The Virginius Affair (sometimes called the Virginius Incident) was a diplomatic dispute that occurred from October 1873 to February 1875 between the United States, Great Britain and Spain, then in control of Cuba, during the Ten Years' War. The Virginius was a fast American ship hired by Cuban insurrectionists to land men and munitions in Cuba to attack Spain. It was captured by Spain, which wanted to try and execute the men on board as pirates; they were American and British citizens. They did execute 53 men but stopped when Britain demanded it. Throughout the ordeal there was loose talk that the U.S. might declare war on Spain. During the lengthy negotiations the Spanish government had undergone several changes in leadership. American consul Caleb Cushing ended the episode by negotiating $80,000 in reparations to be paid to American families of those who were executed. British families were compensated by the Spanish government through negotiation prior to American compensation. The incident was remarkable for the use of international diplomacy for peace implemented by Grant's Secretary of State Hamilton Fish, rather than degenerating into a costly war between the United States and Spain. The Virginius Affair started a U.S. Naval resurgence following the American Civil War; the American fleet having been vulnerable to the superior warships of Spain.