The following is a diary of William Erwin Reed from the Spanish-American War.. He married Eva Rowton, daughter of Joshua Graham Rowton, of Stites, then Grangeville. Joshua Graham Rowton married Emma Clarke.
This was submitted by Mary June April 12, 2004
William E. Reed enlisted as
Private of Company D, First Regiment of Idaho,
F. M. Reed, below,
William’s brother, was Miles Frank Reed, who later became president of the
This diary will please be handed to my brother, F. M. Reed,
in case I should not return W.E.
Reed, Co. "D" 1st
4 May 1898
Left Moscow (
6 May 1898
Today we policed our new camp - went twice to the depot to escort troops to camp. In the evening we paid our last solemn respects to the Captain of "H" company
7 May 1898
A quiet day full of Misery. Drilled four hours, lined up for our meals and my chum, Mr. Martin, was on guard duty for the first time. He came in the following morning pretty tired and disgusted in general at army life.
My great day has come - I was on guard. The first time on guard is a great day to the new soldier, and many are the experiences of that day which will not be forgotten by me. How I was "called down" for having buglers chevrons on my coat and how the corporal of the guard and myself got the "swady" who was trying to run the lines
Came off guard - wrote a letter home - drilled a time or two - went thro the regular routine of camp life and turned in at taps -
Tactics changed this morning setting up exercise in place of drill. Shortly before we marched to the GAR hall for examination but the Dr's could not get around to us that day. Came back disgusted.
Today we were examined and all cadets passed but two.
We were told that the boys from
This is the day we held up our right hands and took the
oath to serve the
Detailed as chief cook for the day. Dinner was a little short and some of the boys who were a little slow didn't get much to eat. Mr. Geo Comstock was pretty angry at not getting anything to eat. He soon found out we would cook him nothing so he went off to town and got dinner at a restaurant. Supper was all OK.
Relieved from duty today on account of being on cook detail the day before. The cavalry stables burned today. Fire call was promptly sounded. We made good time in going over, however the fire company beat us and we had nothing to do but watch the stable burn. Battalion muster in the evening. James Malloy became involved in a fight with Peter Addison, and after a squabble with the officer of the guard he was put in the guardhouse at the barracks.
My companion was quite angry, because the sergeant
of the guard let him on duty two hours too long: the guard who was on
with Mr. Martin, "Missouri" by name, declared he would quit such an
ignorant set if he had to desert and be hanged the next minute.
Orders against leaving camp, until after six in the evening. Washed my sox today. Feet a little sore from walking post in the sand. Articles of war read to us by Sgt. Armstrong. Some of them are pretty stiff. Colonel Jones takes com. and makes us a visit. Makes a few remarks on the position of a soldier and etc.
Four hours drill as usual. Tickets were issued for a swim in the Natatorium. Mr. McFarland and myself were in our tent at taps, but Mr. Snider was not and no way for him to get in but to run the line. This he did, but with some difficulty. The fool guard shot at Mr. Snider which put him on the "hike" proper. Before the members of the guard could get out on the chase Mr. Snider was in bed near me panting like a lizard but when the corporal put his head into our tent all was asleep and Frank was safe.
Today was a jubilent day among the boys. Orders came that we were to start for Frisco on the following day. Too rainy to move around much. Wrote several letters.
First call was
breakfast at 5. Tents dropped at 7
and in a short time the boys of proud
Morning came today at the Dalls.
Enjoyed the scenery along the
This morning found us in the mountains of southern
No drill today. In
the evening requisition was made for equipment for our trip to the Philippine
Idlands. Only drilled four times
The day went by with us having due respects to drill and other military duties. Spent the evening with my chums in the park after which we went to the Chutes and was particularly interested by the play in the theatre. Old Glory was gorgeously displayed and in one act we saw the Spanish rag pulled to the ground.
Nothing of interest today. Everything moving nicely.
Much excitement among the troops and authorities due to the
fact that two
Nothing of interest to myself, but my comrade, Mr. Martin made a very promising hit with one Miss Emma McGowan.
Today our household, with the exception of Mr. McFarland went to the beach, and picked up a few shells, but they are very scarce at this place. We visited the famous cliff house and here saw the seals and walruses playing in the water and lounging on the rocks. Came back too tired to move. The bay was too rough to bathe in.
One good thing happened today that I know of. Some good ladies visited our tent and left us some splendid pies and cakes. Call again ladies!
May is gone and the last day went out very quietly.
Bought a nice mess of strawberries and Clem and I chased around for over an hour to find someplace to buy milk. We were finally rewarded for finding one of the very best of families who offered any pay we offered for the bread, butter and milk - we got from them. We gave the children each a few cents also a button then happily went our way to camp where a general fill up was thrown in to ourselves. Strawberries are great stuff for a soldier.
Today all went merry in camp. We were fully equipped for our Manilla Expedition. Two minutes after my rifle was given to me Mr. Koenigs got into a scrap and as I was standing by Cap. Smith ordered me to take one to the guard house and Sgt. Hogberg the other. This was the first duty I did with my new gun. The officer of the day, Lt. Steuningberg, turned the boys loose and told them if they wanted to fight to go outside and that if he caught them quarreling anymore inside he would put them out and punch them with a bayonet til they did fight.
Some of the boys got blue uniforms today, and they are a worthless issue of clothing. Put up by Chinese. Colonel Jones issued a new order today requiring us to be in camp by nine instead of as before. This worked a hardship on the boys as many of them did not like to leave town at such an early hour.
Pretty hot today. Vaccinated in the morning. Rodonius (?) fainted during the operation. Drilled in the art of swinging knapsacks this evening.
This morning we were haandered up in our full rigs and given a chase out in the back. It made the sweat come in good shape. Martin's ladies come again in ti
The first batallion was inspected in heavy marching order. The second batallion was to have been inspected also, but on account of some blunder we were not.
We were marched to the Presidio hill and inspected by an officer on Gen. Merritt's staff.
On cook detail today, nothing unusual happened.
Battalion drill today.
That always calls for a long walk to the Presidio hill.
Martin and McFarland took in the town during the afternoon.
"Bay day tomorrow."
Word was published in the "Call" that the
On guard today, and got a genuine good calling down from Gen. Green who came to inspect our camp. We didn't get the guard out soon enough to suit him.
Got our pay today and before night many of our boys was walking on both sides of the street. Thank God I have not desire for strong drinks.
These days were all spent about the same.
Looking around over Frisco and
Much excitement in camp today as we got the long looked for
order to march aboard the
A great day for us all. At tents fell and after an hour or two of waiting we started on our march to the wharfs. After much sweating we got to docks and filed on board and were soon in our quarters, if such they could be called. Coffee and sandwitches were served by the Red Cross. We left the docks at and anchored in the bay.
Much to the pleasure of the boys, our old tub raised her
anchor, and with the
Sick as a Some of the boys are beginning to kick for something to eat. Reed don't care for anything, thanks.
Got a little sip of blackberry brandy from Mr. Willard and it put me on my feet from now on I am improving. Still the howl goes on for something to eat. Officers investigate and improve things some.
30 June to 3 July
The days all go by about the same, some read, some play cards, others talk and so the time wears slowly away.
Glorious ol Day when we came on out this morning, after being awakened by a salute, we found our ship nicely decorated with many flags. Several short addresses were made by the officers and a song or two made up the program for the morning. The afternoon was spent in sporting on the deck. The winner of any trick was entitled to a bottle of beer. Fireworks were displayed in the evening. we were in latitude 26o6' north and longitude 150o55' west. Plum Duff for dinner.
Nothing unusual today. Many flying fish show themselves.
This morning when we awoke we were in sight of land it
being one of two island of the Hawaiian group.
we arrived in port at
Went ashore for two hours drill. Came back and was hurried off in regimental formation to the banquet. This was a splendid spread and highly enjoyed by all. We cadets were especially entertained by the former students of Miss Cushman and the girls made us feel quite at home and among old friends. We will not forget the kindness of the Hawaiian people especially the students who were so fine.
8 - 9 July
This morning early we pulled out of the harbor for
All is moving smoothly today over a calm sea. The fleet is together.
Every thing is "slum*" today of the "slummiest*" kind.
Lounged around all day. It is getting too hot to live.
Word came from the
Much discussion among the boys about jumping the next day
on account of us crossing the 150o of Long. we are now in the
"Nit" Lost: a day.
Nothing ususual today.
Intensely warm today. Martin lost his last ten cents at twenty-one.
Everything moving along as usual. No excitement.
Spent part of the day "A.D. 2000" by Lt. Fuller.****
Nothing noteworthy today.
Today a class was arranged for the study of military tactic
with Sgt. Ole G. Hagberg as instructor. Another
man was buried in the deep blue sea from the "
We lined up at for inspection, then came our lesson in tactics.
Today we came in sight of the Ladroru islands and at we could see dense clouds of smoke ascending from a volcano. Our vessel passed within two or three miles of it, just at dusk and I will never forget what a beautiful sight it was. It looked like a huge teepee with a large fire in the center and the flames shooting out the top. Perilous volcano.
We are behind the other boats today. Our old tub is slow but sure.
25 to 30 July
Much speculation among the boys as to what condition we
our fleet came into the
Early this morning a little skirmish took place between our forces on land and the Spanish forces. The report is five men and a Capt. was killed and 25 wounded. We could hear the musketry and it was quite exciting clear out here in the bay.
2 to 5 Aug.
During this time the boys wrote home and spent the time wishing they were on shore. . A rumor came to us that Spain had sued for peace and had offered the freedom of Cuba and would give to the United State, Porto Rico, Ladrone** Islands and a whaling station in the Philippines. Tonight we were ordered to prepare to go ashore early in the morning. Every body joyful over the news.
today we were on the ferryboat pulling for the shore.
Some of the boys managed to steal a can of syrup from the Hosp. corps so
we had a pretty good feed. We spent
41 days on the old
Spent most of the day in looking around for something to eat. Got after several small chickens, but they could get around thro the bamboo in better shape than I could. Our rations are very short. One can of roast beef to two men and four hard tack o the man. No one knows why we are so short.
A pretty good ration came today at . Got a "fill up" - the first time for three days. It rains like the Dutch every day and we get wet every night. Wood to cook with is scarce. The rain don't seem to hurt us.
Our regiment left early this morning with 200 round of ammunition to relieve some of the boys in the trenches. This was a hard march for about two miles. Many times we were in mud almost to our belts, besides we were weak from just coming off the boat.
We could not
see the Spanish soldiers from the trenches, however the outpost could obviously
see a big straw hat bobbing around.
Relieved from the trenches at . Got to camp at 10. Many of the boys almost fogged - guess I was one of them. We were the muddiest set I ever saw and spent most of the afternoon in the bay as it is only a stone's throw from us!
The whole company went on wood detail. Had a little trouble with a native over a dry tree - gave him a "media pars" and took the tree. Still it rains in torrents.
Today was the day we boys tossed up our old hats and
shouted for on the morrow we were going in to
We, as all other troops in
Spent part of the day looking around in the vacinity of Malate bar. Nothing to eat today. These quarters are in an awful condition - simply filthy.
Got up most awful hungry Volunteered to go on a grub detail and was marched down the beach to the Paseo where we got some roast beef and hard tack. It was pretty good stuff about that time too.
Spent most of the day lounging around. Not much going on.
Went on guard. First
guard duty in
Getting along good now. We are getting plenty to eat so the kicking has somewhat subsided.
Went up town or the first time. My, but it is a dirty place. Nearly all business houses are closed. The walls around old town look very strong but our modern artillery is too much for them. The building are ancient and of the low style on account of earthquakes.
20 - 25 Aug
Today companies "P" "E" and
"B" went into the city to do patrol duty.
We were out hours but the duty was light and we enjoyed getting away from
the noisy quarters. Mr. Martin had
quite a time with a drunken officer and not till they had their fun out of him
was he allowed to pass. My pal and I
have a good healthy supply of
Today is a scorcher - warmest day we have had.
Our brown and white suits were issued today and the boys are as proud as the boy with his first new boots. A good deal of fun was made over the white dress helmets.
Our company went out for another 48 hour stretch.
This time we were at
*slum = slime, muck, slab--an old Danish word meaning slippery, thick, viscous
***Known as the end of the
****A.D. 2000, a novel by Liet. Alvarado M. Fuller,