Return to Manila—
in the hospital— congratulated
by all— writing to
the paper of his experiences.
It took the regiment much longer to march back to Manila than it had taken it to follow the rebels, for the wounded of both sides had to be carried, and the arrangements for carrying them were very imperfect. Fortunately, most of them were able to ride horses, and the officers were successful in securing wagons enough to carry most of the others, but there were about a dozen who could neither ride horses or lie in wagons, but had to be carried on stretchers all the time. Of course this was slow work, and the officers were glad enough when they reached the town with the three-story building. Here they found things very much as they had left them, two days before, save that the inhabitants were more abject than ever to them, now that they had captured most of the rebel force.
It wasn’t an easy matter to find quarters for so many men, and some of the Filipinos were obliged to camp in the public square overnight, while the wounded and ill were given beds in the various houses of the town. The inhabitants were required to furnish food, too, for the Americans were entirely out of almost everything. They still had some hardtack, but of meat and coffee there was none. The people of the town pretended to be very glad to serve their “masters,” but every one knew that the natives would be only too glad of a chance to cut the throat of every Yankee soldier.
The officers again occupied the old building which they had used during their former stay, and Archie was invited to share it with them, for they expected to rest in this town over the next day, before proceeding to Manila. The men’s uniforms and equipment generally needed cleaning and repairing, and the colonel was anxious for them all to appear as well as possible when they returned victorious to the island capital. So the next day was spent in cleaning and washing, and by evening most of the soldiers looked as if they had never left Manila. Then came a surprise for every one, for into the town marched a regiment of militia from Manila, sent out to see whether the first regiment needed reinforcements. They set up a great cheer when they learned that most of the rebel force had been captured, and the night was spent in a celebration of the great event. A band was scraped up in the town, the great hall of the administration building was thrown open, and there was dancing and music until an early hour in the morning. All the belles of the town turned out to welcome the soldiers, hypocrites that they were, and they danced with their enemies as readily as they would waltz with their own dear Filipinos. Every one seemed to have a good time, and the soldiers went to bed just in time to get three hours’ sleep before starting for Manila in the morning.