AMERICAN SOLDIER'S IMPRESSIONS TO MAGALANG
Since its capture of Magalang by the Americans in November 5, 1899, many American infantrymen were stationed in Magalang. First of them is the 25th Infantry composed of Black American soldiers whom they garnered their nickname as Buffalo Soldiers. After an incident done by their military musician, Julius Arnold; they were relieved and they were replaced by 41st Infantry. These American soldiers were composed of volunteers and their headquarters was located in the convent of San Bartolome Church. Aside from aristocracies done by the Americans, some of them impressed to the scenic beauty, environment and simple life of Magaleños. A letter published by Glens Falls Morning Star dated March 8, 1900; which was sent by an American soldier, Private William A. Vaughan of Company F, 41st Infantry. He wrote about his experiences while he was in duty in the town of San Pedro Magalang; dated January 26, 1900:
Bad weather is the greatest bother here, we have to boil all of it before we drink it on account of malaria, and malaria is the soldier’s worst enemy in the tropics. We are now in stationed in the town of San Pedro,Magalang, seventy miles north of Manila. Our quarters are in an old Spanish monastery, a very large building of stone. It looks as if it had been built a good many years. We let the natives to use part of it for religious purposes. There are four large bells in a tower that the natives kept ringing until we found that they signaling with the insurrectos, and now we only let them ring for vespers. The natives are dying off at a great rate. They bring in three or four bodies every day. I guess it is some plague that is killing them off. Everything is very quiet around here; has been no fighting since we came here, but we expect it every night. They never attack in day time. We have only two companies here, but we are strongly entrenched and can put up a pretty stiff fight. The Filipinos are entrenched on a mountain about the size of Buck Mountain, and the underbrush is so thick you can’t see twenty feet. Thirty of us volunteered for a scout and we got as far up the mountain as the enemy’s outposts without being seen, but did not attack them. There was a big fight on the south line a few days ago, but haven’t heard the results yet. We are having awful warm weather here now. It is hot as it as anytime last summer at home but it is cool nights. Flannel blankets don’t feel uncomfortable at all. It seem queer to be in land where flowers are in bloom and fruit in January, when back in the states the snow is probably waist deep. They don’t have many horses here, and they are poules. They use the water buffalo instead. Fruit is very cheap. You get a fine branch of bananas for a nickel and we can get all the cane sugar and molasses for nothing. The natives as a general run are a dirty treacherous looking people except mestizos, or half breeds, who are pretty good looking and educated. We always go fully armed when on the street, for we can’t trust any of them. It is my opinion that this war won’t last much longer, but I think we will serve our time out on the island, as garrison troops. I hope they will move us to some good place before the rainy season sets in. We got some parrots the other day and they are making an awful noise. The woods are full of monkeys and parrots, and lizards of all sizes crawl over you at night, but I guess they are not poisonous. I haven’t seen many snakes, but they are old whoppers. We got a water moccasin the other day seven feet long.
Taken from: From The Philippines, Glens Falls Morning Star, Thursday, March 8, 1900 page 4.