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PC28.04.08  holmes &c


28.04.05 HART
28.04.05 ROBERTS
28.04.05 ROCKEY
28.04.08 HOLMES
28.04.09 PUTNAM
28.04.11 PUTNAM
28.04.11 SNEAD

28.04.08.   Holmes et al. on the Combined Assault on El Chipote, 3-10 April 1928

P C - D O C S :      P A T R O L   &   C O M B A T    R E P O R T S
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     This page combines six reports that describe a complex combined operation of five different Marine-Guardia patrols in the Northeastern Segovias, April 3-10, 1928.  The operation targeted the vast, remote, mountainous zone between the Ríos Jícaro and Coco, which the EDSN had controlled for most of a year (since at least June 1927).  In mid-January 1928 the Marines reached El Chipote for the first time, and in March aerial reconnaissance and combats identified the zone as a key Sandinista stronghold.  Now, in early April, the goal is to put boots on the ground to rid the zone of "bandit forces" before the rainy season begins. The larger strategic goal is to root out Sandinista influence in the area. (Photos: Marine patrol, Río Coco, April 1928, Marine Corps Research Center)
     The Chipote operation was conceived as the western half of a big pincer movement.  The eastern half was led by Major Harold H. Utley & Captain Merritt A. Edson in their legendary Río Coco Expedition.  Edson began ascending the Coco from its mouth at Cabo Gracias a Dios on the Atlantic Coast in mid-February 1928, an episode treated in some detail in the published literature (see Edson, "The Rio Coco Patrol," Marine Corps Gazette, Aug. 1936; David C. Brooks, "Marines, Miskitos and the Hunt for Sandino: The Rio Coco Patrol in 1928," Journal of Latin American Studies, May 1989).  
     The Marine strategy of rooting out Sandinista influence in the area never succeeded.  In fact, as later PC-Docs show, the strategy backfired, generating enormous popular sympathy for the EDSN throughout the zone.  Shooting, burning, killing, and destroying, the patrols succeeded mainly in inflaming popular sentiments against them.  In this instance there is another irony for just as the Marines were engaged in this complex pincer movement, the main Sandinista columns were poised to strike at the La Luz and Bonanza Mines, far to the east of these patrols and far to the south of Edson's, which they did starting on April 15, as seen in the Top 100, p. 9.
     These reports offer a fascinating portrait of the upper Río Coco-El Chipote zone's topography, geography, production, and settlement patterns; popular sentiments among its inhabitants; Sandinista organizing and labor expenditures over the preceding year, the nature of the Marine-Guardia invasion, and larger patterns in the unfolding war, among other things.

28.04.08 Holmes, Field Reports, Guiguilí
28.04.10 Skidmore, Rios Coco & Poteca, 8-10 April
28.04.10 Kingston, Report of Operations, 4-9 April, Quilalí
28.04.10 Gray, Patrol Report, San Albino
28.04.12 Kenyon, Patrol Report, Jalapa
28.04.20 Feland / Dunlap, Consolidated Report of Recent Operations in Chipote Region


28.04.08.  Holmes, Field Reports, Guiguili

T  R  A  N  S  C  R  I  P  T  I  O  N  S

From: CO 52nd Company, GUIGUILI.    April 6, 1928.
1106 At 1045 April 5, fired on three men fleeing into bush from house, one fleeing into bush from house, one seen to bear firearm. Wounded one, all escaped. Found cached in bush around house: 1 shotgun with powder and ball, 11 fighting machetes, several axes, leg irons for pole climbing, saddle with Sandino colors in bands, quantity of native clothing and blankets, two houses contiguous to caches had quantity of beans, corn, and bananas.

1530 Man found spying our movements, following in canoe on Cua River in direction of Cua. 2nd Lt. Norman and squad attempted capture. Native fled, squad fired and pursued. Native fled through house in which were found muzzle loading carbine, powder and ball, hat with Sandino colors.

0215 April 6. Cleared camp at 0600 arrived Guiguili. No bandits present. No sign bandit activity. House of Eduardo Palma vacant but contained at least 1200 pounds of beans. (Dumped beans in river) Palma alleged fleeing from bandits. Am forwarding a number of letters which apparently contain useful information. Holmes 1300

From: CO. 52nd Company Guiguili.    April 7, 1928.
1107 Cleared Guiguili for Bentias at 0745. Received your 1106-2100 at 0945. had believed it good plan to base here if only to interrupt river traffic. Also found indications that small bandit group had probably started this way yesterday then turned in direction of Cua. Group of houses on Bentias trail 5 miles southwest Guiguili. All houses had lately been deserted. All had small quantities black powder, some ball, and in one of the group we found a pair of Marine shoes marked with name L. J. Smith. There are no other identifying marks in them. Patrolling Coco River North and South Guiguili this afternoon. Combat patrols to Cua,- Bentias - San Bartolo on 8th stop Holmes 1500.

From: CO. 52nd Company Guiguili.     April 8, 1928.
1108 While enroute here from Guiguili, at 1345, point fired on party of 3 natives, one of whom wore khaki and carried a rifle, all mounted. Natives fled, one quitting a gray mule, brand U.S. boot number 245. On mule was native saddle carrying pair of regulation (our) saddle bags in which were 7 cartridges, .50 caliber, Krag (RA 17), One 11 Field Message Book, U.S.M.C. Condiment can contained notes only, in number, 7 signers, including Coronado Maradiaga. Also found muzzle loading shotgun in same house. Have been occupying house of Eduardo Palma for which section is named Guiguili. Found there on 7th. additional caches of 500 pounds of beans and smaller articles bringing total there approximately 2100 pounds. Also found full bandolier Krag ammunition. Withheld burning house to keep as quarters stop. Holmes 1700. Strength patrol Capts. Holmes and Phipps, 40 enlisted one (1) Navy. 1100.


Holmes:  Summary & Notes:

   Terse reports but packed with meaning:  43 men, search & destroy mission, based at Guiguilí, up & down Río Coco, up Río Cua; working in conjunction with Skidmore (below); lots of food & supplies destroyed (dumping 1,700 lbs. of beans into river think of the labor that went into growing those beans!).
   Plentiful evidence of EDSN organizing in & dominion over the zone.
   Rules of engagement:  shoot to kill anyone with a firearm or running away.
   Eduardo Palma's house:  warehouse of sorts; lots of supplies there; small cache of correspondence seized (coded HOL2); another cache of correspondence seized by Major Rockey around this same time (
PC28.04.05d) links Eduardo Palma to Guadalupe Rivera at Santa Cruz, cousin of EDSN Colonel Abraham Rivera; see EDSN-Docs and Statement of Abraham Rivera with correspondence seized by Edson around this same time, Top 100, p. 11.
   EDSN Col. Coronado Maradiaga named in captured correspondence.

   Marine shoes found marked "L. J. Smith"; Pvt. Leonard J. Smith killed in action near Quilali, 30 Dec. 1927 (see USMC-Docs—Marine Corps Casualties).

.28.04.10.  Skidmore, Rios Coco & Poteca, 8-10 April

From:  CO, 2nd Platoon, 52nd Company, GUIGUILI, 8 April 1928.
1108 "Patrol left GUIGUILI at 0915 north on COCO RIVER to PALUSMA. Patrol burned houses on river containing military supplies, powder and shells. Strength of patrol 1 Sgt., 2 squads. Patrol returned 1200. Skidmore." Holmes.

From:  CO. 2nd Platoon, 52nd Company, GUIGUILI. 9 April 1928.
1109 "Lt.Skidmore with two squads cleared GUIGUILI for POTECA. Found many signs of bandits and bandit activities. One 16 gauge shotgun with ammunition found in house after occupants had fled. Burned five houses containing powder, lead, cartridges and military supplies - destroyed 800 pounds dried beef - 1200 pounds beans - 5600 pounds corn - 12 boats. Skidmore 1100" Holmes.

From:  CO, 2nd Platoon, 52nd Company, GUIGUILI. 10 April 1928.
1110 "Lt Skidmore with patrol two squads left GUIGUILI at 0830 on patrol to North and East of GUIGUILI. Found no signs of human occupation. No trails, or means of livelihood. Nothing in this area that will supply bandits. Skidmore." Holmes.


Skidmore:  Summary & Notes:

   Brief messages from Lt. Skidmore to Lt. Holmes, who forwarded them to the AC in Ocotal (more reports on this patrol likely exist).

   From these snippets:  an aggressive search-and-destroy operation for enemy properties along the river: in 2 days burned at least 7 houses, destroyed tons of stored food, 12 boats along Río Coco.

28.04.10 Kingston, Report of Operations, 4-9 April, Quilalí

10 April, 1928.

From: Captain Arthur Kingston, U.S.Marine Corps.
To: The Area Commander, Northern Area,
Western Nicaragua, Ocotal, Nicaragua.
Subject: Report of Operations 5 April, 1928 to 9 April, 1928.
Reference: Field Order No 4, dated 30 March 1928 (with accompanying maps).

     1. In accordance with the reference, a detachment consisting of Captain Arthur Kingston, U.S.M.C. (Commanding), Captain LePage Cronmiller, Jr., G.N.N., Cadet Chester A. Davis, G.N.N., Cadet Paul Williams (Medical Corps), G.N.N., thirty-three enlisted Marines, one enlisted Navy, Medical Corps, and thirty-five enlisted Guardia with a pack train of thirty animals cleared Quilali at 0840, April 5, 1928.

     2.   April 5, 1928, Column cleared Quilali at 0840, marching to the South [North?] over a comparatively level trail and arrived at BUFONA [Bujona] at 1310. Upon arrival at BUFONA, a native man was seen to take to the brush to the East. The native guides insisted that this was REMANGON but I doubted the truth of their statement. BUFONA is approached from the Northwest up a steep hill about two hundred feet in height. The settlement consist of five houses in a basin surrounded by mountains. On the side of the Mountain (LA BUFONA) to the North are four other houses. All houses in this area were thoroughly searched. Four natives were found in a house to the Northeast of BUFONA but they escaped upon approach of the column. One house on the side of the mountain contained approximately fifty thousand ears of corn. All of these houses, especially those far up the mountain-side contained large quantities of corn. A herd of fifteen head of cattle was in a pasture in this area. There was no water at BUFONA and as the native guides insisted there was none to the North it was necessary to go back about half a mile, where the column went into camp at 1815, April 5, 1928. Distance marched approximately twelve miles.

     3.   April 6, 1928. Cleared camp at 0800. Proceeded through BUFONA and headed to the North. About a mile Northwest of BUFONA two aeroplanes circled overhead. Displayed panel "VZ" (Report our location) to find out where we were, but the planes evidently did not understand the signal as a question. Approximately two miles Northwest of BUFONA, in a valley near a creek of excellent water, we found eight comparatively new crude shacks built of poles, thatch and palm leaves, which would accomodate about twenty men. [ p. 2 ] There were outpost shelters on the trail to BUFONA and on the mountain-side. At the main encampment were four head of cattle, a large number of chickens, ducks, about fifteen white pigeons, shelled corn, coffee, salt, and plenty of beans. This spot was hidden from aerial observation by thick foliage. The native guides insisted there was no trail to the North, that the only way out was back through BUFONA. After a reconnaissance a trail was found leading to the Northeast. It appeared to be a comparatively new trail, blazed, and the small saplings on each side freshly cut to allow the free passage of a pack train. It went up the side of a hill with a very steep descent on the other side. At 1330 the column arrived at two houses near a small banana grove. In one of these houses was found approximately twenty feet of fuse, some lead and primers. At 1430 the trail lead into another trail running North and South. This trail had the appearance of having been recently used by a large number of men and animals. It was of black mud and well screened by trees from aerial observation. At 1530 two aeroplanes passed overhead but apparently did not see us. This detachment had not been supplied with Very Pistols so could not attract their attention. At 1615 the column camped near a creek, the guides still insisting they did not know our location. Distance marched approximately fourteen miles over a succession of high hills until encountering the main trail which was fairly good.

     4.   April 7, 1928. Cleared camp at 0800. At 0900, after ascending a steep hill and advancing toward a house in a clearing, the point was fired on. The fire was returned and the remainder of the column advanced. Three natives were seen running to the woods from a house about a mile across a deep gully to the East of our position. A group of about ten were heard by the men in the point to take off hurriedly to the Northeast. We pursued immediately but lost them in the woods. This place was REMANGON. It consisted of one shack in a clearing in which were several knolls. It was heavily wooded on all sides except to the East, where there was a deep valley with another shack and woods on the far side. Near the first shack were several pigs and the hides of three cows which appeared to have been killed during the past week. In the house was a bin full of shelled corn, plenty of beans, and pieces of burlap and iron used in making dynamite bombs, also a cross having the name Altamirano. On the trail leading to the Northeast in the woods were found evidence of an encampment for use in the day time by about twenty persons, two stones used by the natives in preparing corn for tortillas, hot coffee and hot parched corn. On a tree was pencilled notice signed with the initials "MEA", to the effect that everything was quiet in the mountains. There was an outpost position to the South between this encampment and house. There were no prepared defensive positions except several trees which had been felled some time. ago. The description of REMANGON as given by Carleton Beals was greatly exaggerated in reference to the log barricades. The logs were there, but as stated, had not been hauled into any semblance of a prepared position. The house would accomodate about ten persons. On the far side of the hill to the West were found shacks constructed of poles and palm leaves accomodating fifty or sixty men. These shacks had not been occupied in some time. This trail, as discovered the next day, led to [ p. 3 ] MONCHONES. The trail used by this column was not guarded to the South of the house. The column proceed to the Northeast and about three miles from REMANGON was found a freshly cut trail leading to the East. We followed this trail down the side of the mountain and came to a clearing in which were five hills. On two of these hills were houses from which three natives ran to the woods upon our approach. Both of these houses were exceptionally well constructed of cedar planed boards. The tables, bins and boards for beds in all of them being of smooth planed cedar. From papers found in one of the houses it appeared to belong to Simeon Montoya Maza and that Sandino himself had been there. In the house was found a dynamite bomb, twenty sticks of dynamite, two coils of fuse, thirty detonators, corn, coffee and beans; also a "Ham" map of Nicaragua sown on muslin, of the class used by the air service. This map had the two squares of OCOTAL and SAN ALBINO cut off it. Near the house were found two rifles, one a "50-7-", the other a Guardia issue rifle No.472183, with the name of Mendez on it. Mendez was a Sergeant in the Guardia who was killed with Lieutenant O'Shea's patrol when searching for Lieutenant Thomas. The other house had in it five saddles and bridles, a freshly killed beef, small potatoes, cooked beans, with the fire still burning. Nearby were found ten mules and four horses. One of the mules was branded "US", saddled with two rolls of clothing strapped to the saddle. In one of these rolls was a red and black banner about eighteen inches wide and five feet long. The "US" mule was a mare mule, about eight years old, thirteen and a half hands high, bay in color. Its tail was stunted and its right ear looped at top, that is doubled back. It was branded with a Spanish "N" on the left hind leg. After destroying the dynamite and stores, the column proceeded to the Northwest. About four miles further, in a native shack was found a dynamite bomb but no natives. We continued the advance to the end of the trail and camped at 1615. Distance marched approximately twelve miles over several steep mountains.

     5.   April 8, 1928. Cleared camp at 0800 and marched toward REMANGON. At 1145 two aeroplanes passed overhead. The trail was hidden by the trees but we attracted their attention by firing two signal parachute rockets and displayed panels in a small open space. The planes opened fire with their machine guns and it was thought at first they had mistaken us for a bandit group. The trail followed on our return to REMANGON was a main trail and did not lead to the house of Montoyo. The clearing at the house could be seen in the valley to the South from one point on this trail. At 1415 the column reached REMANGON and proceeded to the West. To the West of REMANGON were the shacks referred to in paragraph four above. This trail led down the side of a steep mountain through slippery black mud, then on down to MONCHONES, where we arrived at 1715 and camped. Distance marched approximately sixteen miles.

     6.   April 9, 1928. The column cleared MONCHONES at 1335, marching South through the valley of the MURRA and JICARO Rivers along a level trail. This trail has not been used in some time. There were no houses on it except in the immediate vicinity of QUILALI. Arrived at QUILALI at 1605. Distance marched eight miles.

     7.   This column accomplished its mission in destroying bandits supplies and rendered REMANGON and the retreat of MONTOYO uninhabitable. [ p. 4 ] The bandits in that area, if they remain there, will have to live in the woods.

     8.   The morale and spirit shown by all the men attached to the column were excellent. They were all anxious to go forward and each hill was passed by with the slogan that we could still find bigger and better hills. At REMANGON the men were well in hand and regretted that there was no marked resistance, and entered the advance rapidly with the one thought of clearing out the bandit group. I cannot praise too highly the conduct and spirit shown by all the officers and men attached to this column. The conduct of the Guardia personnel was excellent. They were also very anxious to continue at all times and no task seemed too difficult. Upon return to QUILALI the men and animals were in excellent physical condition. I desire also to commend the Air Service for their excellent co-operation.

     9.   It is my opinion that the bandits in the area passed through by this column have been deprived of all their stores and that their spirit has been broken.

     10.   The papers confiscated on this trip are enclosed.



Ancillary Document:
Excerpts from Carleton Beals on his time in Remango, in The Nation, Feb.-March 1928

     ". . . We broke camp early next morning and began our forced pilgrimage with Colindres's soldiers and juanas [camp women] through risky country to Remango. We circled the reten El Retiro, where the marines were now burning the houses—smoke curled up grimly over the side of the mountain. Finally, on a late, cold evening, under a brittle, gray-green sky, we climbed up a bald mountain knob swept by a remorseless wind out of the great valleys beyond and below. Grinning rifles menaced us over log barricades tilted against the skyline. Red and black hat-bands, bodies crouching low, waiting. This reten is one of the key outposts. It is almost inaccessible to attack and had been held by Sandino since the beginning of hostilities. Its corrals were filled with animals—cows, pigs, chickens. A number of outhouses clustered around the main barracks. And here at El Remango we found Captain Altamirano and about seventy-five soldiers. . . .

     . . . Though the wind howled over Remango (since the beginning of hostilities one of Sandino's key outposts) we spent the night snugly in the long barracks. The soldiers were as free and easy as if the enemy were a thousand miles away instead of on the next ridge. The barracks were made of huge driven poles with a high thatched roof. At one end were kitchen tables made of tree trunks split in half or slabs of stone set on wooden posts. The walls were lined with bunks of rawhide stretching over poles pegged against the wall as a protection from the wind. The Juanas or camp women had erected a little shrine presided over by Saint Anthony and decorated with colored tissue paper, against which burned a carbide lamp. A baby squalled from a sisal hammock. Soldiers, each with his rifle by his side, clustered in groups, some telling stories—the attack on Ocotal, the surprise assault against the Machos in Las Cruces, the burning of the hacienda El Hule, and the violation of women by the hated Gringos—and here was I in their midst, a Macho Yankee Gringo, yet treated with all consideration and the greatest deference. Other soldiers, seated on sawed-off stumps, were reading, by the light of ocote torches, novels, the latest numbers of Ariel, or stray newspapers. A man of Negroid type was making love to a Juana with a high, red comb set with sparkling glass diamonds. Another, in white "pyjamas" grimy with use, roasted meat, using his ramrod as a spit. A guitar thrums a Sandino song with a simple, Whitmanesque flavor and a Mexican tune, "La Casita." To the sound of such music we danced most of the night away—a crowded confusion of babel and song, smoke and smell, flame and color. . . ."

Carleton Beals, The Nation, February-March 1928.

Kingston & Beals:  Summary & Notes:

   Kingston mistyped, his column heading NE from Quilalí, not "south" as the report says; all the place names in the report are NE of Quilalí.
   37 Marines, 1 Navy, 35 enlisted Guardia = a 73 man patrol, plus at least two "native guides" and animals.
   Numerous dispersed settlements very well hidden from patrols, airplanes; enormous stocks of food stored (one has estimated 50,000 ears of corn); very elaborate barracks and housing near Remongón with "planed cedar boards"; very decentralized settlement and food storage.
   Carleton Beals description of log barricades at Remongón; clearly the Marines are reading Beals' articles (published in The Nation only weeks earlier).
   Harassing fire by small bands.
   Clumsy and ineffective communication with airplanes; not surprising in such thickly wooded & rugged territory.
    ¶ 8 on column's "morale and spirit": these guys are itching for a fight; very aggressive, gung-ho.
    EDSN papers found; Simeón Montoya.
   Patrol also finds EDSN loot from various contacts, including part of Ham Map probably taken from the two downed aviators back in Oct. 1927 (see
PC 27.10.12 O'Shea).

    ¶ 9:  "It is my opinion . . . that their spirit has been broken" — a good example of wishful thinking, imputing beliefs & sentiments to the enemy that bore no relation to reality.

28.04.10 Gray, Patrol Report, San Albino

10 April 1928.

From: Major John A. Gray, U.S. Marines Corps.
To: The Area Commander, Northern Area, Ocotal.
Subject: Patrol report.
Reference: Field Order No. 4.

     1.   In compliance with Field Order No. 4 dated 30 March 1928, I organized a combined detachment consisting of three officers and 76 enlisted, U.S.M.C. and 1 enlisted U.S. Navy, from the following places:
2 officers and 35 enlisted U.S.M.C. and 1 Navy enlisted from San Albino.
1 officer and 20 enlisted U.S.M.C. from Jicaro
21 enlisted U.S.M.C. from Apali.
I was in command of the above detachment with First Lieutenant Everett H. Clark, U.S.M.C. and Second Lieutenant George H. Potter, U.S.M.C., additional officers. Guides and muleros accompanied the column. The detachment was armed with 1 Thompson Sub-machine gun and 1 Browning automatic rifle to each squad, with a generous allowance of rifle and hand grenades. One Browning machine gun and one Stokes Mortar, with initial allowance of ammunition for all weapons, were carried. A Field radio set was carried together with rations for eighty men for ten days. There were forty-four pack animals in the train and all officers were mounted.

     2.   This detachment cleared SAN ALBINO at 1800 April 5, 1928, proceeding along the SAN ALBINO - SAN GERONIMO - SANTA ROSA trail. At 2300 when the head of the column was entering the SANTA ROSA area, firing from automatic weapons was heard in the direction of SAN PEDRO. This firing I estimated was from the JALAPA column, which Lieutenant Kenyon confirmed when he joined me at MOCHONES. A short distance south of SANTA ROSA the trail forks, the left fork leaving the ridge and entering the MURRA valley, crossing the MURRA river, winding along the west slope of CHIPOTE and over the southern crest of CHIPOTE down into MOCHONES, which is located on the Southern face of the mountains about 50 feet above the junction of the MURRA river and MOCHONES Creek. The right fork continues south along the ridge running generally parallel to the MURRA River until the ridge gradually develops into a spur, which ends on the JICARO River opposite the north slope of SAPOTILIAL [Zapotillal] Mountain. The trail there follows the bed of the JICARO RIVER to the junction of this river and the MURRA. From this point it proceeds up the MURRA River, one half mile to MOCHONES. This latter trail is much the longer of the two trails from SANTA ROSA to MOCHONES but is to be preferred to the CHIPOTE Ridge trail for troops accompanied by a pack train, for the reason that the CHIPOTE Trail is nearly perpendicular in places. I followed the right fork and after marching all night came out, at 0500 April 6, on the JICARO River. The men were tired and the pack animals exhausted (one animal died at this time), as the trail followed had been little used and was overgrown with brush which slowed the column to a crawl. I rested the column until 0730 then followed the JICARO River to MOCHONES, along the route above described, where I arrived at 1100 April 6 and established a base.

     3.   The base camp was established about 50 feet above the creek bottom on a ledge that included the area of the lower of the two houses. MURRA River MOCHONES Creek insured an excellent water supply, and there was a potrero with cane forage (a limited supply) for the pack animals. The strategic position of the base in consideration of the mission assigned to the San Albino Column by Operations Order Four may readily be appreciated if its location with relation to positions of DIVISIONES DE AGUAS and REMANGON be examined on the map made by Lieutenant Clark, which accompanies this report. The column after going into camp at 1100 rested until 0330 in the morning. At 0400 on April 7, Major Gray cleared camp at MOCHONES with a patrol consisting of Lieutenant Clark and himself and forty enlisted, proceeding Northeast up the slope of MOCHONES Mountain which appeared suspicious the previous day. At 0500 when surrounding a house near the crest of this [ p. 2 ] mountain the point was fired on twice by a bandit who narrowly missed Lieutenant Clark. The house was a comparatively large, well constructed affair on the edge of a coffee plantation. Two bandits were seen at this time who were fired on by the patrol but escaped into the coffee grove. Two trails cleverly ambushed led through the coffee grove which covered the top of the mountain. Both trails were reconnoitered by the patrol and a house roughly fortified with log parapets, which contained about 3 tons of coffee was found. On the eastern face of the mountain at the farther edge of the coffee grove a house was searched in which was found a U.S. Engineer Corps prismatic compass No. 27896, 1918, which members of the patrol identified as having belonged to the late Lieutenant Bruce, G.N. The coffee grove was thoroughly combed but no bandits located. This house overlooked a very deep wooded valley on the opposite side of which towered BUFONA [Bujona] Mountain. At 0730 machine gun fire and rifle firing was heard from Captain Kingston's column reconnoitering REMANGON, which supposition Captain Kingston later confirmed when he joined me at MOCHONES. After a second search of MOCHONES the patrol returned to base camp at 1100 April 7, for food and rest.

     4.   The San Albino Column repeatedly attempted to secure communication by radio with the Area Commander, Ocotal, and other radio stations with no success. The radio operator with the column could not get the machine to function until the morning of April 9, though I kept him working on the machine continuously. At 1100 April 7, planes came over MOCHONES and acknowledged the column identification panels. This was the first communication the column was able to secure, though panels were exposed, every pistol fired, and the radio (sending) operated at every opportunity. At 2100, April 7, I took a fresh patrol consisting of myself and Lieutenant Clark with 35 enlisted and marched Northeast from base camp on the alleged bandit camp in the DIVISION DE AGUAS Area. The trail crossed the headwaters of the CREEK DE ORO and CREEK SUNGANO and was a very difficult rough trail that wound along the southern and southeastern slopes of CHIPOTE then across very difficult terrain until it came out on the lofty divide which is DIVISION DE AGUAS. The patrol arrived in the area at 0230 April 8th. The guide on the trip was a young native boy who had been held prisoner by CORONADO MARADIAGA for a month at his camp on DIVISION DE AGUAS. This guide knew the position of the reten and main camp of Maradiaga. He conducted the patrol to the vicinity of the reten. Here I halted and waited until 0530 when it was light enough to shoot. The patrol then advanced up the trail leading up and along the divide, reconnoitered the reten in which a fire about 12 hours old was burning and came out at the main outpost on the south end of the ridge. No bandits were encountered. The house in which the main body of this group had been quartered was in great confusion as though vacated in a hurry, with all manner of trash and worthless debris strewn around. Five rude shelters in the reten appeared to have been fairly recently occupied. The patrol returned south along the divide arriving at base camp at 1145. Enroute to camp firing was heard west across the valley from DIVISION DE AGUAS at REMPAJON. This was Lieutenant Kenyon's Column reconnoitering REMPAJON, and his column proceeded down the CHIPOTE Ridge arriving at MONCHONES at 1400 April 8. [ p. 3 ]

     5.   At 1700 April 8 Captain Kingston's Column arrived in camp at MONCHONES. After a conference with Captain Kingston and Lieutenant Kenyon I decided that the missions assigned in Par.3 (b) (c) and (d) of Operations Order No.4 had been carried out and I attempted to transmit this information to the Area Commander, Ocotal, via radio. This message was sent at about 2200 April 8, and was acknowledged by JICARO. The radio operator by this time had succeeded in getting the radio the send and receive spasmodically, and it may be that he was in error when he stated to me that this message had been acknowledged. The following morning I had the message repeated and this time Ocotal acknowledged receipt. I requested further bandit intelligence as neither Captain Kingston, Lieutenant Kenyon or myself had received any information regarding the location of any bandit groups, and our respective columns had thoroughly covered the areas and reputed locations assigned in orders. At 1100 April 9, orders were received from the Area Commander, Ocotal by all columns in camp at MONCHONES to return to home stations. The plane delivering these orders dropped a message the original of which is enclosed. The information given that an unknown village lay 5 miles east of Monchones and needed touching I considered very meager. "Five miles east of Monchones" is a very large order to cover in terrain of the nature of that lying east of CHIPOTE. No bombing was heard nor could the planes be followed after leaving the vicinity of MONCHONES which is in a deep cleft in the hills. I consequently did not investigate this information particularly as I had already patrolled 9 miles east of camp to DIVISION DE AGUAS as described above and had destroyed all bandit habitations discovered between these two points.

     6.   At 1200 April 9, all columns broke camp. I returned via the CHIPOTE - MURRA RIVER - SANTA ROSA trail mentioned as the left fork trail above. No contacts enroute. San Albino Column arrived at home station (San Albino) at 2300 April 9, 1928.

     7.   The following is a brief resume of distances marched, time includes all halts, patrolling reconnoitering, etc.


SAN ALBINO to MONCHONES, 18 miles, 1800 April 5 to 1100 April 6.
MONCHONES to MONCHONES MOUNTAIN, 6 miles, 0400 April 7 to 1100 April 7.
MONCHONES TO DIVISION DE AGUAS,18 miles,2100 April 7 to 1145 April 8.
MONCHONES TO SAN ALBINO via CHIPOTE,15 miles, 1200 April 9 to 2300 April 9.

     8.   Every man and officer on this patrol gave their very best to carry out the mission assigned. That no bandits were killed or captured in my opinion cannot reflect any omission or dereliction on the part of the personnel.

/s/ John A. Gray.


Gray:  Summary & Notes:

   A big patrol 80 Marines & Navy, 44 animals, all officers mounted, out for 5 days (April 5-9).
   EDSN harassing actions (brief contact at Monchones, early a.m., April 7).
   Wonderful descriptions of the physical & social geography; very difficult and rugged terrain.
   EDSN war souvenirs:  Lt. Bruce's compass found (Bruce killed near Sapotillal, 1 Jan 1928; see
PC 28.01.04b, and USMC-Docs, Marine Corps Casualties)
   Native boy as Marine-GN guide, seemingly willingly; said he had been held captive at El Chipote by Coronado Maradiaga.  Was he coerced?
   Radio communication sporadic ("spasmodic"), infrequent, frustrating.
   Defensiveness explaining why he didn't go back "5 miles east of Monchones" after just getting back from that zone; and why no "bandits" killed or wounded.
   Convergence of columns at Monchones evening of April 8; they all agree that they've fulfilled Field Order No. 4.  Had had enough, realized the futility of their mission without explicitly saying so here.

   Everybody back in their barracks by April 9.  Meanwhile the main body of Sandinistas is marching east and will be striking at the Bonanza & La Luz mines starting on April 15. 

28.04.12 Kenyon, Patrol Report, Jalapa

Office of the Forty-Sixth Company,
Jalapa, Nicaragua.
12 April, 1928

From: 1st Lieut. Howard Kenyon, U.S. Marine Corps.
To: The Area Commander.
Subject: Patrol, report of.
Enclosures: (1) Letter of Yamario Roches.

     1. In accordance with the provision of Field Order No. 4, a column of 73 enlisted marines and hospital corpsman, two officers, four armed guides and 14 animals left Jalapa at 9:45 PM on 3 April, 1928 for Juali via Las Cruces and continued completely to investigate all points mentioned in paragraph 3 (A) including San Pedro and Division de Aguas.

     2.   The march, conduct and march discipline of the column was excellent throughout, no animals or equipment were lost. Only one man became incapacitated by a sprained ankle and was left at San Albino when the column passed Santa Rosa. I wish in particular to mention the excellent manner in which the group of 46th Company men under Lieut. Zuber who led on foot his group as advance party under day and night marching on unbelievably bad trails.

     3.   The column arrived at Santa Cruz where the ex-Sandino Commandant of Jalapa had a house and a considerable supply of bandit corn. The column continued on to Juali which was passed at about daybreak. No stop was made at Juali. The march was continued all night. There were two rains that made the mountain roads from Santa Cruz to Juali bad. The column kept on to Los Encinos where it arrived at about 8:00 A.M. As we entered Los Encinos a bandit group without rifles fled. There were about twelve men in the group waiting there to get a guide to take them to Honduras. Sebastian was a former member of Sandino's staff and his companion Tomas Servas with him was a Sandino leader. They slept the night before in the house of a German subject, Adolfo Mences. The column rested all day and slept the night of 4 April, 1928 in Los Encinos. On the morning of 5 April, 1928 at 4:20 AM Lieut. Zuber proceeded to Murra, via Mina Americana with the 46th Co., men. I took the train and 20th Co. men on the Esperanza trail. Both columns destroyed all supply houses enroute. The two columns joined at Plantel [ p. 2 ] and proceeded to Murra where we arrived at noon and made camp. The town was deserted with no signs of bandit occupancy. At 9 PM we proceeded to San Pedro where we arrived at about 11 PM. There had been recent occupancy at San Pedro. It is a large well kept ranch. Good sized group had been there possibly two weeks before. About 400 or 500 bushels of corn in a new storehouse was destroyed. The ranch is the property of the bandit leader Colindres [MJS note: Juan Colindres, not Juan Gregorio Colindres] who deals in coffee and buying up ore for grinding in the former mill that was at Murra but which Colindres moved to Tamis. We slept at San Pedro and ate the chickens there. The following morning we left after breakfast on the road to North Chipote on the left bank of the Murra via Tamis. This latter road is one that has been kept in repair by the bandits to avoid taking the right bank road that leads through Santa Rosa. It is very rough and large packs on animals on this road are impossible. We crossed a very difficult pass of the river Tamis near the junction of the Murra and destroyed Palacio where we found a house made with platforms around and outside for lookouts. The occupants fled. There was no food in the house and none in the shacks on North Chipote or Chipote proper. We camped for the night at Las Flores which was abandoned. On the morning of April 7 we proceed along the ridge of the Chipote range, formerly before bandit time known as Mount Olingo, and at 2:30 PM came to camp at Division de Aguas where we found a large supply of coffee which we destroyed upon leaving the next day. On the morning of 8 April we proceeded down the left bank of the Quebrado de Oro, also known as Crique de Oro and incorrectly shown on the Patterson map as Monchones Creek, through Rampujon which had been a bandit rendezvous. There we found the place that McDonald had found on the morning of 28 January when he was operating with major Young's battalion. [see PC-Docs 28.02.04] Here we found a saddle and all equipment of an apparent bandit leader abandoned just upon our arrival. In the saddle bags we found six sticks of dynamite, about fifteen caps and about 20 feet of fuse and a letter from one Yamario Roches stating "goodbye" to his Nicaraguan companions that he was done. I have translated the letter hereto and attached it. There was a cane mill still operating and 1000 yards below the valley was an enormous native mill where sugar was still fresh in the moulds. We reached Monchones and at noon of 9 April left for Jicaro via Santa Rosa. Chipote was a deserted wreck. At Santa Rosa I closed up the Jalapa column and mustered. I put a sick man I found on the road from the San Albino column whose mule had played out on one of my animals and sent a sick man of my own on another horse from my column, with saddle to San Albino in charge of the San Albino hospital corpsman. The Jalapa column reached Jicaro at about 2:30 AM on 10 April. At Jicaro we rested until the morning of April 11th when Lieutenant Zuber took the column back to Jalapa and arrived without further incident at about 2 PM.

     4.   At about 4 PM on 10 April I questioned a prisoner in Jicaro relative to the hiding place of Carmen Torres. He gave me what appeared to be facts. My own men were too expended to allow them to make this expedition and since it had to be made on foot I called for volunteers from Jicaro. Lieutenant Thwing and three Marines and a hospital corpsman volunteered to follow. We left Jicaro at about 8:30 PM shortly before daybreak we were nearing the bandit camp and the prisoner guide trembled with fear. We found the bandits sleeping on the ground and under leaf covered sheds in a deep gulch. I placed the men and threw [ p. 3 ] a grenade directly on the bunk of Torres but it proved to be a dud and started the dog barking. By the time we got other grenades and automatic weapons started some of the bandits were sitting or standing and hissing to one another for silence to learn what had fallen into camp and started the dog. The following blast of the following bombs and automatic weapons created a riot. Without clothing, pistols or shoes, Torres and those close to him took off. Evidently two were left dying from the howls made in the gulch shortly below. We got Torres sword, all his clothes, the .45 taken from Mr. Johnson, two revolvers and all the clothing and loot of the bandits, and several saddles and about 10 machetes. Every item was burned that we did not carry along. I left the pistols with Lieutenant Thwing. We found what was evidently the clothing of Mr. Johnson taken from the body after the ambush. At San Diego I separated from the Jicaro Marines and left them under Lieutenant Thwing to go to Jicaro since they would pass Lieutenant Zuber enroute. I went to Jalapa alone with two armed guides since we were on the edge of the plains and daylight had come.

     5.   OPINION. From what I have seen of what was once the strong bandit area I am convinced that the general result of Field Order No. 4 was a complete success. All known centers of bandits groups are wrecked. Mr. Williams of Los Encinos states that the staff bandits of Sandino admit the cause is hopeless. It is possible that a few fleeing groups may be living in the wilderness on the extreme top of Bujona since I saw several columns of smoke rising from that location as I passed the heights of Santa Rosa on the evening of 9 April. As the area settles for a time information of small groups in hiding will leak out and they can be attacked by small combat groups operating usually at night. In this manner I believe Sandino will be killed if he remains long in this area.

/s/ Howard N. Kenyon


Ancillary Document:
Verses by Yamario Rocha Found by Lt. Kenyon at Rempujón, 8 April 1928


Goodbye, Nicaragua. Because of you I am happy. I am going to Paris to have a good time on your money.


I leave you with Adolfo who is a robber and a fine traitor and assassin besides.


Because of worldly ambition he did those things but he made pieces of my black pavilion. I was born amongst modern robbers and Tyrants.
Yamaris Rocha
El Elabistas will populate you with pain.


Goodbye comrades. My (Selonia) was cut by treason. You me climb to power. You will see that when I return I will bring revolutions and my sergeants will finish you. Yamaris Rocha.

English translation only; original not found. n.d. EDSN 28.04.16

Kenyon:  Summary & Notes:

   76 Marines, 4 armed native guides, 14 animals, long march from Jalapa to Chipote area.
   EDSN "Sebastian" & "Tomas Servas"?  Unknown.
   German "Adolfo Mences"? Unknown.

   "Mr. Johnson"?  Unknown.
   George (Jorge) Williams at Los Encinos mentioned.
   Juan Colindres, EDSN at this stage, owner of San Pedro Ranch and several gold mines; spent most of the war in exile in Danlí, Honduras.
   Column destroying stocks of food & shacks as they go; Murra found deserted.
   Chipote & environs has the feel of a place recently buzzing with EDSN activity and now mostly abandoned.
   ¶ 4 early a.m. April 11 surprise contact with Carmen Torres group, which flees unclothed & unshod & leaving everything behind.  Shows Lt. Kenyon's aggression and determination, among other things.  (Above: Carmen Torres in Mexico, Feb. 1930, this time elegantly dressed and shod; US National Archives)
   ¶ 5 "Opinion" that mission was "a complete success" more USMC wishful thinking; there is little basis for this glowing assessment; Mr. Williams tells Kenyon what he wants to hear.
   Yamario Rocha's verse:  dark humor, sense of fatalism, amusement, tragicomic irony.  Rocha remains in EDSN as late as Oct. 1931; see EDSN 28.08.18 (Abraham Rivera notebook) and 31.10.08.

28.04.20 Feland / Dunlap, Consolidated Report of Recent Operations in Chipote Region

United States Marine Corps
Headquarters, Second Brigade
Managua, Nicaragua
20 April, 1928.

From: The Commanding General
To: The Major General Commandant
Via: (1) Commander Special Services Squadron.
Subject: Results of Operations lately concluded in Nueva Segovia.

     1. In the latter part of March, intelligence date, ground and aerial reconnaissance indicated beyond doubt that the enemy had concentrated men and supplies in the area east of the general line Jicaro-Quilali.
     2. Following are the reports from that area:

Headquarters, Northern Area, Ocotal, Nicaragua
18 April 1928.

From: Commander Northern Area
To: Brigade Commander.
Subject: Recent Operations in Chipote Region, Consolidated Report of.
References: Area Field Order no. 4 dated 30 March 1928.
Enclosures: (4)

     1.   There are forwarded herewith for your consideration and information, copies of reports and extracts from fragmentary reports of the several columns which operated in the Chipote Region on or about 3-10 April, in accordance with the above mentioned reference.

     2.   A perusal of these reports will disclose the fact that the major part of the bandit forces had moved out of the region just prior to the commencement of the operation, and only small groups were left to guard the large supply of foodstuffs stored therein.

     3.   There were approximately ten minor contacts made by the several columns engaged, with 3 known bandits dead and 7 wounded, including Carmen Torres, bandit leader and his son. A recent report states that Torres died of his wounds. There were no Marine casualties.

     4.   In addition to the bandit casualties inflicted, large quantities of bandit supplies and equipment were either captured or destroyed, some of which were, roughly estimated, as follows:

90,000 pounds of corn
10,000 " " coffee
13,000 " " beans
1,000 " " sugar
800 " " dried beef
300 " " salt
18 horses and mules
10 saddles
1 outboard motor
3 rifles
4 shotguns
3 pistols including Mr. Johnson's .45 Colt Automatic.
20 fighting machetes
12 boats
1 compass (Sergt Bruce's)
A large amount of ammunition, powder, dynamite, lead, fuse,
detonators, etc.
Bull hide bags, clothing blankets and various kinds of bandit loot.
Cattle, pigs, chickens and ducks.

     5.   While the number of casualties inflicted upon the bandits were not as numerous as was expected, the amount of bandit military stores captured or destroyed was far greater than anticipated. As a conservative estimate, it is believed that more than 125,000 pounds of foodstuffs were captured or destroyed. The procuring and assembling of these supplies was no doubt the result of the work of numerous foraging bands, operating over a widely scattered territory for a period of several months. Figuring a ration allowance of approximately 3 pounds, it may be fair to presume that we destroyed or captured at least six months supply for 300 men, or the main bandit force's rainy season supply.

     6.   In view of the above, and taking everything into consideration, it is my opinion that the operation was a great success in every way, and that the loss of the large amount of supplies just prior to the rainy season will prevent the concentration of outlaws east of Chipote from which area they have hitherto been able to operate westward into fertile territory at liberty. This will go a long ways towards cracking his morale, and thereby hasten the eventual disintegration and scattering of his forces.

/s/ R. H. Dunlap

[Reports appear in the following sequence:

1. Gray
2. Kingston
3. Skidmore & Holmes
4. Kenyon]

[Excert from final report by USMC Second Brigade Commander Logan Feland:]

. . . 3.   Prior to the operations mentioned, it had frequently been reported that people living in that particular area, had, through terror of the bandit forces, moved out. It is significant at this time that many people are moving back into this area where they secure protection from our forces.

/s/ Logan Feland


Summary & Notes:

   Final report of the operation, with Col. Dunlap's summary, and all patrol reports, folded into General Feland's consolidated summary (14 typescript pgs. total).
   Dunlap correct that huge stocks of food destroyed; pretty amazing quantities, representing enormous expenditures of labor by EDSN supporters.
   Dunlap incorrect that the operation went a long way toward "cracking [EDSN] morale"; more USMC wishful thinking.
   Dunlap incorrect that Carmen Torres killed.
   Dunlap's assessment that operation was a "great success in every way" highly dubious.

   Feland incorrect that people in the area can now count on USMC-GN "protection" in effect the Marines marched around the zone the zone for a week, destroyed tons of EDSN stuff, killed & wounded a few dozen people, and returned to their barracks; all the zones traveled through quickly reverted to EDSN control.  In fact a very partial & fleeting "success".

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