Diary of Clarence C. Childs
Sixteenth Ohio National Guard
Spanish American War
February 7 – April 6, 1899
A short practice in the A.M. and the fellows made an attempt to cut Bennits whiskers. At the signal, "All ready", by Braily at practice the fellows grabbed for Bennitt and soon impressed upon his mind that the band was stuck on his whiskers. We now have a Cuban Guerilla working in our cook shanty. He doesn’t have to be told but very little. He gave me an exhibition of how he could use a machete, but I couldn’t make him believe that a revolver is better than a machete. He with 2 friends live in a block house about 100 yds. distant from the shanty. He works like a horse, also eats like one. In the eve, a dream reached our ears it was that Admiral Dewey was called upon to help the land forces in the Phillipines and that 20 Americans were killed in the battle. The cook baked four pies today and as I have a pretty good stand in I helped him out on one, in the evening. I saw a dandy belt in the city the other day. It was about 6 in. wide and was covered with blue Vebretine [velveteen ?]. When I decided to get it. It was gone. Zeigler is complaining of his stomach and says he feels weak.
Wed., Feb. 8, ’99
The A.M. opened up rainy and it rained nearly all morning. I am fortunately stocked with newspapers magazines etc. so will have something to do, but I seldom lay idle as when nothing else occupies my mind I am at the Spanish. It is reported that we are to get out of here for home along about April. It is piped that the 4th Tenn. are to be sent home soon as already there are said to have been 100 death in the regiment already. I received several Knoxville paper on the yesterdays mail. I am wondering how much it will rain in the wet season. It is certainly raining pretty hard now. The 3rd Batt. Officers cook shack blew down today at noon and the officers who were eating got the least bit wet. Of course the boys yelled a little. When the bugler started mess-call today. he was interrupted by a fellow pulling his head. The bugler of Co. F. who was on duty stopped and had a little rough house then played the call. Of course the boys of the regiment gronned a little. Gillmore of Co. is making a good thing out of his laundry. He has his shack down on the creek and hires several fellows to help him. The eve. was very disagreeable and the boys used their overcoats for cover.
Thurs., Feb. 9, ‘99
I sent sentinal an 18 p’. The morning opened up dry and by 3.30 the ground had dried up considerably. The papers tell of the battle with the insurgents at the Phillipines. I suppose the story is old in the States by this time. Capt Porter’s wife and Maj. Myers’ wife are now here with their children also Lieut Cor. Bulgers wife and daughters In the evening the band went to the city. I was fortunate enough to get a seat with a driver. Some of the fellows sat on bails of hay or straw. A great many walked back. I got my belt that I was so stuck on, and saw a dandy for a young lady. We played a good concert and, although I had a bad lip I managed to get away with one "uno"[solo]. The 1st Batt. Band and headquarters of the 3rd Engineers arrived in the harbor to day. Several of the band men were at our concert and of course surprised our ears by claping. I saw my friend Lieut Palma in the city and he claimed to be feeling sick.
Friday, Feb. 10, ‘99
A representative of the International Stereoscopic Co. took some pictures of the band at practice, also of the camp. In the afternoon we thought we would have a rain so I escaped from the creek at a 2.40 gait. I chased up about 6 lizards on the path between a distance of 6 yards. I have been receiving the Knoxville Sentinal, daily and it is a good thing. I feel pretty good now as I received word that the folks had received the articles I had sent home. In the eve, B. Castillo came into the tent and talked of the Cuban army. He said that there are guns now secreted in the city for the Cubans and he thinks that there will be race troubles as soon as we go. The Cuban officers think it funny because we have so few guards out. Our soldiers have been blamed with burning a block house also of taking lumber from them and using it for floors. They think we are fine soldiers for using floors. A Captain said I should like to see 100 of our men get at them, why there would be a terrible slaughter of Americans. He told us how he father had snakes in his ware rooms to kill rats. Castillo went to a Cuban house today with Cap’t Newman to make it right with a Cuban halfbreed about some mules getting away with some yams and sweat potatoes. The Cuban woman called Newman all kind of names and roasted the Americans in general and Castillo became angered and Capt. had to hold him, as it was Castillo shoved her into a table. My friend at the cook shack, Michael, or Mi gal’ thinks that I am all O.K. and he wants to do my washing free.
Sat., Feb. 11, ‘99
Practiced in the A.M. had hamburger and mashed potatoes for dinner. I slept a good dinner off in the afternoon. The usual guard monting at 3:45 P.M. We played cotton blossoms I got a Sentinal with the latest news from Manilla. There is said to be a small pox in Santa Clara. There is a case of fever in a house by the side of our camp, and it may go into yellow fever. The place is quarinteened I helped feed a couple of Cubans tonight. They hadn’t had anything to eat before I fed them. Mus Gillmore of Co. M told me a few pointers about the show business in the evening. The 3rd Eng. Band plays a concert in the city this some of the boys went in. The 31st Mich Band played a concert in Sagua La Grande the other day. Two Co I Sergt’s in Camp today. The cook Migal did some washing for me today but would take no money. A Chicago paper journalist is in camp. He is a little short fellow.
Sun., Feb. 12, ‘99
I intended to go to church in the A.M. but didn’t know what time it commenced either in the city or here. I took a deluge in the creek in the A.M. and felt good all day. We now wear our leggings on retreat and guard mounting because Grotz wears Sergt. Lays pants. He has none of his own that have stripes on. We left for the city immediately after retreat and of course there was a rush for seats in the wagons. I succeeded in getting a good one but it broke before we got to our destination. While at the Cuban headquarters at the Merry go round, I saw a Cuban company fall in to go to the opera house when a meeting was on in memory of Gen. Garcia. They fell in horribly and there were some very young boys in the ranks. One I should judge to be 12 or 13. They feel in disregarding size – and their was a continual talking in the line. The officers fell in alone[along] the side like sheep. First the front rank counted off then the rear rank. Many soldiers wore black bows of cloth on their arms. I saw a Lieut. who had a ball in his ankle. He is to have it removed in the hospital. I saw a couple of boys from the Colon. They look at me with wonder. There was as usal a large crowd on the plaza, and many Cuban soldiers were in the Teatro, mostly blacks and mulattos. Things went pretty well and we played a very good concert. On the way to the city we saw the 3rd Engineers camped on a high piece of ground near the city. They have a very nice camp. On the way back to camp we saw large clouds of rain in the heavans. I thought they looked fierce I thought. Some of the other fellows didn’t think so.
Mon., Feb. 13, ‘99
Last night was one never to be forgotten and now the principal sight in camp is drying of clothes. At 4 A.M. we were aroused by the flapping of the tents and by the fierce lightning. I quick jumped up and pushed the end of the tent and called to the fellows who held on to the tent poles. The wind and rain was something awful and we expected to be without a tent any moment. As it was the fly was striped from the tent and the ropes were torn from one side of the fly altogether. In the first tent the iron fasteners on the rope were broken. All of the guard tents were torn down and the guards went to our cook shack and stayed in there holding it up to save themselves. When I went to breakfast in the A.M., all but 3 of the cook shacks were down. The non-coms. mess was also down. Co. F. had several tents down and the remaining tents could not hold all of the deluged from the Co. so Co. M. took some of the weary ones in. The storm lasted about 10 minutes from 3.35 to 3.50 Major Gilette’s tent was blown down and he looked like a drowned rate when I saw him to day. The hospital was in the worst plight and most all of the tents there were blown down. The assembly was blown and all men dressed and the band was ordered to the hospital to look after the sick. Upon approaching the hospital one could smell medicines, hear people stepping upon glass and an occasional groan from a patient. The Col. lent all his dry clothes and said that he hoped the women folks would have sence enough to go home now. A Dr. wife whose tent went down went to Capt. Newman and told him to open his tent. Capt. said if you want to get in here you’ll have to crawl in under so he pulled her in under. The sick were taken to the various tents that were yet standing. Then blankets were needed and the sick wiped off and some had to be washed off as they were rolled off their cots. This morning the hospital non-coms came around with quinine and whisky – and all were made to take the quinine. We now have one patient in the next tent who is very sick. Some of the fellows were wise enough to stack down their tents good the night before came out all right by holding the tents poles. The nurses had a terrible time. Upon asking one why she didn’t hunt cover she said that she was looking for her clothes, another "I am looking for my shoes." The nurses ate with the 3rd battalion officers this A.M. and they looked very much like kitchen mechanics on their way to the shack. One had a pair of boots about size 10, while others had officers ponchos and other articles. We had a good breakfast of fried potatoes and bacon, but we had to wait awhile for it. Several of the patients have phneumonia thus making their cases all the worse. The Col. sent for the camera fiends to take pictures of the hospital. A large tree fell down in front of his tent and he narrowly averted an accident. Even the tile from the block house were blown from the places and the prisoners in them didn’t feel exactly safe. By noon things were pretty well in shape. In the eve. we had warm biscuits. I didn’t get my supper till afterward, but then I got enough as Eating is cook. I with the cooks visited Michal in his adobe. He had things slicked up in great shape. A Cuban who came to our camp for something to eat fell off the palm bridge leading to the railroad. The fellows picked him up gave him some coffee tomates and bread also biscuits. Also gave him some warm dry clothes. He shivered like a leaf. I helped take him to his home in the second block house house from the railroad. He was as light and very weak. Last night was very torn up from last night’s storm. He was a Spanish prisoner near Santiago and the Americans took him and turned him loose at Cienfuegos. No 2 block house had 5 or 6 men in tonight. 3 claimed to be musicians. Yesterday an excursion was held to Santa Clara. The night is a little chilly. Many wore overcoats today.
Tues., Feb. 14, Valentine Day ‘99
In the A.M. we got word to be in readiness to go to the city of Gen Gomez was expected. He past camp about 11:30 in a special car on a special train. The engine was decorated with flags and a boy sat in front of the engine with a flag. We were eating dinner when he passed. We went to the city in wagons after dinner. Gen Bates was in orders for the band today and Burgess reported to him. When we nearly reached the plaza we met a Cuban parade, about 40 infantry men and the same of Calvary. The infantry took about 160 steps to the minute and about a 10 in step. The Calvary had fairly good horses and they also had Remington rifles. Gen Gomez had made a speech before we arrived in the city in front of the municipal building which was decorated with U.S. and Cuban flags also the names of famous Cuban and American Generals. Gen Gomez said that he wanted the army to disband. After unloading we fell in and proceeded to the Opero House where an immense throng was waiting. We took our place on the stage where the Cuban band was situated also. The seats had been removed from the lower floor and tables said for the banquet. The Gen. Gomez’s chair being in the middle of the semicircle had a Cuban flag stuck in the back. Our band played the first piece and Gen Gomez and staff also Bates and staff came in and took seats the two Gens. sitting opposite each other. The other officers being scattered. Some citizens were also present at the table. But a few mulattus. Gen Gomez’s buglers rank as 1st and 2nd Lieuts respectively. The toast master sat on the right of Gomez and made a stirring speach praising him and looking him in the face while speaking. The people applauded loudly. The toast master also Gomez Sec. told the people that Gomez had a cold. Immediately the Gen took a touch of wine and coughed a little also pulled his collar up close to his neck to convince the people. When he came in he had on a black suit of common American clothes with his coat collar turned up. He was certainly a sight and although he is 70 and the leader of the Cuban Army he really did resemble a swell American hobo. His staff was composed of fine looking men and were all quite old and were also Caucasians. Gen. Bates made a few remarks in English. The Cuban band played fine and the chorus to the several national songs were sung with good effect. Several Cuban Belles sat in the rear but with Cuban army hats on. They made a novel appearance. The table had a fine lay out. Gen. Bates told Phil that we rendered fine music. Several Cuban musicians want to get in our band and perhaps they will get a chance. There was a terrible jam in the square to-day. Gen. Gomez and Gen Bates had a private consultation in the Cuban Club in the evening. A Ball was held at the Cuban Club and our band was supposed to play, but we found out that the weather was to cold to stay out so we were ordered to go to our regiment. I saw and had quite a talk with a man who was well acquainted with Gen. Gomez. The man was bringing up an orphan and Gen Gomez wished to take the girl as he had no children and the fellow consented and when I saw him he was waiting to see the Gen. The evening is getting cold and many are wearing overcoats. The 3rd Eng. Band played concert on the plaza. It is said that Gomez doesn’t like the blacks only as fighters, he likes fighting people only and says educated people are for the cities only. Two or three priest were present at the doings. The tuba player in the Cuban band had a bad cold. He had a rag tied around his neck also around his horn, but he made plenty of noise. We ended up the afternoons concert by the Star Spangled Banner. The cook sent up some biscuits and salmon for our supper. There are about 10 in the guard houses of the provost. On the way back, I sat on the front seat and I could scarcely see the lead mules. We very near had a runaway on the start off, but we finally got fixed up all O.K. and Scott then took care of the brake.
Feb. 15, Wed., ‘99
In the A.M. we had a good practice. Michal the Cook is sick. Last night some one broke in the commissary store and stole a few things. Some one stole some bacon that the non-com had in our cook shack. Rhinebolt of Co. F told me that when he went home on sick furlough that his mother didn’t even know him, and yet she talked to him for a long time. Ziegler says that his mother used to bake biscuits that you had to hold 2 hands over instead of under to keep them from floating away. I spent the day in reading paper from home, also the New York Journal and Knoxville paper. We had nice biscuits for all 3 meals to-day.
Feb. 16, Thurs., ‘99
The A.M. opened up cloudy and sultry. Sergt Fry of Co. K is down from Santa Clara and speaks well of the place. It is said that Lieut Barnum has been asked to resign. Sergt Fry takes back a lot of tobacco etc. for the boys. He had other business here. Gen. Breckinridge is in the city and will inspect us soon. The paymaster is also in the city. About noon we got a little rain. We haven’t had any 1st class mail for 2 to 3 days, Sergt. leaves for home on the 3 o’clock train. We had no guard mount but played for retreat, immediately left for the corral to get in the wagons. I managed to get a seat with the driver. There was the same trouble about the seats. Many of the fellows took ponchos down and left them in the wagons. It only sprinkled a little in the evening. When we reached the city, but few were on the plaza but a number were in front of the Cuban Club waiting to see the people enter for the Ball. Three ushers were at the door and escorted the womans to their room. There was a fine lot of ladies there. The Gen. Gomez and staff were present. I never knew before that the couple had such clothes, especially black suits. Several Cuban officers wore black suits they swelled up on the plaza some what, before their orchestra played the first piece. The orchestra had some fine music for the evening, and with the cornet players brought out the holds "fff"[very loudly]. I saw The fellow whose brother was such a fine pianist and violinist. He told me that some Cuban musicians wanted to get in our band. I told him we could use two good clarinet players. He wanted to get in also but we needed clarinets only. I told him the terms. He went to see them and they want until Sunday to decide. If they ever do join I’ll hold them down 2 hours a day and make them listen to my Spanish. After playing "Because", a Marine Hospital man stepped up and told me that many men were sick in Havana. It has been piped that Gov. Bushnell had published that our band is the best in the Volunteer service. On unloading upon coming back to camp we were confronted with those ditches covered with palm trees. Several of the glasses in the lamps were broken. It was quite damp by the time we got home. It was reported that seven bags of mail had arrived.
Feb. 17, Friday, ‘99
I slept well during the night and got up in the morning not without a little effort. In the morning I received 20 pieces of mail including some New York Journals. I had myself busy all day learning the topics of the day. There is scarsely anything on the first page of the papers except it being about the Phillipines. Another pipe. It is said that the Attorney General claims it unconstitutional to keep us in the service after the peace treaty is ratified by the Spanish Cortes, which meets the 20th instant. Therefore we shall be home in about 30 days. The cooks have been making cookies or sinkers this afternoon. I let him read my papers when I get through with them. i.e. I don’t go so very hungry for army food. Oh! yes, A Cuban Police in the market told me that he held 1000 Spanish at bay in the mountains he said that he shot several times the retreated on his pony. He thought this a daring act, I took his name, or rather he gave it to me. Of course he thought I had Castillian blood in me. The transport Minnewaski is stuck in the mouth of the Harbor. She has goods for our commissary store. Gen Gomez passed over the road to-day in a special car on a special run. He has certainly tendered a great ovation while here in the city. A fellow in Co. F. is selling ham sandwiches. We had a little rain about guard mount time and saved us from guard mount. Zeigler and Cline left for parts unknown, tonight I am awaiting the consequences as both are sick now. Mayer[Mayor Amos H.] Jackson of Fremont is expected here soon. I received some valentines today including a few roasters from Jim family. We got paid yesterday afternoon and the pay master soon hustled the companies off. We had nice baked beans for supper. I helped the cook dish out this noon as Phil was in the city. while there he purchased a machete. The Cuban from the second block house passed the railroad, who I helped the other night, after he had fallen into the ditch from exhaustion is gradually getting better. Our Michal has been eating so much that he had to to lay off a day. Wyatt just stepped in the tent and left something drop under his cot. I am quite sure they were sinkers. Our cooks have been missing many sinkers.
Feb. 18, Sat., ‘99
The A.M. opened up well, with tomatos for breakfast. About noon we got orders to scrub out and prepare for an inspection at 3.30 by Gen Breckinridge. We scrubed out after dinner and I shined up considerably. At 2:30 we fell in and we went through the exercises before the Col. Then we were dismissed until the general came. He came out in a wagon and we passed in review before him. We certainly played horribly and what was worse Phil forgot to turn us out before the reviewing officer. He said that there was no room. We played the Great Captain. The Gen. examined the cook shanty row in good shape and asked many questions of the cooks. How many ways they cooked potatoes and all such things. The prisoners at the guard house told him that they were not fed well enough. Lieut. Chase, Commissary received a long talk from the Gen. Col McMaken’s horse was used by Gen. Breckinridge. The Chaplain was seen to be a good horseman. Maj. Gen. Bates was also out here today. He was to make an inspection too, but he didn’t get to it. At first guard mount was held at the guard house without music then we had to go through with it because the Gen. wanted to see it. We did it but he said he didn’t care to see it and that we should proceed without his presence much to the anger of the fellows. Co. M. went to the city today on provost Co. G. came back this afternoon and occupy the old Co. M. position and tents. They brought back several parrots. Gen. Breckinridge payed little attention as he passed us. He asked the Sergt about 2 Cuban musicians we are trying to get. The Col called a Co. H. fellow who had no leggins on. The Capt. hallowed back that the fellow had none large enough. The Col. said he was sure his leg was a big as that fellows and that he only had on ones. He raved around for several minutes Everything was done poorly today. Frotz has had his mouth piece shank turned up like Braileys. During the night or early morning I heard a Cuban bugle sounded twice. It was from Cannao (2 miles away.) Some fellows claimed they heard a shot fired. We had a practice this A.M. Cos A C, F H and L. were in the review today. Co. G. not being unloaded yet. A number of fellows have made for Cannao tonight. I had a talk with C.M. Bugler Gillmore tonight. We was telling of his experiences in Madison Square Garden and his travels etc. Conundrum. How do Munnel and Gillmore favor one another? The sand fleas are bothering us horribly, and Heider and Walker have developed crabs in large numbers. We have no sugar left or much of anything and yet we draw no rations until monday.
Feb. 19, Sunday, '99
In the A.M. I thought I would go in the city to church but I couldn't get around in time. I already had the pass so I went down on the dudes engine at 10:00 A.M. Cline and Zeigler were also along. There was a fire and the fire engine was out. The firemen were smoking and drinking while working. The old Spanish Hospital is being cleaned out and it is said that the 3rd Vol. Engineers will occupy it so is said. Everything is being scrubed out and scraped. I met a Knoxville fellow who is working in some department of the army as clerk. I saw a Cuban who was minus two legs and half of one arm. I also saw a fellow who was so knockneeyed that he could scarsely walk. A Jamaican fruit boat was in the harbor and had on bananas and coconuts. The Captain was a Jamaican woman. She had 4 men helping her run the ship. The trip from Jamaica, she makes in 3 to 6 days. She had a silver bracelet on that cost 15 solid silver. She had the widest sombrero on that I have ever seen. I went through the railroad yards and took in the peculiar looking stock. The oxen used as switching power were running loose in the yards. They were monsters. I saw Wright of Co. F. in the city and he shot[photographed] me several times. I heard some music in a house today. It was on the piano. Several airs were played when finally on the next piece a sweet voice broke in, but I didn't see who was the owner of it. There were trills and the last note of the last verse was way up. The Col. saw Cline with his white duck pants and white hat on and he said that if he weren't in the barber chair. he would have given him a lesson. We returned from the city on the 3 oclock train. We played for church this A.M. and we just had time to catch the train. Today has been rather warm and many Cubans told me of the fact. The Minnewaski is stuck between 2 rocks ten miles from the entrance of the harbor. There is said to be 2 troops of Calvary on the boat. Some of the sailors have left and worked on another boat since.
There is no guard mount today. A fellow gave me plantains for bananas. They are genuine cramp makers. We played at retreat and then retreated to the wagons I secured the best seat having a mattress on. Zeigler and Cline rode down on the train. I made things all O.K. with our cook. I saw some of the Jamaican who were on that Jamaican schooner that I saw down by the docks in the afternoon. They will be back in about 15 days. They said that although the hold is chartered they would bring some choice fruits along in their own cabin. One fellow was rather inflated because he was the mate.
I also saw some sailors from the Minnewaski was left it and joined the "Bay State" a government hospital boat. Here they have little work to do. He thinks that the Minnewaski may break. There was a show in the theater. The merry go around was full as ever and my little friend down there is learning English fast. Castillo our interpreter is still sick at his home. Two large arches are being built in the city for the big day the 24th of this month when the Cubans put down their arms.
Feb. 20, Monday, '99
Played at Reveille as usual. No practice in the morning. Numerous pipes about getting home. I received several papers this including a bundle from home. I have just been reading how cold it has been up north. I am thinking about soaking myself in the creek this afternoon to keep cold. Young Sandusky fellow of the hospital came down to go with a party of nurses to Cannao but I was feeling just right.
Feb. 21, Tues., '99
This A.M. we had our practice, a little time was spent on the Bride Elect. Poole brought out some monster oranges from the city. He sold them at 3 for a dime. The Chinesse Consul has agreed to hire our for the 24th. He gives us $15 for our meals. That is better than having to go for nothing by orders of the Gen. Phil bought $5 worth of bread today We drew rations this evening. On the eves mail, I received 12 letters and 10 papers. Knoxville Cor' on deck lined. "Col Thomas advice. The commissary was beseiged all day to day it having a new stock of goods on hand. 7 troops of the 20th Calvary are in the harbor. I received a magazine from Dory Moore today. I have been receiving a number of valentines of late. Three detailed men of the 3rd Engineers took drawings of the trocha near camp.
Feb. 22, Wed., '99
In the A.M. we had Reveille as usual but no practice, and we have had no work much of any kind today on account of its being Washington's anniversary Zeigler and I went to the city on the locomotive I rode in front of the cylinder Zeigler beat the fireman out of his seat. We visited the Cemetery. One voult in the side was open and a pair of shoes were still remaining. There were about 6 graves open You could see where the coffins were printed on the bottoms of the graves. There was a terrible stench Human skulls with hair on were lying around and there was a basket full sitting by one grave. In the middle of the cemetery was a dark spot which showed plainly pieces of bones coffins etc. On the way back to the city I saw a boy with one eyes as large as a medium fist. We bought all kinds of dulce[a sweet bread] and fish etc. for dinner. We visited a pop factory which is combined with a house used as living apartments. The 2nd Cavalry unloaded tonight and our cacheys [khakis ?] with came with them. They made a parade in the city and took well with their band on white mounts It is expected that 5 troops will go to Palmetto and two are to stay here. with their headquarters. They came over on the Manitoba and had a pleasant voyage. Some Boat in the harbor, today shot 15 guns in honour of Washington's birthday.
Feb. 23, Thurs., '99
We went into the city in the evening and gave a pretty good concert. Played trombone solo. The Cuban soldiers began to come in and as we went home, many were seen going to their camps in the country. Scott and I took a walk in the evening. The Nashville is in the harbor. Many fellows went out to see the boat. I didn't get a chance.
Feb. 24, Friday, '99
In the morning after breakfast I left for the city with Elder on Dunks wagon. We got there just in time as the parade had formed. The troops of calvary were headed by about 40 or 50, or more in a troop. The Cuban band was on deck with white suits on Drums in front. Different Civil societies were in the parade and many women participated Flour[Flowers?] was spread on thickly.
Gen Bates reviewed in front of the provost headquarters. The Infanteria resembled hoboes. There were all kinds of guns and machetes in view. The Cavalry marched in twos After the parade the soldiers disappeared to where I do not know. I went through the prison a nice large building. The police have new uniforms with small white stripes on the legs and white cord on the shoulder. Also brown hats. The officers have double, or bugler stripes. I ate plenty of fruit during the day. I went to camp on the 2.45 train. Most all of the fellows of the band were in the city today. In the evening clouds arose in the east and a shower seemed eminent. I saw my little musician in the city today. I was greeted with out stretched arms. He is getting a lot of Cuban pieces written up for me to send home. The old Spanish hospital is being run to completion, rapidly. Some of us were going to the city in the evening but we missed the train which generally comes while we are playing retreat that is if we want to go to the city. Most of the boys feel tired today. The 2nd Cavalry band had practice today at the docks where they are stationed. We shall get our cackies as soon as the quartermaster here gets out of the 2nd Cav. Business.
Feb. 25, Sat., '99
The A.M. opened up damp but we had reveille also had a good long practice. We played Sloan Rapids 3 times. Braily wanted to be sure were had it as yesterday we all didn't start on the introduction together I also had a chance at the Deep Cellar, and the "old folks at home". A fellow who came from the Bohemas is hanging out at our cook shack. He was born in Pennsylvania. Michal came around tonight to dry his clothes. He claimed he fell in the water. I guess he sees his mistake. The other Cuban we had is a little week to work well so we are to let him go as retired giving him food etc. to recuperate on. It is said that the block houses are to be emptied of their occupants. It will be a good thing in some ways. It rained a little toward evening today. A Co. G. fellow is playing fine music for the boys on a violin. It is piped that the 2nd Inft. is in the harbor. I have answered five letters tonight and am about caught up. I sent home some some bills are current events, tonight. There may be a blow before the morning arrives. It is commencing to blow a little now, and I fear a little about later on.
Feb. 26, Sunday, ‘99
I had a pass for the city but missed the train. We played for church. I played baritone parts. I went to church. The preacher touched my weak spot. We played in the plaza in the evening. I played "In the deep cellar" and came out all O.K. The police patrolman of the city force speaks English and he told me a great many things about the Cuban soldiers and police. The plaza was crowded. The 10ct. chairs were fairly filled. We came out in 35 minutes. The 2nd Cavalry have their forage dumped off near where we cross the track the 2nd time to go to the city. There are some 6 mule teams used in that reg. and they are driven with one line much to the delight of the Cubans.
Feb. 27, Mon., ‘99
This A.M. we had a long practice. A court martial is on at the officers of the 1st Battalion eating tent. A 3rd Eng. band cook is charged with disposing of government rations without authority. I wrote to Sent. oy Had to do it with shielded light. The block houses are being torn down.
Feb. 28, Tues., ‘99
We had a long practice this A.M. and practiced "Caesar’s Triumphal" with the buglers and played it at retreat. We mustered in this afternoon. The Col. gave us a jacking up for not having our revolvers with us. We drew rations today. Got bacon instead of sow belly. Some of it was soft different coloured and had a peculiar smell. Sow belly was refused by the Commissary Miller just came in from Havana. A big prairie fire is raging in the north. There are also four other fires visible in other directions.
We played a concert between the line officers tents and the companies. Many fellows surrounded the band. I left my deep cellar in my tent. This occurred last night. This A.M. we had a good practice. I had a talk with Gillmore of M. in the evening as he was taking his washing from the lines. We talked for about 2 hours on everything from child labor to religion I received a wrapper with the paper missing. I think it is an Ohio State Journal. Mailman said I got more mail by far than any one in the regiment. A fellow came down from Santa Clara with parrots to sell. It is said that the 2nd U.S. Inft. is coming here.
Mar. 2, Thurs., ‘99
Cos. F. and H. leave for the city today. Co. F. took tents and Co. H. left their tents; which Co E which is to return, will undoubtedly use.
We got a lot of boxes of Co F. upon their leaving
They had no dinner today. The first loads left about 11:30 A.M. I saw and ate some of Louis Windhot corn of Syracuse New York. Cline, Zeigler, and Walker went to the city in a hand car last night after taps. They returned in the early morning. No practice. While cutting the floors a fellow from Co. F. was caught underneath and was squeezed badly. He said he wasn’t hurt but then I know different. Frank Ely of Co. F. is related to Capt. Sayles of Fremont, Ohio. We went to the city in the evening – and Zarly tried to beat me out at the wagons by running ahead of me but I got the best seat in the corral. Roberts had his horn fixed in the city but the inner slides were spread to much. The 2nd Cav. Bandmen were all swelled up – and were promenading for further orders. Some hospital fellows came in from Sancti Espiritus tonight part of the way on the Laura quite a small ocean going boat.
On the way down the we had two heats but on the second heat our team won. I had myself filled on pine apple ice cream and yavriak[yautia, similar to yams] It was horrible Walker didn’t come out with us as he had no good seat so he is under arrest. The Cuban police are very dignified people, but they don’t like it because they haven’t been paid yet.
Mar. 3, Friday, ‘99
Practice in the A.M. The polly as a balance was quite a scheme for my slide. We fired our help at the cook shack and it is said that we are to again go on detail. We had a dandy dinner of fried onions. In the afternoon Boyd Bucklow and I went out for a pasiendo. We took in an old plantation site. It was at one time a fine one, having a large banana grove. We saw other fruits that tasted nice but were afraid to eat any of them. Cotton was seen growing on stocks as high as 8 and 10 feet, I got my trousers all black from plowing through where the fire of the previous days had laid waist the undergrowth. The Col. and several other officers went to Havana today. Poole had an argument about his getting transportation home to Pennsylvania when discharged.
Mar. 4, Sat., ‘99
Practice. It is reported that the 2nd US Inft. is in the harbor. The cook baked some biscuits tonight that were simply horrible, they were so slightly baked. I expect to get up at 4.30 in the A.M. to take a ride to the fort at the mouth of the harbor. Fires are again seen in the distance. Elder refused to carry water claiming that the non-coms ought to carry their share. I gave Jay Lay a few pointers on the slide today. He ought to learn soon. Groch is off duty on account of sore lip. A man from Delta Ohio was senior Paymaster in the volunteer service has been in camp for two days. He took the bands picture at reveille. Walker got a box of Chocolates from home today. I sent a Spanish leggin home today. Brailey is going to get a camera, soon. He is sure to be a fiend. Eating wanted me to hypnotize him to night. I didn’t like to monkey with it any more. Mac is getting so he tries to eat up every one that happens to come his way. A Spaniard tried to get a job at our bakery to-day. I found out what he wanted, but didn’t get him a job.
Mar. 5, Sun., ‘99
Swank of the corral awakened me at 4 A.M. and told me that the wagon would go down after ice. I had the cook leave out some biscuits and beans for my breakfast of which I ate a little. I then went over to the wagon where I found Grotz and Sergt. Lay. The 2 detailed icemen and 4 mule men and we three were on the wagon besides the driver. I sat on an inverted pail and the other fellows sat on the straw. We got into the city about 6 A.M. and at once made for the docks where we bought a lot –a "pan Dulce"[sweet bread]. We hired a fellow to take us to the mouth of the harbor for 3 pesos, but after getting out a ways we told him to go back as he wasn’t making good enough progress. He did so and in running into the docks he broke a jib forsail rope. We paid him nothing as he didn’t accomplish anything for us. After leaving his boat we made for the Chinese restaurant where we tried to get something to eat, but didn’t succeed very well and the Chinaman threatened to stab a fellow, but we showed him that we had revolvers. At last he brought in some rarely done meat which we could not eat. We left and went into the coffee house next door where we indulged in fine coffee with bread and butter. It was fine. After eating this hastily we left for the Bessie at the docks, but she was not yet unloaded, so we took the passenger steamer to "Puente Pie" on the entrance to the harbor. The boat stopped at different settlements. The Post Master was on board and he managed to get into the fort. We followed. The fort was once a dandy, but now no guns can be seen within except one which lies broken on the ground.
The dungeons were verey dreary looking. Many cannon balls were pilled here and there. I got a small shot. A large ball was lying down in the garden. I think it was once the property of our navy. The light house which is on the other side of the channel about 3 miles out was demolished by Schley. In the channel in front of the fort lay the Sedgwick or the old Chester. She had her bow on the rock and as the channel curves here and is very narrow, she stuck. The Cuban pilot would have gotten her in the harbor all O.K. but the Captain didn’t obey his orders with the anchors so they stuck. She had 18 in of water in the hold. The Sedgwick was formally the Chester and is claimed to be very difficult to stear. She had lines thrown out over her stern in two directions to keep her from going on more and more. The Bessie came steaming up with 2 barges in tow and went along-side the Sedgwick and took off a number of wagons and saddles for the pack mules. A barge was in the mean time taking off pipes and two other barges had the two forward anchors put on them after this the Bessie ran astern of the big boat, took a line and with the engines of the big boat, pulled her off. I was indeed glad to see such a proceeding. I had been rowed out from the shore to the Bessie by a couple of Cubans, I heard one of them say something about charging me a peso. They didn’t seem to care much for it so I didn’t break the monotony. The Bessie then got a hold on the bow and pulled her into the channel when she steamed into the harbor alone. She ran dangerously close to the edge of the channel at the next run. The Captain seems to be unfit for his situation. The Bessie turned back and waited about an hour for the sailors who were taking up the lines used to hold the Sedgwick in place. The sailors were very slow, but finally got the rope on their boat and we towed them to their boat with the one rope. They couldn’t pull up the other. Meanwhile the two sail barges left us and sailed in All of the soldiers got on them but one. They ran ashore several times on the way in and came near dumping so they said. Bessie ran along side her again in the harbor and took on some mules and then ran us to the dock. I recognized one cream mule that used to be on the meat or bread run in Knoxville. There were 27 on for our Reg. Two pack trains were also aboard – also many quartermasters supplies At Puente Pie I met some Cuban people from the city who were looking for Admiral Sampson’s fleet, which was reported due in the harbor. He has a nephew in New York. Also a niece at college there. We had a very nice conversation.
The rest of the boys in the meantime went after star fish, but secured none. One fellow got a sponge, another a jelly fish. A Wyoming cow puncher wanted me to loan him my gun to shoot a Cuban boy so he would come to the boat and take him to shore. He was boss packer of a train, and was from Cheyenne. I think he said there were 52 pack mules one bell mare and 13 men and mounts (mules) to a train. Grotch and Lay attended a funeral of two men. One died at 8 A.M. the other at 1.30 P.M. They were both buried at 2.30. They were carried to a grave in their coffins and then two men tipped the coffin over – and threw the one man in the four feet grave. Then the other one was thrown on, as two more men had to go in the grave before it could be covered. You could see the man’s whiskers sticking out of the dirt, thus to be left until two more men should die. The shovels were thrown in, too, to wait there till two more bodies should come, before being put into use. I had quite a chat with the wheelman of the little passenger boat that took us out. The Cap’t of the Bessie is a fine sailor and he does take time to eat when he gets started at work once. On pulling the large Sedgwick off the bar he paid little attention to what any one said but acted according to his own judgement. We saw the hospital ship, "Bay State leave port in the A.M. and a cattle boat, (British leave in the evening.) I ate about 7 or 8 dishes of ice cream in the evening and during the day ate much fruit and pan dulce. We play concert in the evening – and got the band on "Boys in Blue",(only). I saw Miss Blonde on the plaza and walked around twice with here. The Cuban Orchestra played in front of the Teatro Terry in the evening. Visited my young friends in the market. Bowers of Fremont came in today and is looking well. I rode out on a bail of hay. It rained twice at the point, but not at all the boys claimed in the city.
March 6, Mon., ‘99
We played at reveille. No practice. I read most all morning. A Lieut. Cor. From Palmetta was at our "Cocina"[kitchen] and I brought him up to my tent and showed him a few things about war. He was shot in about 6 places. He has fought 14 years, and had a Commission signed by Gen. Maceo. Some fellows got some owls out of a palm near the center of camp. They had a few wing feathers all the rest of them was covered by white hairy feathers looking like so much white plush only longer. There were three. The fellows are fixing a cover to their nest so that they can not get away. The bills resembled those of buzzards, but their faces resembled monkeys more than anything I know of. Rain started in along about time for guard mount. Fred Bowers was out today. I gave Jay Lay a lesson on the trombone.
March 7th, Tues., ‘99
We practiced. We played for the Cineamatographe people at the Teatro Terry. We made a march from the Union Hotel around a few blocks then to the theatre. We played a few pieces in front of the theatre. There was a good crowd present. Much disturbance was caused on account of the views coming off out of the regular order. Played a solo in intermission. I rode in and out on baled hay and thought I had torn my insides loose. The weather is very cold.
Mar 8, Wed., ‘99
Last night was the chilliest night we have had here, I think. No practice. I volunteered to cut potatoes if I could have them french fried. So Zeigler and I helped prepare them. I left for the city at 5 o’clock on the train. Didn’t have to go but Braily guaranteed me a seat back. We made a long march from the Union Hotel to the Theatre, taking in about 2 miles. We followed the proprieters rig but he was so slow to turn back to the plaza that we did it ourselves. There were very few present at the theatre tonight. A few fellows staid with Co. F. in the city so as to catch the early boat to the point. The views this eve were the same, as those of last night only the order of showing changed. The view where the men jumped from the water to the spring board was greeted wildly by the people both nights. The Col. arrived from Havana today and gave Cooper $5. He rode out on our wagon, and made a man get up and give us cheese sandwishes i.e. Cooper. The air was a little chilly along about 12 P.M. The Cubans are wearing mantillas and handkerchiefs over their faces. The Cuban police hold their billies upright since they saw the picture of the New York Police in the Theatre Terry. The band played a march to the step of the men marching on the cawas por esto, making it more realistic.
Mar.9, Thurs., ‘99
No practice. Played concert in the eve in the new band stand on the plaza It is only partially completed, but we had the honor of being the first to play in it. I had a little Cuban up on the stand with me and he was tickled to death. He used my music holder for a horn and played when I did. I helped Zeigler buy a 10 cent kerchief for 5 cents. We ate supper after retreat, but I managed to get a seat with a driver. A Cuban benefit was on at the merry go around but there didn’t seem to be a large crowd present. A Jamaica fruit boat was in the harbor but they had disposed of all their fruit by the evening.
Mar. 10, Friday, ‘99
This morning opened up not quite so cold but last night was a little chilly. Zeigler Walker and I went to the city at 10 this A.M. and came back on the 3 P.M. train. We went out on a tug to the Truma, a British cattle boat and saw them unload cattle, by hoisting them overboard on to lighters on the horns. They were bad looking stock and bruised much. The Cubans would shove nails fastened onto long sticks into the heads. The large boat was undoubtedly the dirtiest I have ever seen. In the engine room it was 110 but it did n’t seem uncomfortably warm. On one lighter two cattle were about dead from being trampled by the stronger ones. I saw the 2nd Cavalry pack train at work carry hay and straw today. I helped Zeigler buy a dandy white feather fan. We managed to get it for half for what was first asked. We had quite a feast on fruit that we bought in the market. My friends know how to treat me when I come around with my friends. It is said that Co. I. will be back at camp before long. Last night the mules got scared at the brake noise and decided to run but The driver and I pulled hard on the lines just as they reached the crest of a hill. Had they run down the hill there would have been a bad mix up. The flees are beginning to sight the candle so I’ll have to put my Calcetines a dentro mi pantalones. [socks inside my pants] Braily spent awhile in the evening at our tent talking photography. Roberts came down and borrowed a book.
Mar. 11, Sat., ‘99
The morning opened up nicely no practice. Burgiss and Munnel went on train guard today. No mail today. Zeigler and I went to Cannao this A.M. The block houses along the line are all burned We went in the garden used once as a Spanish headquarters. Got a lot of different flowers and sent them home today. A big fire swept around the camp tonight and smoked the hospital a good deal. Some of the patients got to a place where there was no smoke. A counterfire was started near our ammunition No damage was done. I had some fine french fried potatoes cooked in sow grease today. There is a pipe that we go home on the 17th of this month. At Cannao I taught a Cuban surgeon how to speak a little English. I also had a ripe orange that I picked up under a tree at his house. This is the first one I have eaten from the tree here. There are still Cuban soldiers at Cannao. It is said that Sampson will be here Monday. Kline is sick and does seem to have continual chills. When the fire was so bad Gillmore stood at the ordinance tents and was ready for the assembly. I reported at hospital today on account of my cold in head. Munch came over and got Fremont papers. We are going to have an inspection in the mess this eve.
Mar. 12, Sun., ‘99
No church or practice. Hazel and Boope from Co. K Santa Clara came out to camp from the city and had dinner and supper with me, also slept with me in the tent. Hazel slept on my cot, and Boope and I slept on the floor. There were intermittent rains in the afternoon and evening. We did not have to play concert on account of the rain. A big mail came in from Habana on the evening train I got about 10 or 15 pieces. Received some papers from home and they just came in right for the K. boys. Munch of the corral has got some fine relics from the point, also have several pesos from South American countries. He also has besides a paperweight made out of the cable that the Nashville cut off Cienfuegos during the war. I got 7 more pictures from Bennett. We started another counter fire in the weeds near our street across the trocha.
March 13, Mon., ‘99
I played reveille. We received a lot of new music yesterday. We practiced it this morning Boope and Hazel ate here this A.M. and left for the city on the morning train for the city. I got out of the difficulty with Saucky yesterday and it is a good thing. Co. F. fellows left me a lot of novels and Roberts makes good use of them. Some Co. H. fellows came in from, "Constantine" plantation today, and report a fine time. They see deer around their camp but have shot none yet. Sampson fleet of the Indiana Texas and Detroit arrived today. Groch and Saucky visited them. The Indiana is having target practice on account of Grotz and Saucky being way. I sent a Knoxville also Messenger letter.
March 14, Tues., ‘99
I reported at sick call this A.M. and immediately left for the city afoot. Upon reaching it I made for the docks where the Laura was in waiting for the Engineers who had her chartered for the day to take the boys out to the boat. The Indiana, Texas, Detroit, and Marblehead. A private yacht from New York is also with the fleet. I went out on the Texas in the A.M. and was shown around and had a nice time. I came back and visited a Jamaica fruit boat. In the afternoon the Laura tried to make the Texas but ran into it and took a hunk of paint off, which made an officer tell us to pull away and not land we went to the Indiana but smashed against the gangway and were told not to land. After steaming slowly around the fleet we left for the docks and took on board another lot of engineers, when we left again – and made for the Indiana. We didn’t land at first attempt but we got so close that I jumped off on to a tug standing alongside. The Laura come alongside afterward. I was shown through by a young cockswain. I had made 3 trips in the day and was pretty tired by night but saw a beautiful sight. After returning from the Indiana about 6 o’clock I made tracks for Candelaria. I was about to go on the plaza when I found myself in the heart of the provost[guard] without a coat[out of uniform], and after 4 P.M. I saw my Jamaican Spanish teacher on a street near his house. He boards at a place with a number of musicians who play in the band here. He talks like a Chawly from New York. and reminds me of a reporter I know in Knoxville. Afterward talking with him awhile I hoofed it down the tracks and met our cooks coming in and I also noticed black clouds approaching. I made my way to the road crossing near the 2nd Cav. Camp and stayed in a school for Spanish and English ran by a Cuban who has been in the States. I saw a friend of mine there who is eger to learn English. There was also a Jamaica mulatto there also. Such a lot of English I have seldom heard. I left about 8 P.M. with 2 fellows from L. We got to camp at about 9.15 at just at taps. I heard the fellows chewing the rag in the tent and I sprung in on them and some appeared to be asleep but I made them feel ashamed of themselves. It is wonderful what jealousy will do to make fellows talk behind ones back. A grain of powder that Chas Zeigler got from the Indiana for the 8 and 13 in guns. [diagram] In the morning I saw Gen Lee, Capt. Sigsbee – and the Capt of the Indiana Taylor also Capts. of the Detroit and Marblehead. I was told that 540 is the complement of the Indiana. I saw where he was struck off Sandiago. A plate tells of it. The Texas has a Viscaya search light. On the Indiana the temperature is sometimes 175 or more in the lower engine rooms. The marines made a nice showing on all the vessels. I received a number of parcels of mail in the evening. I was in the big turrets of the 12 in. guns on the Texas. The recoil is something like 40 in the 13 in. guns. Gen. Bates was saluted in the afternoon. The ships’ boats continually plied between shore and the fleet all day. Many sailors were anxious to desert and the boats were watched carefully.
Mar. 15, Weds., ‘99
No practice in the A.M. Practice in the shade by our tents in the P.M. at 3. We took up several new pieces. All new from the States. Bowers was down and read the Fremont papers. The new interpreter was in the tent awhile today and we had a nice talk. There was an officer call in the evening and a terrible commotion was created. There is pipe that we will leave on a transport which is about to come here. I saw Lieut. Chase at the creek this afternoon and he was after flees or whatever they were. I received a letter from Bob[Child’s brother] today stateing that he is to be married or was on the 9th of this month. Young Meeks of Co. I. has his discharge and will attend his brother’s funeral on the anniversary of his death. It is expected that the 2nd Battalion will soon be back with us. The parrots of Co. I keep up a continual screaming all day.
March 16, Thurs., ‘99
Practice in the A.M. It was a failure. The music is a little hard. We went to the city in the evening. I had to take care of the lamps. We played a fine concert in the new bandstand. I had a nice conversation with our interpreter whose name is Leonidas. In his house in the city is a table made of a portion of a large tree. Queen Victoria has a commode made from the same tree. A fellow tried to sell me a gold ring for 50 cents. I saw he was a shark and gave him the wrong end. I had another fine feast on fruit ice and other things. Pipes are very numerous. On the way to the city we noticed a coffin in a house in the full view of everybody without. Candles were burning.
Mar. 17, Friday, ‘99
Practice in A.M. Orange 3 for 5 cts. A general kicks about our dirty cook, I received an invitation to Robs marriage. From Mrs. Irig of Wooster. Elder went to Major Barkers tent to plead charges of guilty for being absent awhile after taps. It was a little spite work for not carrying water for the cook shack. He claimed that the non-coms. should carry their share. For supper radishes, green onions & roast beef. No mail this eve. Locks have been put on the sacks of mail coming from States, which is a a[sic] good things. Cos I’s parrots continue to make a horrible noise. Dark clouds appear in the north or east every night, but we have no rain. It is said that in the rainy season, the rains also came along.
Mar. 18, Sat., ‘99
Had no practice in the A.M. Fabricabamous, una casa de la Krapa. The tents were all scruped out. Sayento de instrucion diceba que Commandante Yilet quicereba me ver. I Yo ful. El le. La papel fui muy malo Yo objectaba entences. le diecba que "Si" – Yolo fabrica differentia sera’buena. Yo dico, Si. e eso fui el fin. Yo no fui sabre una dia entre la maricano a las ocho e lat trade – a las dietz. Asi el papel dice, pero yo fui aqui – a las dietz. Asi el papel dice, pero you fui aqui – a las unevo e medio, le Commondante esta mu[ ] cumplido e hablaba muy hermoso. Me Comprende. Aohro yo no quiro a hablar este in English. pero, quigas yo. hablare la mismo dapues. No olvidada e pregunta["We are constructing a house of la crapa. A sergeant of instruction was saying that Commandant Yiulet wanted to see me. I went. He read it. The paper was very bad. I objected then I kept telling him yes. I would do it differently. It would be good. I said yes and that was the end. I did not go one day between the morning at eight in the afternoon at ten. So does the paper say but I was not here at nine and a half. The Commandant is very suitable and spoke very prettily. He understands me. Now I don’t want to speak this in English but perhaps I will speak the same afterwards. I did not forget and asked"]. Grotz just returned from Havana this evening. This has been a little warm today. We had shrewded codfish for supper and will have pie for tomorrow noon. There are as usual numerous pipes about going home. I slept most of the afternoon. Our regiment possesses very good health and for that reason some officers think we shall have to remain here quite awhile. Co. I. is having a little family trouble. Fellows insist in throwing cots from the tents. They have 18 parrots. Mail arrived this evening but we had no key to open it the locks to pouch with, so a great many were disappointed.
Mar. 19, Sunday, ‘99
Had a short practice in the A.M. Had a dandy dinner of mashed potatoes with butter and I furnished the condensed cream used. Nice roast meat and pie. We went to the city in the eve. I let the interpreter ride in on my seat in the wagon. I sat back in the end with Jean May (W) of Co. L. The interpreter was pretty badly scared and didn’t care to ride out as the driver drove to fast. When getting out of the wagon in the city the mules started up and spilled me and my horn from the wheel hurting the horn considerably and me a little also. I played no concert. The stores are not allowed to sell on Sundays any more. Jack got a dandy fan for $1.00 our money. I took him to a friend of mine. He presented us with 3 Spanish flags. Some little children were standing outside the door and Ramon’ waved the flag and they gave a somewhat confined yell. They were very much on the Spanish order, but didn’t want everyone to know it. I had some fine apples for the first time since here. They were very small. On the way out we came a humming. Uncle Tom’s cabin is at the theatre.
Mar.20, Monday, ‘99
We practiced this A.M. We finished la casa de la crapa[outhouse]. There is a pipe that headquarters and 4 Cos are going to Sancti Espiritus. Wed. we go to Santa Clara to play for Gen. Bates. We shall make a three days stay. Leave on his special train My instrument has not been remedied yet. A concert tonight. Bob Evens of Co. H. is playing baritone and Munnel cornet. Brailey left this A.M. for Havana. He will make numerous purchases for the fellows while there. I went over to the hucsters to help the cook explain a few difficulties. The men were cleaning vegetables in a large iron tank for market. Ohnbre from the shack and I went over to the corral and got the lamps for the concert, most all of which had their lights broken. A big fire can be seen coming back of us over the trocha. The interpreter visited me today with a friend of his.
Mar. 21, Tues. ‘99
A short practice in the A.M. I used the extra baritone. Phil went to the city to see about my horn. I learned a good lot on the valves. Received 7 letters today. No 2nd class mail. We are getting things ready to leave in the morning. It is said that the Santa Clara people were to have us there at some time even though Gen. Bates did not bring us. I let go my barbe e bigote [beard and moustache] today. Zeigler got a letter from Gassar today. Phil brought back my horn in time for me to use it a retreat. It works only fair. I can’t keep my books in the tent. The fellows like to read to well. The interpreter was down today with a big article on the Spanish evacuating army. He asked me to help him correct any mistakes in his translation he had made from the Spanish. He acted wisely on my corrections. His main trouble was in letter his sentences become as long as paragraphs. The Col. asked Sergt, why I wasn’t on deck last night. Of course matters were explained. An unknown, to me transport arrived here to day.
Mar. 22, Wed., ‘99
Left Candelaria on special train at 7 A.M. We had 2 cars one for the General and staff and one for the band. We met the Paymaster half way to Santa Clara or Cruses. We arrived in Santa Clara at 10 A.M. We had the 3 companies of infantry to meet us at the depot, of our battalion. We marched through to the plaza presented arms and was inspected by the Gen Bates and staff. We then marched to camp where the Co.s gave 3 cheers for the band and we reciprocated. Then we divided amongst the companies. I stayed with Co. K. In the mess of Proctors, Morgan, Reineck and Hazel, and Michaels. We played concert in the evening. Played the Song reached heart. The Cubans liked the slide work. Saw several machetes and parrots. Came to camp soon after concert. Met a Cuban business man who invited me to hear his sister play. The people here put in a petition to have us remain here. In the afternoon a number of us went to a large swimming hole near a large hill which was an old blockade. The swimming hole was an old coal shaft. We had a beautiful sight from the hill. I fought [bought] a shell. The trocha here is the best on the island. It is dandy. The fellows here all have white suits. Harry Fisher is dressed up to kill. The streets are very narrow here. We had a good supper of mush and milk. Morgan has a very fractious parrot that he would like to get rid of. The posts are still called out here. The cook shacks here are quite a way from the streets Most all of the soldiers were in the city last night. The camp is about 15 min-walk from the plaza which is round. The guard at the hospital turned out for us. One had one shoe on. And they were a horrid lot of half naked men.
Mar. 23, Thurs., ‘99
In the A.M. we had a short practice after which Ed., Al, Harry and myself went to the city. On the route in I managed to purchase a parrot for 110 centavos. I left him in a Cuban house with a young Cuban until we returned late in the afternoon. He spoke some while yet on my hand. In the afternoon we went to the city again and I was very glad to see my old appetizers "the cream puffs. The lemonades here are also of the finest. The boys all bought nice large Cuban hats. They managed to jew the salesman down as is usual in this country. The fellows also got a suit a piece. I secured a few relics from the sastre who made the boys’ suits. The tailors of the city have been making all kinds of money since pay day. In the A.M. the fellows went to the commissary store and purchased numerous supplies for the table. Reinick stayed in the city, and Ed Morgan and myself carried out the articles in a large box; we took relays of course. At noon the street gangs of Cubans turned in at the headquarters with their checks. Corporals Strauss and Foley have charge of gangs here. The rear roads here are not as nice as those of Cienfuegos, but the people and buildings are neater. The fellows took me through the prison, old barracks which are being refitted also the hospital. The prison had a court in the middle and had the block house attachments at the corners. The barracks are being painted blue and white and get the names of Co’s that occupy their different apparments are to be seen. One thing of common in such buildings is noted. Las Casas de la crapas que viene alas cocinas[the outhouse is close to the kitchen]. We only saw into the operating room of the hospital. The table was made of glass. Everything was very neat. The Cuban soldiers still go around with their carbines, here, unlike those at Cienguegos During the day I made 3 round trips to the city. In the eve. the band played a concert in the city. The new baritone player Evans played Braily’s solo as good as Brailey ever did with his little practice. Cotton blossoms delighted the crowd immensely. The marches don’t have such good effects. I received about 10 parcels of mail from the United States in the evening, which was brought down by the train guard. After the concert I looked for a machete but didn’t see any Toledo blades. Sabres of Toledo make are quite common but the ideal machetes are hard to find. I saw of sword cane which was quite antiqueted so could make no use of it. I brought a tooth pick in the prison which which [sic]had several fellows who made them to sell.
Mar.24, Fri., ‘99
The parrot made a horrible noise about 4 A.M. and awakened us all. We had a short practice in a tent back of Co. D. in the A.M. I received mail from Cienfuegos, by the train guard. We have fine eatables here and the cooks are very clean. Small bananas sell for 6 for 5 cts. It is most to warm today to do anything. In the afternoon we went swimming in the nearer place. In the evening I perused over E’ds Spanish books.
Mar. 25, Sat., ‘99
Roberts was late at reveille and Phil says that he will undoubtedly get canned from the band. We had a short practice. Reinick just took off his colgoncillas which composed of one fierna. He told me to mention it here as he saw me writing. In the morning Zeigler, Harrington Morgan and I went to the highest point on the island. It was a big climb but after we got up there we saw much of the surrounding country. It is astonishing to see the fine looking people pick up stuff to eat here. My parrot is on the outside making a great disturbance. On the way to the mountain we obtained many Cuban brass bullets. The day was extremely hot and made me think of Chicamauga. Strauss returned from the city and was relieved by Parks. It is said that the headquarters Co’s E and A. left for Sanctu Espiritus yesterday. We had a nice swim today and saw several good Cuban swimmers. They rub their hands over their foreheads before entering. Cigars sell for a cent a piece here. Plenty of mail came in this evening from Home. Morgan got a letter from home dated Feb. 27th. Rensler used my revolver to shoot a beef today. This is a very bad place for dust. Your feet get horribly dirty even though you go swimming once a day. In the evening we gave a concert in the plaza Spieled "Porque".
Mar. 26, sun., ‘99
In the A.M. Zeigler and I visited the Leapor hospital. Saw some bad sights. One fellow was about to loose both eyes. We also ran across the beautiful slaughter house. In the P.M. at 1.30 the band left for the Ball grounds in wagons. The roads were very rough – and we reached the ball grounds after considerable bumping. The game was between a Cienfuegos team and our battalion team Score 13 to 5 in favor of our fellows. Some of the men went very nearly went[sic] crazy over the game. We returned after the game and played concert in the city in the eve. Played Cotton Blossoms’ by request. Mail for the band came in.
Mar. 27, Mon., ‘99
No practice this A.M. Went to the city with Hazel to buy a suit of Cuban clothes, but they hadn’t time to fit me out as we may leave at 2.45 On the way back we went through the old Spanish Church. A snake measuring 9 feet was brought to camp today and Hague bought him for $1.50. He and Sullivan are skinning him now. Today is terribly warm. Frank Emerson died in the hospital after dinner today. It is said that he can’t be taken home till next December; such have been orders telegraphed here. Guy his brother feels very bad over it, and has buried himself in a handkerchief ever since. We have not gotten transportation for our return yet. We had a little breeze today. I went in swimming today and took my parrot in to He got away from me in the water, and half flew and swam to a log in the water where he kept up a continual talk We give no concert in the city this eve. Hazels dogs are beginning to bark. Lazarus Nichols just passed here with an overcoat on; he has no pantaloons.
Mar. 28, Tues., ‘99
In the A.M. the casket for Frank Emerson arrived and the fellows practiced a few hymns. After dinner we practiced a few marches to use as funeral marches. At 2.30 services were held at the hospital by Col. McArran. At 3 we left camp, as we reached the city we played a dirge and from them[then?] on several more. At the cemetery we countermarched and played while the fours marched in. The casket was placed in the hospital wagon. Cor. Emerson took matter cooly. The coffin could not be gotten in the hole in the wall and it had to be chiseled larger. The fellows sang a song. Lancaster blew pretty taps. A squad of K. fired nicely. McArran offered prayers. We marched back and played No 1 in the city. I took a nice swim in the evening. We played no concert in the evening.
Mar. 29, Wed., ‘99
Got up a little to late today for reveille. I spent about 2 hours in the creek this A.M. also in the afternoon. We had a short practice after dinner. Grotz and Munnel
had a chewing match. A large cloud appeared in the north in the afternoon, I got my parrot to talking well in the afternoon. I have had good offers for him. They say we shall go to Candelaria Friday. In the eve we played a concert in the city and afterwards adjourned to the Opera House where we witnessed an exhibition with the Cineograph. The gallery hooted at the Cuban music and showed a better likeness for the pictures. The Opera House is a very fine one. The grand Boxes are on the stage. I ordered a suit of duck[heavy, durable cotton]clothes.
Mar. 30, Thurs., ‘99
No practice in the A.M. I read most all morning. I received a lot of mail from home today. Took a short swim after dinner. About 3.30 a wind storm arose and it finally ended with typhoons. The first was noticeable in the west It seemed to come closer to us but it finally broke up and blew in another direction. The next one was a long one that extended across the skies pointing to the south. It struck the ground and plowed along up and down hill. It seemed to take up about a ton of dirt. It gradually lifted itself and then lost itself to view. The next one was seen making for camp, and we saw it It took papers and loose things with it. It also partly tore down the officers tents. The boys ran in all directions, Some ran in its path and were covered with dust. E Procter and I made for the ditch by the cookshack but missed it – as the typhoon was only a small one. A. Reinick and Ed Procter got sick today. They are now on their cots. The clouds moved very fast during the storm, also moved in all directions. They formed in plain view along in the north. We didn’t play on retreat, Lee Feightner shaved me today and literally scraped my neck off.
Mar. 31, Friday, ‘99
There was no practice in the A.M. I went to the city with Zeigler in the afternoon. We got Procters snake belt. Also bought sugar and canned fruit at the commissary. I went to the tailors and had him try my coat on. He is so busy that he is entirely rattled. We took in the market, but there were no sweet oranges there for us to buy. The bananas are very small and they sell "siete por medio"[seven for 5 cents]. We returned about 4 oclock and saw a crazy woman on the way. After returning Ed Procter and I went swimming. A rain started up as we were about to return and completely drenched me. We ran home and took off our clothes and got out for a shower bath. I had not extra clothes, although many were offered me. I hopped into bed and stayed there all evening. The band played 3 pieces in camp in the evening with 16 pieces. I couldn’t play of course. A great many fellows went to the city in the eve.
The fellows are full of April pipes[rumors] today. My clothes are drying out. We got a broken small milk tree and made a dandy perch for our parrots. Ed and Reinich still have chills, intermittently. The fellows in the mess are cleaning guns with the laith this A.M. Shots were heard from the direction of the old barracks. No one seems to know the cause. Morgan bought Strausis parrot. The fellows mustered this A.M. without guns. Chaplain Harbough arrived in the city today. He says that we shall be on the waters by the 15th Harry Fisher is known as the egg eater because he eats 3 eggs a meal. They come at 5 cts. a piece. In the eve Phil returned from Candelaria with clothes for us, for which we had sent. We went to the city to play at a private house, but said we might play a couple of pieces on the outside then move on but we decided not to play at all so we ripped off a few loud ones at the plaza and dispersed. I went over to try my suit on and found it fair. The walking to the city was very bad indeed. Returned at taps. Phil says the 2nd Inft. is in Cienfuegos Harbor.
April 2, Sunday, ‘99
In the A.M. we played for church. The Chaplain preached a nice sermon. He said we would be on the water by the 15th instant. In the afternoon I read and slept. At night we played a concert in the city. "C played "Im tiefen Keller". On the way back I heard some fine playing on the piano. The lady said she couldn’t play much without paper but she played "Lorbre Las Olas" in fine shape. There was the same large crowd at the house on Cuba St. There was a large crowd outside.
April 3, Mon., "99
In the A.M. we had practice after which Zeigler and I went to the city and purchased some alcohol for insects also some shoes. Zeigler had a coat made. My suit fitted in good Cuban style. Morgan visited the commissary. We returned just in time for dinner. After dinner Zeigler and I went insect bagging. After we got onto the art of working we bagged several specimens. In the eve. I put in my time reading and writing. We gave a concert in camp after supper. Played cotton blossoms for the fellows. They also wanted a "instrumento fuerro solomente".
Apr. 4, Tues., ‘99
We had a practice in the A.M. In the P.M. Butcher Doc. Smith and Bribon went after reptiles. We only caught a few. I found a few pieces of the trocha already cut. There is a pipe out that the band leaves tomorrow. My parrot speaks much of late. I am writing in the tent Zeigler is staying in and they all claim to be bit up by flees The "Buzzards", bring around flowers. Cap’t Stroub thinks the battalion will go back by Saturday. In the evening we played a concert in the city. Zeigler and I did considerable shopping. We both got a pair of Cuban dress shoes. I bought 2 pairs of cheap ones also. I got my suit and purchased a straw hat. There was quite a crowd on the plaza and the people were of good appearance. After returning I went to bed in the dark in order to keep the fellows from awakening but happened to find them awake. The fellows in the next tent were interested in cards and kept up quite a racket. I had to go there to put in my daily reading. The barracks for the relieving troops are completed.
April 5, Wed., ‘99
In the morning we commenced to get ready to leave. At 10 A.M. we heard that 20 second Cav. Fellows were in city to relieve us. or rather the 2nd Batt. The fellows set up quite a yell. At noon the cots were put on the wagon and hauled down. I put my parrot on also my haversack which contained my bottle of reptiles. They were considerably jarred on the road. Before the band left which was shortly after dinner I tried to get back my haversack but it was to late it was far down in the bottom We played 2 pieces then left. We cheered for the battalion and they cheered for us. Cap’t Stroub made a little farewell speech for the battalion. We walked to the city at a merry clip. We played No 6 on entering. Stopped in front of the headquarters and played one more piece; then started to the depot on No 1. the 2nd Cav. Lieut asked Maj. Barker for the books and somewhat surprised him. I had Morgan get my hat for me during the time it took us to go to the depot. Mac had a new belt on and the Cubans thought he was a general because he had so many stars on. At the depot we lay around about an hour. Some Cubans told me that the Chamellions had fever, but over wiser looking gentlemen said no so I kept them On the train were a number of passengers and at last we had to sit two in a seat. 3 priests got on at a station up the line. They all had the same black hats and gowns. Scottie and I took our parrots out for an airing. There were some nice looking people seated opposite us. A fellow seated in front of us gave us some fruits. I forgot the name, but they taste something like a strawberry and are quite plenty now. We landed at Candelaria at about 5 P.M. The first I saw was the cook shack of the band. We played No 25 (Guardes Du Corpus up to our street. Brailey came down to meet us also Spangler. The officers at headquarters waved hands at us from their tents. Everybody seemed pleased to see us and most of the boys seemed glad to come back I for myself liked Santa Clara very well and had an elegant time there. Once reaching our tents, we put down our instruments and got after our effects. my parrot seemed a little lost at first and didn’t care to eat much. We repaired to bean sup for supper, but I couldn’t quite go it. Fellows say that we shall get out of this by Sunday and it is said that our transport is at present in the harbor. The 2nd Battalion is expected here within 2 days. Although they don’t expect to get here before Monday next. Gillmore has taken a bid for his washing outfit and will sell Friday as he says we shall load Saturday. In the eve I wrote four letters and scribbled in my diary. I received about 15 pieces of mail. In it a fine dairy from Tom. I feel quite at home here now. Sent home a Cuban handerchief today. One can notice the difference in the climate of Santa Clara and Cienfuegos. Gave Munch newses to use this evening. Bowers of the 4 corps says he will be mustered out with us at his displeasure He would rather have been mustered out at Habana.
The inland country is indeed quite a sight. On the train we encountered a praire fire which blew in to the open windows but did no harm. I shall not forget the intermittent fever the boys had at Santa Clara or the buzzards, or No tenine ropa oy[not translatable] people.
April 6, Thurs., ‘99
In the morning I packed up my stuff and sent a package home containing 3 photos some buttons etc. Send Sentinal a N.G. In the head of my parrot seems to be sort of an infernal machine – he does take some awful turns. The companies from Trinidad and Sancti Espiritus arrived in the city last night. Col. McMaken and Major Standsberry also arrived with them. They are relieved by details from the 2nd Cavalry. The eve. was quite breezy making quite a different from the weather of Santa Clara. Bowers came down last night and gave us a few pipes. The fellows who were writing letters sent them home. Afterwards he told them that he was only fooling. The companies may march out this A.M.