The Biography of

Pvt. Goode Taurman

Company D, U.S.M.C., First Marine Battalion

Contributed by Robert Pendleton

Pvt. Goode Taurman, 1st Marine Battalion

Pvt. Goode Taurman in civilian attire.

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Private Goode Taurman was a member of  Company D, First Marine Battalion (Reinforced). The company, which saw action at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba during the Spanish-American War, was commanded by Captain William F. Spicer.

The Biography:

Goode Taurman, 20 years of age at his death, was born and raised on his family’s farm near Gayton in Henrico County, Virginia, on the James River approximately 14 miles north of Richmond. He was the son of the late John G. Taurman and Maria Williams (Deitrick) Taurman. At the time of his death, his father and mother were both deceased. He was a nephew of Mrs. Jackson B, Wood, and was survived by six sisters and four brothers.

He enlisted in the Marine Corps on 17 November 1898, at Marine Barracks, Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, Virginia. He joined the First Marine Battalion (Reinforced) and was assigned to Company D, commanded by Captain William F. Spicer, Marine Barracks, New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, New York, on 18 April 1898.

Companies C and Company D, of the First Marine Battalion, were the first to land from the U.S.S. PANTHER at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, during the afternoon of Friday, 10 June 1898.

On Sunday, June 12, 1898, near Camp McCalla, Guantanamo Bay, during a night attack against an old fort (occupied by Spanish infantry) by his platoon, under the command of Lt. Wendell Cushing Neville of Company D, newspaper accounts of the time incorrectly stated that he was wounded in the initial charge and toppled backwards over the 30 foot cliffs to the rocks below. Surgeon John M. Edgar, battalion medical officer, reported that the impact of the fall caused a fracture, with displacement of cervical vertebrae (i.e., the impact broke his back and severed his spinal chord). The surgeon did not mention any gunshot wound.  He was instantly killed.

His body was recovered the next day by a ship’s boat and was interred at Camp McCalla cemetery. Chaplain Harry Jones of the Battleship Texas provide the burial service for him and also for Battalion Acting Sergeant-Major Henry Good who was killed in action early on the morning of Monday, June 13, 1898.

After the service, the officer in charge said, “Men, we have no blank cartridges, so put your regular clips in your pieces; turn your faces towards the enemy’s country, and fire the salute over our noble dead; and if you hit a Spaniard, all the better!” Three volleys were fired, after which Company D’s bugler sounded taps.

One year later, in March of 1899, the assistant secretary of the Navy ordered the remains of the  battalion’s casualties to be disinterred from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and returned to New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, New York, on board the U.S. Army transport ship ROUMANIAN (later to be renamed CROOK) for dispersal to family members. His remains were shipped to Richmond where an undertaker met the train.

From there his remains were transported to the cemetery on the family farm, "Valhalla". The burial was attended by the country people, among whom he was a favorite. Reverend Wilkinson of the local Baptist church conducted the interment service.


The line drawing of Private Goode Taurman, and the Richmond newspaper obituaries (from which much of this data was taken), were provided by Mr. Bertram O. Taurman, Jr., Lynchburg, Virginia. Private Goode Taurman was the nephew of Bertram’s grandfather.

Note to descendents of  Private Goode Taurman: In an attempt to contact Mr. Bertram O. Taurman in November of 2006, the author's letter to him was returned as undeliverable. If you are a direct descendent please contact me per First Marine Battalion (Reinforced) link the Spanish-American Centennial Website.

Taurman, John D. - Goode Taurman's mother's name and the name of the family farm.

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