thousands of Tombstone for Breastwork but it had a strong Wire Fence around it wich made it hard to cross with our Guns and Ammunition here 2 of our Company where wounded and a few Minutes later Major Bierer was hit with a Bras Bullet through the left Shoulder and Arm the 2 men where Carl Debold and Jourg Rockwell both where also hit with Brass Bullets through their Shoulders these where huridly carried back by our Men here opened up on them for about 2 hours the Rebels putting up a stubborn fight but after a couple Hours Work of the Battery we again made a desperate Fight and the Rebels soon had to flee from their many of them where Killed now we (10th) Kept over to the right while South Dakota men took charge of the Hospital we now entered a Filipino Cemetary here the Sharp shooters of the Rebels wich where all around us in Front of us in trees and Bushes done some fine Work and wounded a good many of our Men but not dangerous but we opened up on them after finding some safe place but soon most of us where out of Ammunition but it was at Hand in a short time their the Bugel sounded for a charge now in Front of us on the Hill was a large church with a strong 10 Foot Wall around it and right in the rear of it was a Blockhouse and about 200 Yards in Front of the church to the right was a little Village contaning about 50 smal "Shaks" here we could see them as thick as Grass we fired Volley after Colley into them and could see them drop almost on top another many of them retreatet to the church their we made charge on the church here it was where Jack Landis was allmost Killed instandly all he said was "well Boys I guess they got me" he was taken back with the wounded after taken the church and the Blockhouse it was getting dark and we where asigned to our Quaters for the night in a kind of Skirmish line all the Rebels had made for the Woods and everything was quiet for the Night in making the charge to the church I was the 5th men entering the same and the 5th entering the Blockhouse taps where sounded at 8 o Clock and we had a Number of Outpost and Patrol out all Night the nesct morning Febr 6 the Weather was fine but the Night had been very cold all of us where chivering all Night having nothing but a Poncho to cover with all the Boys started out to Hunt some chicken wich where plentiful in our nayborhood also the brought in 3 Sheep 2 Hogs 1 Buffalo Calf and 2 Beeves I killed them all and strung them to a tree one Beef we gave to the Kansas Boys who hadnt any and one Leg of Veal and a fresh Ham we send to the Colonel several Details where send out to bring the dead Rebels wich where about 45 in our nayborhood each Regiment buring their own so we buried all what was on the Hill 1 Officer and 17 Privates where put in our Grave and the rest whereever they had fallen this was a mean Job as most of them where already decaying and had partly being eaten up by the Dogs we now established a Cookhouse and fired up our Quarters

Febr 1 to Febr 13/99

It being impossible for me to keep account from day to day I will put it all in a Nutschell because I was always occupied with work allmost day and night while all the Regiment had their Hands full in trying to Keep the Enemy at Bay wich where constandly shooting away at us on account of our smal Forse we where compelled to stay where we are we therfor throwed up Entrenchment all along the line wich already exstenden over 30 Miles and was occupied by only 8000 men in all we now laid in Trenches day and Night 10 men from each Co where alowed to goe to town each day 5 in the morning and 5 in the afternoon our wounded are doing in fine the Major is walking around and Debold and Rockwell are sitting up but still very sick during this time we have burned down thousands of Homes and have captured all Horses and Wagons within our reach and taken over 8 towns wich are all destroyed by the Heavy Shells wich Dewy put into them we also captured the Railroad and Oarshops at Caloogan on the Evening of the 11th I was send to town for the first time to get a Load of fresh Meat out the mesct morning I walked the 5 Miles when I was about 2 Miles from the City I heard 5 or 6 Shots fired along the road and at the same time I seen a Officer riding along and it was him these where intended for but none of them hit him our Filipino with a Revolver in Hand came running my way and I fired but missed him but the second Bullit went trough his Heart and down he went but unfortunate the Revolver was marked US and I had to give it up we then set fire to all the Houses in this sektion in all told we have lost Killed 65 and wounded about 300 and 2 missing but the Rebels losses are counted by the thousands good many of our Boys when found could hardly be reconised being all cut up in a terrible manner on the 12th we received Mail wich was the delivered in the Field the Boys having no paper or Envelopes wrote on Catrig. Boxes or anything they could find I send several myself we also have Killed hundreds of dogs and cats during the Engagement on the 5th we also lost 3 Horses belonging to our Regt all told it was simple Horrowfying after these Battles this is only what I witnessed myself but all other Regiments had equally the same Exsperience many Marer and Remington Rifles where captured and many Prisoner where taken among them some of Alguinaldos staff and a about 400 Indian wich used the old fashioned Arrow and Bow for weapon when captured they where all nacked and had to be dressed befor bringing them into the walled City where most of our Prisoner are Kept our 8 men wich where captured some time a go are still held prisoner by the Rebels perhapst torture to death befor this during this Engagement the following where in Hospital Lt Howard Jessy Murphie Hustead and W Howard sick or on Guard in Quarters Cuddy Collins Jno Broron Kramer Georg Miller McMaster Shrock Herrington Berry Miller Jno Barnes & Lt. Woods but who went out on the Battlefield on Febr 13th. taken to the Hospital sins the Battle Robert Curry McMaster Carl Debold and Rockwell during all these days the Weather was terrible hot and we had to carry our Water for over a Mile and then boil it but had plenty of Field Ration

Febr 14/99

We have the same Weather and are occupying the same place we have freash Meat issued in the morning every thing is quiet all day and we all are Enjoying Campy life on the Firing line but things looks suspiscious in the Woods around us we can see Rebels sprouting around in all direction and our Officer a Attack in the Even and right they where while we where eating Souper the fired Volley after Volley into us but shot a little too High this the Kept up for a half hour we couldnt see them therefor we Kept our Fire after Souper I went to town with a Message after delivering the same I put my Horse away and laid down to sleep but had to get up in a few Minutes and take 15000 Rounds of Ammunition out this was loaded on 2 Wagons but when we got about 2 Miles from the City I brooke down breaken both Shafts and the Springs and got myself pretty badly bruised up Dock Minsinger my buddie drove on and I stayed and watched my Ammunition but the Filipinos soons gathered around me seeing my dangerous position I drove them all back 30 Yards and made up my mind to Kill the first one who would advance but they soon left and for a time I thought they where going to reinforce and make it hot for me I stayed their for 1 hour then Doc and 8 Guards came with a Wagon and relieved me arriving at the Front things where hot and several Bullet hit they Cart and one hit me on the ForeHead making a slight Wound but I drove back to town Doc Minsinger and Bob Griffith acompany me we Kept on our Alert and got safely into Headquarters where we stayed and slept until the nesct Morning

Febr 15/99

I was working all day in the Comisary and hadnt much time to see anything but the Insurgents Kept firing on us all day some of the other Regiments where engaged all day but we Kept our Fire as we couldnt locate the Enemy in the Woods we have plenty to eat and during the day we are taken things easy but the Outpost is engaged most of the time at Night we all where engaged for several Hours but didnt advance on them Dewy this day bombarded the town of Maloboon all day but on account of our weak Forces couldnt take it this Night I slept in the Comisary tent and rested up good

Febr 16/99

Weathr as hot as ever the Rebels are trying their best to break through our lines but we well hold our own a few more where wounded this day some other Regiment lost several this day

Febr 17

the Weathr is the same and the Rebels are pouring many shots into us without affect our Men laying in Trenches at al times in the Evening their was heavy firing on our extreme Right where the California are station and wich Kept up all night about 20 of their men where Killed and many of them wounded but the Insurgent lost heavy I slept in Mauch this Night and guarded the Captain Quarters I am almost played out and feel worst the nesct morning

Febr 18 Saturday 99

the Weathr is fine and thing are verry quiet but during the Night we could hear a heavy firing all along the lines and many shots where exchanged in the City but in our Nayborhood everything was Kept quiet we have Reports from the Hospital that our Men are all getting along nicely Read Murphie is discharged from the smal Pox Hospital and looks pretty good except being much marked in the Face its a terrible sight at the Hospital some have their Arms and Legs shot oft many of them shot trough the Shoulder and Stomach some have their whole Inside hanging out one Fellow has both Eys shot out and many are walking aroun on Crutchers and other carrying their Arms in a Sling and many are down with Fever during the afternoon heavy fighting was going on at Panama when many Rebels where Killed and only a few of our Men got wounded also many shots where fired in to our line while we where eating our Souper but no one was hit sins the Battle I wrote 4 different letters to Friends some I had to send in a Catrigbox

Febr 19 Sunday 99

It has been a beautiful Night out in the Field the Moon rised at 9 o Clock and shine until 2 o Clock but between the Mosquitos and the many Bullets from the Sharpshooters we dont get much Sleep I sleep in the Comisary several Bullets went trough it during the Night but we cant see the Enemy therefor we Kept our fire but the Nebraska and 6 Artelery Kept fighting on all Night until daylight when they drove back their Enemy the found 87 Killed in the Morning and no Amerikan Killed but 2 Officer and 7 men wounded 2 of them verry seriously the South Dacota and Pennsylvania Killed 51 during the Night while not even one of us was wounded at 7 o Clock Dewy shelled a Town some where and we can hear heavy attellery Fire wick continued until 10 o Clock then all was quiet until noon where ones more the Rebel Sharpshooters opened up on our Outpost but our Men spotted 2 of them in a Tree and soon the tumbled down never to arise again in the Evening I came to Manila everything is very quiet I never Know this was Sunday until I went to Bed as everyday is alike to us now Papst Brewing Co. has donated one Barrel of Beer to each Company on the line wich the Boys enjoyed in the afternoon the sick in the Quarters are all doing Guard duty at the Hospital we have now Lt. Ch. Howard with Fever Carl Debold and Jourg Rockwell wounded Albert McMaster----- Robert Cury is going to the Front in the morning all is uiet while I goe to Bed.

Febr 20 Monday 99

at 2 o Clock in the morning heavy firing was going on the line where the Washington California and 3th Atterly where stationed it continued all Night until early morning 16 Amerikan where wounded none Killed but the Rebels is said to lost heavy at our line the Sharpshooter Kept firing all night but we didnt pay any Attention to them we all laid in our Trenches where they could not hit us but befor daylight we opened up on them for about one hour with good result and all during the day where shots fired from the Rebels Sharpshooters but as we cant locate them we Keep our Fire we have out fresh Meat now regular I drive to City in the Evening and bring a Load of Beef out early in the Morning the Sun is terrible Hot out all day good many Prisoners where taken the Boys over in Cavite havig a hot time with the Rebels but they will hold their own with the help of Dewys Guns the burned down a Village with about 1000 Houses they Killed over 100 Rebels and wounded about 200 in the afternoon several Engagments with the Enemy all along the line took place but then everything was quiet until 9 o Clock when 14th Regulars hat a hot Battle wich laster until early morning at the same time many arrest where made in Malette and several Natives Killed theese had opened fire upon on a Guard and wounded him but the where soon captured they also captured a number of Mausers and lots of Ammunition then our Men set fire to the Place and over a thousand homes where blasing the Fire Kept up until the early Hours in the morning

Febr 21 Tuesday 99

I got up at 6 o Clock and the Fire at Malette was still burning somewhere at our right their was heavy firing all Morning at 12 o Clock the Mail left via Houk Kouy at our Line verry few shots where fired in the City everything is quiet their is a Rumor afloat that our Troops have allready sorounded Marrola and they are now trying to starve them out as Food is verry scarce it seems all our Movement are Kept secred and we will take the Rebels by surprice I am sleeping to Night in the Captains Quarters every thing is verry quiet while I goe to bed

Febr 22 Wednesday 99

awoke at 2 o Clock firing was heavy all along the lines and Kept up all Night the Utah Battery is engaged all Night at 3 o Clock we (Doc & I) took out some Ammunition wher shot at from both sides from Natives but got to the Front safely the firing was heavy at the time came back after Meat to Manila after loading the Meat and Doc his Bread we where again fired at from both sides from the thicket we returned the fire with good results but on getting near the firing line it was simply terrible the Bullets just made the dust fly up every where we had to stop within 100 yards and get under Cover until the firing seased the fighting again started in Evening about 6. I had made another Trip in the afternon but by this time the Minisota Boys had driven the Natives back and set Fire to the Shacks in the Evening I was in Captains Quarters and wrote a letter to Cst Plattenburg before I finished a fire broke out right in the Heart of the City we where called out I worked at the Fire until 2 o Clock about 2 to 300 Building where burned down mostly chinese Buisnes Houses over a Million Dollar worth of Property went up in Flames befor this Fire was under Control another one started in the Coridoo Destrist near the Railroad Station this is Known to be a dangerous and tugh Place as soon as I could I went there hearing heavy firing and being not on Guard I joyned the 23th Regular wich had 2 Co. stationed ther to fight the Natives their wich allready send shots after shots into our Men I fought with them as long as my Ammunition lasted 50 Rounds of wich I Kept 5 - for my Quarters where a Mile from this Point

Febr 23 Thursday 99

arrived at Headquarter at 6 o Clock and went after a load of Beef cut it up and started to the firing line with my Buddy Doc we drove the Bread Wagon again the gave us a hot Reseption from the Woods but none hit us while on our Way more Fires had started in different places after getting back to the City we had the News that hundreds of people had been killed during the previous Night also some chinese many little Insident happened during this day too many to mention in the afternoon we made another Trip to the firing line as soon as we got their the Native just attempted a bold Attack we all laid in our trenches and for allmost 2 hours put Volley after Volley in to their lines I was with Co D as C Co was up to far and the Bullets where coming too thick I surely could not make it without being hit this day only 5 where slitly wounded at 9 pm I went back to town without any further trouble

Febr 24 Friday 99

the Fighting continued pretty near all Night but I slept good and sound havnt slept any for 72 hours I was 2 Hours late to get the Meat out but my Excuse was excepted on my return to the City there where fires every where just near our Quarters over 100 Houses where burned down theese where all disorderly House (Magareth) and many others the City is patroled verry strict now no one is allowed even on the Roof of any House many who disobeyed where shot down I shot one myself and Killed him in the Evening we recieved Mail which had arrived in the Morning on the Kaudin and on the Yorktown (a Gunboat had 4 bdl. of Paper 1 Box Candy and 2 letters the Boys at the line will reciev theirs in the Morning just befor going to Bed there is heavy firing all along the line and Dewy and Utah Canons are making the whole Island shacke our Boys at Hospital are doing fine the Weathr is fine and the Moon shines bright Shaks are burning every where

Febr 25 Saturday

large Fires could be seen burning every place most of them Shacks and firing was Kept up pretty steady to the right of the line where Montana and Nebraska Regt lay Dewys and Utahs Cannon done a good deal all Night but their wasnt much firing done through the day but the Sharpshooter are as thick as ever in the Woods but we dont pay much attention to them verry few are getting hit outr Ration are issued regular fresh Bread and Meat allmost everyday it allways Keeps our 2 Wagons buisy to howle all the Staff besides we Keep 7 Carabus and Carts their with chinese drivers also these stay at the Front the Field Hospital is astablished in the church in the City every thing is verry quiet but a few shots are heard here and their every ones a while fron the Guards and some good arrests are made dayly the Sick and Wounded are doing fine

Febr 26 Sunday 99

the Night has been pretty and the Moon and Starrs have being shining bright verry little firing was done on the line at 9 am we had Muster Roll right in the Trenches this has been the quietes Sunday sins Hostillities opened up but in the Evening heavy firing was heard on the left and Kansas Regt and 3th Attery where engaged for several Hours about 100 Rebels where Killed and not a single Amerikan not even wounded in the Morning while Gilbert Cute was on a Bread detail he was hit with a Mauser Bullet and it went clear through his upper Arm he was taken to the Hospital and it is feared Amputation is nessesary outside of that all was well

Febr 27 Monday 99

A good deal fighting was done near the Bay on our right and it is claimed good many Rebels where Killed while 1 Men was was Killed and several of our Men where wounded as I am Kept verry buisy at Work all the time its hard to Keep Track of what other Regiments are doing but every thing is verry quiet and we hear on good authority the the Insurgents are running short of Ammunition but Keep their Powder Mill going day and Night in the City every thing is quiet some more prisoners where taken by the several Regiments and Co C Killed several Sharpshooters in the Morning

Febr 28 Tuesday 99

all Night everything has been unusual quiet with the Exception of the Kansas Regiment wich is now stationed near Caloogan the had quiet a Engagemnt when finaly one of their Men notised a white Flag in the far distance firing ceased imediately on both sides and the several Officer fron each Side advanced gradualy until the met theese where Spanich Comisioner who had been at Marrolos and where on their way to Manila they reported that they had seen 5 of our prisoners in Marrolu but had their Freedom in the City but to the best of their Judgment thought that the Insurgents would surrener soon chaplain Hunter and several Leuitenant of our Regt who had spent a Months Fourlough at china and Japan returned in the Morning we also recieved a serveral Mail as Taps are sounded everything is quiet on the Line and City both the Sick and wounded are getting along fine

John Asendorf May, 1898 | June, 1898 | July, 1898 | August, 1898 | September, 1898 | October, 1898 January, 1899 | February, 1899 | March, 1899 | April, 1899

Submitted and transcribed by John P. Asendorf,
great-grandson of John Henry Asendorf Resources

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