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PC28.02.06   young


28.01.31 KENYON
28.02.03 PEARD
28.02.04 MCDONALD
28.02.06 YOUNG
28.02.12 WATERMAN
28.02.18 GEYER
28.02.19 CLARK

28.02.06.   Young, Report on Operations, Special Expeditionary Force to El Chipote, 7 January - 5 February

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T  R  A  N  S  C  R  I  P  T  I  O  N

San Albino, Nicaragua.      6 February 1928.

From: The Commanding Officer.
To: The Commanding Officer, Fifth Regiment,
U.S.M.C., Managua, Nicaragua, C.A.
VIA: The Commanding Officer, Northern Area,
Ocotal, Nicaragua, C.A.
Subject: Report on operations, covering period January 7, 1928 to 5 February 1928.
Inclosures: (a) Patrol report of Captain Peard.
  (b) Patrol report of Lt Kenyon.
  (c) Patrol Report of Lt MacDonald, G.N.
  (d) Commendations in case of Pvts Gutierrez & Carago, G.N.
  (e) Copies of letters from Sandino.
  (f) Addenda to report of Major Young.

 SATURDAY, JANUARY 7, 1928.  1830 left Ocotal with 2nd Lt. W. F. Brown, USMC, and Lts. D.E. Wells, GN, and L.F. Harrington, MC, GN, 61 marines, and 7 bull cart loads of rations etc., (one bull was killed when cart went over side of cliff; cart unloaded by hand, dropped to stream bed, hauled out, reloaded, and proceeded) for San Albino.

SUNDAY, January 8, 1928. 0900 arrived San Fernando with above.

MONDAY, January 9, 1928.  At 0650 left San Fernando with above and in addition Lt. D.M. McDonald, Guardia Nacional, and 16 enlisted Guardia. At 1830 reached San Pedro (the west one) and camped.

TUESDAY JANUARY 10, 1928.  At 0100 Lt. H.N. Kenyon, USMC, with Lt. E.H. Clark, and Marine Gunner L. Jenkins, 72 Marines enlisted, joined from Ocotal and camped.  At 0700 left San Pedro (the west one).

     About one mile of the eastern San Pedro left train with Lt Kenyons outfit and proceeded to arrived at San Albino about 1500. Lt Kenyon and train arrived about 2100.

WEDNESDAY JANUARY 11, 1928.  In obedience to order (send detachment to meet Quilali column) went with Lt. E.H. Clark, USMC, 70 Marines, Lt. D.M. McDonald, GN, and Guardia Detachment, and met Quilali Column under command of Captain R.W. Peard, USMC, south of Jicarito. Combined Force arrived San Albino about 1800.

THURSDAY 12, 1928.  At 1620 Lt W.F. Brown, USMC, with 8 bull carts, 15 enlisted USMC, 23 enlisted Guardia, Dr J.L. Terrel and Cadet Ostick, GN, arrived at San Albino, from Jicaro.

     Planes reported about 100 men in fox holes in vicinity of San Geronimo.

FRIDAY, JANUARY 13, 1928.  In afternoon group observed on ridge across river in direction of San Geronimo. Received order to make demonstration towards [ p. 2 ] Chipote on 14th, but not to try to mop up, to make bandits draw in to Chipote, so that planes could bomb them.

     Directed Captain Peard to make demonstration with Marines from San Albino to leave morning of the 14th.

     At 2330 left with Lt. D.M. McDonald, GN, and Lts Wells, Ostick, Smith and Harrington, MC, all GN, and 40 Guardia, crossed the Jicaro river a mile or so below camp, and by marching across country, cowpaths, and etc., arrived on crest of San Geronimo Ridge before daylight of 14th. No bandits observed in first position. Moved along ridge to north after daylight.

SATURDAY JANUARY 14, 1928.  Mendez, one of Sandinos Jefes, and a couple of companions rode into Guardia position and Mendez was killed by Lt McDonald, and his companions probably wounded by Guardia, but escaped through brush. One rifle, Guardia type, left by one of the wounded bandits.

     Captain R.W. Peards column, (72 Marines, 1 Howitzer platoon, and 1 Machine Gun section) arrived crest of ridge and joined Guardia about 1130. Bombing of Chipote by planes observed from ridge. Officers ho had been at Quilali did not think that mountain observed was Chipote (it was). Through field glasses dust raised by machine gun fire at planes was observed, and from sounds it appeared that planes also encountered rifle fire during bombing.

     Returned to San Albino after completion of bombing.

SUNDAY JANUARY 15, 1928. The night of 15-16 January sent Lt WF Brown with his platoon to occupy the crest of San Geronimo ridge as an outpost.

MONDAY JANUARY 16, 1928.  1300 Captain A. Kingston with Captain H.M. Shaw, Lt. G. Esau and 140 Marines, 16 Bullcart loads of ration, etc., and pack mules joined from Ocotal.

     Sent Lt Harry Boyle, GN, and 30 Guardia and two bull carts to San Fernando to get Guardia supplies from there.

TUESDAY JANUARY 17, 1928.  Getting organized.

Sent Lt Esau with Lt Hunt and 78 Marines to relieve Lt. Brown as outpost on San Geronimo ridge.

THURSDAY JANUARY 19, 1928.  Believed San Albino to far away from Chipote (there was a difference of opinion as to its exact location) to march to and launch an attack on, on the same day and considered it better to build up a forward rations and munitions dump.

     Went with Captain Kingstons and Lt Kenyons company with rations for San Geronimo ridge. Left Lt Kenyon and company on the crest of a ridge about a half a mile to the south east of San Geronimo position. From this ridge observed a group of men (through glasses) in the vicinity of house near dug outs on Chipote (taken by Lt Kenyons command on 25th). The planes I believe have reported Chipote as entirely deserted on this date.

     Suggested to Lt Kenyon that he scout ridge to North East the following day (20th). Returned with Captain Kingston to San Albino. [ p. 3 ]

     About midnight received an order (9619-1230) to send strong combat patrols to San Juan, San Lucas, Buena Vista area (that Telpaneca would send patrol one days march toward San Juan as a threat).

FRIDAY JANUARY 20, 1928.  Sent Captain Peard, Lt Brown, 18 Marines, trench mortar and two machine guns towards San Juan, in compliance with order received last night.

     Heard some firing in direction of San Geronimo and in the evening they signalled that they had a letter, signed by Sandino, dated today. Sandino had been reported, in an intelligence report, as having been killed by the bombing on the 14th. Firing evidently was the fight Lt Kenyon had when he captured the Heights of Santa Rosa (see Lt Kenyons report). Although Lt Kenyons first report showed no known bandit casualties and estimated their strength as about 30, the prisoner captured by Lt Clark on Chipote on 26 January who, it is believed from his examination, had been in this fight, stated that three bandits were killed (checks with air report of vultures feeding on four bodies) and five wounded including Colonel Madriga [Fernando Maradiaga] (in the arm), who personally fired bandit machine gun. (One of the two captured letters from Sandino was to Madriga [Maradiaga]). The prisoner further stated that bandits numbered 300 in Santa Rosa action, but as reports of numbers over a dozen are usually exaggerated, the bandit force was probably much less, although Lt Kenyons estimate of 30, is probably too conservative. The prisoner knew Mendez had been killed (on 14th) and said he had three companions (instead of two) who were wounded.

     Prisoner further stated (on 26th) that Sandino had 50 men with him, but that he did not know where he was. This number seems to check with number Lt McDonald had fight with on 28th. Another prisoner captured in rear area, on 26th, stated that Sandino had 900 men with him, which shows how unaccurate unchecked rumors are, especially from prisoners trying to say what they think you want to hear.

     The prisoner captured by Lt Clark stated that he had no knowledge of aviators heads having been cut and that he could show where they were buried near where planes fell, but this prisoner was killed by first bandit volley in fight Lt McDonald had on morning of 28th.

     Lt McDonald with Lt Boyle and a squad of guardia left to surprise a bandit outpost near Montanita, but Lt McDonald and three Guardia while approaching outpost before daylight on the morning of

SATURDAY JANUARY 21, 1928.  Were surprised by the bandits with a dynamite bomb. Five bandits were observed in light of bomb, and McDonald with two Guardia routed bandits and occupied position. Lt McDonald was wounded by bomb in leg, but concealed his injuries to avoid being placed on sick list.

     1400 left San Albino with Lt. A.T. Hunt, USMC, and ration party, and spent night on San Geronimo Ridge, garrisoned by Lt Esau's company. Ration dump being built up here. (A couple of machine guns were sent up previously) one with Lt Esaus command and one forwarded with Lt Kenyon on Santa Rosa Ridge.

SUNDAY JANUARY 22, 1928.  Left San Geronimo Ridge with Lt Hunt, USMC, and his platoon, and arrived at Lt Kenyons headquarters on Santa Rosa Ridge at 1130.

     Accompanied Lt Kenyon on a foraging expedition, crossing to some houses on East Bank of Murra River, about a couple of miles north of Chipote, [ p. 4 ] with two squads, returning with considerable bandit food supplies.

MONDAY JANUARY 23, 1928.  Went with Lt Kenyon, Marine Gunner Jenkins and several squads along Santa Rosa Ridge to about a mile south of camp where a sentry squad was left. Returned about a half mile, and went down a trail in a ravine to trail along Murra river. Followed latter trail about a quarter of a mile to south, where an observation post of four men were left in a house, on a knoll which had foxholes around it. Returned along river trail to north, crossing Murra river to a new shack, at the base of Chipote ridge, about a mile north of Chipote proper. The shack was clean and well stocked with beans, and near a sugar cane field. Remained with Marine Gunner Jenkins and three squads, while Lt. Kenyon went back with a squad or so to bring up balance of company.

     At 1400 sent back message number 2, to Commanding Officer, San Albino, to send up trench mortar, 37 MM gun, Lt Clark and machine guns, less four, to remain in San Albino, grenades, rations, and Captain Peards company if available. Lt Esaus's company to garrison lines of communications. As place was practically surrounded on all sides with high ground with good cover from close, to mid rifle range, had men dig fox holes between first shack and another higher up on ridge.

     While digging in, a dynamite bomb exploded from direction of ravine North of camp. During afternoon rifle fire was heard from direction of observation post, about three quarters of a mile to South on West bank of Murra. Private Nicholas B. Hagerman, of the observation post, was wounded in the finger, and Private Ben E. Ingles leading a ration party of three men to it was wounded in forearm. Observation post was withdrawn. Behavior of both wounded men was excellent. Lt Kenyon returned with balance of company before dark and position was further strengthened.

TUESDAY JANUARY 24, 1928.  1000 sent Lt Wadbrook (complained of dysentery (?)) back with a squad and message to CO San Albino, to send up munitions, rations, and re-enforcements asked for yesterday and in addition the Guardia Company.

     About noon Lt Clark USMC, with trench mortar, 37 MM gun, and two machine guns arrived.

     1730 went with Lt Kenyon, Lt Clark, and several squads to crest of ridge to front, about 400 yards to south east after a few trench mortar shells had been dropped in vicinity. A shack filled with corn was found with signs of fresh occupancy. Returned along a trail to East, thence across country to camp. Found that Captain Peard and his company, Captain Shaw and Lt Brown had arrived.

WEDNESDAY JANUARY 25, 1928.  Lt McDonald with Lts Wells, Ostick, and Smith (all GN) and Guardia arrived.

     Lt Kenyon with several squads and Lt Clark with trench mortar and machine gun went on scouting and forraging expedition to south, along east bank of Murra. Directed Captain Peard to forrage to south along West bank of Murra, and to support Lt Kenyon if he needed it.

     Major General Commandant flew over Chipote in white striped plane, number 703, with Major Rowell, USMC.

     Lt Kenyon returned in afternoon and reported he had left Lt Clark with his section and one squad, in one of bandit entrenched positions (about two thirds up mountain). [ p. 5 ]

     Returned with Lt Kenyon and balance of his company after directing Captain Peard and Lt McDonald to follow next day with their companies.

THURSDAY JANUARY 26, 1928.  Went with Lt Kenyon, Lt Clark, and 50 Marines, with mortar and machine gun the remainder of the way to the crest of the mountain. Did not see other companies until we started back to camp. Reached a series of shacks evidently used as barracks about 1130, and laid out aeroplane panels. First Sergeant George O. Brooks, USMC, went to an adjacent knoll, and burned a large barrack shack with trenches around it. A bomb exploded in it while it was burning.

     Left Lt Clark with his section and one squad on knoll, and went with Lt Kenyon and three squads to wooded top of mountain, and down south side to a trail leading back to camp. Followed trail for some distance in opposite direction, but no signs of open ground or habitation were seen.

     Used mortar and rifle grenades on way up to top and believe that trench mortar was responsible (yesterday as well) for not meeting any opposition, as freshly killed meat, footprints leading in all directions on hastily broken trails on wooded top of mountain with water knocked off leaves (there was a light shower 1130) seemed to indicate that bandits left only as Marine advanced).

     Lt Clark captured a prisoner.

     Upon return to camp, directed Captain Peard to return to the last camp site and forage along Chipote in that vicinity. Guardia remained for night.

FRIDAY JANUARY 27, 1928.  Sent Lt D.E.Wells, GN, with one squad of Guardia, back to San Albino, to look out for Guardia property left there. Gave him copies of march order (Message No. 1 - 27 Jan 1928), copy attached, for distribution.

     Lt. McDonald and Guardia company left with prisoner Lt Clark captured yesterday, to search for some buried arms.

     Lt Kenyon with several squads left on a foraging expedition to south and west.

SATURDAY JANUARY 28, 1928.  Lt McDonald with Lt Ostick and Smith, and 35 Guardia, routed a bandit force of about 50, on a mountain about 5 miles north of Chipote, in which action the bandits left nine dead on the field. No Guardia casualties. See Lt McDonalds report attached.

     Left Chipote with Lt Kenyons company as per march order, at about 1000, and arrived at Auilali [Quilali], at about 1600, and camped.

     Guardia arrived about 1830.

SUNDAY JANUARY 29, 1928.  Left a pick up message. No. 1 - 29 Jan 28, for Captain Peards column to return to San Albino, but it was lost in pick up. Left Guardia in Quilali to rest up, and marched for San Juan. Lost several hours trying to find river trail, shown on map. Trail went to a pasture and faded out. Later learned that it began again on other side of pasture. Finally left on Las Cruces, but turned to West on a side trail. Had supper at a shack in which were a couple of copies of "The World toMorrow", a pink publication, edited I believe by the same Mr. Sayes, Sayers, or Hays, who came down to Nicaragua with Miss Woods, a social worker. This Mr Sayes was the one Lt. Freeman, GN, had to kick out of the rescue boat, when he [ p. 6 ] tried to crowd into it, ahead of women and children, when the motor boat, bound for Tempisque, Nicaragua, from Honduras, had a hole stoved in its bottom, near El Tempisque, last December.

     After supper followed a poor trail to West, and arrived at a shack, which proved to be occupied, at about 2300, where company camped for night.

MONDAY JANUARY 30, 1928.  Four men (one later escaped) in house were questioned, and two of them led us (Lt Kenyon, Lt Clark and three squads) from midnight to about 0400, to two shacks, where men alleged there would be probably from 25 to 50 bandits. Shacks were surrounded but proved to be empty. Left shacks about 0600, and reached camp about 0900.

     Left camp at 1400 bound for San Juan, but received drop message ordering rendez-vouz in San Albino, as soon as possible (8630-0850). Marched to San Albino, arriving about 2100.

     Lt Esau with his company had already left in obedience to orders from higher authority for Ocotal.

TUESDAY JANUARY 31, 1928.  Men getting outfitted, rested, treated for garipati (ticks), bites, tropical ulcers, sore feet, etc.

WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 1, 1928.  Guardia returned from Quilali, reporting all quiet in that vicinity, with people returning to their shacks.

THURSDAY FEBRUARY 2, 1928.  Captain Peards column returned, reporting all quiet in vicinity of San Juan. The hole reported by airforce, stated to have been either the shallow machine gun emplacement which was dug in San Juan, or a pit for kitchen refuge [refuse].

     Sent Lt. Clark with Howitzer Platoon and a machine gun section to join Lt Esau's company, which I believed was returning here, to go with him via Santa Clara to garrison Jalapa.

     Sent Lt. Wadbrook and three squads to San Fernando to get pay for men not paid.

FRIDAY FEBRUARY 3, 1928.  Lt Wadbrook returned with three squads and pay. Lt Clark evidently ordered to remain in San Fernando do guard ration train coming here.

SATURDAY FEBRUARY 4, 1928.  Sent patrol with rations to Jicaro, returning same date.

SUNDAY FEBRUARY 5, 1928.  Sent Captain Peard and four squads to Quilali to observe for bandits in that vicinity, in accordance with orders received from higher authority.

/s/ A. Young
Major, U.S.M.C.





     1.   I Desire to commend in general all the officer and men attached to this organization, for their efficient and loyal support and for the cheerful manner in which they underwent much physical hardships as are endured on excessively long marches in rough mountainous country, in many cases almost barefooted on account of shoes wearing out under hard usage, on short rations, nearly all suffering from garripati (tick) bites, tropical ulcers and sore feet.

    2.   I particularly desire to comment First Lieutenant Howard N. Kenyon, U.S. Marine Corps, to whose aggressive tactics the early occupation of Chipote was, in my opinion, mainly due. I am reliably informed that his courageous leadership (he was in the immediate vicinity of, and in advance of his point) was mainly responsible for the rapid routing of the bandits on the heights of Santa Rosa and the capture of same on January 20, 1928. On this occasion Lieutenant Kenyon's command was opposed by not less than thirty bandits, armed with a machine gun, rifles, dynamite bombs, and in a position of their own choosing on commanding ground with good cover.

    3.    I also desire to approve the commendations of Gunnery Sergeant George O. Brooks, U.S. Marine Corps, and Private H. O. Nation, U.S. Marine Corps, by Lieutenant Kenyon, for their excellent conduct in this fight. The Heights of Santa Rosa were considered by Sandino as the "Soul of Chipote". (See attached letter).

    4.    I desire to commend in particular Lieutenant D.M. McDonald, Guardia Nacional (Gunnery Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps), for the courage and leadership displayed by him when he, with two enlisted Guardia, attacked and routed a bandit outpost of not less than five men (seen in light of dynamite bomb exploded by them) in the vicinity of Montanita, at about 1:00 a.m., 21 January, 1928. Lieutenant MacDonald, wounded by dynamite bomb on this occasion, concealed his wound in order to continue on active duty and avoid being placed on sick list, displaying thereby, in my opinion, fortitude beyond the call of duty.

    5.    I desire to again commend Lieutenant MacDonald for his leadership, courage, and skill, when he, with Lieutenants C. T. Ostick and M. E. Smith, Guardia Nacional, and 35 enlisted Guardia, after being led into an ambush by a prisoner, on the morning of January 28, 1928, on a mountain about five miles north of Chipote, routed a force of about 50 bandits, killing nine by actual count of dead left on field, and capturing three well built houses, this without a single casualty to this force, excepting the bandit prisoner, who was killed by the first bandit volley. One of the houses captured, judging from the manner in which it was equipped, probably was used by Sandino as his Headquarters.

    6.    I take further pleasure in forwarding for citation, the Officers and men of the Guardia Nacional mentioned in attached report of Lieutenant, Guardia Nacional.

/s/  A. YOUNG
Major, U.S. Marine Corps


Ancillary Document:   20 January 1928, Sandino to General Simeón Montoya, Antonio Galeano & Fernando Maradiaga   •   EDSN-Doc 28.01.20

General Montoya, Galeano, F. Maradiaga.
Santa Rosa.
Estimado compañeros, deseo que cuando esta sea sus manos, esten bueno. Les envio esos echulos que me he hecho respecto a nuestra actual situación y hoy en tarde de lo espero a todas las columnas y si Colindres no está ahí, mándele órden que el quede en San Pedro esperando órdenes de este cuartel. No hay novedad. Se vienen después de las 3 de la tarde.

/s/ A. C. Sandino

Summary & Notes:

   Summarizes Marine-Guardia ground offensive against El Chipote, January 7 - February 5.
   Includes summaries of reports of Peard, Kenyon, McDonald; helps integrate & provide broader context for these reports.
   Interesting observations on physical hardships suffered by Marines & Guardia, especially garripatis (ticks), tropical ulcers, sore feet, marching virtually barefoot, and short rations.

   The Quaker and peace activist John Nevin Sayre (mentioned in entry for Sunday 29 January) published an account of his failed efforts in late 1927 to persuade Sandino, via Sandino's wife Blanca Arauz, to lay down his arms; "A Try at Peace and Justice with Sandino," World Tomorrow, XI (March 1928), pp. 113-17; Sayre papers housed at Swarthmore College Peace Collection, offsite URL:  https://archives.tricolib.brynmawr.edu/repositories/scpc; see also Neill Macaulay, The Sandino Affair (Duke, 1985), pp. 97-98.

   Ancilllary document penned by Sandino captured by Lt. Kenyon on El Chipote, 20 January.  In 2011 the original document was transferred from the Marine Corps Historical Center to the US National Archives; I thank the MCRC for the high-resolution digital image above (see also EDSN-Doc 28.01.20).   Also captured by Lt. Kenyon was the document to which Sandino refers here, "Ventajas y desventajas del retén de Santa Rosa," 20 Jan. 1928, in Augusto C. Sandino, El pensamiento vivo, Sergio Ramírez, ed., vol. 1 (Managua: Nueva Nicaragua, 1984), pp. 225-26.  The phrase "soul of El Chipote" to which Major Young refers in his report comes from the following paragraph in the above-referenced document:  "Que si la loma de Santa Rosa es el alma de El Chipote, El Chipote no vale nada, porque jamás podríamos defender la loma de Santa Rosa, a menos que todos nos fuéramos a esperar el combate a dicho lugar, pues una columna de treinta hombres, el enemigo la deshace ahí, por lo limpia, y que los aviones la descubrirían ya."

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