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, BOALT TELLS HOW "LEY DE FUGA" WAS
He Did Ensign Richardson, Who Boasted of Shooting
Prisoners, the Honor to Believe Him.
BY FRED L. BOALT
Vera Cruz, Max., July 22. I want
to set down on paper the events of
the past few days while they are yet
fresh and vivid in my memory.
An hour ago I returned from the
monster battleship "Texas," where
the conduct of Ensign William A.
Richardson during the occupation of
Vera Cruz is being inquired into.
Ensign Richardson iB, you under
stand, the "defendant." The title of
the case is "the United States vs.
William A. Richardson, ensign." I
am, I suppose, the chief witness for
That is, technically Richardson is
the "defendant." As a matter of fact,
I am the defendant, for, if Richard
son, is acquitted by this naval court
of inquiry, I shall, almost without
doubt, be deported back to the United
States for having written an article
"sensational and untrue" and for be
ing unfit to continue my work as a
correspondent in Vera Cruz.
Go back now with me to the early
days of May. The three days' fight
ing was still the engrossing tropic in
camps, cantinas, and under the por
tales on the Plaza.
Visualize, if you please", many small
tables, and seated at them groups of
officers navy, army and marine
corps eating, drinking and talking
always of the one thing the fight.
You must work into the picture
newspaper men going from table to
table, from group to group, getting
acquainted, listening to anecdotes,
asking questions, getting news.
One such group all navy men
was joined by William G. Shepherd, a
United Press correspondent, and my
self. There were, perhaps, seven or
They knew Shepherd and I were
correspondents. They knew why we
had joined them. The talk had to
do, of course, with the Mexican situa
tion. Some one said, with that cock
sureness which is a characteristic of
military men, that there was only one
way to deal with Mexicans and that
was to use the IRON HAND.
Someone else said that "Bully" had
used the iron hand during the fight
ing. "Bully," it seemed, was one of
us. For eyes were turned inquiring
ly upon a bronzed young giant in
spotless ducks who was one of the
And "Bully" told a story of having
applied the "ley de fuga" the law of
flight during the taking of Vera
Now, I am I believe, as good a
patriot as the next man. It is because
I am a fair sort of patriot that I like
to believe that Americans go to war
reluctantly and wage it fairly.
It came, therefore, as a shock to
me to hear this clean, strong young
American naval officer telling calmly
and with what seemed like pleasure
of having applied the infamous "ley
de fuga" to Mexican prisoners, and to
see his fellow-officers listening to his
narrative with apparent credulity and
Presently "Bully" rose and went to
another table to greet friends. Asked
who "Bully" was, one of the group
"Why, that's 'Bully Richardson,
the best football player Annapolis
The officers elaborated and dis
cussed the story that "Bully" had
I have since been asked if -I believe
that "Bully" Richardson actually did
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