Read HOW THE SPANIARDS CAMPAIGNED IN LUZON of Bamboo Tales , free online book, by Ira L. Reeves, on

A translation from A Spanish officer’s diary found at San Fernando de Pampanga, Luzon, by an American officer.

“It happened that we left such a hidden retirement and we went into Taal. We employed more than a whole day on the road, more than half of which we passed in a lagoon with water up to our waists. We arrived on the seventh.

“After six days of rest, on guard every other day, we embarked the thirteenth for Paranaque, where we arrived the fourteenth in the morning, and on the following day we left with rations of sea biscuit for three days, and at the end of the day we arrived at the camp of St. Nicholas, where we found encamped the Division La Chambre, which we joined.

“On the eighteenth we set out with a convoy for Salitran, and after passing a whole day in the water, we had to halt, because neither the darkness of the night permitted us to go any further, nor did the fire of the enemy permit us to follow the road.

“Next morning at dawn we took up the march, arriving at half-past nine. We sent away the convoy, and at one p. m., after having eaten our ration of rice and ham, we started out again for camp, arriving at eight p. m., with some firing.

“The twenty-third we set out on the same road toward Imus, which fell after an hour firing with innumerable loss. Imus was then the center of the insurrection. The General-Coronal, who was not yet wearing his insignia, died.

“On the following day we came upon the second trench of the town above mentioned, and there entered it with guns ‘at rest,’ as we had promised the most excellent La Chambre.

“In this last capture the division lost about forty, the greater part of them officers.

“Until now the officers coming from the Balearic Islands have received no news, but some of the men have.

“It is March 25th, and we have been told that the review of the Commissary is to be passed in Noveleta, which is in the possession of the enemy.

“On the thirty-first of the month we left Ymus, going toward Noveleta, and without following any route we found ourselves at night-fall on the road which goes from Noveleta to San Francisco de Malabon, which is also in the power of the Tulisanes.

“During the day there was some firing, and finally we found a trench, which we captured with the loss of one man. The unfortunate man was the captain from Majorca, who died from a ball which exploded, entering through his left eye and exploding in the middle of his head, so that he died instantly. I could not look at the corpse.

“We slept, as I have said, in the middle of the road, and on the following day, April 1st, we fell like a plague on Noveleta, into which only one company entered with their arms in their hands, since all the rest of the column carried them ‘at rest’ in fulfillment of the promise above cited.

“During the firing we had the protection of artillery, and we ate our ration without breaking ranks.

“The entrance into Noveleta did not cost more than a loss of fifteen Europeans, but more than thirty of the natives.

“Noveleta was attacked three days after it had been taken without other result than the leaving upon the field a number of the mutilated bodies of the natives, which were buried by our valiant men with respect, not for what they had been before then, but for what they represented at that moment.

“On the day after taking Noveleta, the important town of Cavite was taken, which was bombarded by our marines till they saw the division coming, which had all our men except four companies, which remained defending Noveleta.

“The column returned the next day from Cavite and then set out for New Cavite, where we took rations for four days of biscuit and wine, setting out the same day for Noveleta, and on the sixth the division started to attack San Francisco de Malabon, last point of Cavite Province in which there was an insurrection. This point was well fortified, and this is what was the death of them.

“In an hour or seventy minutes, the enemy was dislodged, leaving more than fifteen hundred bodies behind the trenches. There was one corpse whose head fell more than two hundred feet from its body, carried off by a ball of artillery. This picture was terrible to look at. We could not look in any direction without seeing a mass of bodies, some in pieces and others burning up as if they had been a mass of straw.

“We lodged that afternoon, and night in the houses which remained standing, and on the following day set out for the suburb of San Juan, which had been abandoned when they saw that San Francisco was falling into the power of the Chasseurs.

“On leaving San Francisco, we were able to salute the Flag Regiment, N, composed of natives, whose flag was now adorned with the seventh stripe of San Fernando.

“In the same town was found a prisoner of the enemy and wife of the man who had been captain of the ‘Guardia Civil,’ who had died there when the insurrection of San Frerelledo broke out.

“We set out, as I have said, for the suburb of San Juan, which was abandoned, and in the same state was that of Rosario. Between these two points I could see the ruins of what had been the dwelling of the Augustinos, who also died at the breaking out of the rebellion.

“We reached Noveleta at night-fall, and after two days’ rest, set out on the march toward Ymus (or Imus), passing through Zapote and Bacoor, which important points had been taken the day after the entrance to Ymus, of the taking of which I can relate nothing, since at this time I was recovering from illness.

“We reached, as I have said, Imus, passing through Zapote and Bacoor on the afternoon of the eighth, and we were there till the thirteenth of the same month of April, without having in all this time any religious ceremony, except on Palm Sunday, when we had a mass said by an Augustino; one of those who had come from Manila to take charge of the convent, etc.

“The Division La Chambre and the brigades which had been formed returned to Noveleta by means of the steam of a locomotive, which was at the same time used to move the wheels to press the green cane in order to transport it from the plantation to the factory refinery.

“Being again incorporated in the company, we were ordered to cover the line of security established in the quarter of Piga (?), from which we were relieved on the seventeenth of May birthday of His Majesty the King, Alfonso XIII. and day also on which ended the term of indulgence pardon granted by the Most Excellent Primo de Ribera.

“We were in Fananan from the seventeenth to the twenty-ninth, when, the brigade having been organized, it was divided into three columns. The second column set out for Bañadero on the twenty-ninth, waiting there till the following day, when the aforesaid column, having been joined by another, which came by the way of Mount Semgay, and by another small force which had come from Bayuyangan; all these forces having been joined together, they fell at the same time upon the ruins of Talisay, which had been taken from the insurgents last October, and later they had taken possession again of its ruins.

“On the evening of the thirtieth we received orders not to set out again until further orders, and on the thirty-first we came upon the trench destined for the third column, which did not arrive in time; and the second column, which was on the left, and in which I was, moved forward more than it ought to have done, by reason of not being able to attack in front; and seeking the right side or flank, we fell upon the enemy without giving them time to defend themselves in the least, so that there was not more than one killed and one slightly wounded. We then united on the same ground with the first and second columns. The first had been reenforced at Cale by a section of volunteers from Albay, who are very conversant with the territory, because they are natives of this district.

“The second column entered Talisay without firing a shot. The flag in the trench was set up by the second lieutenant of the second company of the Thirteenth, Don Carlos Gonzalez Lara, who is orphan on his father’s side (!), for his father had been killed by the insurgents because they had demanded from him a thousand pesos, and he replied that he did not have them there, and then they cut his throat.

“About two o’clock p.m., we took up the march toward Bayuyangan to see what had happened to the two companies which from there were to go to Talisay, and which they had not effected, the same as the column Sarralde, which came by way of Mount Semgay, which was not seen until they had taken their position, and which had brought us more than fifteen hundred Tulisanes, which had been presented to them on the road.

“The two companies from Bayuyangan did not show themselves either, because of the narrow passes of the road they had met with resistance and by taking another way the road would have been left free to them, so that they might have escaped; which did not suit us, because in this way they would have fired upon Bayuyangan, and it might be that the reserve force might not be present; the rest would be too few to defend the fort.

“At night we arrived at Bayuyangan, and I was to see again the land watered by the blood of my captain and friends.

“In memory of my captain mentioned, in building and dedicating the fort, they named it after him Yena as being the same place where he died.

“From there we went out the next day, tearing down all the trenches we found on the way. We passed through Bañadero. We went on and entered gloriously and victoriously into Yananan, from where, after three days, we were detailed to the two small forts at Cale, where we are very comfortable.

“I have just learned that I have been promoted to the honorable position of first lieutenant.”