Pulang Lupa: Capt. Shields’ Letter to His Beloved Wife

Captain Devereux Shields, 29th Infantry Regiment, Company F, United States Volunteers
Photo courtesy: Julia Mills, his granddaughter | Background photo: Pinoy On The Road
The following letter was sent by Capt. Devereux Shields’ granddaughter, Julia to Mr. Shepard on August 24, 2010. It was originally enclosed in a postmarked, stamped envelope and addressed to: Mrs. Devereux Shields, No. 617 N. Union Street, Natchez, Mississippi, U.S.A. The return address was Devereux Shields, Capt 29th Inf. U.S.V., Manila P.I. Across the top is written – Soldier’s letter. Also enclosed was a pressed 4-leaf clover in a carefully folded holder.
1st Reserve Hospital
Manila P.I. Oct 15th 1900
My darling beloved precious wife,
I just got out of my captivity yesterday afternoon and was taken on board the U.S.S. Bennington at Buenavista, Marinduque Island. I am perfectly well my darling & will cable you to that effect in the morning. I am in the agony of dispense in regard to you, oh my beloved, my life, if God has only spared you to me. I have prayed all day & night every hour that it would not make you suffer too much or injure your health.
I was ambushed some 12 miles from Santa Cruz at 5:30 am on Sept 13 by the insurgent, it was in the mountains and they had 225 rifles and 2000 Bolo men. I had only 52 men, at 6am I was wounded in the left shoulder and after 8 hours hard & dreadful fighting, at 2pm, I received another wound through my neck which passed through and out of my mouth breaking the right jaw bone and tearing out five teeth, it disabled me entirely and I thought all was up with me for a while, I lay in the rice field bleeding & having lost about 3 quarts of blood from my other wound and my left arm useless I could only wait for them to take me. I gave orders to my company to move on and cut their way out but a short distance from me they were completely surrounded & having but little ammunition left, surrendered to 2500 of the enemy.
I cannot write you of the dreadful suffering and hardships I have undergone during the month they have had me. I am perfectly safe now but cannot write because my neck is still so stiff & my left arm still pains me very much. The transport leaves in the morning and I have gotten Capt. Dowdy and Mrs. Sargent both to write to you. After I got on the Bennington yesterday afternoon, Gen. Hare who now commands the forces operating on Marinduque sent me to Manila on the U.S.S. Villalobos, and I got here this evening.
Would to God I could write more, but I cannot, you will know long before this reaches you that I am well and I hope by the time you get this letter I will be leaving here for home if not before as being wounded they will send me home for a rest. I will write to you a little every day so the next boat will take you many letters.
Now God bless you & my boy oh I pray God my beloved, my life, my darling precious, my life’s only thought and love that you are well, merciful God what will become of me if all this has injured you.
God bless you my wife. Oh God has been so good in saving my life it must be that he has saved you to me.
Many tender kisses to you my darling and some to my son. Give my love and kisses to my mother and all those that you and I love.
Your devoted beloved husband.
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