Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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RYAN, William Albert Charles, soldier, born in Toronto, Canada., 28 March, 1843; died in Santiago, Cuba, 4 November, 1873. He was educated in Buffalo, New York, and at the beginning of the civil war enlisted in the New York volunteers, serving through the war, and rising to the rank of captain. He volunteered in the service of the Cuban junta in 1869, and when Thomas Jordan was made commander-in-chief of the revolutionary army became his chief of staff and inspector-general. He displayed bravery and military skill in conflicts with the Spanish troops, and several times returned to the United States to recruit new forces for carrying on the insurrection. His last expedition was in the "Virginius," which was captured by the Spanish man-of-war "Tornado" on 31 October, 1873, seven days after leaving the port of Kingston, Jamaica, and taken into Santiago. The passengers and crew were tried by court-martial, and all were condemned to death as pirates. After the sentence had been executed on General Ryan and fifty-one others, the massacre was arrested through the interference of the captain of a British war vessel, and the surviving prisoners were subsequently released on the demand of the United States government.
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