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Bradford describes the execution; “A ragged volley flashed toward the men. Fry fell forward, dead at the first fire. Others were still standing, leaning against the wall. Some bent forward. Many were on the ground in agony. Poor marksmanship and nervousness had made a butcher’s job. Some of the squad rushed forward to administer the coup de grace and shoved muskets into the men’s mouths. Shooting continued for five minutes until thirty-seven men lay dead in heaps before the wall. To American sailors in Santiago harbor it sounded like fireworks on the Fourth of July. A wagon drove up, the bodies were piled on hastily, and it drove off.? (Bradford) The execution was reported in the December 5 issue of the New York Times.
“The climax came,? wrote Henry A. Kmen in the Journal of the Louisiana Historical Association, “when the victims’ heads were severed and paraded on pikes through Santiago.? (Kmen)

From the New Orleans Republican
November 21, 1873
“No event that has transpired during the past ten years had produced such a unanimity of sentiment in this city as the recent wholesale butchery of the passengers and the crew of the Virginius… The horrid details of that atrocious affair have aroused a feeling of indignation in the minds of all, the whites and the blacks, democrats and Republicans, and… the members of the various religious denominations.?