“Mr. Crane’s Vivid Story” (scenes 1 – 12, the Spanish surrender)

“Mr. Crane’s Vivid Story” (scenes 1 – 12, the Spanish surrender)

SEE ENTIRE SCREENPLAY “Mr. Crane’s Vivid Story:” New and Improved


USS Maine Tablet (1912) old Rochester, NY city hall. Fitzhugh Street

Scene 1: Havana, February 1898


from 1896 film, Boxing match or Glove Contest

Scene 2: Pawtucket, Rhode Island, February 1898


The Roosevelt Room in the White House

Scene 3: Washington, February 1898



Buffalo Soldiers in Montana, 1896

Scene 4: Montana, February 1898

Scene 5: New York, February 1898220px-StephenCraneandCora1899

Scene 6: The Cuban Countryside, February 1898



1893 edition

 Scene 7

Scene 8: Havana, May 1898

crank 2Scene 9, Siboney, Cuba June 1898

shafter on cart Scene 10

Scene 11

negro troops


Scene 13  Black_Maria

Scene 1420150312-Petes_Tavern-1_0

Scene 19

For background, see: (from War, Literature and the Arts)

“Infirm Soldiers in the Cuban War of Theodore Roosevelt and Richard Harding Davis”

“Strains of Failed Populism in Stephen Crane’s Spanish War Stories”

“Imperium in Imperio: Sutton Griggs’s Imagined War of 1898”

“The Spanish-American War as a Bourgeois Testing Ground: Richard Harding Davis, Frank Norris and Stephen Crane”

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

Scene Twelve:  The Spanish surrender, Santiago, Cuba, July 1898


Stephen Crane, Greco-Turkish War, Greece, 1897

raising the flag

from Frank Freidel’s The Splendid Little War (1958)

On July 3, two days after the attack on San Juan Hill, Admiral Cerveza’s Spanish fleet in Santiago Harbor attempted to escape and was demolished by the waiting Americans. On July 17th, the commander of Santiago surrendered his 24,000 men, and the Cuban Campaign was over.

santiago bay

American Heritage Illustrated


Garcia, Calixto (1836 – 1898) Garcia spent three decades working and fighting for the independence of his native Cuba. Trained to be a lawyer, he helped organize the insurrection against Spain known as the Ten Years War (1868-1878). His success as a military leader earned him the high post of commander in chief of the Cuban revolutionary army. He was captured in 1873 and imprisoned in Spain, but after his release six years later, he returned to Cuba and started a new rebellion. Garcia was recaptured and forced to live under police surveillance. In 1895, he managed to escape and return to Cuba. Garcia commanded troops in Camaguey and Oriente provinces and helped the American forces capture Santiago in 1898. His name became an American household word after the publication of “A Message to Garcia,” an inspirational essay written in 1899 by Elbert Hubbard [painting by Charles Johnson Post]

At a victory ceremony, Cuban General Calixto Garcia and several of soldiers watch the proceedings from the rear. Garica speaks with a U.S. diplomatic representative.

Scene 6: The Cuban Countryside, February 1898

Garcia: Sir, why was I not invited to speak? Without my army, you Americans would have been thrown back into the Caribbean.

Representative: Yes, General, yes. You see, this ceremony was just for the Americans. There will be another, we promise.

Garica: You know we are grateful for the help of the Americans. But we would have defeated the Spanish ourselves soon enough. The Bourbon monarchy is weak and its people do not stomach war. There is no way they could maintain Cuba as a colony. And when will you Americans be leaving?

Representative: And, yes General, we are also grateful for your efforts. As for when we will leave, very soon I assure you. Right now we just want to help with the famine spreading and to help Cuba recover from the damage of the war.  We certainly harbor no territorial ambitions.

[Frank Norris’ quasi-fictional  Comida: An Experience in Famine describes the famine faced by the people of Santiago.]

Garcia: But already in the Philippines you are fighting against the Filipino heroes who also fought to liberate their nation from Spanish colonial rule.

see Rochester’s imperial war hero, General Otis

toral's surrender

General Toral’s Surrender of Santiago to General Shafter on July 13th, 1898

Representative: I assure you the Philippines is entirely different. Anyway, at the most all we want there are some coaling stations for our Asiatic Fleet.

Garcia: I pray everything you say is true.  And that your nation truly believes in Cuba Libre as you so proclaim.

[In 1901 the U.S. Congress passed the Platt Amendment, sharply limiting Cuban sovereignty and autonomy. From 1906 to 1909, there would be a Second Occupation of Cuba by the United States.


Evangelina Cosio y Cisneros (September 23, 1877 – April 29, 1970) was the focus of events that played out in the years 1896–1898 during the Cuban War of Independence. Her imprisonment as a rebel and escape from a Spanish jail in Cuba, with the assistance of the reporter, Karl Decker from William Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal, created wide interest in the United States press, as well as accusations of fraud and bribery.

In The Clan of No-Name, Crane tells the story of a young Cuban soldier who was living in Florida but returns to fight the Spanish before the American intervention. Manolo Prat is ignominiously beheaded by a machete and also loses his paramour, Margharita, to an American businessman. Critics, myself included, see the story as Crane’s prediction for the fate of Cuba.]

One of Garca’s men arrives and hands Garcia a letter. The letter is from New York and by Margharita Quesadas.

Garcia reads the letter.

Dear Calixto,

My pepito, I am enduring during our separation only barely. My love for Cuba and our people burns in absence.

I am well in New York. As you know, Mr. Stephen Crane of the Times helped me get here. What a foolish fellow he is. During our escape in Havana, I was only thinking of our own escape from the prison in Madrid. And what it felt like when we were finally alone.cuban flag

Now that Spain is defeated, I know you fear the Americans will be no different. But Por La Paz, always Por La Paz. One day Cuba will be free.

Your beloved,


Garcia becomes quiet.

Cuban soldier # 1: From who is the letter?

Cuban  soldier #2: I forgot, Pedro, you are new to the cause.

Margharita Quesadas is the most beautiful girl in all Cuba. She is called the “Jewel of the Antilles.” And ever since she joined the cause of Cuba Libre, we call her the “Cuban Joan of Arc.”

Soldier # 1: Joined our cause?

cuban woman cavalry

During the war of independence against Spain, Cuban women served in the cavalry from The Story of Cuba: Her Struggles for Liberty by Murat Halstead (1898)

Soldier # 2: Margharita is from a wealthy aristocratic Peninsular family [term used to describe Spanish settlers in Cuba].  Margharita was attending school in Madrid when Garcia was imprisoned there. She visited him often. The story is that Garcia inspired her to disavow her family and throw herself in with the revolution. In 1895, she helped him escape and came with him back to Cuba. She even joined our troops in the jungle.

Soldier # 1:  (smiling) So are Garcia and Margharita lovers? But he is 40 years older than she.

Soldier # 2: Garcia may be 62 but I assure you he has the machismo of men half his age. (chuckling) The soldiers like to call him the “grande cubano cigaro.” But, of course, he and Margharita are not open about their relationship, whatever it is. It remains a mystery.

Soldier #1: Why does he look worried reading her letter? Is he not happy to hear from her?

Soldier # 2:  Because Margharita is now in New York. Garcia knows that the great publisher William Randolph Hearst paid a handsome sum in bribery money and expenses to free Margharita and bring her to New York.  Margharita is a young and naïve woman. Garcia is worried that Hearst may try to be her protector. No matter what, Garcia is fearful that Margharita will never come back to Cuba.
 Scene 7 and Scene 8: Havana, May 1898

The soldiers look over at Garcia, still sitting pensively on his horse.

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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