Tunnell was taken on board the Wilmington with both legs blown off, and fearfully mutilated.
While our white fellow-citizens justly herald the fame of Ensign Bagley, who was known to the author from his youth, let our colored patriots proclaim the heroism of Tunnell of Accomac.
All honor to the memory of Elijah B. Tunnell, who, if not the first, certainly simultaneous with the first, martyr of the Spanish-American war.
Realizing the danger the boat and crew were in, and anxious to be of service, Tunnell left his regular work and went on deck to assist in "making fast" the two boats, and while thus engaged a shell came, which, bursting over the group of workers, killed him and three others.
Elijah B. Tunnell was employed as cabin cook on the Winslow.
History records the Negro as the first man to fall in three wars of America--Crispus Attacks in the Boston massacre, March 5, 1770; an unknown Negro in Baltimore when the Federal troops were mobbed in that city en route to the front, and Elijah B. Tunnell, of Accomac county, Virginia, who fell simultaneously with or a second before Ensign Bagley, of the torpedo boat Winslow, in the harbor of Cardenas May 11, 1898, in the Spanish-American war.
It has been stated in newspaper reports of this incident that it was an ill-aimed shell of one of the American boats that killed Tunnell and Bagley.