“Mr. Crane’s Vivid Story” (scenes 1- 4, Montana, February, 1898)

“Mr. Crane’s Vivid Story” (scenes 1- 4, Montana, February, 1898)




USS Maine Tablet (1912), old Rochester City Hall, Fitzhugh Street

Scene 1: Havana, February 1898


from 1896 film, Boxing match or Glove Contest

Scene 2: Pawtucket, Rhode Island, February 1898


Scene 3: Washington, February 1898

220px-StephenCraneandCora1899 Scene 5: New York, February, 1898

crank 2Scene 9, Siboney, Cuba June 1898

Scene 17 New York

See On Spanish-American War Monuments and Rochester. And remembering the Buffalo Soldiers on Veteran’s Day

And on early war films  Filming, faking and propaganda: The origins of the war film, 1897-1902


Stephen Crane in Greece during the Greco-Turkish War, 1897

Mr. Crane’s Vivid Story: Scene 5 Montana US Military Encampment, February 1898



During their 1896 excursion from Fort Missoula, Mont., to Yellowstone National Park, riders of the 25th Infantry Bicycle Corps, led by 2nd Lt. James A. Moss, at top, pose on Minerva Terrace at Mammoth Hot Springs.

The black Buffalo Soldiers are on horseback, deftly carrying out precision drills to the command of their white officer, General Miles.

General Miles: At ease!

(A currier arrives. He delivers an animated message.)

Young Trooper: Hey, Sutton, whassup wit dat?  Do you think them Injuns is on the warpath agin’?

10th During Apache Wars

Tenth Cavalry During Apache Wars 1889

Veteran Trooper #1: Boy, you are raw. There haven’t been any Injuns to kill since Sitting Bull and Wounded Knee.  And that was almost ten years ago.  Last I heard that Apache Gee-ron-neemo was selling auto-mo-biles on his Reservation.  Boy, it’d be more likely we was invadin’ Canada.

Veteran Trooper #2: The days of the Injuns and the Wild West are gone.  I don’ know why they keep us out here, ‘cept the white folks back home don’t want alot of niggers with guns around.


General Miles: Men, I have just been alerted that the USS Maine has blow up in Havana Harbor.  We think it was a Spanish torpedo. 268 American sailors are dead. I might add that 28 of them were colored boys.  This is sure to be war.  You Buffalo Soldiers are the bravest, toughest cavalrymen in the United States Army and I am proud to have served with you.  If it is war, I expect and know that every man will do his duty.

(cheers): Hurrah for General Miles! To hell with Spain!

Buffalo Soldier, Black Corporal

Buffalo Soldier, Black Corporal

Raw Trooper: Dis is even better dan Injuns. Nows I’m gonna see myself some real fighten’.

Veteran Trooper #1: I’m with you there, boy.  I’ll be glad to get out of this backwater fort.  Maybe they’ll make me a commissioned officer.

Veteran #2: Man, don’t you ever learn? All this time and aint one of us has been made an officer.  You think it’ll be any different after we kill some Spaniards?  Why are we going to Cuba to fight the white man’s war, anyway?


African American “Buffalo Soldiers” in Cuba, 1898

Veteran #1: The Cubans are our brothers and theys being treated wors’n slaves.

Veteran #2: That’s true enough. But before they send the Army down to Cuba, they oughtta send it down South and round up every last lynch mob.


Veteran #3: I’ll go further.  The black man oughtta have his own Army.  No. He oughtta have his own country.  His own Empire!

(The troops break up into small groups.)

Veteran # 1 to Raw Trooper: Boy, don’t listen to them.  And don’t get too close to them.  Theys gonna be trouble for sure.

Somethings eatin’ at them so bad they can’t see nothing good. Listen to what the Gen’ral said about the Buffalo Soldiers.  And our duty.  Remember the Maine!  To Hell with Spain!


Arlington National Cemetery. Civil War monument, with a plaque also honoring Spanish-American War veterans, erected in 1920. Life-sized bronze statue of Union soldier and Norfolk native Sgt. William H. Carney tops the monument. Carney was the first black Congressional Medal of Honor recipient. The story of Carney’s regiment inspired the 1989 movie “Glory,” which starred Denzel Washington as Carney


In 1915, Rochester novelist and journalist F. Grant Gilmore published, The Problem: A Military Novel about a black soldier who served in Cuba and the Philippines. It was likely the first war novel written by an African-American

About The Author


Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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