Only Mutilated by Bullets

Stephen Crane

Boston Globe/June 16, 1898

CAMP McCALLA, GUANTANAMO BAY, June 14, 6 PM VIA KINGSTON.—The story of the mutilation of the bodies of the two young privates of Captain Spicer’s company of marines, which was sent in on Saturday last, is now found to be entirely untrue. The officers and men of the party which recovered the bodies were misled by the frightful tearing effect of the Mauser bullets when deflected by anything like brushwood, or from close range. The men had apparently been fired on by guerillas at a distance of fifteen feet. One body had eight bullet wounds, causing dreadful havoc. Surgeon Edgar states positively that the wounds were due to bullets only. Lieutenant Ingrate today took out a party to try and get the body of Sergeant Smith, killed on Saturday. The party was composed of twelve marines and ten Cubans. The body of Sergeant Smith had been lying within the enemy’s lines nearly two days, and consequently any mutilating by the Spaniards could easily have been accomplished. The body, however, was found divested only of the rifle and accouterments. There was positively and distinctly no barbarity whatever. Lieutenant Ingrate’s force reached the American lines in safety.

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