The fabled Nueva Segovia Expedition,
led by USMC Major Oliver Floyd, marched
east out of Ocotal on July 25, 1927. The
purpose of the expedition (comprised of
75 Marines, 150 native Guardias, and as
many beasts) was to clear Sandino's
forces out of the region. The
Sandinistas controlled much of the
eastern Segovias, from Murra, El Jícaro,
and the San Albino Mine to Quilalí and
extending into the mountain fastnesses
to the east. (Map of the route
of the Nueva Segovia Expedition, adapted
from Map of Nueva Segovia, Monograph of
Nicaragua, USDS 817.00/7294½)
Weeks in the planning, the
expedition was the Marines' first
incursion into the heart of Sandino
country. The origins and major events of
the expedition are treated in some
detail in the published literature,
including Major Edwin North McClellan,
USMC, "The Nueva Segovia Expedition,"
The Marine Corps Gazette, May
and August 1931. What the published
literature does not include are the
remarkable observations of Major Floyd
in his Field Messages, and other
original reports from the expedition.
Included here are the following
of Major Floyd's Field Messages and
and 27.07.26. Telegrams, San Fernando, 1
Message No. 4, San Fernando, 2 pgs.
Message No. 8, El Jícaro, 3 pgs.
Message No. 9, San Albino, 4 pgs.
Message No. 10, San Albino, 1 pg.
Message No. 11, El Jícaro, 5 pgs.
Message No. 12, El Jícaro, 4 pgs.
Report on Explosion, El Jícaro, 2 pgs.
Message No. 14, El Jícaro, 2 pgs.
are two other reports:
27.08.15. Report of Civilians and
Noncombatants Killed or Injured, 2 pgs.
27.08.21. Bleasdale to Gulick on Nueva
Segovia Expedition, 2 pgs.
Taken together, these reports
provide a remarkable window on the
volcanic energy of the erupting rebel
movement, and the formidable challenges
confronting the Marines and Guardia in
their effort to eradicate "Sandino's
regime" in the eastern Segovias. The
irony, of course, is that the Expedition
served mainly to steel the rebels'
resolve to expel the hated Yanqui
invaders. Had the United States simply
ignored Sandino at this critical
juncture, it is likely that his entire
rebellion would have fizzled and died.
(Source: except where noted all
this material is housed in RG127/43A/29 and
into Spanish, kindly provided
by Ms. Linda Pudder, are included with
español, a través de la amable cortesía
de Sra. Linda Pudder, están incluidas
con cada documento.
21 & 26
HEADQUARTERS, SECOND BRIGADE MARINE CORPS, MANAGUA,
July 21, 1927.
FROM: COMMANDING GENERAL
8521 OUR 8617 DASH 1540 BEST INFORMATION AT PRESENT
IS THAT WHILE SANDINO MET WITH A SEVERE REVERSE AT
OCOTAL ON SIXTEENTH AND SEVERAL OF HIS LEADERS HAVE
BEEN KILLED AND RUMORS THAT OTHERS HAVE DESERTED HIM
WITH THEIR FOLLOWERS WE MUST STILL CONSIDER THAT
SANDINO IS AN ENEMY IN BEING UNTIL HE IS DEFINITELY
DISPOSED OF PERIOD RUMORS HAVE IT THAT HE HAS
RETIRED TO HIS STRONGHOLD NEAR CHIPOTE WHERE HE IS
REORGANIZING AND MAY CAUSE MORE AND SERIOUS TROUBLE
8521 NUESTRA 8617 RAYA 1540 NUESTRA MEJOR
INFORMACIÓN EN LA ACTUALIDAD ES QUE MIENTRAS SANDINO
FUE RECIBIDO EN OCOTAL EL DIECISIES CON UN REVÉS
FUERTE Y VARIOS DE SUS LÍDERES HAN SIDO ASESINADOS Y
LOS RUMORES DE QUE OTROS LO HAN ABANDONADO CON SUS
SEGUIDORES DEBEMOS CONSIDERAR TODAVÍA QUE SANDINO ES
UN ENEMIGO HASTA QUE SE ESTÉ DESECHADO
DEFINITIVAMENTE. PERIODO. CORREN LOS RUMORES DE QUE
ÉL SE HA RETIRADO A SU BASTIÓN CERCA DE CHIPOTE
DONDE ESTÁ REORGANIZANDO Y PUEDE CAUSAR MÁS
PROBLEMAS GRAVES. PERIODO. 1445
HEADQUARTERS, SECOND BRIGADE MARINE CORPS, MANAGUA,
26 July 1927.
FROM: COMMANDING GENERAL
8626 COLUMN UNDER MAJOR FLOYD SIX OFFICERS COMMA
SEVENTY FIVE MARINES AND THIRTY SEVEN PROVISIONAL
GUARDIA CLEARED OCOTAL NINE HUNDRED TWENTY FIFTH FOR
SANDINO COUNTRY AND SAN ALBINO MINE PERIOD THIS
CANCELS PLANS FOR ADVANCE BY TWO COLUMNS AS OUTLINED
MY LETTERS JULY EIGHTH AND THIRTEENTH PERIOD FLOYD
OCCUPIED TOWN OF SAN FERNANDO AFTER SKIRMISH WITH
ABOUT FORTH OF SANDINO'S BANDITS WHICH WERE
DISPERSED AT FIFTEEN HUNDRED TWENTY FIFTH PERIOD ONE
MARINE SLIGHTLY WOUNDED 1600
BACK TO LIST OF
FIELD MESSAGES & REPORTS
Field Message No.
Field Message No. 4.
July 26, 1927
From: Major Floyd
To: Commanding Officer, 5th Regiment,
U.S.M.C., Managua, Nic.
1. Yesterday about 3:00 p.m. upon
entering San Fernando, we noted some men retiring from
the hills, finally a shot was fired at us; in the
meantime by advance units were almost entering the town.
The town was then rushed and armed force was dispersed.
I estimate enemy at forty. We buried four and I believe
3 others were killed in the hills. Probably as many as
six were wounded. Only one Marine casualty - this man
was wounded in the buttock, can not ride. One woman in
town was wounded by automatic fire, wounded in legs. All
firing ceased about 3:45 PM.
2. I am remaining here until I can
evacuate my wounded man. There is NOT a single native
here to impress - NO bulls are available. I have
directed Hatfield to send one bull-cart from Ocotal with
guard to evacuate my wounded man, and by wire, Hatfield
says he will not be able to get it before 10:00 AM
today. I will not reduce my strength by a sufficient
guard for return of my wounded man.
3. Amid all rumors, the following is
the first accurate information of conditions North-East
of OCOTAL - This from my observation yesterday. All
small barrios from OCOTAL to San Fernando are deserted
with nothing left in houses except MOSONTE where women
and children and few men are still seen. SAN FERNANDO
shows signs of normal life only in 3 or 4 houses and NO
MEN are in town.
4. A dying Sandino man yesterday
stated that Sandino had 200 men and was concentrating in
Chipote or Jicaro. My guide from OCOTAL says Chipote is
3 leagues beyond SAN ALBINO.
5. Here, I took yesterday, 5
serviceable rifles, one case of dynamite and about 30
hand made bombs.
6. Hatfield states that the white
people at SAN ALBINO mine are in no danger - this per an
intercepted wire from Sandino to his (Sandino's) father.
I just learned yesterday after leaving OCOTAL that Mr.
Morgan at San Albino Mine is generally reputed to be the
illegitimate son of Mr. Butters, and that there are no
white women at the mine.
7. After my observations yesterday, I
am convinced that my further progress will be
accomplished only as follows under present conditions:
(a) I will have to wage a real
blood and thunder campaign and will have casualties
(b) I will become involved in a real small war.
(c) These people will shoot it out with small arms
opposition for at least a while. [ p. 2 ]
(d) All people encountered are unquestionably strong for
(e) Nothing can be procured from the country.
(f) Arms will be received only from dead and wounded.
8. The above is
facts as I have observed and opinions as I see it - I am
willing and anxious to go on; but the interests of the
United States and my injunctions from General Feland
demand that I lay the facts before you with my comments.
9. Please show this letter to General
/ s / O. Floyd.
I will camp night 26-27 July, 1927 at SAN FERNANDO
Latest reports say enemy instructed to take cover on
approach of our planes.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - -
Mensaje de Campo Núm. 4.
26 Julio, 1927
De: Mayor Floyd
A: Comandante de regimiento 5, U. S. M.
C., Managua, Nic.
1. Ayer alrededor de las 15:00h de la
tarde al entrar en San Fernando,
observamos algunos hombres retirándose
de las colinas, finalmente se disparó
contra nosotros, en tanto las unidades
de avance casi estaban entrando en el
pueblo. La ciudad fue apresurado y
fuerza armada fue dispersada. Yo estimo
el enemigo a los cuarenta. Enterramos
cuatro y yo creo que 3 personas fueron
asesinadas en las colinas. Probablemente
tantos como seis personas resultaron
heridas. Sólo un accidente marino - este
hombre fue herido en la nalga, no puede
cabalgar. Una mujer en el pueblo fue
herido por disparos de armas
automáticas, herido en las piernas. Los
disparos cesaron a las 15:45h.
2. Voy a quedarme aquí hasta que me
puedan evacuar mi hombre herido. NO hay
ni un solo nativo aquí que impresiona -
bueyes NO están disponibles. He dirigido
a Hatfield que enviara una carreta con
bueyes desde Ocotal con guardia para
evacuar mi herido, y por cable, Hatfield
dice que él no podrá conseguirla antes
de las 10:00h hoy. YO no voy a reducir
mi fuerza por una suficiente protección
para el regreso de mi hombre herido.
3. En medio de todos los rumores, la
siguiente es la primera información
precisa de las condiciones del nordeste
de Ocotal - esto de mi observación ayer.
Todos los pequeños barrios de Ocotal a
San Fernando están desiertas con nada en
las casas excepto MOSONTE donde las
mujeres y los niños y algunos hombres
están todavía. SAN FERNANDO muestra
signos de vida normal en solo 3 o 4
casas y no hay HOMBRES en el pueblo.
4. Un hombre de Sandino muriéndose ayer
afirmó que Sandino tenía 200 hombres y
estaba concentrando en Chipote o Jícaro.
Mi guía de Ocotal dice que Chipote es de
3 leguas más allá de SAN ALBINO.
5. Aquí, tomé ayer, 5 rifles reparable,
una caja de dinamita y alrededor de 30
bombas hechas a mano.
6. Hatfield afirma que las personas
blancas de las minas SAN ALBINO no están
en peligro: esto según un cable
interceptado de Sandino a su (lo de
Sandino) padre. Me acabo de enterar ayer
después de salir OCOTAL que el Sr.
Morgan en la mina San Albino es
generalmente conocido por ser el hijo
ilegítimo del Sr. Butters, y que no hay
mujeres blancas en la mina.
7. Después de lo que observé ayer, estoy
convencido de que mi progreso sólo se
cumplirá de la siguiente manera en las
(A) tendré que librar una verdadera
campaña de sangre y trueno y tendré
bajas todos los días.
(B) voy a participar en una verdadera
(C) Esta gente va a tiroteo con armas
pequeñas de oposición por lo menos por
un tiempo. [ Pág. 2 ]
(D) Todas las personas encontradas son
sin duda un fuerte de Sandino.
(E) No se puede adquirir nada en el
(F) Se recibirán armas sólo de los
muertos y heridos
8. Lo anterior son hechos como he
observado y opiniones como yo lo veo,
estoy dispuesto y con ganas de
continuar, pero los intereses de los
Estados Unidos y mis órdenes de General
Feland exigen que yo ponga los hechos
antes de usted con mis comentarios.
9. Por favor, muestre esta carta al
General Feland personalmente.
/ S / O. Floyd.
Voy a campar las noches de 26 y 27
Julio, 1927 en SAN FERNANDO (aquí).
Informes más recientes dicen que el
enemigo tiene instrucciones de ponerse a
cubierto al acercamiento de nuestros
BACK TO LIST OF
FIELD MESSAGES & REPORTS
Field Message No. 8
FIELD MESSAGE NO. 8
July 30, 1927
Major Oliver Floyd, USMC.
CO, Fifth Regiment, Managua.
1. I was
detained the whole of July 26 in San Fernando while
arranging for the evacuation of Private Toro who had
been wounded at that place on July 25.
2. On July
27, I marched from SAN FERNANDO; while leaving that
place, the planes were heard to fire and bomb to the
northeast; and planes later reported that they had
dispersed a band of about 40 men with one machine
gun. The march was continued; and many women at a
ranch named OROSI were questioned about the
retirement of the aforementioned force.
About 1 mile southeast of
SANTA CLARA, near a ranch house, APALI, my column
was ambushed in an excellent place from the enemy
point of view by a mounted force of about 60 men
armed with rifles and two machine guns, one of which
was identified as a Lewis (the other MG is believed
to have been a Lewis) - The firing was begun by the
bandits machine guns at about 2:30 PM and continued
for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Five (5) known as killed (including the machine
Much evidence of wounded, but no wounded seen.
12 animals killed.
Approximately 8 animals captured.
Some grenades (Dynamite in bottles and bull hide cage.)
14 Lewis ammunition drums.
1 case Dynamite.
1 revolver - given to an unarmed guide.
About 6 other fire arms.
NOTE: All of the above material (except captured animals and revolver) was
Marine and Guardia Casualties:
best information, the machine gunner killed was
Colonel Miguel Angel Colindres, who is the second in
command of General Sanchez at APALI. The force
encountered was commanded by Sanchez according to
reports. --- If true, the report that Sanchez has
split with Sandino is probably false, though
possibly true. [ p. 2 ]
One (1) prisoner, an ignorant youth, was taken while
pretending to be dead.
I camped the night of July 27-28 at CALPULES. That
night about ten men slept within fifty yards of a
squad on outpost. The squad leader was aware of this
for several hours; and was preparing to surprise
them by fire at dawn -- The bandits were aware of
the presence of the outpost and fled to the brush
just as the fire was about to be delivered. The
squad pursued them by fire; the bandits returned the
fire; this was followed by a thorough following up
thru the brush but no one was seen thereafter.
I marched July 28 to the and camped near the
northern limits of SABANA GRANDE.
July 29, I took fifty (50) men with machine guns and
marched to JICARO for purposes of reconnoitering and
feeling out the enemy. I left my train and remainder
of men at SABANA GRANDE.
At about 10:45 AM, the planes reported everything
quiet in JICARO--visibility was poor at that time;
and I renewed my cautious advance. At 11:50 orders
were issued for the occupation of a hill immediately
south west of town; the movement for the hill was
just getting underweigh [sic] when the planes
returned and opened up with MG and bombs. The whole
force with me (except one MG) was pushed forward. It
is estimated (Planes reports will be better than my
estimate) that the enemy left only 10 or 12 men in
JICARO who were distributed in pairs on various
nearby hills to set off Dynamite mines on the crests
thereof. Little rifle fire was encountered; and
little was delivered. No enemy casualties were
noted. No casualties in my command.
My train was ordered to come forward to JICARO this
morning. My train reported by messenger that
everything was "O K" late yesterday afternoon.
Four plants of mines have been discovered on the
peaks of nearby hills. We are playing safe with them
one exploded yesterday after we entered the town. My
advance elements entered JICARO at 12:20 p.m.
JICARO is a town normally of about 800 people. It is
absolutely deserted except for one half witted-boy
who was hiding -- I am holding him.
Practically every house has in it loot and evidence
of soldiers such as small pieces of time fuse,
exploder caps - and property evidently of Mr.
Butters is everywhere throughout the town, Last
Night, two men were observed trying to get the time
fuse of a dynamite mine on the hill just south of
town. Yesterday, the fuse was burning and then
taken up before explosion.
The town of JICARO is simply a MESS, with all
evidence of the headquarters of a lawless band. The
same set of furniture is scattered throughout the
town; the same is true of table ware and dishes.
Houses of no value are found to contain loot of
every description. But there is nothing of military
value except a few scattered pieces of fuse and
primers in practically every house.
There is no information about Sandino or on which I
can rely in making an estimate relative to taking
San Albino mine. [ p. 3 ]
I am writing this without access to my papers which
are with my train; but in one of your letters you
tell me to estimate the situation and submit my plan
for taking San Albino for approval before I start
for that place.
My men are in high morale; but need a chance to
My plan is to advance on San Albino leaving my train
here in JICARO - exactly in the same manner that I
entered JICARO; after taking San Albino mine to have
the train follow and join me.
WILL NOT split my forces between JICARO and San
I see now NO reason why Hatfield should be sent out
to join me. My wire communication is cut behind me;
but Jefe Politico at OCOTAL has promised to keep me
followed by a repair party.
The simplest plan (and I recommend it) to resupply
me is to let the train arriving at OCOTAL with its
original guard be sent forward to me with its
After taking San Albino mine, I plan to take such
light important parts of machinery as will put the
mine out of commission - to secrete or carry with me
So far as
JICARO is concerned, there is actually no reason for
occupying the place except the show of holding
Sandino's former capital.
trust no information here except what I see or
reports from my command. You have noted that my
marches since OCOTAL have been very short. I have
been extremely methodical and cautious in my
advance; and I shall continue to carry out this
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
MENSAJE DE CAMPO NÚM. 8
30 Julio, 1927
Oliver Floyd, Cuerpo Marino de los Estados Unidos.
Oficial al mando, Quinto Regimiento, Managua.
estaba detenido todo el día el 26 de julio en el
pueblo de San Fernando mientras que organizaba la
evacuación del soldado Toro quien había sido herido
en ese lugar el 25 de julio.
2. El 27
de julio, me marché de SAN FERNANDO; cuando salía de
ese lugar, se oían los aviones a disparar y bombear
al noreste, y aviones informaron más tarde que se
habían dispersado una banda de 40 hombres con una
ametralladora. La marcha seguía; y muchas mujeres en
un rancho llamado OROSI se les preguntó acerca de la
retirada de la mencionada fuerza.
Aproximadamente 1 milla al sureste de SANTA CLARA,
cerca de la casa de la finca, APALI, mi columna fue
víctima de una emboscada en un excelente lugar desde
el punto de vista enemigo de un montado de 60
hombres armados con fusiles y dos ametralladoras,
uno de los cuales fue identificado como Lewis (la
otra ametralladora se cree de haber sido un Lewis) -
El fuego se inició por parte de las ametralladoras
de los bandidos a las 14:30h y continuó durante 1
hora y 30 minutos.
Bajas de los Bandidos:
Cinco (5) conocido como muertos (incluyendo el
Mucha evidencia de los heridos, pero ningunos
12 Animales matados.
Aproximadamente 8 animales capturados.
Algunas granadas (dinamita en botellas y jaula de
14 tambores de municiones Lewis.
1 Cajón de dinamita.
1 Pistola Revólver - asignado a un guía desarmado.
Aproximadamente 6 otras armas de fuego.
NOTA: Todo el material anterior (excepto animales
capturados y revolver) fue destruido.
Bajas de los Marinos y Guardia:
De mi mejor información, el ametrallador que fue
matado fue el Coronel Miguel Angel Colindres, quien
es el segundo en el mando de General Sánchez en
APALI. La fuerza fue comandada por Sánchez según los
informes. --- Si es cierto, el informe que Sánchez
ha dejado a Sandino es probablemente falsa, aunque
posiblemente cierto. [ Pág. 2 ]
Un (1) prisionero, un joven ignorante, fue tomado
mientras fingiendo estar muerto.
Acampé la noche del 27 a 28 de julio en CALPULES.
Esa noche alrededor de diez hombres dormían en un
radio de cincuenta yardas de un escuadrón de
avanzada. El líder de escuadrón era consciente de
ello durante varias horas; y estaba preparando para
sorprenderlos por el fuego al amanecer -- los
bandidos estaban enterados de la presencia del
puesto avanzado y huyeron a la maleza el momento que
el fuego estaba a punto de ser entregadas. El
escuadrón los perseguía con fuego; los bandidos
devolvieron el fuego; esto fue seguido por un
exhaustivo seguimiento a través de la maleza pero
nadie fue visto posteriormente.
Me marché el 28 de julio a [¿?] y acampé cerca del
límite norte de SABANA GRANDE.
El 29 de Julio, me llevé cincuenta (50) hombres con
ametralladoras y marchamos a Jícaro para fines del
reconocimiento y evaluación el enemigo. Dejé el tren
y el resto de los hombres en SABANA GRANDE.
A las 10:45h, los aviones informaron que todo estaba
tranquilo en Jícaro, no había mucha visibilidad en
ese momento; y renové mi prudente avance. A las
11:50h se emitieron las órdenes para la ocupación de
una colina al suroeste del pueblo; el movimiento
para la colina se estaba poniendo en marcha cuando
los aviones regresaron y abrieron con fuego de
ametralladora y bombas. Toda la fuerza conmigo (a
excepción de un ametrallador) fue empujado hacia
adelante. Se estima (los informes de los aviones
serán mejor que la estimación mía) que el enemigo
dejó sólo a 10 o 12 hombres en JÍCARO que se
distribuyeron en parejas en varios cerros cercanos
para partir las minas de dinamita en las crestas.
Pocos disparos de fusil se enfrentaron, y poco se
entregaba. No se observaron bajas enemigas. No hubo
bajas en mi comando.
Mi tren fue ordenado mover adelante a JÍCARO esta
mañana. Mi tren informó por mensajero que todo
estaba "O K" [bien] a finales de ayer por la tarde.
Cuatro plantas de minas han sido descubiertas en las
cumbres de los cerros cercanos. Estamos jugando lo
seguro con ellas, una estalló ayer después de que
entramos en el pueblo. Mis elementos de avance
entraron Jícaro a las 12:20h.
JÍCARO es una pueblo de alrededor de 800 personas
normalmente. Está absolutamente desierta, con
excepción de un joven imbécil que estaba escondido,
lo estoy sosteniendo.
Prácticamente cada casa tiene botín y las pruebas de
los soldados como pequeños trozos de espoleta de
tiempo, tapas distribuidoras - y propiedad del Sr.
Butters evidentemente está por doquier en el pueblo.
Ayer por la noche, se observaron dos hombres
tratando de quitar la espoleta de tiempo de una mina
de dinamita en la colina al sur del pueblo. Ayer, la
mecha se estaba quemando y luego fue sacado antes de
La ciudad de Jícaro es simplemente un desastre, con
todas las pruebas de la existencia de la sede de una
banda revoltosa. El mismo conjunto de muebles se
encuentra disperso en toda la ciudad; lo mismo es
cierto de vajilla y utensilios de cocina. En casas
de ningún valor se descubre que contienen botín de
cada descripción. Pero no hay nada de valor militar
excepto a unos pocos fragmentos de mecha y cebadores
en prácticamente cada casa.
6. No hay
información sobre Sandino o en la que me puede
contar para hacer una estimación respecto a la toma
de la mina San Albino. [Pág. 3]
escribiendo esto sin acceso a mis documentos los
cuales están con mi tren, pero en una de sus cartas
me dice que estimar la situación y presentar mi plan
para tomar San Albino para su aprobación antes de
que yo empiece para ese lugar.
Mis hombres están en alto moral; pero necesitan la
oportunidad de limpiarse.
Mi plan es avanzar en San Albino dejando mi tren
aquí en JÍCARO - exactamente de la misma forma que
entré en JÍCARO; después de tomar la mina San Albino
que el tren siga y unirse conmigo.
NO QUIERO dividir mis fuerzas entre JÍCARO y Mina
8. Ahora veo
ninguna razón para que Hatfield debe ser mandado
para acompañarme. La comunicación de cable se corta
detrás de mi; pero Jefe Político de Ocotal ha
prometido para que me mantenga seguido por un equipo
El plan más simple (y yo lo recomiendo) para
reabastecerme es permitir que el tren llegando a
Ocotal con su guardia original esté mandado adelante
a mí con sus suministros.
Después de tomar la mina San Albino, mi plan es
tomar cualquier partes ligeras importantes de la
maquinaria que pondrán la mina fuera de la comisión;
para segregar o llevar conmigo tal partes.
Con respecto a Jícaro, en realidad, no existe
ninguna razón para ocupar el lugar excepto el
espectáculo de la toma de la antigua capital de
9. No confío en
ninguna información aquí, excepto lo que veo o
informes de mi comando. Ustedes han señalado que mis
marchas desde Ocotal han sido muy cortos. He sido
muy metódico y cuidadoso en mi avance; y voy a
continuar llevar a cabo este principio.
BACK TO LIST OF
FIELD MESSAGES & REPORTS
Field Message No. 9
Field Message )
Plane pick up )
August, 2, 1927.
From: Major Floyd, USMC.
To: Commanding Officer, Fifth (5th) Regiment, Marine
Subject: Report - Opinion - Recommendations.
1. July 31, on the outskirts of Jicaro, one of my
Guardia Officers arrested three (3) men with some
pack animals loaded with merchandise. The apparent
leader of these men was a Honduranian; the other two
claimed to be Nicaraguans; each was armed with a
pistol. After questioning them separately, many
discrepancies developed in their statements; their
merchandise was searched and practically all of it
bore evidence of coming from Honduras. Among their
merchandise, was a Honduranian paper which bore on
the margin a written note to Sandino --- This note
purported to be signed by a Nicaraguan woman and
sought to prevail upon Sandino to save his
(Sandino's) life until 1929. Further questioning
resulted in the men declaring that the note was sent
by one Pancho Barahona [Francisco Barahona] from
DANLI, Honduras. I am keeping these men as
prisoners, and will return them to Ocotal.
2. During my stay in Jicaro, we unearthed four
(4) plants of explosive, getting a total of about
350 sticks of dynamite.
3. While at Jicaro, only two ignorant women and
one very old decrepit man came into town.
4. My command with train arrived in SAN ALBINO
August 1st. The march was without incidents. Upon
approach, about fifteen people were seen in the
hills, and close observation revealed that they were
probably unarmed people fleeing from the town. About
four (4) suspicious men were noted near the mine -
it was NOT determined whether they were armed, and
the quickly took to the brush.
5. At San Albino, I found Mr. Williams and Mr.
Madison [Matteson], each with their families. Mrs.
Madison is a white woman (I was in error in my
message no. 4, when I stated that there are no white
women in San Albino)
6. Mr. Williams and Madison are each claiming to
be British - subjects, and claim that such is the
reason they were not bothered by Sandinos men here
in San Albino. I doubt Madison's claim, believing
him to be an American.
7. My questioning of Williams and Madison results
in the following:
Williams has been here about 28 years.
There is no place in this country generally and long
known as Chipote.
[ p. 2 ]
Williams believes [illegible] Sandino recently.
Sandino took over the mine on June 19, at which time
Madison was superintendent of the mill and Mr.
Morgan was manager of the mine.
After Mr. Butters left, Morgan remained consistently
intoxicated, had a fight with one of Sandinos
officers and was sick in bed thereafter. Morgan had
the combination to the safe. Sandinos men compelled
Morgan (on his bed) to turn over combination to
Madison, who in turn was compelled to open the safe.
In the safe was found a large bag of money which was
taken by Sandinos man.
Sandino required Madison to write Williams a letter
requiring Williams to come to San Albino. Upon
Williams arrival, he was informed that he (Williams)
would be required to remain here and help in the
Sandino turned back the mine to Williams and Madison
on July 23rd. During Sandinos period of working the
mine, he got out about $5,000 worth of gold, and
probably spent half of that amount for labor. The
man, Manuel Echevarria, a Mexican, was Sandino
personal representative during this period, there
were about 75 men while the bandits operated the
mine. During this period there were about 75 men
employed as a average. Upon leaving San Albino,
Echevarria was determined to demolish the mine
property, and blow up several plants on hill tops.
Williams and Madison talked him out of this.
Yesterday, with the assistance of a German renegade,
we unearthed three plants of dynamite in this
This German is a mechanic and the one who was to
mint money for Sandino -- the minting project never
During the long occupation of San Albino by Sandino,
there were an average of about 20 soldiers
maintained here. There was much talk about Chipote,
but its location was never divulged.
Williams and Madison estimate Sandinos strength as
from 200 to 400 men at Chipote, mostly Indians.
About seventy-five (75) boxes (or nearly two tons)
of dynamite has been taken eastward from San Albino.
Sandino must have all the fuse and primers desired
as some of this material is still left in the mine.
The Sianide [cyanide] (100 pounds) at this mine has
not been touched.
Sandino himself, accompanied by two boys, came
through here from direction of Jicaro on morning of
July 29, the day I entered Jicaro. He (Sandino) took
breakfast with Madison; and was visibly nervous.
Sandino declares he will NOT disarm until Diaz is
ousted from the presidency; that he will kill any
American attempting to reside in Eastern Segovia.
After Morgan was able to travel, Sandino wanted to
kill him; but was finally prevailed upon to let
Morgan go over the border to Honduras. Williams has
heard through personal information that Morgan made
Honduras and is now there.
Sandino regrets that he (Sandino) did NOT kill Mr.
Mr. Williams, without any exact information,
suspects that "Chipote" is southeast of here about 8
or 9 miles on an air line from here -- the place he
suspects is the most prominent peak on the second
range of mountains east of here -- the distance by
trail being probably 15 to 20 miles. First east of
here is the Jicaro river; then a high range; then
the Mur [ p. 3; illegible] Chipote. Williams only
suspects from no intimation whatever but from his
mere knowledge that there is one outstanding peak on
the second range to the eastward beyond the Murra
Williams informs me that roads cease east of here,
that there is nothing but trails of the most rugged
and difficult type; that everything east of here is
Sandino states that in the event he is defeated in
Chipote, he (Sandino) will retreat farther into the
mountains and wage banditry killing all Americans
from time to time.
The mine has NOT been injured; but loose storeroom
and other property has been taken away. Williams and
Madison have been able to keep enough supplies to
last their families for about two weeks longer.
During my march from Ocotal, I have not seen a
bull-cart or a pack mule -- except the pack mules of
the smugglers that were arrested in Jicaro on August
All activities have ceased at the mine. All soldiers
and laborers have left except six (6) laborers who
have been faithful to Williams and Madison.
The mine can be prepared so that the bandits will
not be able to work it with but little trouble --
this without damage to any appreciable extent.
(a) There is NO certain information as to the
location of Chipote.
(b) I am about forty-five miles from my base at
(c) My effective strength is seventy-four (74)
(d) Unquestionably, the roads are difficult in my
rear -- and I feel certain that they are extremely
hard trail only farther to the east.
(e) Everything from Ocotal to San Albino has been
looted, including transportation and stores.
(a) Considering my original mission to move eastward
from Ocotal, and deprive Sandino of the towns in
that direction and the use of San Albino Mine, my
mission has been accomplished to date.
(b) NOBODY knows location of Chipote.
(c) To set out to attack Chipote might result in a
blow in the air by a small force far away and over
difficult country from the base.
(d) It is reasonable to assume that the towns
Telpaneca and Palacaguina have been looted and are
in the same condition as Jicaro, Totogalpa,
Yalacaguina, and Condega, as a result of their
continued occupation by bandit forces.
(e) If Chipote can be located, and attacked by my
force, we will carry that place -- but we will not
get Sandino himself nor any large part of his
present gang there. Sandino will then flee farther
into the mountains and continue bandit raids.
(f) An attack on Chipote, although successful, will
result in many casualties, and well-nigh impossible
conditions for evacuations.
(g) I believe that Sandino Prestige is shattered in
this country, by our depriving him of Jicaro and the
San Albino mine.
(h) With the rainy season coming on, and with all
supplies in the country having been massed in
Chipote, Sandinos gang of bandits will desert him
within two or three months. [ p. 4 ]
(i) There is nothing more in this area for Sandino
to do which will enhance his supplies or revenue.
(j) Ocotal and San Albino Mine are the only places
which it is necessary to deny to Sandino at present.
(a) That I put the Mine out of commission without
material damage to same.
(b) That I serve on Williams and Madison written
advice to leave this country with their families,
offering them transportation for their families and
more valuable belonging, send them back to Ocotal if
they accept -- furnish American Minister and British
Counsel at Managua each with copies of my letters to
(c) That I remain here for about one week, not later
than July [August] 9th with my command.
(f) That further operations to the eastward be NOT
considered by my force.
(g) That my force upon leaving San Albino Mine
proceed to Ocotal for further orders.
(h) That the garrison at Ocotal (Marine Garrison) be
set at fifty (50) men strength sufficient to
preclude apprehension as to their future safety
without aid of daily Air Service liaisons.
(i) That law and order be radiated eastward from
Ocotal, for which purpose a detachment of forty (40)
Guardia now at Ocotal be sent to Garrison San
Fernando. The later a guardia detachment be sent to
(j) That no measures be taken to resupply me from
8. It is my opinion that I should
not be returned via Telpaneca and Yali -- I will
make better progress the other route and will be
able better to straighten out the animal situation
by taking this train back over its former routes.
9. I consider the further
operation of my force to the east as unwise, and
recommend against it.
NUEVA SEGOVIA Problem in General.
10. There will be banditry,
smuggling, illegal arms in this country for one and
one half years regardless of what is done or or
whatever practical plan is adapted.
The only way as I see it, to settle this country,
and restore law and order, is to radiate from Ocotal
gradually with all guardia as available to have the
Managua Government declare for Nueva Segovia what is
analogous to martial law with an American officer as
the head of same -- such an officer should be a
11. I shall await your reply to
this by planes August 3 (tomorrow) and I shall spend
the meantime getting all the information available
which I may have overlooked to date.
/ s / O. FLOYD.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
I recommend that Mr. butters be formally warned NOT to return to
Segovia in the near future.
BACK TO LIST OF
FIELD MESSAGES & REPORTS
Field Message No.
San Albino Mine,
August 2, 1927.
Field Message No. 10.
Major O. Floyd, USMC.
To: Commanding Officer, Fifth Regiment, USMC, Managua.
After planes left this morning, Privates Clarence W.
Noro and Lucian E. Wilson arrived in my camp
unharmed, and clad in regulation Khaki trousers, and
OD shirt, with fair shoes, and all equipment and
other clothing gone. These men disclaim desertion
saying that they were having trouble with a pack
mule and became lost from a column enroute from
Ocotal to Esteli about one month ago. These men
state that they were captured by a large band of
Sandinos men the next day while they were sleeping;
that they were taken to QUILALI where they have been
confined ever since until their release July 31st;
that Sandino came to Quilali July 30th. When they
were set free they were told to go and do as they
liked. During their confinement at Quilali, they
were able to observe many pack animals from time to
time leaving Quilali and going eastward. Their
impression is that Quilali and Sandino's City are
the same place, and that it is east of Quilali. I
personally questioned these men carefully, checking
up every statement, and I believe they are trying to
tell the truth, though it is difficult for them to
remember details after their experience. I shall
keep them with me. They state that most houses
between here and Quilali are deserted; that there
were between 40 and 50 soldiers at Quilali when they
left July 31. They have seen two Lewis Guns in
Quilali - this was about 10 days ago. They
encountered NO soldiers enroute from Quilali to San
Albino. These men do not know the country, but
simply came upon us by accident in their hike
westward after their release.
I shall leave here tomorrow August 3, immediately
after getting this information to you by pick-up, I
shall go directly with my whole column to what Mr.
Williams believes the Air Service to mean in its
recent report as to probably location of Chipote. I
hope to be camped night August 3-4 so that I can
reconnoiter the place effectively early August 4.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Mina San Albino,
2 de agosto, 1927.
Campo Mensaje Núm. 10.
De: Mayor O. Floyd, Cuerpo Marino de Los Estados
A: Oficial al mando, Quinto Regimiento, Cuerpo
Marino de Los Estados Unidos, Managua.
1. Después de que los
aviones despegaron esta mañana, soldados Clarence W.
Noro y Lucian E. Wilson llegaron a mi campamento
ilesos, y vestidos con pantalón reglamento Caqui, y
camiseta gris oliva, con zapatos justos y todo el
equipo y otras prendas desaparecidos. Estos hombres
renuncian deserción diciendo que tenían problemas
con una mula de carga y se perdieron de una columna
en ruta desde Ocotal a Estelí hace un mes. Estos
hombres afirman que fueron capturados por una gran
banda de los hombres de Sandino al día siguiente
mientras ellos dormían; que estaban llevados a
Quilalí donde han estado confinados desde entonces
hasta su liberación el 31 de julio; que Sandino
llegó a Quilalí el 30 de julio. Cuando se les puso
en libertad, se les dijo que se fuera y hiciera lo
que les gustara. Durante su reclusión en Quilalí,
pudieron observar de vez en cuando muchos animales
de carga saliendo de Quilalí y yendo hacia el este.
Su impresión es que Quilalí y la Ciudad de Sandino
son el mismo lugar y que se encuentra al este de
Quilalí. Yo personalmente cuestioné a estos hombres
con cuidado, comprobando cada declaración, y creo
que estén tratando de decir la verdad, aunque para
ellos es difícil recordar detalles de su
experiencia. Mantendré a ellos a mi lado. Afirman
que la mayoría de las casas entre aquí y Quilalí
están desiertas; que había entre 40 y 50 soldados en
Quilalí cuando salieron el 31 de julio. Han visto
dos pistolas Lewis en Quilalí - esto fue hace unos
10 días. Ellos no encontraron a ningunos soldados en
camino de Quilalí a San Albino. Estos hombres no
conocen el país, sino que simplemente nos
encontraron por accidente en su caminata hacia
occidente después de su liberación.
2. Voy a salir de aquí
mañana, el 3 de agosto, inmediatamente después de
entregarle esta información por la recogida, voy a
ir directamente con toda mi columna a lo que el Sr.
Williams cree que el Servicio Aéreo a significar, en
su reciente informe, la probable ubicación de
Chipote. La noche del 3-4 de agosto, espero estar
acampado para que yo pueda reconocer el terreno del
lugar efectivamente a principios del 4 de agosto.
BACK TO LIST OF
FIELD MESSAGES & REPORTS
Field Message No.
San Albino, Nicaragua
August 6, 1927
Field Message )
No. 11 )
From: Major Oliver Floyd.
Officer, 5th Regiment.
1. After arrival of plan sent this place August
3, I promptly moved out with my entire command in
search for the place "Chipote". I took with me Mr.
Williams to whom I gave the recent information of
our planes relative to the location of "Chipote".
After a difficult march of constant climbing and
about eight (8) Miles, we came to a place locally
known as San Geronimo; it is near the "B" in "San
Albino", and in the opinion of Captain Bleasdale,
Mr. Williams and of myself, this is the recent place
suspected and reported as probably Chipote by the
planes. The description, location, direction from
San Albino all tend to confirm my conclusion. The
place is absolutely quiet.
2. Continuing farther, I camped
the night of August 3rd near a small uncharted
village, Santa Rosa. A small charge of dynamite was
exploded just as we started making camp which was
believed to have been a signal. Prior to arrival in
camp, acting on information from a native, I sent a
small patrol to reconnoiter to our left and a woman
and a few men fled from a house on approach.
3. There is a large prominent
mountain exactly north of Quilali, during the night,
August 3-4, the place bine [sic] in full view, it
was constantly watched for lights but nothing seen.
On August 4, I marched for about ten miles along the
crest of a prominent irregular and saw-tooth ridge
east of the Jicaro River -- my command constantly
studied the mountain north of Quilali and the ranges
on either side of my route, but discovered no signs
of a stronghold or retreat. On same day, August 4, I
crossed the Jicaro River and ascended the northern
slopes of Santa Rita Del Sapotiyal [Zapotillal] for
about two hours, then I turned on an obscure train
leading toward Quilali from where I had a poor view
of that town. During the night, August 4-5,
mountains were again observed but no indications of
a stronghold revealed. [ p. 2 ]
4. August 5. I marched to QUILALI.
Upon approach, I believe that my column was
unnoticed; as my route was a very poor trail not
frequently used. I sent a strong combat patrol into
the town; and I believe the patrol was unseen until
its arrival. The town was deserted except for one
house where beans were still cooking. This house was
used by soldiers and is at the west edge of town
where sentries were placed to guard the main road
leading from JICARO (this per information from
Marines recently held by Sandino). I believe that a
few men were left here to explode mines upon my
approach from the West; that these men were
surprised by seeing my first patrol which entered
the town from the North, whereupon they instantly
fled. The head of a beef killed probably three days
previously and undoubtedly by the small group which
was in QUILALI (again report of Marines recently
held by Sandino), was noted in the town -- I believe
the town had been deserted except for probably a
squad on or about August 3. My patrol was in QUILALI
when the planes passed on August 5; later planes
returned and my whole command was in town. The
missing of the planes on August 4 was unavoidable --
As they passed, we were on the crest of a ridge in
the high brush and made every effort to attract
attention; but it was evident that the planes had
not sighted us. From QUILALI, yesterday (August 5) I
continued my march with the entire command to SAN
ALBINO, arriving here with tail of column at 9:00
PM. Nothing at the mine has been molested during my
5. My route August 5th (yesterday)
from QUILALI to SAN ALBINO was almost parallel but
to the North of the plotted road on the Ham Map;
from my route, I could observe the unimportant
barrios of VUELTAS and GOLFO, and I passed through
JICORITA without knowing it until reminded by the
guide. (so small is this place). My march (west to
east of QUILALI,) was an evident surprise to the few
people seen enroute and many houses were deserted. I
passed over SANTA RITA DEL SAPOTIYAL, the highest
point between JICARO and QUILALI, and within one
hundred (100) yards of the peak -- this is another
reputed "CHIPOTE" (just north of the "O" in NUEVO
SEGOVIA on the Ham Map).
6. I estimate that my clockwise
circuit August 3, 4 and 5, from SAN ALBINO - QUILALI
- SAN ALBINO covered a distance of about forty-five
(45) miles at least. Enroute, no suitable pastures
were found for my train; routes are mere trails and
very steep grades (up or down) marked fully
three-fourths of the total; The spurs are so close
to the streams that trails along streams are either
deep mud or a succession of hard grades up and over
the spurs. I started out from here with my whole
command, because I would need it should "CHIPOTE" be
found; then when I approached QUILALI feeling that I
might be able to spring a surprise at that point, I
continued with the whole command -- The practical
result, as I see it, has been to show these people
that we can move a sizeable force even into their
mountains. [ p. 3 ]
7. CHIPOTE. Everyone talks about
Chipote. No one who talks has ever been there; ask
any man where Chipote is and he will give you
answer, then upon further questioning it will
develop that he has not been there and that even his
informant never was there. Sandino is a notorious
prevaricator. Sandino is out for the money and
nothing else; there never was in this country a
place known as Chipote until Sandino's recent
regime; Chipote is a semi-slang term meaning a bump
raised by a blow on the head; Nicaraguans love the
sensational and among their hundred rumors there
will always be the one truth, yet NOBODY has been to
Chipote. Now there are many places mines (gold) down
the Coco River; Explosives and supplies are needed
and used down that river. I believe that Chipote is
a myth so far as being a fortress is concerned; I
know that various soldiers of Sandinos have been
informally discharged throughout this country.
Sandino has covered up his actual work of getting
supplies down the Coco or perhaps to Honduras (or
both) and kept these ignorant people working for him
to this and by boasting of "Chipote" and how they
will eventually live there in luxury; ease, and
security -- while all the time, only a few trusted
men have been engaged in the actual work of handling
the supplies east of Quilali. For ten days, I have
privately suspected this ruse. Now it is my
conviction, and I am willing to be quoted as saying
that I do not believe Sandino has a fortress known
even to himself as Chipote. I believe that grain
reported to have been moved to that place for
planting has been sold --- In other words, my
opinion is that the whole thing is a hoax.
8. The worst part of the rainy
season (continuing for two months) commences about
August 18th; Now we are having one real down-pour at
least each day. The last three days have been most
telling on my animals; four simply stopped on me
yesterday morning and I had to heave them behind. It
is generally conceded that grass-fed animals are
good for 15 days and then must have a like period
for recuperation. Distance is not the only thing
that counts in determining what animals have done,
it is the hours under the pack, Even in some of my
short marches from San Fernando to San Albino my
cautious security required my animals to be under
pack of a train which would make two successive
trips with supplies to Ocotal from Sebaco. Now I can
get this train back in good shape if I am not
compelled to work it too hard from now on; every day
my animals ore out is costing considerable rental;
and every day operations in this country will cost
some for animals which have to be left behind. [ p.
9. My plans - It is absolutely
necessary that my animals get two full days rest
here at San Albino. I shall remain here until August
8th on which date I shall go to Jicaro with all my
force. Remaining here is so important that without
any spirit of insubordination, I shall consider any
orders from Managua to do otherwise as leaving the
the question of leaving here before August eighth
(8) to my discretion.
Upon arrival in Jicaro, I shall promptly dispatch an officers
patrol mounted on best animals to Jalapa in
compliance with your orders, said patrol to return
My stay in Jicaro will be devoted to straightening out the place
and getting it as sanitary as possible before
arrival of permanent detachment for Jicaro.
If anything goes wrong in the supply plane (arrival in Jicaro), I
expect my patrol to Jalapa to return in time so that
I could get to Ocotal if necessary on what I shall
have left of supplies. Of course, I don not
anticipate such a contingency, but I shall be
prepared for it should the necessity arise.
10. My recommendations:
Jicaro will be a difficult place to supply; so I recommend that you
pull me out of there as early as possible leaving
all supplies except what my men need for a march to
Ocotal to which point I be ordered as soon as the
detachment to garrison Jicaro arrives at Jicaro.
The Guardia part of the contemplated garrison for Jicaro will have
great difficulty in rationing itself at that place
-- I recommend that I be authorized to turn over to
the guardia all Nicaraguan supplies that I can spare
when I leave Jicaro.
Lt. Pugh, according to orders, will remain in Segovia. Pugh has
been my disbursing officer for Nicaraguan funds and
has handled the animal situation throughout this
expedition. He should be left with me until the
animal question has been completely settled. To
settle the animal bills, I should spend with him
about two days in Esteli and at least ten days in
Matagalpa, and some time in Tipatapi [Tipitapa]. I
do not want to see this expedition disbanded in a
disorderly manner. Pugh does not want to remain here
personally; and to take him away from me until the
financial and animal questions are settled and
accounted for is considered a most unwise thing to
do. [ p. 5 ]
The contemplated idea of having my detachment
furnish practically a complete replacement detail
for the garrison at OCOTAL is believed good.
Although it should be remembered that my men have
had a very hard month before they can arrive in
OCOTAL, and their eventual relief from OCOTAL should
be timed accordingly.
I consider that Sandino's Force has been
disorganized in Eastern Nueva Segovia; I believe
that the foundation is laid for, and that prompt
action in establishing guardia posts in this country
will result in law and order in due time. Frankly
and without boasting, I believe my expedition has
been a success; and I believe that the best way to
preserve whatever success I may have had is to carry
out my ideas above given, and promptly disband the
expedition in an orderly fashion.
Note: I arrived here personally last night after
9:00 p.m. I am writing this on a typewriter without
ribbon; and trying to make sure that I get it to you
by plane pick up today. These account for my poor
composition and arrangement. Please pardon.
BACK TO LIST OF
FIELD MESSAGES & REPORTS
Field Message No. 12
August 9, 1927
FIELD MESSAGE )
NUMBER 12. )
FROM: Major O. Floyd,
Officer, 5th Regiment, U.S.M.C.
Subject: Report and Recommendations.
1. I arrived at Jicaro with all my
force yesterday (August 8th). Your letter of August
7th received. I have sent a mounted patrol of one
(1) Officer, 16 men and 1 interpreter and guide to
JALAPA with mission of dispersing any bands that may
be in that vicinity, getting information and
returning to Jicaro. This patrol has good mules, all
men with saddles, lightly equipped, panel for
communication with planes. I venture the opinion
that the patrol will return by August 11th and
without incident so far as enemy is concerned; yet,
showing marines up to the north will have a good
effect. Smugglers whom I arrested July 31st, say
everything was quiet at Jalapa when they came thru.
In anticipation of sending this patrol, I sent out a
secreto [sic] to Jalapa who was given no information
as to my plans and whom I expect the patrol to meet
2. Inflicting no substantial loss
on the owners, I have San Albino Mine in such a
condition that bandits cannot operate it. At 5
different places, the rope (used as a belt) on the
main drive has had one (1) strand out; the small
amount of mercury has been hidden by Mr. Mattison
(formerly referred to me as Madison).
3. On August 3, before leaving the
Mine on my 3 day circuit thru the mountains and
QUILALI, I conferred with Mr. Mattison and Mr.
Williams relative to the disposal of explosive
material at the Mine - because of the comparatively
small quantity, the petty thievery of employees and
the many military reasons existing, with their full
approval, I had all this material destroyed. I
realize fully that this act of mine was in direct
violation of your orders; and I will assume full
responsibility. I also destroyed the sianide
[cyanide] at the Mine.
4. On August 3, I received the
order to get two (2) named enlisted men to Managua
by August 10th, stating that same was in furtherance
of MGC's instructions - I have taken NO measures to
comply for 2 men should not be sent out along and I
will not fritter away my small force by tolling off
sizeable detachments except for a paramount military
reason. In other words, I have let my judgment
prevail over my desire to comply strictly with
orders of an administrative nature. [ p. 2 ]
5. I have advised Williams and
Matteson to keep in touch with the detachment to be
left at JICARO. I have given each a permit for
pistol without fee. I have advised Matteson to get
his wife to nearest American detachment at first
sign of any future trouble. I have advised both that
in assuring ourselves that they are unharmed and in
keeping a detachment at Jicaro the U.S.A. has done
all that they as English subjects reasonably can
expect, and that, from now on, they should avail
themselves of proximate American or Guardia troops
to whom they and their families should report in
person in the event of any signs of threatening
banditry which might endanger them.
6. On August 5, I arrested one
ISIDORO ISAGUIRRE who recently acted as Jefe Mulero
for Sandino at San Albino; packing and dispatching
loot. For reasons, I feel positive that this man
eventually told me the truth when he stated that
only once had he conducted personally supplies
eastward and that at the end of his trip, the
supplies were left at a small group of houses on the
Murra River near QUILALI, beyond which point, he,
his men and the animals were NOT permitted to go.
One ex-soldier of Sandino tells a similar story. I
feel sure of ISIDORO ISAGUIRRE's telling me the
truth eventually. There would be no profit for
Sandino in establishing and Maintaining a "CHIPOTE"
and more than ever I am convinced that "CHIPOTE" is
a camouflage for covering up his actual selling of
loot and keeping these ignorant Mozos working for
7. I have with me as prisoner one
Antonio Lopez, a heretofore respected thrifty cuss;
but at San Albino he repaired fire arms and made the
battle and bull-hide bombs. I think he turned to
looting recently and I shall take him to MANAGUA.
Other prisoners will be released, or turned over to
new CO at Jicaro, or taken to OCOTAL according to
their several implications, as adjudged by me.
Remember - I am getting information from my
prisoners and working them; but I am committing NO
high crimes or misdemeanors.
8. Rivers are high - this is the
only source of my apprehension about my patrol to
JALAPA getting thru. It poured all day the 6th,
rained pretty hard the 78th and let up a bit
9. I do not believe the report
that Sandino and Sanchez were in Jicaro on August
4th, as given by a frightened fleeing native to
Hatfield 2 days thereafter. While absent from
Jicaro, some people evidently were in the town -
from appearances I think they were property owners
and others coming from the brush to rescue their
possessions in the one case and to look for
something to eat or wear in the other. Incidently
Mr. Butter's Typewriter cannot be found. About 10
people are in town; and I am doing everything
possible to get the usual inhabitants to [ p. 3 ]
return. A few others came in this A.M.
a. Detachment for Jicaro
Guardia - 1 officer, 3-4 squads
Marines - 1 officer, 2-3 squads
The Marines to be taken from guard of train arriving
The minimum garrison (3 squads Guardia and 2 squads
Marines) will be sufficient to defend itself; the
maximum (4 squads Guardia and 3 squads Marines) will
be able to carry out much patrolling which will the
largest factor in spreading control over this area.
b. I shall leave at Jicaro:
Some of my ammunition.
A native telegrapher.
All Nicaraguan rations that I can spare.
c. You send to Jicaro following rations:
75 days for whatever number of Marines are to be
4 days (or 300 rations) for my command, provided I
am ordered to OCOTAL without delay after arrival of
supplies or not later than August 15th.
d. That I replace enlisted Marines at Ocotal with
like number from my men.
e. That I lose no time in leaving Ocotal for
Matagalpa via Esteli and Trinidad.
f. That for return trip, I get rations from each
forward point to last only to next point in rear.
g. That I be allowed 2 days in Esteli, at least 10
days in Matagalpa.
h. That Guardia detachment which I left in Trinidad
be [ p. 4 ] discontinued and I take up all remaining
supplies in passing thru Trinidad.
i. That your orders which I shall receive while
still in Jicaro be as complete and as far reaching
as possible - this will give me better judgment on
j. That this Expedition be disbanded by Floyd and
Pugh or by Bleasdale and Pugh, in other words, Pugh
to stay to the last and either Floyd or Bleasdale
with him. I mention this to provide for case
Washington orders me home and I have to take plane
at OCOTAL for Managua.
11. I am becoming firmer in my
conviction that Sandino's force is disorganized with
nothing to anticipate from them except perhaps very
small pillaging groups and that the best way to meet
such activities is by constant patrolling from small
detachments to be gradually established by guardia
in this locality.
12. My foregoing recommendations
are, I believe, such as will be most simple in
carrying out and give you in Managua the minimum of
Photograph: Caption on rear reads:
"155-McC-84. Historical. Guides, interpreters, and
one Sandinista prisoner captured by the Nueva
Segovia Expedition in Nicaragua, July-August, 1927."
From the US National Archives
BACK TO LIST OF
FIELD MESSAGES & REPORTS
Headquarters, Nueva Segovia Expedition
11 August, 1927.
From: Informal Investigating Board.
To: The Commanding Officer, Nueva
Subject: Report on explosion at Expeditionary
Jicaro, Nicaragua, August 11, 1927.
In accordance with your verbal instructions, the
following facts associated with the explosion at
Expeditionary Headquarters, Jicaro, Nicaragua,
August 11, 1927 are hereby submitted and attested to
by the undersigned.
(a) On July 29, 1927, the Nueva Segovia
Expedition captured and occupied the town of JICARO,
Nicaragua. The town had been mined by the Sandino
forces, one of these mines being successfully
exploded by Sandino's forces, and four being dug up
by members of this command. Additional explosives
were found in the town.
(b) Explosives mentioned in sub paragraph (a)
were disposed of as follows:
To avoid having them fall into the hands of the
enemy the detonators for dynamite were thrown into a
Nicaraguan pit latrine. The dynamite was disposed of
by throwing part of it into the same pit latrine and
burning the remainder. All detonators and dynamite
in latrine had been removed from their cases prior
to being thrown into the latrine. Water and slop
from the galley were thrown into the pit to assist
in decomposing the explosives.
(c) On August 1, 1927, our forces departed from
JICARO for the eastward and returned to JICARO on
August 8, 1927, and occupied the previous camp. The
pit latrine referred to above was employed as an
(d) On August 10, 1927, Captain Victor F.
Bleasdale, U.S.M.C., examined the pit and saw no
evidence of the explosives. On August 11, 1927,
Lieutenant John B. O'Neill, (MC), U.S. Navy,
inspected the pit and saw no evidence of the
explosives, but such a large amount of filth had
accumulated that the pit had become a dangerous fly
breeder and sanitary measures were obviously
necessary and covering the refuse by a layer of wood
ashes followed by a layer of dirt was recommended. A
supply of wood ashes was found to be available in
the galley and a detail of Nicaraguan prisoners was
selected to do the necessary work. Antonio Lopez, a
member of the working party, [ p. 2 ] stated that
Alfonso Palma, also a member of the working party,
had emptied a box of ashes, into the pit shortly
before the explosion occurred.
(e) At 10:00 a.m., August 11, 1927, an explosion
occurred in the pit latrine which resulted in the
destruction of the building over the latrine and
fragments therefrom struck and instantly killed
Alfonso Palma, a native Nicaraguan prisoner and
seriously wounded Clifford W. Sorensen, private,
U.S. Marine Corps, who was a guard over the working
detail when the explosion occurred. The remains of
Alfonso Palma was interred in the cemetery at
JICARO, Nic. The injured man was rendered treatment
by the attached Medical Officer, Lieutenant John B.
O'Neill, (MC) U.S. Navy.
(a) From a
personal knowledge of the facts associated with the
above explosion, the undersigned are of the opinion
that, several detonators, and sticks of dynamite
were so lodged in the latrine that they were not
destroyed by the refuse therein and the ashes which
were cast into the pit contained a live coal which
lodged against a detonator exploding the detonator
which in turn detonated a stick or several sticks of
dynamite and resulting in the above explosion.
that this force was operating in the field against a
hostile and active enemy whose presence was
jeopardizing the safety of our personnel, and the
explosives captured from the enemy had to be
disposed of immediately, it is the opinion of the
undersigned that reasonable and logical methods were
employed in the destruction of the explosives.
the number of explosives and dangerous machines of
destruction, both friendly and enemy, encountered
and handled by this expedition, many times, by men
not thoroughly acquainted with their peculiarities,
it is deemed worth of comment that only once
accident has occurred.
(d) In view of
the above facts it is the opinion of the undersigned
that the above explosion was an unfortunate accident
and that no blame attaches to anyone therefor.
private Clifford W. Sorensen, U.S. Marine Corps,
sustained multiple lacerations and contusions of the
head, face, trunk and extremities, and a fracture of
the lower jaw.
The undersigned finds that Private Clifford W.
Sorensen, U.S. Marine Corps, was injured in line of
duty and not as a result of his own misconduct.
Photo: Caption on rear reads: "154-McC-83.
Historical. Marines of the Nueva Segovia Expedition digging
up the dynamite mines planted by Sandino at Jicaro,
Nicaragua, July 1927." From the US National
BACK TO LIST OF
FIELD MESSAGES & REPORTSBACK TO LIST OF
FIELD MESSAGES & REPORTS
Field Message No. 14
August 12, 1927
NO . . . . . . . . 14 )
From: Major Floyd, O.
To: C.O. 5th Regt.,
Subject: Report and recommendations.
(1) (a) During the
past three (3) days, it has been ascertained that
all is quiet at SAN ALBINO, SABANA GRANDE, and
SUSUCAYAN, and ARENAL. Patrol returned August 11th
from JALAPA without incident and reported some
houses deserted enroute, many houses enroute where
women were seen and from which men had evidently
fled in causeless fear, that JALAPA is normal with
several men in the town; that many residents of
JICARO are in JALAPA; that armed men have not been
in JALAPA for past two (2) or three (3) weeks
according to reports.
People are timidly but slowly returning to JICARO; and my command
is giving every encouragement to those so returning.
Your recent information re: Sandino having headed for COSTA RICA is
believed to be correct; and the telegram sent by
Sandino to President Dias requesting a reply via
TELPANECA was, in my opinion, only a blind, to cover
up his (Sandino's) personal move to the south.
(b) Accidental explosion - see
report of Informal Investigating Board dated August
11, in to-days mail.
See also in todays mail a letter from my Medical
Officer requesting Antitetanus and other medicinal
supplies by plane.
Dr. O'Neill states that the injured Marine, Pvt.
Clifford W. Sorensen, has a good chance to recover
except for probable infection. This man must not be
moved; and I shall leave Dr. O'Neill and a Marine
(acting as hospital corpsman) with him in JICARO.
The prisoner, Alfonso Palma, who was killed, was
arrested August 5th for having in his possession a
mule bearing the brand of an owner in MANAGUA.
Private Sorensen (injured) recovered and recuperated
well from the first shock of the accidental
(2). Your instructions of August
10th were received. I submit the following
a. Since 1 officer and 37 men of the
Guardia will be stationed here, I consider that only
(3) three squad of marines is sufficient, in
addition thereto for JICARO at present. Only 3
squads of Marines at JICARO will minimize your
supply problem - and, apart from considerations of
supply, I feel that 3 squads of marines and 37
Guardia is ample for JICARO.
b. The train from OCOTAL should arrive in JICARO
to-day (August 12th). I shall hold train here until
I receive your instructions by plane tomorrow
(August 13th). I recommend that the train from
OCOTAL be returned from JICARO to ESTELI with my
c. I recommend that I be
authorized to leave JICARO as soon as practicable
after the receipt of your next letter. I shall
undoubtedly hear from you tomorrow (August 13th),
and I should like to leave here [ p. 2 ] with my
column and the train from OCOTAL for OCOTAL on
d. Should I leave the expedition
at OCOTAL, I recommend that I and in absence of
orders will, turn over to Captain Bleasdale all U.
S. funds remaining in my possession.
(3). I believe the above covers
every point on which there might be a
misunderstanding between us.
(4). Floyd - Personal orders for:
I could not tell you my choice of duty until I feel that my part of
the job in NUEVA SEGOVIA was accomplished.
I thank you General Feland, and Colonel Beadle very much for the
news I received yesterday. Now, I will be frank and
state that I personally prefer to return to QUANTICO
via last trip of the ARGONNE.
/ s / O. FLOYD.
BACK TO LIST OF
FIELD MESSAGES & REPORTS
Civilians and Noncombatants Killed or
August 15, 1927
From: Major Oliver Floyd,
Nueva Segovia Expedition.
Officer, Fifth (5th) Regiment, U.S.M.C., Managua,
Subject: Complete report of Civilians and
Noncombatants Killed or Injured.
1. The following is a complete
report of all possible Civilian and Noncombatants
who were killed or injured through the operations of
The Nueva Segovia Expedition to date and to the best
of my knowledge and belief:
(a) On July 25, 1927, at San
Fernando, during the engagement at that place, a
Nicaraguan girl of about nineteen (19) years of age
was noticed on the street at which time she was in
NO way molested. This same girl later through fright
ran to the brush; while running in the brush and
while firing was still being directed against my
troops from the surrounding brush and hills, this
girl was wounded by three (3) bullets evidently from
automatic fire of one of the Marines who was not
aware of her identity or sex. This girls wounds were
all in the legs. She returned to her home where she
was given every possible care by my medical officer
until we left San Fernando on July 27th. The girl
herself and her family realized the mistake she had
made in fleeing to the brush and the fact that she
had evidently been shot by some one who mistook her
for an enemy during the firing. On August 15, 1927,
when the Expedition returned through San Fernando,
this girl appeared to be recovering and was sitting
up in bed.
(b) On July 25, 1927, at San
Fernando, during the engagement at that place, the
only man seen in that town who could possibly have
been a civilian or noncombatant was arrested by
Lieutenant Fox and placed in the charge of a marine.
This man (name unknown) lived in the house at the
extreme west end of the row of buildings on the
north side of the plaza, and at the point where the
road from Ocotal enters the town. It is known that a
sentry was stationed on top of a small hill about
fifty (50) yards northwest of his house and that the
sentry fired one (1) shot at least after my advance
elements entered the town. Practically all houses in
San Fernando were deserted and showed signs of
having been completely looted; but the house of this
man had NOT been molested by any of Sandino's
troops. After this man had been arrested, and while
the firing was being continued, I personally saw him
running across the plaza toward the southeast corner
thereof; he was evidently trying to escape; one
marine was running after him; another marine was
endeavoring to get around ahead of the man. I called
out to the two marines "Do NOT let that man escape;
I want to talk to him". This man continued running,
and later at the northeastern edge of town near the
brush the man was shot and killed when it was
evident that he would escape. Later during my stay
in San Fernando, this man's son (an adult) came into
town and stated that his father should not have
tried to escape from the Americans. [ p. 2 ]
(c) On August 11, 1927, at Jicaro,
there was an accidental explosion of dynamite. As a
result of said explosion a prisoner who was working
under guard was instantly killed. This prisoner was
one Alfonso Palma, whom I had arrested on August 5th
for having in his possession a mule bearing the
brand of an owner in or near Managua. This man was
buried in the cemetery at Jicaro.
/ s / O. Floyd.
BACK TO LIST OF
FIELD MESSAGES & REPORTS
Letter from Bleasdale to Gulick
Nueva Segovia Expedition.
August 21, 1927 (Sunday).
Dear Colonel Gulick:
Am heading South with the remnants of the Nueva Segovia Expedition.
Expect to clear here for Matagalpa on
Tuesday, August 23rd. Will clear with
about 38 Provisional Guardia (Most of
them being employed as mularos
[muleros]), and 171 animals, (less
several we leave here). I have no word
about my Marine escort yet but requested
that Cpl. Lyman and Pvt. Snead of the
49th Co (Peard's Company in Esteli), to
remain with the Expedition until it is
disbanded in Managua. They started out
from Managua with the Expedition and are
the only 2 enlisted remaining with it
that are acquainted with the animals and
records from the start. Of course Peard
wishes to grab them off as they pass
thru here. Incidentally, Cpl. Lyman
speaks Spanish, had 2 years at
University of Michigan and has applied
for the Guardia Nacional. He showed up
well on this trip and I think you would
help out the Guardia Nacional if you
sent him on over to our outfit. He also
wishes to take the Marine Corps
Examination after a tour with the
Major Floyd has undoubtedly given you the data on the Expedition as
a whole so there is little for me to
mention though I will make the following
(a) That the 10 men I brought here from
Pueblo-Nuevo, Ocotal and Jicaro go
through to Managua. They include:- 2
short-timers (less than 1 year), 2
prisoners (of Sandino fame), 3 urgent
dental cases, 1 urgent hospital case
(injured foot), and Corporal Lyman and
Pvt. Snead. In order to bring all 10
from Pueblo Nuevo I had to leave 2 of
Peard's 49th Company men with Hatfield
in Pueblo Nuevo. I had no time for
telegraphic instructions so just used my
judgment. In addition to the above 10 I
should have 7 more to complete 1
Section. I have got to keep two men
riding the fences when the animals are
in pasture and 1 man on property. Most
of our animals were commandeered and the
owners are unknown so when one of our
own mularos gets one out of the train
and leaves it with a friend he is ahead
50 to 100 dollars.
(b) Jicaro is a very important station as it is
quite isolated and in the midst of a
country where delicate situations may
arise anytime and as the Marine Corps
officer there will have to be all the
law and order they have for some time, I
suggest that you keep an experienced
officer there, O'Shea is O.K. - McQuade
lacks the experience.
(c) In our fracas at San Fernando a girl was
wounded, three bullets entering her leg.
I visited her on our return trip and she
seems to be in a bad way. She says one
of the wounds is infected and refuses to
heal up and that there is no medical
person in San Fernando, though she said
something about a doctor in Ocotal
sending medicine out with instructions
for use. I inquired about this in Ocotal
and discovered the doctor is Pedro Lobo
- the Jefe Politico - Policia - and that
he is not a doctor. i suggested to Lt.
fox that he take immediate steps to see
the girl gets medical attention. Several
ways are suggesting:- 1. She could be
brought into Ocotal (with her mother).
The Marine Corps employing native
carriers and to carry her in a hammock.
Again - she could be carried to Jicaro
where Dr. O'Neil could give her his
attention while there. She is a Spanish
Nicaraguan girl named Blanco Ortez -
about 18 - a member of the Ortez family
that own Orosi Hacienda between San
Fernando and Jicaro. Dr. O'Neil attended
her while we were in San Fernando after
the engagement and left medical supplies
with her mother and sister with
instructions for their use. I presume
this supply is exhausted. [ p. 2 ]
While in Pueblo Nuevo I inquired about conditions there and
according to several prominent natives
things have been tranquil there fore
months and it shows no evidence of any
difficulties. The town is Red
throughout, I understand. It seems that
Pichingo (Simon Jiron), was in Pueblo
Nuevo about August 8, unarmed and alone
and spent about 36 hours wandering about
seeing old friends. The mere sight of
this bold bandit so frightened the cold
footed population of the town that they
are still screaming for assistance. I
asked the school-master - an ambitious
young man - who seemed quite worried
over the danger of Pichingo's visit, why
he did not take his gun and kill this
terror. He replied that he did get his
gun with the idea of shooting Pichingo
but when he went to look for him,
Pichingo had just left town. I told him
that it was odd that it took him 36
hours to get that idea. Anyhow - all of
this seems to have been the late trouble
in Pueblo Nuevo.
The lack of noncommissioned officers up through this country is
affecting the efficiency of many of the
From Ocotal to Esteli the whole countryside is peaceful and country
people are all busy at their labors.
Making sugar, plowing, building,
carting, handling cattle, seem to be the
chief occupation at the present.
The village enroute are still quite deserted.
X Totogalpa ...................50 houses
....................... 20 people (5
X Yalaguina 30 houses 20 people (5 men)
Pueblo Nuevo Conditions as
X Condega 30 houses 20 people (no men)
X Estimated after casual observation.
The feeling that a
reign of peace has come over this
country seems to be rapidly gaining
ground. American money along with our
wishes for Nicaragua's welfare seems to
be gaining the confidence of the
Capt. Peard's outfit is extending every hospitality to my outfit so
this is a pleasant stopover.
Do not know how the roads will be enroute to Matagalpa but expect
to make Trinidad on the 23rd, Sebaco on
the 24th and Matagalpa on 25th. (Might
not hit Sebaco on 24th as it is a little
off the route). Will probably spend a
week in Matagalpa settling up the animal
situation there and reconditioning the
animals I have to take to Tipitapa.
Major Floyd told me he would take up with you the matter of U. S.
funds and Nicaraguan funds for the
payment of the train, and the
proportionate amount to be paid by each
government. He suggested 50-50.
This rambliing letter must close. Hoping to be among you all soon,
Very sincerely yours,
Victor F. Bleasdale.