The Soldiers Speak

Rape of a Filipino woman

Rienzi B. Lemus, Twenty-fifth Infantry, La Lanio, Philippine Islands, September 22,1899; from Richmond Planet, November 4,1899. Lemus reports on the activities of the first contingents of Negro troops to arrive in the Philippines.

Dear Editor:

Doubtless my letter has hardly reached you yet, but since then I have been to the other companies and to the 24th [Infantry] and found out that all the boys were anxious for their people at home to hear from them; they are so busy they haven't time to write ... I went over to the 24th [Infantry] the other day and found quite a number of Richmonders. They were glad to see me, but very busy preparing for the movement soon to begin.

The other night our outpost challenged what was supposed to be an armed body of Filipinos approaching, but upon examination it was found out they were a scouting party, composed of Co. C and G, 24th Infantry. ... We wouldn't allow them to go any further that night as they were cold, hungry and tired.

... I learned they had been out since 6 a.m. and had marched and made the ascent of the East Mountain range and from its summit had discovered a body of Filipinos drilling on extended order, such as used only in fighting. Upon descending and making for that point, the soldiers they had seen before were peaceful citizens planting rice, they having turned so upon the approach of our soldiers by concealing their arms in the dense underbrush.

Gen. [Arthur] MacArthur is still pushing his campaign with his usual vigor. During the past week he has been busy. Clearing rebels out of the territory already taken. The government and Gen. [Elwell] Otis are very lenient on the people. Every day hundreds of people pass through the lines.

. . .

A Corporal and a private of the 16th Infantry are sentenced to ... 'be shot for robbery and assault on a sixty year old native woman' ... He was caught in the act and tried by military court which ... passed the above-mentioned verdict. Every time we get a paper from there [United States], we read where some poor Negro is lynched for supposed rape. In this case there was no Negro in the vicinity to charge with the crime and the law has had its Course.

Rienzi B. Lemus
Co. K. 25th Infantry

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Letters:

A Young Soldier seeks an opportunity to prove himself

Black Americans and native Filipinos discover "an affinity of complexion"

On the battlefield

Rape of a Filipino woman

Disillusionment in the ranks

A black soldier decries expansionism

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