This collection (51 items) is primarily made up of letters (often lengthy) that Corporal Edwin A. Rowe sent to his aunt, Jennie E. Rowe of Fresno, California, while serving in the 43rd United States Volunteer Infantry Regiment from December 1899 to May 1901. Rowe first wrote from the Presidio in San Francisco, California, while awaiting deployment. He commented on his leisure activities and his barracks. After traveling from California to Honolulu, Hawaii, which Rowe described in one letter, the 43rd Volunteers arrived in Manila in early December 1899.
Rowe wrote from the city of Manila, the province of Samar, and the island of Leyte. He discussed his travels around the islands and his daily activities. A few letters include detailed descriptions of Rowe's direct participation in battles against insurgent forces and reports of the movements of opposing generals and troops. He sometimes mentioned the army's interactions and relationship with native Filipinos and the natives' interest in the 1900 presidential election. During this period, Rowe wrote one letter to a woman named Jessie (October 10, 1899) and one to the army quartermaster, enclosed in a wrapper with several typed endorsements (September 24, 1900). Jennie Rowe also received a letter from the quartermaster's department concerning the shipment of a box of fruit to her nephew (July 3, 1900).
The collection contains two manuscript maps. The first, enclosed with Rowe's letter of July 24, 1900, shows trenches and other fortifications on "Fortification Mountain," likely on the island of Leyte. The second map, enclosed in an envelope postmarked September 1900, shows Rowe's sea route from California to Manila, including Oahu, Wake Island, and Guam; authorial notations show the distance traveled during each day of their journey. A drawing of a volcano appears on the reverse side of this map.