JOHN C. MAXWELL letter from PI
Source: Crawfordsville Daily News-Review July 21, 1900 p 1
The following letter from Sgt. John C. Maxwell in the Phillippines, will be interesting to the many friends of the Crawfordsville coteria who are battling for their flag in that God forsaken country: Balamban, Cebu Island, PI
Capt John Drury, Crawfordsville, Ind
Dear Friend: Since last I wrote we have had many experiences and have found out that soldiering in the Phillippines is about the hardest task ever undertaken and lacks a great deal of being the snap some people think it is. Since coming here we have had "hike" after hike and plenty of guard duty, with an occassional lightarkirmish, in each one of which we managed to slightly reduce the number of insurrectors on this island, just to liven up the hardships we have to endure. There has been hardly a day that the whole of the two companies have been here, some of them and sometimes nearly all have on th e hike anywhere from four hours to 10 days duriation, so you see if we are not on the hike we doing almost continuous guard duty.
Our Colonel is now military governor of this island and his headquarters are in Cebu, the principal town in the island of Cebu. When he left here the captain of the other company here, Co M, Capt. Mally, being the senior captain became Commanding Officer and to tell you the truth he is the worst that ever happened in more ways than one. To begin with he is a rank coward and always gets cold feet when we are out on a hike, and any shooting is done. He is so afraid that he has only been out once since the Colonel left, and then he showed his heels to the enemy when he had the best chance in the world to clean out a large gang of them. He had 100 good men and four officers partly from K and partly from M companies and was guided directly to the stronghold of th enigs and when he arrived in the vicinity he marched the men out in plain view, but at a safe distance from where th e insurrecos could see and be seen and halted them for over an half hour until the skunks had time to take all their belongings and make their escape; but as soon as Capt. SMith saw that they were all getting away, he with all the Co K men started up the hill after them and firing as they went but without any visible effect, until they arrived at the barracks of the insurrectos which they promptly set on fire and then this cold-footed, white-livered would-be captain ordered them back and then turned about and came into Balamban at almost double-time, bringing the entire command that were with him, the angriest, footsore, weary and most disgusted crowd you would care to see, without having to associate with them until they partially recovered equilibrium of mind and body.
Imperachment 2- He is very intimate with the president of the town and other natives and treats them as his social equals. Some time ago he and the other officers, except our first Lt. gave a reception and banquet to some of the leading native citizens. The men all got drunk and the officer of the day, 2nd Lt of Co M was so full he took the guard down town and bought all kinds of drinks for them. The officers dance with the native women present and altogether they had a hilarious old time. But if some poor soldier even talks to a native woman he is either locked up in the guard house or forbidden the privelege of going down town. A great amusement for the boys to pass the idle hours has been to have a cock fight once in a while. The Commanding officer of ours allows the natives to pasture their caribons and ponies on our parade ground and every morning the soldier has to "police" pasture.
The other day a detail went up to Tuburan by boat to take rations and brought back the news that Capt. SMith and the men were killing all the niggers they could and burning every house they had a chance to and that is my way of doing things; clean out the robbers and their hiding places or houses and end this farce, which some people like to call christian warfare; just allow me to inform you that these same people know nothing about the Philippines, the people that are keeping up the insurrection or their modes of doing it, and unless they come over and help carry out their ideas of christianity and christian warfare as they express them in public, they had better keep still entirely, for when the soldiers that are here now come back to the US and some of these home missionaries (?) begin their song of christian warfare, the soldiers won't stand it and some one will undoubtedly get smashed in the jaw.
I hear from George quite often and he writes that Maj. McCoy, our batallion commander and the two companies there at Demenjug, are cleaning out the insurrectos by the wholesale.
I sujppose you have heard that George is now 1st Sgt in Co I and wants me to transfer to his company, which I shall probably do. I am 1st duty Sgt here and can get the sam ein Co I so if things don't go to suit me, I'll surely transfer.
While Capt. Smith is away, I am acting 1st Gt of the detachment here and get along fine; but as he and I don't agree upon a good many things and he knows. I don't like him and am not afraid to talk back to him when I'm in the right; and he can't bully me or scare me into doing some things in his absurd way I guess he would like to trade me for someone he could scare.
George is well but I am uneasy about him for there has been two cases of small pox and one death at Demenjug, but he is quite healthy and I hope will escape.
Last night the insurrectors fired four shots on one of our outposts and the men on outposts returned the fire volleys and the companies turned out and with the guard of the camp fired "nigger" they could see and tor eout a small portion of the town with volleys from the Krags.
Capt. Malley was so stated he was crazy and after I had our company out and formed about 10 minutes and a patrol under our lt. had gone to the outpost he sent a man down to see if Co K wa osut and where our lt. was.
Some of these nights when the men have to turn out, someone will take him for an insurrecto and settle his hash with a government check (bullet).
Well now aobut some things I promised to send you. SOme of them are shells and other things easily broken and there is no safe way to pack things here to be shipped so far so if you would kindly wait until there is a better chance, or until I can bring them myself it would be the safest way.
From the outlook now it appears as if we would spend our hwole time here but we can never tell what is going to happen. Some of the boys would like very much to go home soon and most of them have enough of the Philippines in the 5 months we have been here. As for myself I woul dnot mind to be back in civilization again but I don't and am not going to worry one bit aobut going home, but shall be as glad as any one when we start.
With best wishes and very kindest regards I remain as ever your sincere friend, John C Maxwell, Sgt.