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, 1 May 1898 for two years discharged 25 Sep 1899 at the Presidio.  He was 22 yrs, 5 mos of age, 5 feet 7 inches high, Ruddy complexion, Brown eyes, Brown hair and by occupation a student.   He was detailed as sharpshooter and scout, April 7 to July 12, 1899 .  Served in Spanish-American war in the Philippine Islands, Engaged Manila, 13 Aug 1898, Santa Ana, 5 Feb 1899, Caloocan, 10 Feb 1899, Laguna de Bay Expedition, 8 - 18 Apr 1899, In the trenches, 19 Feb to 12 Jul 1899., Services, Honest and Faithful.

  William Erwin Reed mustered in the 1 Reg't Idaho Infantry, Company D, as a "Musician" on 12 May 1898 .  Enrolled 5 May 1898 Moscow Idaho for 2 years.  Detailed as Regimental Color Guard 26 July 1899 .   Had a varicele.  Suffered from Diarrhea and Pemphigus, both feet.  Due U.S. 084 for one tin cup.

F. M. Reed, below, William’s brother, was Miles Frank Reed, who later became president of the University at Pocatello .

This diary will please be handed to my brother, F. M. Reed, in case I should not return  W.E. Reed, Co. "D" 1st Idaho

4 May 1898

Left Moscow ( Idaho ) at 2:30 for Boise City , amid the cheers of a large crowd.  Much enthusiasm shown.  Made Colfax at 4 , ate supper and layed over until 8:00 A noisy night spent; too much noise for sleep.   Next morning found us at Pendelton.  An hour's ride beyond found one of our engines off the rails.  Delayed four hours.  Reached Mensham at noon got dinner at restaurant, hard-tack N.G.  This is a beautiful place.  Ten o'clock found us at Boise where we were met by the militia, two bands and a large concourse of citizens.  By eleven o'clock our tents were stretched and some worn out would be soldiers laid down on the sand of South Idaho to enjoy a soldier's rest.

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.

8 May

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

9 May

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 - 9:30

10 May

Tactics changed this morning setting up exercise in place of drill.  Shortly before noon we marched to the GAR hall for examination but the Dr's could not get around to us that day.  Came back disgusted.

11 May

Today we were examined and all cadets passed but two.  We were told that the boys from Genesee were to be united with us, and that our company's letter would be "D".  Boys were all happy tonight over passing the rigid ex.

12 May

This is the day we held up our right hands and took the oath to serve the United States of America for two years unless sooner discharged against all and any foes.  Administed by Lt. Walch of the 4 Cav. and others.

13 May

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.

14 May

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.

15 May

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.  After supper Missouri cooled down.

16 May

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.

17 May

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.

18 May

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.

19 May

 First call was blown at 4 o'clock breakfast at 5.  Tents dropped at 7 and in a short time the boys of proud Idaho were merrily swinging themselves thro the streets of Boise amid vast throngs of shouting citizens.  Beautiful display of flowers.  The second Battalion was delayed and we were pretty tired of standing by the time we got our train.  As we passed thro Baker City a boy was killed by the firing of a cannon in saluting our train.  Peace to his ashes as it seems he died almost in the cause of his country.

20 May

Morning came today at the Dalls.  Enjoyed the scenery along the Columbia .  Eleven o'clock found us rolling into Portland where the ladies of that city gave us the grandest reception of the trip.  Nothing was too good for Uncle Sam's boys. My sisters, Mary and Addie, came up from Albany to meet me and I had a fine visit with them.  They were not allowed to ride on the troop train so after two hours chat I bid them farewell and our train sped on towards Frisco.  I lost my last button in Portland .

21 May

This morning found us in the mountains of southern Oregon .  Fine scenery.  Played a few games of cards during the afternoon.   I ate a piece of balogna for supper and it made me sick.  After throwing it up I was alright.  Five minutes rough house just before retiring.

22 May

San Francisco at six o'clock .  We were rushed out of bed onto the ferry boat which was to take us across the bay.  Then we landed at the wharves the Calif. Red Cross facility gave us an excellent breakfast.  After an hour's rest we continued our three miles' journey to Camp Merritt .  There the people of Frisco showered oranges at us for three hours.  Our tents finally came after much waiting and the remainder of the day was consumed in arranging camp.

23 May

No drill today.  In the evening requisition was made for equipment for our trip to the Philippine Idlands.  Only drilled four times today.   Pearl and I sneaked thro the lines and spent an hour or two in the Golden Gate Park - saw many things of great interest.  Season tickets were issued for the    Pearl and I with several of the boys went thro Chinatown .  We saw it all.  A very, very, dirty place, altho well worth going to see.

25 May

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.

26 May

Nothing of interest today.  Everything moving nicely.

27 May

Much excitement among the troops and authorities due to the fact that two Minn. boys were poisoned in the meat they ate.  Orders against receiving anything from out side over the fence.  Kitchens all moved backward from the fence.  Suspicion of treachery.


28 May

Nothing of interest to myself, but my comrade, Mr. Martin made a very promising hit with one Miss Emma McGowan.

29 May

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.

30 May

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!

31 May

May is gone and the last day went out very quietly.

1 June

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.

2 June

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.

3 June

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 eleven o'clock as before.  This worked a hardship on  the boys as many of them did not like to leave town at such an early hour.

4 June

Pretty hot today.  Vaccinated in the morning.  Rodonius (?) fainted during the operation.  Drilled in the art of swinging knapsacks this evening.

5 June

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

6 June

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.

7 June

We were marched to the Presidio hill and inspected by an officer on Gen. Merritt's staff.

8 June

On cook detail today, nothing unusual happened.

9 June

Battalion drill today.  That always calls for a long walk to the Presidio hill.  Martin and McFarland took in the town during the afternoon.  Pearl ordered a pair of spectacles.

10 June

"Bay day tomorrow."  Word was published in the "Call" that the Idaho boys would go aboard the Morgan City June 14th.  Spent this evening in the Chutes.  This is a good place for a cheap soldier as it costs nothing to get in.

11 June

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.

12 June

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.

14-24 June

These days were all spent about the same.  Looking around over Frisco and Oakland , and spending my money which seems an easy task to me.  During one of these days Martin got a good calling down from Capt. Murphy for leaning on the fence while on guard duty.

25 June

Much excitement in camp today as we got the long looked for order to march aboard the Morgan City at an early hour on the following day.  Spent the evening writing farewell letters.

26 June

A great day for us all.  At 8 o'clock 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 3:30 and anchored in the bay.

27 June

Much to the pleasure of the boys, our old tub raised her anchor, and with the Indiana , Valentina , Ohio and City of Peru the 3rd expedition was off.  The shrill whistling of the many steamers and launches on the bay aided by the vast throng on shore made a noise almost deafening to one.  We passed the Golden Gate at 4 o'clock and very shortly after passed my dinner up over the railing to the fishes.  I was not the only one.  How comical it was and yet how awful sick we felt.  Finally I went to the hold with the hopes that the vessel would sink.

28 June

Sick as a   Some of the boys are beginning to kick for something to eat.  Reed don't care for anything, thanks.

29 June

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.

4 July

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.  Four o'clock we were in latitude 26o6' north and longitude 150o55' west.  Plum Duff for dinner.

5 July

Nothing unusual today.  Many flying fish show themselves.

6 July

This morning when we awoke we were in sight of land it being one of two island of the Hawaiian group.  At eleven o'clock we arrived in port at Honolulu after a nine day’s trip.  Ten of us were allowed to go ashore and I was among the lucky number.  This is indeed a treat.  A beautiful, tropical city, streets narrow - buildings low.  T he fruit grown on these islands is of a fine quality.

7 July

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 Manila , but had barely got started when the Indiana broke machinery and had to go back for repairs.  This accident delayed us till the afternoon when we again moved off for Manila .

10 July

All is moving smoothly today over a calm sea.  The fleet is together.

11 July

Every thing is "slum*" today of the "slummiest*" kind.

12 July

Lounged around all day.  It is getting too hot to live.

13 July

Word came from the Indiana -- one of the 18th Infantry boys had died.  All flags at half-mast.  He was buried in the sea at eleven o’clock .

14 July

Much discussion among the boys about jumping the next day on account of us crossing the 150o of Long. we are now in the Eastern Hemisphere or will be after tomorrow.  I am now "flunkey" to "Old Tom"  Get good grub but it makes a fellow sweat.

15 July

"Nit" Lost: a day.

16 July

Nothing ususual today.

17 July

Intensely warm today.  Martin lost his last ten cents at twenty-one.

18 July

Everything moving along as usual.  No excitement.

19 July

Spent part of the day "A.D. 2000" by Lt. Fuller.****

20 July

Nothing noteworthy today.

21 July

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 " Indiana ".

22 July

We lined up at nine o'clock for inspection, then came our lesson in tactics.

 23 July

 Today we came in sight of the Ladroru islands and at four o'clock 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. 

24 July

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 will find Manila in and what has been done in Santiago .  Many think the latter has long before now.  Our old Capt. Dillon declares we are the roughest set of landlubbers he ever saw.  While these other poor devils are dying these boys are yelling for something to eat." " None will fall overboard for excitement and taking it allround, it a h--l of a gang"  so says old Cap.  When we entered China Sea it was a terror.  Everything went topsy turvy all over the deck.  Bread that was ready for the oven went overboard - hence hard tack then came the slum* and in a few minutes slum* soldiers and hard tack were all on a level.  The air was full of exclamation of anger and mirth, for it was really fun to watch the maneuvers of some less fortunate one as he tried to get around through six inches of slum* on the deck of a rolling vessel.  Major Figgins fell and was angry because some of the boys laughed at him.

31 July

Today at 2 o'clock our fleet came into the Manila Bay and anchored under the protection of Admiral Dewey's gun boat.  We are right among the sunken Spanish fleet and within stone's throw of one.  Laviete bays off half a mile from us.  know not when we   Many of the boys are writing home tonight.

1 Aug

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.

6 Aug

By noon 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 Morgan City and she was the only transport that whistled a salute when the boys left.  "Cap" Dillon, you are all right.  We landed safely at Paruusque and here I saw my first Spaniards.  They were prisoners in the hands of the insurgents and looked half starved.  Mere boys they were.  The first thing I saw on land was a hog tied up by the ear.  We marched about a mile to Camp Dewey , put up our pup tents and prepared for the night.  Supper very scant.

7 Aug

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.

8 Aug

A pretty good ration came today at noon .  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.

9 Aug

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.  Co. "D's" position was that held by the 108th Penn.   A few nights before when they had their scrap some of the boys though they saw Spaniards that night but they all turned out to be "spooks"..

10 Aug

Relieved from the trenches at 8 o'clock .  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!

11 Aug

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.

12 Aug

Today was the day we boys tossed up our old hats and shouted for on the morrow we were going in to Manila or know the reason why.  Major McConnill gave us some instructions in case of wounds and etc.  It was late tonight when the boys turned in and many little acts of kindness were requested of comrades in case he should be called to lay down his life for "Old Glory".

13 Aug

We, as all other troops in Camp Dewey , were up early preparing to make our advance upon Manila .  We were marched up near the line and held in reserve.  At fifteen minutes till ten our fleet had gotten its position and commenced plunking away at Ft. Malute .  The bombardment lasted just 35 minutes when a white flag was raised but the Sp. ran back into the old town.  Our position was such that we could get a splendid view of the fleet while in action - a grand sight.  Finally orders came for us to advance.  We moved up to the old convent in support of the Utn Battery and from there we moved into town, helping the boys with their field piers.  We ate supper at the English cable office after which we moved throughin the intense darkness and mud to the Maba..barracks which had just been deserted by the Spanish troops.  This was sort of a sham battle still the day will long be remembered by all who took a part.  I saw the old flag as she went up in the walled city.  Much dissatisfaction among the boys at not getting to fire a shot.

14 Aug

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.

15 Aug

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.

16 Aug

Spent most of the day lounging around.  Not much going on.

17 Aug

Went on guard.  First guard duty in Manila .

18 Aug

Getting along good now.  We are getting plenty to eat so the kicking has somewhat subsided.

19 Aug

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 U.S.A. gray-backs on hand, but owing to the overflow on the market subs are few.

26 Aug

Pearl and I concluded to boil our clothes so we spent the day at it.  Many a poor creeper turned up his toes today.

27 Aug

Today is a scorcher - warmest day we have had.  Co. "D" goes out on patrol duty again at four o'clock .  Twenty-four hours this time.

30 Aug

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.

4 Sep

Our company went out for another 48 hour stretch.  This time we were at Ft. Malute .  This is the fort bombarded by Dewey on Aug 17.  Some excitement this afternoon caused by a run-away water buffalo.


*slum = slime, muck, slab--an old Danish word meaning slippery, thick, viscous

 **Ladrone, Ladrones Islands = Marianas

***Known as the end of the Oregon Trail , The Dalles was where pioneers loaded their wagons onto rafts or barges and floated down the Columbia to the mouth of the Willamette River , then upriver to Oregon City . The Barlow Trail was constructed later to permit an overland crossing.  The Dalles was also the site of Fort Dalles . Established in 1850 to protect immigrants after the Whitman massacre, it was the only military post between the Pacific Coast and Wyoming .

****A.D. 2000, a novel by Liet. Alvarado M. Fuller, U.S. Army, Chicago, Lair & Lee, Publishers.  In an introduction by Arthur O. Lewis in a 1971 Arno Press Reprint this work is called Utopian Literature.  The dream was for good intelligent American people to go their own way under wise and proper leadership.  This better world was to have been achieved by A.D. 2000--we have arrived at that date but the better world, dreamed of in 1898, is not what was envisioned, not even close!  There were many of this kind of book written just before 1900, and they seem to be a variant of the "Rip Van Winkle" story.   Lewis states that A.D. 2000 is partial to the military, concerned with technology, and respectful of wealth and accomplishment, and patriotically adventurous.  And look what has happened!  Fuller's pride in the army runs through the entire book.  To sum it up:  A better world can be developed if only we put our minds to it.   





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