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the atlantic coast  •  1928b, p. 5
oct 19 - NOV 23, 1928

A T L A N T I C    C O A S T    D O C S
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   THIS IS THE fifth PAGE of documents for the second HALF of 1928 on Nicaragua's Atlantic Coast region, housing materials dated during the 36 days from October 19 to November 23. 

     Dominated by the missives of Captain Edson at Poteca, the page shines a bright light on the Marines' tactical & strategic thinking about the war against Sandino as expressed by one of its most capable & effective field officers.  On a different note, Moravian missionary Guido Grossman's missive to Major Utley (19 October) emphasizes the Moravians' commitment to political neutrality and the Indians' rights of citizenship in the upcoming elections.  The following letter from Pedro R. Reyes to Dr. Hector Zambrana offers a different take on Costeños' insistence on their rights as citizens, in this case free speech via handbills.  Major General Lejeune's letter to Gen. Feland (31 October) on the concerns of Mr. Amphlett of the La Luz Mining Company that the Marines will leave the mine undefended reveals something of the Marines' ongoing internal debates about how many scarce resources to devote to a zone of questionable strategic value, and prefigures their emergent strategy of withdrawing troops and thus compelling company towns to foot the bill for Guardia protection (see esp. 1931-32 in these pages).  Lt. W. C. Hall's intelligence report of 9 November ("Confiscated pistols of several Palestinians") illustrates the Marines' ongoing efforts to monopolize all substantial means of organized violence-making at the level of the state (see Max Weber), while also casting a rare light on one of the region's small but important ethnic minorities.  Especially noteworthy is the nearly complete silence on the November 4 elections that brought Gen. Moncada to the presidency — a clear indication that the elections went off without a hitch across the Eastern Area, and of Costeños' desire to exercise their full rights as citizens.  By a huge margin, Costeños ignore Sandino's appeal to boycott the ballot box.  A link to 12 State Dept photographs of the elections in Bluefields & Puerto Cabezas is included.


PERIOD MAPS

1894 mosquito shore

27 MB, library of congress

1920s Standard Fruit

6.5 mb, US National archives

1928 Rio wanks Patrol

3 mb, us national archives

1931 Moravian

2.4 mb, coMENius press

19 October 1928.
Letter from Guido Grossman, Puerto Cabezas, to Major H. H. Utley, Puerto Cabezas, p. 1.  
"I beg to thank you for your kind communication of October 18th. 1928, which I received this morning. ¶ I have taken carefully notice of its contents and most gladly will I assist to combat against all improper propaganda - threats and other means of intimidation used by the various parties in order to keep the Indians away from the polls on election day. ¶ I have already instructed my missionaries to urge the Indians to fulfill their duties as citizens of Nicaragua on the day of election, and will, encouraged by your kind request, write again to that effect and at the same time that they shall keep watch on those propagandists and report any irregularity to me, and I will then forward the complaints to your office. ¶ At the same time pardon me for taking the opportunity to inform you that both parties: the conservatives as well as the liberals have brought charges to me, against some of our missionaries not being neutral. ¶ Upon my investigation I found these accusations to be void. ¶ We desire to be absolutely neutral in this campaign, which stirs the people of this coast to the very inmost, as it is really the first time, with the aid of your most esteemed Government, that these people have a chance to express their political sentiment through a free vote."

19 October 1928.
Letter from Guido Grossman, Puerto Cabezas, to Major H. H. Utley, Puerto Cabezas, p. 2.  
"With much appreciation I beg to be ¶ very Respectfully yours, ¶ Guido Grossmann"

1.   19 October 1928.
GN-2 Note No. 1, re 4 Sept. letter from Pedro R. Reyes, Bluefields, to Dr. Hector Zambrana, Managua, Major V. Bleasdale, Managua, p. 1.  
"1. The following letter from Mr. Pedro R. Reyes is quoted for your information: ¶ “Bluefields, 4 Sept. 1928. ¶ “Dr. Hector Zambrena, ¶ “Managua, ¶ “My Dear Friend: ¶ “Not until Tuesday evening of this week did I have the pleasure of receiving your radiogram which really came to give me strength to hold myself always unbendable before the arbitrariness of the Chief of the Guardia Nacional. ¶ “Enclosed herewith I am sending the hand bill which was the whole cause of the trouble which Mr. Samuel Weil and Company, who appeared before the Chief of the Guardia saying that they were nastily insulted in the said hand bill and it was on this account that said authority called on me and demanded by presenting (producing) the responsible signature which I denied to do stating to him that I would only produce that signature to the District Criminal Judge when the latter compelled me to do so through the respective law procedure or for him to put me in jail and torture me, that is to say, to make evident the arbitrariness committed on a newspaper man in his citizens right and the freedom of the press. To this he replied that if I did not show him the signature it was all right but that then he would place me at the order of the Director of Police so that he would apply me Art. 18 of the Police Regulation. ¶ “At 3:00 P.M. last Monday I was again summoned by Captain LePage Cronmiller Jr. to appear at the Direccion de Policia where he had just reported that I had violate Arts. 18 and 29 of the Police Regulations, that is, my having been author of a pasquin (insulting article) and not having sent to the Office of the Jefe Politico the 7 numbers of that hand-bill as per requirement. ¶ “I told him I would accept the charge of having failed to send the seven numbers to the Jefe Politico’s office but that Art. 29 of the Police Regulations was not applicable because it had been repealed by the Press law of 1911, to which Captain Cronmiller, the accuser, replied that that Press Law was not a law of Nicaragua and that the Police Regulation was. ¶ “In the end the Director of Police applied the Press Law to me and fined me $4.00 and $1.00 commutation for confinement. ¶ “And as the said Cronmiller insisted in that the Director of Police should sentence me as author of pasquins, as that is what he considers the hand-bill, I argued that a hand-bill which circulates in broad day-light, which shows the legally registered printing shop title, and which does not insult any determinate person, cannot have been, legally speaking, qualified as a pasquin; I also argued that Art. 18 Police Regulations cannot apply in this case as it was . . . "

2.   19 October 1928.
GN-2 Note No. 1, re 4 Sept. letter from Pedro R. Reyes, Bluefields, to Dr. Hector Zambrana, Managua, Major V. Bleasdale, Managua, p. 2.  
“ . . . repealed by Press Law, for the Police Regulation was promulgated by the Executive Power on 25 October 1880, while Press Law besides being a Constitutive law and ordering in its 45th Article that all dispositions relating to the Press which are opposed to it are repealed, went into direct effect since the 22nd of November 1911. ¶ “But as the Director of Police listened to our arguments and told the said Captain Cronmiller that he could not find anything in the law to judge us by, he was ordered to place us at the order of the Criminal Judge, where I was conducted as a prisoner by the Director of Police, but said official (the Judge) set me free immediately after my arrival there. ¶ “Mind you, all this was not done with smiles but with murderous looks. ¶ “In Saturday’s editorial I give an account of all these abuses. Let us see if at last they send me up the bay at 4:00 A.M. which is the wish of Captain Cronmiller who is displeased with e because in the heat of the argument I told him that if they had come to enforce the law, they should abide by the Press Law, but if they had come to violate the law, then he could put me in jail or shoot me as he wished. ¶ “Sum total, so far the thing has not gone any further than what I have stated. Let us see what will happen Saturday when the paper comes out. ¶ “The Departmental Board of Elections is of the impression that the señor Jefe Politico did and this can well be repeated. From Rama alone, I am advised by J. Anto. Salas that Dr. D. Barreto has arrived to compile a list of all foreign people or people of other republics of Central America, so ask for naturalization papers from the Jefe Politico. The custom here in these cases has been to ask the Jefe Politico to receive proof from the interested party and once this proof is received the former submits it to the respective Minister so that said authority may issue the naturalization papers. ¶ “The Departmental Board gives an erroneous interpretation to the Harrison Altamirano Treaty, for based in said Treaty, they register Salvadoreans, Italians, French, Germans, Caymaneros and any son of God that says ha has lived here since before 1894, people who, besides, do not submit true evidence, but only present two witnesses to testify to it, witnesses who belong of the same party are interested parties in the matters. ¶ “Another thing, Rama, Corn Island, Cabo de Gracias a Dios and San Juan del Norte are not included in the Mosquitia Reserve, ad the Departmental Board includes them and that is the reason they are introducing a hell of a lot of niggers from all sides. ¶ “Confidentially, I wish to inform you that I have never before seen this coast as at present. It is discouraging negligence, no one wants to do anything, you cannot count with anybody, and it is not only in Bluefields but all along the coast. Just think, in Rama . . . “

3.   19 October 1928.
GN-2 Note No. 1, re 4 Sept. letter from Pedro R. Reyes, Bluefields, to Dr. Hector Zambrana, Managua, Major V. Bleasdale, Managua, p. 3.  
" . . . a Conservative majority has always been in evidence, today the Liberals are the ones that have that majority; Why? why because Segovia (see Note #1 below) cannot make propaganda as he used to do because he has to attend to his Fiscal Agency or his wife who is sick or the baby that cries; Genie has to be looking for the heads of cattle he is to slaughter of has to go to the plantation that Guindos is the only one left, and he multiplies himself to make an imitation of a propaganda which is all that is left now. The only thing to the credit of Segovia is that as the money runs low he keeps supplying it, that is his only grain of san (his only contribution). ¶ “Here in Bluefields it has been a matter of state to fill in the Directories, for no one wanted to serve in them, does that did not not excuse themselves are unable to perform the duties, some because of inability and others because they are impeded. ¶ “From Puerto Cabeza they inform me that Afraro was not given possession of the Camandancia until last Saturday, make the negotiation, for if Alfraro is not given the Comandancia we are completely lost, for if we were to obtain 100 votes before, in Puerto Cabeza today we will not obtain 50, for the pression there is very marked. ¶ “Over a month ago the Jefe Politico told me he had submitted the Plan de Arbitrios of the Junta de Fomento of Corn Island to the Ministry of the Government, if you do not mind see if they expedite this matter. ¶ “Upon expression my appreciation for your attitude in defense of this your friend with relation to the abuses of which I have the victim on the part of the Jefe de la Guardia, etc, stec., [sic] ¶ /s/ Pedro R. Reyes.” ¶ NOTE NO. 1: The agent thinks the reference is about trouble in Segovia. He says that much troube in Segovia was expected to alter the political situation in Rama and Cabo Gracias a Dios Areas. GN-2. ¶ GN-2 NOTE: Reyes is the Editor of a paper in Bluefields. Also assists with Conservative Propaganda. ¶ 2. Please consider this note confidential. Place it under lock and key or destroy it."

24 October 1928.
Brigade Order No. 69, Gen. Feland to command.  
"1. The next two weeks will witness the final test of this Brigade. We are pledged to do our utmost to prevent any physical interference by any of the force of disorder with the Nicaraguan Elections. ¶ 2. The situation demands of you much patience and care in our notions in order that peacably inclined citizens may be protected and fear nothing. It demands increasing vigilance to guard against the few who may try to disturb the peace and who may even attempt directly to interfere at voting places. ¶ 3. I have confidence in your meeting this test. If violence is attempted, strike hard at those guilty, while doing all in your power to protect and reassure the innocent."

25 October 1928.
Native report to Capt. M. A. Edson (bottom of page), p. 1.  
[Excerpt from a serial intelligence report:]   "A native report to Capt. Edson gives to following as Sandino’s future plans: ¶ ‘On 10-25-28 the following Sandino sub-Jefe appeared in the area: Felipe Briseno, Juez of YACALWAS – Captain Emillo Aguilar, Juez of MUSTAWAS – and Laislado Mora, resident of LA CEIBA, halfway between BAKA and YACALWAS. They have a few men with them possibly about ten (10). They came here from the vicinity of MURRA, following the patrol which just returned from that area by about three days . . . "

25 October 1928.
Native report to Capt. M. A. Edson (top of page), p. 2.  
" . . . Briseno has issued orders for all able bodied fighting men to appear at a place now unknown, but believed to be near the home of Juan Masonereso, about two miles above YACALWAS, on 4 Nov., 1928, to register their names and to swear allegiance to Sandino. All men failing to appear will be considered anti-Sandino or Yankistas, and are warned that retaliation may be expected. All non-combatants are ordered to leave the valley at once and to withdraw into the brush. ¶ Briseno gives Sandino’s plans as follows: Troop movement from his present location (near headquarters GUIGUILI RIVER) to the COCO VALLEY via a new trail just completed which debouches on COCO somewhere near YACALWAS (probably down RIO POLO PRIETO), and by the GUIGUILI TRAIL. He plans to clear the COCO of the Machos as far as MUSTAWAS. Sandino is boasting of new allies who will furnish many men, supplies and aeroplanes. There is no information concerning activities in relation to elections on 4 November, but Briseno promises that within fifteen (15) days from 10-25-28 there will be the biggest battle yet fought in the COCO RIVER VALLEY, evidently referring to the obliteration of POTECA’."

1.   25 October 1928.
Letter from Capt. M. A. Edson, Poteca, to " My dear Major" H. H. Utley, Puerto Cabezas, p. 1.  
"My dear Major:-  ¶  Back to the fold once more and I must admit that it is a damned fine feeling. We finally managed to come under the 11th Regiment regime for some three weeks - for orders, rations and supplies, which, I think, will qualify this outfit as the most cosmopolitan organization in Nicaragua, being subjects of Eastern Area, Comsperon, Brigade and Northern Area, - located in No-Man’s Land (there is no geographical code number for POTECA in any code I know of) - and when at home, Lords and masters of all we survey. ¶ The Congojas - Tamis - Murra patrol was a big disappointment to me. It was by far the hardest patrol yet made by me - and that means it was not so easy as it might have been. We left here an hour and a half before daybreak on the 4th, hoping thus to fool some of our observant neighbors, who see all without being seen. On the morning of the 6th we passed the mouth of the Congojas river. Here I located an old foot trail leading southwest, and another used by animals a couple of hundred yards away from the Congojas river, and parallel to it. Opposite the mouth of the Arenal Creek, we flushed an outpost of four bandits, who left hurriedly, leaving clothing, food, etc., behind them. However, they left without personal injury - which was not as it should have been for I would have liked to have stopped all four. Still having the idea that a trail led west from Gulkes - although the idea was considerably shaken by discovering the new mule trail mentioned above, - I send a reconnaissance, or rather led one, to that place and found only local trails around the potrero. While eating chow preparatory to starting our patrol towards Murra, west coast planes made contact and dropped the letter of instructions sent you. As a result, I bivouacked at the mouth of Congojas river until the morning of the 12th, continuing active patrolling each day. This delay effected both the health and the morale of the men, for it necessitated living in leaf shacks and caused some talk among the weaker minded men which would otherwise have been avoided. Because of the outpost found in that vicinity, I did not consider it wise to withdraw to Poteca and make a fresh start from there on the 11th. ¶ The patrol consisted of four squads of seven men each, two cooks, two runners, two sergeants, Maddux, and Stephenson and myself. We had a guide who was not so good, and I think some of the men had a great desire to bump him off - concurred in at times by myself. The trail followed the first day was one out by Jiron and showed evident signs of considerable animal travel, estimated 60-75, and great haste. Several saddles, mule skeletons, etc., were scattered along the way. The next day we followed the bed of the river except for about 5 miles when we skirted the edge of a deep canyon. After leaving the Congojas, the trail was much better, showed signs of more traffic, and was not particularly difficult, . . . "

2.   25 October 1928.
Letter from Capt. M. A. Edson, Poteca, to " My dear Major" H. H. Utley, Puerto Cabezas, p. 2.  
". . . although we crossed one mountain which required over three hours down hill travel on the way back. ¶ Most or all of this stuff is contained in the report sent in my mail last night so I shall skip it in detail. ¶ I fully expected contact with the main bandit force and the fact that we had no contact worthy of the name was a big disappointment. The main group seems to be south of the Tamis valley so my route of advance did not touch them. It was interesting to learn that we got 25 bandits at Ililihuas (see report) - and that they - the bandits - knew that “the same troops who drove us out of Poteca are coming up the Congojas” - with the result that they abandoned two perfectly good ambush positions on our approach and scattered. ¶ By combining bandit reports with our known casualties, this patrol can count up the following bandit dead - Morabila 4 - Ililihuas 25 - Espanolita - 5 - Murra 1 - a total of thirty five, which I do not think is so bad. One might add Aguerro to that list - dead from exposure and fright after Morabila. ¶ After getting three mules and pack gear from Lieut. Hall, it was my intention to back trail until we crossed several well used bandit trails found on the 17th, and then follow them with the hope of running into their main camps. From the positions found at Poteca, I believe that is the only way to actually find and drive them out. Between you and me - it is surprising that the 11th regiment has as many minor contacts as they do, for they travel only over the paso real’s - fine hard, wide trails thru open pine ridge country when a contact with bandits is 99 1/2% improbable. They will never hit them unless they get off into the small, bush trails, suitable for bandit tactics, and the routes used by the outlaws. I would have liked a week’s try at my theory (expressed above) - but instead came orders sending us back to Poteca. ¶ I may be wrong, but both Stephenson and I got the impression that we were not particularly desired over there in the NA [Northern Area] play-ground. In the first place - no one from the Colonel on down ever expected us to get thru. Holmes was quite surprised to meet use on the 15th. Bets were current around the area that here was one thing we could not do - and that we would never arrive in the Murra area. Holmes said he did not expect to meet us before the 18th of the month at the earliest, if the. As a result, their plans were laid counting us out - so when we arrived they did not know what to do with us. Everyone tried to send us into San Albino immediately - not realizing that after once making at rip like that we might like to get some of the results of whatever contacts were in sight. We were ordered into back areas after I declined the San Albino offer until the work was done, where contact with only small scattering groups was possible if any - so on the 17th I decided to take advantage of the lack of definite orders later than that date to try my own tactics - only to be ordered back from where we came. . . . "

3.   25 October 1928.
Letter from Capt. M. A. Edson, Poteca, to " My dear Major" H. H. Utley, Puerto Cabezas, p. 3.  
". . . Don’t get the idea that they were not glad enough, personally, to see us and we were treated right royally and, I believe, the entire area were anxious to have us pay them a visit. This bearded, ragged, hard faced and trail toughened outfit is well advertised thru our contact with Ridderhof and Santa Cruz, and they all seem glad to extend us a fine welcome at home - but not to run around in their back yard, stirring up or digging out something they have thus far failed to find. Do I make myself clear? ¶ Aviation, as usual gave us excellent service. My panel detail pulled a boner at the Congojas mouth which I have not yet reported to Secbrig, but will. The code UL means “boats” - LU - “situation serious”. I displayed “UL - going 3 miles down stream” - they read “LU - situation serious - going three miles”. At no time was the situation serious from our standpoint. ¶ Because we packed our rations in rolls, the food was quite scarce. You might inform Capt. Shearer that if he bills me for rations from the 12th to 22nd of Oct. inclusive, I shall most certainly refuse to pay him. My ration for the 12-13-14-15 consisted of 4 cans sardines, one pound of corn beef - one can of beans - one third can of salmon and a little hard tack. I consider that to live four days on that - pack it on ones back - is enough without paying 54 cents per day for the privilege. From the 16-22 incl, our rations were furnished by the N.A. [Northern Area] - Stephenson has the same sentiment, so he may as well cross us off the books for those dates. ¶ The trip over was so hard on the men that I requested permission to take them back thru San Albino - Quilali and Santa Cruz. This would also allow us to patrol the Poteca - Santa Cruz area. This was granted by Col. Dunlap but later revoked by the addenda to FO 8, dated 10-17-28. All of the officers and men we met treated us fine and gave us a royal welcome - and I know we would have had a good trip back thru Albino. The men were somewhat disappointed at first - but when they realized they were back in Poteca three or four days earlier - they cheered up considerably and I believe are glad now that we were ordered back thru the Congojas. ¶ Altho we had no contact except the small affair near Murra resulting in killing one (1) bandit - we reconnoitered the Congojas valley, chased out such outposts as they had there - ran Quintero and Col. Montoya out of their camps - destroyed Colindres place in the upper Tamis, captured considerable correspondence and a few supplies, gained additional information on trails and routes between here and Murra - and once more proved that the impossible can be done - ie - go from Poteca to Murra or vice versa. ¶ I do not think the bandits have any idea of using the Congojas route again if it can be helped, altho I shall continue to make irregular and frequent patrols to that area. They have much easier trails to Paredes and east of Jalapa which are open to them. Any active patrolling from Jalapa to east of Paredes in the province of NA - and would be extremely difficult from this end."

4.   25 October 1928.
Letter from Capt. M. A. Edson, Poteca, to " My dear Major" H. H. Utley, Puerto Cabezas, p. 4.  
" . . . That area is harder to reach from here than Murra - and as I said above, this last patrol is the hardest I have made yet. As a result - unless the outlaws decide to retreat thru Guiguili and Cua, it looks to me as tho the period of active and long patrols for this organization is about over. That does not mean we will not continue putting feelers out in all directions, for patrols will continue to go south, east and west, - but I doubt if anything will be encountered. If the bandits retreat south east to the upper COCO - CUA area, we are ready to push out in that direction. I am already contemplating a patrol to Guiguili next week. ¶ Along this same line - the dry season is rapidly approaching which will facilitate movements by trail and pack animals. My rolling stock now consists of one horse and four mules. I am reaching out to concentrate all available animals and hope in the next ten days or two weeks to increase it to 15 or 20 animals. That will mean pack equipment. The 11th Rgt. has an excellent saddle arrangement which I would like. We have 3 complete sets here now. If you could have 12 additional aparejo, complete, transported via plane to Cabezas - thence to Bocay by plane and here by boat - or possibly dropped complete by Fokker drop, I would like it. I have no idea what the plans are after 4 November, whether they contemplate withdrawal or continued activities, so I am basing my plans here on continued and indefinite campaigning. ¶ Along this same line, I do not believe the 11th Rgt will take over Poteca. I think that was dependent upon their river patrol. That project has been abandoned - all the NAVY burned and scrapped - so I think you may put a permanent circle around Poteca and definitely call it in your area of operations. ¶ The Tulsa detachment was ordered here to garrison an outpost at BANA during my Murra patrol. It is still here - all troops now being actually in Poteca, as the BANA post was secured on the 21st. It is my intention to hold them here for the next ten days - until the next bandit move is disclosed. If Sandino moves into the upper river valley, I will then have my force concentrated for a quick drive in that direction. Is this a good plan or not? ¶ If the bandits show no signs of moving south east towards Cua, I shall send the Tulsa either to Bana or back to ILILIHUAS - probably the latter. It is thot that they might be available for MASTAWAS - thus releasing that part of the 59th for Walker or Bocay if you so desire. The need for Ililihuas was dependent largely upon a bandit move thru Gulkes towards Garrobo - and I have about concluded they will not try that. I think the Guiguili - Cua move more probable - and a Honduras to Western Segovia move most probable. I may be all wrong. In any case I think, depending on the results of my Guiguili patrol, I shall extend my outpost force south rather than north east. Comment requested on this. . . . "

5.   25 October 1928.
Letter from Capt. M. A. Edson, Poteca, to " My dear Major" H. H. Utley, Puerto Cabezas, p. 5.  

". . . We are now in process of transition from field to garrison duty with patrols of one - two - four days duration, in line with the opinions expressed above. ¶ Planes beat me to the rest of this - can you send them for additional pick-up between now and Sunday?  ¶  Edson"

1.   26 October 1928.
Letter from Capt. M. A. Edson, Poteca, to " My dear Major" H. H. Utley, Puerto Cabezas, p. 1.  
"My dear Major:- ¶ This is a continuation of the pick up made yesterday which was cut short by the arrival of Guyman and Scribner with mail, canteen supplies and a few much needed clothes. ¶ I am enclosing a sketch of this camp enclosure made by the distinguished topographist now in our midst, which will give you some idea of our layout and may help your observations made from the air. Once again we are short of tentage. With our entire patrol here and the Tulsa detachment, it has been necessary to use the one house for sleeping quarters although as Pollock has so aptly pictured, it is intended to use said house entirely for the men room - galley and store room. Also when the Tulsa and other detachments leave here for outpost duty, they will require canvas since nearly every house is now occupied by the owners – and I do not care to dispossess them in our favor. If you or the West Coast will please drop us twelve . . . "

2.   26 October 1928.
Letter from Capt. M. A. Edson, Poteca, to " My dear Major" H. H. Utley, Puerto Cabezas, p. 2.  
" . . . (12) additional tents with flies and repeat and sixteen (16) extra flies (tent – not horse). I would appreciate it. I believe the tentage is available and I see no reason why it should not be provided to furnish the men as comfortable living quarters as possible. They have not been overly bothered with many comforts during the past six months or so. No repeat no poles or pins are desired. As I said before each outpost established from here will take its canvas from Poteca when it leaves here. ¶ Enclosed are copies of our present company organization – special details now in effect – and of our daily routine. Between patrols, routine police and schools I hope to give the men enough to keep them fairly well occupied and contented. The present trench system is now a kneeling trench. One section at least will be made into a simple standing and then into an A type fire trench for the education of the men. We found some loose . . . "

3.   26 October 1928.
Letter from Capt. M. A. Edson, Poteca, to " My dear Major" H. H. Utley, Puerto Cabezas, p. 3.  
" . . . wire on a recent patrol so a short section of the present single apron fence will be made into a double apron - and short stretches of other obstacles constructed for education also. ¶ The men are fairly well clothed now, although I would like our requisitions filled as completely and as rapidly as possible under existing transportation facilities. The Marine patrol was very hard on clothing and shoes so those men are sadly in need of additional clothing. My last order included leggins so that every man would have leggins for patrols and for inspection here. Beards are no more common - the House of David having been converted and clean shaven the order of the day. ¶ Recreation facilities are improving. We have a volleyball court, with a net made from surveyed mosquito net in place of the regulation net lost in the drop. The cards furnished by the Eastern Area Exchange were received and are much in use. Horse shoe pitching is most popular with a tournament now being played off and finals tomorrow. A tug of war between teams from each outfit is scheduled shortly. Competition for first place in chow line, cigarettes . . . "

4.   26 October 1928.
Letter from Capt. M. A. Edson, Poteca, to " My dear Major" H. H. Utley, Puerto Cabezas, p. 4.  
" . . . etc. is extended to best rifles – best personal appearance, best tents and any other “bests” that can be thought of. ¶ In order to give the officers something to keep themselves occupied, I have assigned jobs as shown on the special duty order. In this Pollock becomes P-X, and P-3; Stephenson P-2 and mess officer, and Cook is P-1, P-4 and Com. off. Quite a capable staff, but it gives each of them something to think about besides ‘When do we eat – if ever’ and ‘I want to go home.’ ¶ The only reason for the four horsemen of mine galloping down river to Bocay was lack of adequate rations – as near as I can find out. If they had not overturned in the Collagis rapids, I believe their plan was to go to Waspuc. A list of articles lost and for which they should be checked has already been sent to DeWitt by mail. A summary court was recommended because I could only award 5 days B&W as CO – and considering the reason for the AWOL, I consider that . . . "

5.   26 October 1928.
Letter from Capt. M. A. Edson, Poteca, to " My dear Major" H. H. Utley, Puerto Cabezas, p. 5.  
" . . . type punishment fairly appropriate. I also have a DCM pending – although the offense probably rates an SCM. After this flurry of courts, I do not expect many - if any - more. ¶ Our ration situation is now very good. It is the best that we have had at any time since I started exploring the Coco, or Wanks river. My hold up of the Indians during the recent operation evidently interfered with the supply situation considerably - but we are still fairly well off. Unless you advise us differently, I shall try to make up for several months short rations by living fairly close to the ration allowance though it may be necessary to call for one or two emergency drops. Right now we have no canned meats or ham and no vegetables. Unless ration boats arrive by Sunday, I shall call for a special drop of several articles of food. ¶ I have told Burk what we particularly would like in addition to the shipments received so far. Some of these items I doubt if he has at Bocay, but Shearer may be able to supply him and us. Here is the list:- asparagus (#2½), blueberries (#2 cans) – mincemeat – hominy grits . . . "

6.   26 October 1928.
Letter from Capt. M. A. Edson, Poteca, to " My dear Major" H. H. Utley, Puerto Cabezas, p. 6.  
" . . . olives (green preferred) – raisins – cranberry sauce - tuna fish – mustard – sweet potatoes – lemon and vanilla extracts – spices assorted (including cinnamon, nut meg, all spice, etc.) – smoked hams and plum puddings. These next two articles I do not think Shearer has on hand, but I would suggest they be ordered and furnished troops in the field – powdered milk (KLIM) and powdered eggs. Klim is easily dropped by plane – it makes excellent coffee and cocoa and is better than canned milk in many respects. The powdered eggs find use in hot cakes, doughnuts, and even as scrambled eggs. Our fresh beef supply is limited and I have conserved it to considerable extent because there was no dope as to how long we would be around to draw on it. ¶ Thanksgiving is only one month away and I have promised the command a good meal that day. Here are a few suggestions for your consideration and comment:- I would like delivered by plane one or two days before Thanksgiving twelve turkeys – Vermont preferred - duly roasted and ready for eating. It seems . . . "

7.   26 October 1928.
Letter from Capt. M. A. Edson, Poteca, to " My dear Major" H. H. Utley, Puerto Cabezas, p. 7.  
" . . . to me they can be roasted in Cabezas, packed in tin cans or other suitable containers and successfully dropped. The dressing should accompany the birds. We can make the gravy here. To accompany the royal fowls, we respectfully suggest 50 to 75 pounds of Irish potatoes – 20 to 30 pounds of onions and 40 pounds of white bread. All of these last items are over issues to take care of lose in dropping. Does that meet with approval? Also for the day I would like about eight (8) kegs of beer. These might be boxed in Cabezas, taken by plane to Bocay, about two weeks from now, and forwarded by boat. The men concerned will pay for this and I will be responsible for due payment. ¶ We have an oven in process of construction, which should be ready tomorrow or Sunday, which explains the requisition for mincemeat, blueberries, etc. We hope to have hot bread, biscuits, and cakes before many days. ¶ That I believe covers the ration situation and our Thanksgiving chow. All plans are based on an indefinite stay in the area. ¶ Lieut. Stephenson is wondering when and how he is to rejoin the New York detachment . . . "

8.   26 October 1928.
Letter from Capt. M. A. Edson, Poteca, to " My dear Major" H. H. Utley, Puerto Cabezas, p. 8.  
" . . . It will be much easier for us here to send him to Bocay if the planes can pick him up there for further transfer to either Cabezas and the Cleveland - or to Managua. Probably they have forgotten all about his present duty on the other coast and hurry up orders will come through at some time most inconvenient to us. Suggestions for report of fitness markings are enclosed. ¶ Cook and I are both in need of dental treatment. The reason I asked for permission to return from Murra via San Albino was to get a days temporary work to carry me through the winter. Neither case is urgent, but if we should be scheduled for an indefinite stay out here – one of us at a time should be sent to Cabeza sor the west coast for dental repairs. ¶ Yesterday’s mail brought a memo from Shearer regarding clothing issues. It appears my remarks were perhaps a little irritating in a previous letter – but the question of giving the men everything they can get under the law is quite important to me. They get little enough for the work they put out any way one looks at it . . . "

9.   26 October 1928.
Letter from Capt. M. A. Edson, Poteca, to " My dear Major" H. H. Utley, Puerto Cabezas, p. 9.  
" . . . Here is a list summing up my various wants. They may be sent when, if and by such means as are available. ¶ Tentage (see above) ¶ Lester bag (requested by radio) ¶ Creolin for mules (do) ¶ Creosol disinfectant (do) ¶ Official envelopes (do) ¶ Daily ration statements. ¶ Memo receipt book (NMC-734) ¶ 50 Targets Type ‘L’ (pistol) ¶ Recreational facilities as follows:- ¶ Reading material ¶ 2 balls, indoor baseball, and 2 bats ¶ 1 pump, inflating for volleyball ¶ 1 volley ball ¶ 1 Medium ball ¶ 3 pr. dice for ace-deuce ¶ 3 sets boxing gloves ¶ (Most of this could probably be gotten from the station ship.) ¶ Also: 1 Meat grinder ¶ 100 prop shear pins for outboard ¶ As much gas and oil as can be sent up and one additional outboard motor ¶ When Mosier and Schoenberger and Paine were sent to Bocay from Gilikwas – eleven (11) blankets were donated by one of the men of this command. None of these were ever returned. Can not these be sent out on gratuitous issue and taken care of by certificate?  Cpl. [Munro], now enroute to Cabezas for discharge has two of them due him. Maddux also furnished . . . "

10.   26 October 1928.
Letter from Capt. M. A. Edson, Poteca, to " My dear Major" H. H. Utley, Puerto Cabezas, p. 10.  
" . . . the clothing for Stengel, consisting of ¶ 1 shirt, cotton, size 1 ¶ 1 trousers, SS, size 2M ¶ 1 socks, woolen, pr., size 10½  ¶  Five ponchos were also donated and have never been replaced. I will write Shearer a note on this subject.¶ The health of the command is the best that it has been since last May or in fact since we left the port the first of April. Today’s list shows four men, all light cases, and we have been down to two men on the sick present list. ¶ Morale has never been low – but it is at a high point now and improving daily. ¶ I believe that this more or less covers all points of interest or which should be brought to your attention. At least these two letters combined have been long enough to cover most anything. ¶ The three canteens of sperm oil, castor oil and clean varnish were received in excellent condition. Not a single drop was lost – but for some reason the containers are now more or less empty. Cook says ‘Not a last drop and good to the last drop!’ . . . "

11.   26 October 1928.
Letter from Capt. M. A. Edson, Poteca, to " My dear Major" H. H. Utley, Puerto Cabezas, p. 11.  
" . . . DeWitt tells me Walker is in Cabezas awaiting transfer to the States. We were all sorry to see him leave on a ‘medical’ – but he always was lucky. Tell him his departure from the river is a big disappointment, for the ‘River Pirates” and “House Thieves” were planning a regular raid on the 59th Co when moving down stream – food, panels – even eggs and cigarettes might be misplaced during their forthcoming cruise to Gracias. Ask Walker - he knows! ¶ The letter dated 19 September, compiled by the masterminds of the Eastern Area, Nicaragua, is certainly a masterpiece. It should be mimeographed or eletrotyped and distributed as an example to all young officers who are trying to get along in the military world as a model letter of instructions. ¶ Regards to the Wilsons, Robinsons, et al. If city life becomes too strenuous, we extend a hearty invitation to the Mess in general and you in particular to spend a weekend or a couple of them in the country. Bring golf clubs – swimming tops, tennis rackets, and most important of all – your pocket flask. ¶ Sincerely, Edson"

1.   27 October 1928.
Intelligence Report, Capt. M. A. Edson, Poteca, to Major H. H. Utley, Puerto Cabezas, p. 1.  
"1. On 10-25-28 Francisco Guatemala, resident Poteca, reported he was under impression Hernandez had recently returned to his home near YACALWAS but that he had been unable to verify this suspicion. Guatemala is not considered very reliable, all of his information being old and of no value to us when received, and it is thot he with-holds and distorts valuable information. At present he is under surveillance as one of main sources of bandit information of our activities. ¶ 2. At 1200, 10-27-28, Braulio Morales, an informer whose reports have always been reliable, appeared at Poteca with the following: ¶ When Altamirano passed up the COCO RIVER valley the middle of September he left orders that the people in the YACALWAS-GUIGUILI area remain in the hills and that the valley was not to be occupied. These orders were disregarded and the people returned to their homes. ¶ On 10-25-28 the following Sandino sub-jefes appeared in the area: Felipe Briseno, Juez of YACALWAS,- Captain Emilio Aguilar, Juez of MASTAWAS,- and Laislado Mora, resident of LA CEIBA, halfway between BANA and YACALWAS. They have a few men with them, possible about ten (10). They came here from the vicinity of MURRA, following the patrol which just returned from that area by about three days. ¶ Briseno has issued orders for all able bodied fighting men to appear at a place now unknown, but believed to be near the home of Juan Masoneres, about two miles above YACALWAS, on 4 November, 1928, to register their names and to swear allegiance to Sandino. All men failing to appear will be considered anti-Sandino or Yankisters, and are warned that retaliation may be expected. All non-combatants are ordered to leave the valley at once and to withdraw into the brush. ¶ Briseno gives Sandino’s plans as follows: Troop movement from his present location (near headwaters GUIGUILI RIVER) to the COCO VALLEY via a new trail just completed which debouches on COCO somewhere near YACALWAS (probably down RIO POLO PRIETO), and by the GUIGUILI TRAIL. He plans to clear the COCO of the Machos as far as MASTAWAS. Sandino is boasting of new allies who will furnish many men, supplies, and aeroplanes. There is no information concerning activities in relation to elections on 4 November, but Briseno promises that within fifteen (15) days from 10-25-28, there will be the biggest battle yet fought in the COCO RIVER VALLEY, evidently referring to the obliteration of POTECA. ¶ Aguilar is now enroute to the WAMBLAN-MASTAWAS area with the same orders regarding presentation of fighting men and withdrawal of all non-combatants. ¶ Morales states that the inhabitants near GUIGUILI have taken to the hills and that south of LA CEIBA the valley is deserted. . . ."

2.   27 October 1928.
Intelligence Report, Capt. M. A. Edson, Poteca, to Major H. H. Utley, Puerto Cabezas, p. 2.  
" . . . There are no bandits forces in the GUIGUILI district at present but they may be expected at any time. No increase in bandit strength is known and informer believes Sandino has no more and probably fewer men than when he left the GULKE area. ¶ 3. The calling of all able bodied men to register is tho’t to be an effort to draft recruits. The talk of allies, planes, and the clearing of the COCO RIVER is considered without formulation and only propaganda to bring in the men desired. The fact that presentation and registration is set for 4 November may indicate that Sandino is holding a private election of his own, whereby he will proclaim himself the duly elected President of Eastern Segovia. ¶ 4. The movement southeast through GUIGUILI and CUA to the CUA and PANTASMA valleys is quite probably as a result of our recent patrols near MURRA and ALS FLORES. Any movement northeast towards MASTAWAS is considered improbable at this time since such action can not in any way interfere with the approaching elections. Such movement might take place after November 4th, but considering past bandit actions and tactics it is tho’t to be very improbable, and all talk of such a move s tho’t to be in the nature of propaganda only. ¶ 5. A combat patrol will leave this post immediately upon the receipt of rations and will operate for a period of ten to twenty days in the YACALWAS - GUIGUILI - CUA area unless otherwise ordered. The garrison at POTECA will cover by patrols the BANA trail and the TABLAZO trail and the immediate vicinity of POTECA. A distribution report will be submitted by radio upon the departure of this combat patrol."

3.   27 October 1928.
Intelligence Report, Map accompanying original report, Capt. M. A. Edson, Poteca, to Major H. H. Utley, Puerto Cabezas, p. 3.  
Map: "Overlay ¶ Quilali Sn Cruz Patnia ¶ & Vicinity ¶ 1st Lt Zea & 2nd Lt Brown"

27 October 1928 (1700).
Radiogram from Capt. A. DeCarre, Bocay, to Major H. H. Utley, Puerto Cabezas.  
"8627 NATIVE REPORTS SANDINO AND PEDRO ALTAMIRANO WITH FORTY MEN AT PITITA STOP PITITA MIDWAYS BETWEEN CUA AND SANTA CRUZ STOP BANDITS MOUNTED STOP INFORMATION VOLUNTARY STOP PATROL TO INVESTIGATE TOMORROW 1700"

27 October 1928 (1832).
Radiogram from Capt. M. A. Edson, Poteca, to Major H. H. Utley, Puerto Cabezas.

28 October 1928 (0924).
Radiogram from Capt. M. A. Edson, Poteca, to Major H. H. Utley, Puerto Cabezas.

1.   28 October 1928 (1830).
Radiogram from Capt. M. A. Edson, Poteca, to Major H. H. Utley, Puerto Cabezas, p. 1.

2.   28 October 1928 (1830).
Radiogram from Capt. M. A. Edson, Poteca, to Major H. H. Utley, Puerto Cabezas, p. 2.

3.   28 October 1928 (1830).
Radiogram from Capt. M. A. Edson, Poteca, to Major H. H. Utley, Puerto Cabezas, p. 3.

4.   28 October 1928 (1830).
Radiogram from Capt. M. A. Edson, Poteca, to Major H. H. Utley, Puerto Cabezas, p. 4.

5.   28 October 1928 (1830).
Radiogram from Capt. M. A. Edson, Poteca, to Major H. H. Utley, Puerto Cabezas, p. 5.

6.   28 October 1928 (1830).
Radiogram from Capt. M. A. Edson, Poteca, to Major H. H. Utley, Puerto Cabezas, p. 6.

7.   28 October 1928 (1830).
Radiogram from Capt. M. A. Edson,Poteca, to Major Utley, Puerto Cabezas, p. 7.

31 October 1928.
Letter from Major Gen. J. A. Lejeune, Washington D.C., to Gen. L. Feland, Managua.  
"My dear General: ¶ Mr. Amphlett, a representative of the La Luz Mining Company, Nicaragua, called on me this afternoon at the request for Mr. Fletcher, concerning a communication which he had received from Lieutenant Whaling, who is in command of the Marine Detachment on duty at La Luz. Lieutenant Whaling had written to Mr. Fletcher suggesting the advisability of permitting some of his former employees of the mine to pan a small amount of gold so as to provide a means for their support during the time that the mine is not in operation. ¶ The officials of the Company fully appreciate the humane reasons which actuated Lieutenant Whaling in making the request, but the fact that any trespass on the property by inhabitants of the country would cause the people living in the vicinity to feel that they had the same rights and privileges, and might result in further serious injury to their property. I told Mr. Amphlett that I would write to you in regard to this matter, and I would suggest that you communicate the views of the Company to Lieutenant Whaling for his guidance. Mr. Amphlett spoke in the highest terms of Lieutenant Whaling’s energy and ability and was especially desirous that he be not censured in any way for his suggestion, as he knew that he was actuated by the best of motives. ¶ Mr. Amphlett was quite disturbed by the possibility of the Marines withdrawing from the mine and leaving it unprotected. We have no information here as yet as to the policy to be adopted in regard to Nicaragua after the inauguration of the new President, but I feel sure that precipitate action will not be taken, but that opportunity will be given the Government of Nicaragua to take over the protection of the mines by means of the Guardia when the Marines are relived from duty in that vicinity. I hope that very soon after the elections in this country and Nicaragua are over, some definite policy will be announced with reference to the retention of the Marines in Nicaragua. ¶ With kindest regards and good wishes, I remain, ¶ Sincerely yours, ¶ /s/ JOHN A. LEJUENE"

2 November 1928 (1700).
Radiogram from Capt. C. F. B. Price, Garrobo, to Major H. H. Utley, Puerto Cabezas.

2 November 1928 (2200).
Radiogram from Major H. H. Utley, Puerto Cabezas, to Gen. Feland, Managua; copies to COs Poteca & Garrobo.

3 November 1928.
"General Frank R. McCoy's Visit," The Bluefields Weekly.  
"On Saturday last word was received by Major Sage, head of the National Guard, that General McCoy would pay a visit to Bluefields on Monday following. The Major passed the word to the Jefe Politico and friends, so that very shortly after it was known all over town that the President of the National Board of Elections would be in Bluefields on Monday, at about 11 o’clock, in the forenoon. ¶ The first idea that began to form in the minds of many was what sort of a reception should be given the General; but after some investigation into how long he would remain and as to whether he would allow himself to be feted, it was learned that the General would only remain over night, besides, it appeared he was not out seeking fiestas. ¶ At eleven o’clock on Monday morning the planes bringing the General and his Chief of Staff, Colonel Gordon Johnson, were heard in the distance and, of course, in a few seconds they were circling for a landing. ¶ General McCoy was met at the wharf by Major Price of the Electoral Board, Major Sage, head of the National Guard, and Captain Rose and Matteson and other American officers stationed here. ¶ In the palace ground the General reviewed the detachment of Marines stationed here and the detachment of National Guards. It being by this time lunch hour, accompanied by Major Price the General had his (lunch) at the Hotel Washington. From the hotel the office of the Departmental Board of Elections was next visited, where a meeting with the members of the Board had been arranged. At this meeting the General expressed again his appreciation of the able manner in which the work of inscription had been carried on in the face of so many difficulties. ¶ At about five o’clock in the afternoon general McCoy had an informal meetings with many of the most prominent American citizens residing here. ¶ From all that we have been able to gather from those who were present one important things was learned, namely: the candidate who comes out on November 4th with the majority of votes will take the presidency of the Republic on January 2st, 1929. ¶ General McCoy and his chief of Staff, Colonel Johnson, returned for Managua at ten A.M. Tuesday."

4 November 1928.
TWELVE PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE 1928 ELECTIONS IN BLUEFIELDS & PUERTO CABEZAS, US State Department, housed in ATL-COCO-PHOTO PGS 11 & 12 or click on thumbnail.

9 November 1928.
Confiscated pistols of several Palestinians, Lt. W. C. Hall, Puerto Cabezas, to Brigade Intelligence Officer, Managua.  
"1. The pistols of the several Palestinians were confiscated when they were arrested on the charge of buying and selling pistols and ammunition. ¶ 2. When they were released their weapons were not returned to them, but receipts were given them and later the original permits were forwarded the Jefe Politico at Bluefields. ¶ 3. Receipts were given, and the original permits forwarded to the Jefe Politico at Bluefields in order that proper refund might be given them on their deposits that they had made to secure pistol permits. This has been explained to the Jefe Politico at Bluefields. ¶ 4. Some of the pistols in question were destroyed after being confiscated for reason of being unserviceable. ¶ 5. It is not thought desirable to reissue these weapons to the original holders. ¶ W. C. HALL, ¶ 1st Lieut., U.S. Marine Corps."

11 November 1928 (1338).
Radiogram from Gen. Feland, Managua, to Major H. H. Utley, Puerto Cabezas.

12 November 1928.
Letter from Major Chas. F. B. Price, Bluefields, to Capt. Clyde P. Matteson, Puerto Cabezas.  
"My dear Captain: ¶ It has come to my attention that you have been indulging in criticism of the manner in which I have performed my duties in connection with the Elections in this Department and have made remarks reflecting upon the impartiality of myself and other officers on the Electoral Mission. ¶ I regret to find no officer of the Marine Corps so lacking in common intelligence as not to appreciate that such remarks to whomsoever made at this time are most ill-advised and cannot fail to be detrimental to the best interests of the Marine Corps and to the United States in connection with their efforts to give this country a fair election. ¶ For this reason I consider that your action constitutes an act of reprehensible disloyalty both to your Corps and to your country and I warn you that if I hear further reports of unguarded statements of opinion by you I will take immediate steps to secure appropriate disciplinary action in the matter. ¶ Cordially, ¶ Chas. F. B. Price, ¶ Major, U.S. Marine Corps. ¶ Copy to Maj. Utley - ¶ Dear Harold – This is unofficial but I think it well for you to be informed in this matter. ¶ This young man made the statement in the presence of Captain Best that I was so hard in favor of the Conservative Party that I could not be impartial and that this was the result of Kendall’s efforts in converting me to such views. ¶ I am certain he has made similar remarks to his beachcomber American friends here although of course I cannot know that."

15 November 1928.
Addenda to Brigade Field Order No. 7, Major H. H. Utley, Puerto Cabezas, p. 1.  
"3. In addition to the dispositions ordered by BRIGADE FIELD ORDER NO. 7, the following dispositions of forces of the Eastern Area will be effected: ¶ a. C.O. Marines BOCAY will provide one officer and such additional enlisted men as may be practicable as reenforcements for BOCAY river patrol now at GARROBO. ¶ b. C.O. Marines GARROBO will patrol trails along the general line GARROBO-BOCAICITO-PASO REAL DE CUA (all INCLUSIVE), and also in the direction of PENA BLANCA, continuously during the period November 19th to 30th inclusive. These patrols to cover tails to west and southwest of GARROBO, prevent bandit movement and deny that territory to bandits. ¶ c. C.O. Marines CUVALI will maintain liaison with GARROBO outpost, by means of patrols, between the dates of November 19th to 30th inclusive; and will also constantly patrol that portion of the MATAGALPA trail between CUVALI and YAUSCA RIVER (both INCLUSIVE) during this period. ¶ d. C.O. Marines QUEPI will patrol the TUMA river continuously between QUEPI and YARAO (both INCLUSIVE) between November 19th and 30th, inclusive. ¶ x. Every effort shall be made by patrols from posts mentioned to establish liaison with patrols from the 6th and 11th Regiments between November 19th and 30th. Contact with these patrols between the dates mentioned may be expected along the general line CUA RIVER – PENA BLANCA – YARAO. ¶ HAROLD H. UTLEY, ¶ MAJOR, U.S. MARINE CORPS, ¶ COMMANDER EASTERN AREA. ¶ NICARAGUA."

15 November 1928.
Addenda to Brigade Field Order No. 7, Major H. H. Utley, Puerto Cabezas, p. 2.  

17 November 1928  (1404).
Radiogram from Capt. M. A. Edson, Poteca, to Major H. H. Utley, Puerto Cabezas.  
"TO: COMDR EASTERN AREA INFO: COMDR SEOBRIG CO OCOTAL ¶ FROM: CO POTECA 17 NOVEMBER, 1928. ¶ 8616 PATROL TWO COMMISSIONED FORTY EIGHT ENLISTED ONE USN ARRIVED POTECA NINETEEN THIRTY FIFTEENTH STOP COCO VALLEY APPEARS SAME AS WHEN PASSED THROUGH ON WAY TO SANTA CRUZ STOP DESERTED STOP NO REPEAT NO NEW EVIDENCE OF BANDIT OPERATIONS STOP BELIEVE COCO AND CUA RIVERS FREE OF BANDITS COMA GUASENERAS VALLEY DASH PENA BLANCA OCCUPIED STOP 1404"

19 November 1928.
Memo for Commanding General, Managua, from Major Hans Schmidt, Managua, p. 1.  
"Enclosed is the correspondence pertinent to the destruction of the Fletcher Mine (La Luz), together with photographs taken by Marines while in that area, in May. ¶ The report of the destruction was furnished the Minister of Gobernacion of the Republic of Nicaragua. ¶ The ass't manager of the mine, Mr. George Marshall who was taken prisoner by the bandits, died of fever about 1 July neaer Mastawas. His grave was opened by Marines, his body identified and his wife notified. His body was disinterred and reburied at Waspuc. His picture is enclosed. ¶ There is a Marine detachment of 1 officer and 29 men in the Concepcion Mining area, at present. ¶ No monetary estimate of the damage (as far as this office knows), has been submitted. ¶ [signed] H. Schmidt, Major USMC, B-2"

1.   19 November 1928.
Letter from Capt. M. A. Edson, Poteca, to "My dear Major" H. H. Utley, Puerto Cabezas, p. 1.  
"My dear Major:-  ¶  Another one of those impertinent letters but not so long as the last brain throb, delivered in two parts. ¶ This last patrol, which I really intended to make a twenty day affair only to have it broken up by Brigade Field Order #7 - not only encroached upon Northern Area territory but I am afraid went into that part of Nicaragua supervised by the Southern or Matagalpa area as well. After reaching Santa Cruz and not having stirred up anything exciting - we borrowed the N.A. mules at that place and visited the Cua and Guaseneros rivers which have been left alone since some time in June or July or whenever Major Rockey got all the publicity about building a raft at Santa Cruz. When we reached Santa Helena and found signs of quite recent bandit activities, probably extending southwest and west into the Guapinol and Pastasma areas, I wanted to turn in that direction - but finally decided against it as being altogether outside of the jurisdiction of one stationed at Poteca. ¶ The first morning we left Santa Cruz - with revielle at 4:00 am and mules packed and ready to go at 5:00 - one of their young hopefuls asked Sgt. Murphy - “What’s the idea of this midnight revielle? We never get up until daylight and we are always ready to get under weigh at 8:00 o’clock.” ¶ I have a copy of the letter regarding “Mobility of garrison at POTECA during dry season.” Except for one place - KURIAS rapids - I do not believe the river is any worse in the dry season than in the wet. The number of actual portages is reduced but there are a couple which are and will be quite difficult. However, in a couple of weeks you may send an addenda to your endorsement to the effect that our mobility is or will be even greater in the dry season than now. Between here and Santa Cruz are about 20 excellent horses - several mules and enough more below Poteca to enable us to collect a stable of some 25 horses and about an equal number of mules. I have at Santa Cruz 4 horses and 1 mule awaiting the finis of this latest manouver [sic] when we expect to return there for them and round up the remainder on the way down the river. Stand by for a heavy requisition for saddle and pack equipment! ¶ Tomorrow morning two patrols move out, one under Pollock to out a trail from here to the CONGOJAS River and GULKES, and reconnoiter that place again - the other under Cook to GUIGUILI which under Brig FO #7 is now supposed to be garrisoned by an 11th Rgt. patrol. Upon the return of the latter patrol, BANA and the Bana trail will be covered until the 28th of the month. ¶ I am sorry that you could not make the inspection of POTECA which was suggested. Hope that my radio from Santa Cruz did not embarrass you in any way. To return to the invitation to look us over, . . . "

2.   19 November 1928.
Letter from Capt. M. A. Edson, Poteca, to "My dear Major" H. H. Utley, Puerto Cabezas, p. 2.  
". . . this is extended in all seriousness and it is believed it is quite feasible. Quilali offers a landing field for your air transportation it is a seven hour ride by mule or horse from there to Santa Cruz - about the same length of time from there to POTECA - and one day from here to BOCAY. You will be away from your own area about one day only - always within radio communication and the trip made this way will be a matter of not over five days from Cabezas. A down river boat trip is not tedious, altho I can not say the same thing for up river travel. Altho I am desirous of having you look us over with the idea of comparison with Quilali and Santa Cruz of the Northern Area and more especially with other outposts of our own area - the main idea is that I crave to see and talk with you personally. There are numerous questions of policy which should be considered and decided in the very near future. Altho Poteca is a part - quite a large part I hope - of the Eastern Area, I believe that you will recognize that it may appear to us here that we are in fact a sector within an area - that our western boundary in particular is quite uncertain - and that we are subject not only to your orders, but as the whim or policy of Brigade dictates to Brigade and Northern Area as well. We also have orders to operate at discretion in the Poteca sector - but we must admit that our discretion, at times, is not so good. So far there has been no conflict of orders of any kind - but the possibility of such happening is always present. ¶ I may be wrong in this - but from remarks made by Stan Ridderhof and others met around Murra, I think the NA [Northern Area] considers our occupation of this place as cracking the edge of their territory and such operations as the Murra patrol - Guiguili - and the Cua as violating neutrality rights or immigration laws. ¶ There is also the fact that, try as I can to overlook it, our present strength here is actually greater than is needed to “hold” Poteca under present conditions. It is needless to state that I would like to keep this entire command under my control, including the Tulsa and if some policy of outposts can be made to continue that control and still get results, I would like it. The idea has been advanced that the line of the EA be extended westward to include the COCO river to BOCA de CUA. At that time I think I did not realize just how badly we hurt the bandit morale and organization by driving them from Poteca and offered some objections. However I now believe it a good idea - and unless we do not advance to that line, I think our chances in participating in actual contact with bandit groups will be considerably lessened. Also please keep in mind the mounted patrol which I hope to materialize before the beginning of the dry season. My feet are getting nervous again and I desire to see more of Nicaragua - a la cavalry mounted on mules. ¶ I believe these things can be talked over and decision reached much better in person than by letter - a visit here will give you first hand information of the terrain - and the command as a whole will appreciate your presence more than you realize. Also I can promise you more than tough steak and saltless beans in the culinary . . . "

3.   19 November 1928.
Letter from Capt. M. A. Edson, Poteca, to "My dear Major" H. H. Utley, Puerto Cabezas, p. 3.  
". . . line. Again I say - think it over and let us expect you for Thanksgiving. ¶ In line with Cal Coolidge - we have proclaimed the 29th a holiday in the sector - other orders and Sandino permitting. As you will see by the enclosures - it will be a gala day, if weather and arrival of the necessary food and smokes are as expected. ¶ The canteens are acknowledged and the thanks of all of us sent herewith. “Major Utley” is a daily toast! My best regards to Mrs. Wilson. Tell her if wishes were aeroplanes, I would be with her right now. ¶ Pollock wants me to mention “Boots”. His shoes are worn out and he is urgently in need of some suitable trail boot or shoe. Both he and Cook send regards to the mess as a whole and you in particular. ¶ As usual, I am attaching a list of “Wants”. ¶ Best regards to the Officer's Mess ¶ Respectfully ¶ Edson . . . "

4.   19 November 1928.
Letter from Capt. M. A. Edson, Poteca, to "My dear Major" H. H. Utley, Puerto Cabezas, p. 4.  
". . . ¶ Requests ¶ For boat repairs. ¶ Nails and screws in assorted sizes. ¶ 1 Draw knife ¶ 1 Jack plane ¶ 2 hammers ¶ 1 saw ¶ 2 hatchets ¶ 4 chisels, asst. ¶ Tar or similar material. ¶ 1 quart clear shellac ¶ Waste for calking (use as packing for above articles in the drop) ¶ 8 or 10 inch 3/4” bolts for making outboard motor fixtures (Need 6 of these) ¶ Suggest one boat load of oil and gas be sent direct from Waspuc, with no food on that boat. Can use it in operation under consideration. ¶ For Sanitary purposes: ¶ One roll wire screening - galley and garbage house. ¶ Tacks for said screening. ¶ 80 mosquito nets. ¶ For galley use: ¶ 1 flour sifter. ¶ For office use: ¶100 or less Morning reports. ¶ Onion skin and green file paper. ¶ Small paper for memos etc. ¶ 2 Record books for mess sergeant and 1st sergeant. ¶ Suggest 1st sergeant of ships detach be asked to furnish some of this. ¶ From: Post Exchange:- ¶ Recreational facilities already requested. ¶ One (1) bottle of fountain pen ink for my personal use. ¶ Addenda: ¶ 50 letter folders for filing purposes. ¶ Tracing cloth - ink - pen holders and pens (use in map making) ¶ 12 Field Msg books for radio and personal use ¶ 1000’ - 21 thread line for tent guys. ¶ 1000’ - 3/8” line for corral use. . . . "

22 November 1928.
Letter from Capt. M. A. Edson, Poteca, to Major H. H. Utley, Puerto Cabezas, p. 1.  
"This is an addenda to the letter sent via the same pick-up for the purpose of adding the following notes:- ¶ (a) The statement in the operation and routine report to include 11-17-28 comparing our health statistics with that at Santa Cruz is primarily to bring before you and the Surgeon the fine type of work which Maddux is doing here. I have twice radioed suggesting and recommending that he be examined for promotion to PhM 1/c, and I again recommend it herein. He is a good man to have in the organization and I believe the class of work he has put out here entitles him to consideration. ¶ (b) Hand grenades and rifle grenades requested in September have failed to materialize. Also I need ten (10) rifle grenade discharger carriers. Please note these carriers are for the dischargers and not repeat not for the grenades. Will you please send out a tracer on these? The TM also ordered by you to be sent up has not yet arrived. ¶ (c) Somewhere in my letter I mentioned a pair of itching feet. What I particularly had in mind was not so much the extension of our present line - altho that is quite desirable - as the formation of a roving patrol. I am broaching this as something of a “pipe-dream” probably not to be realized. The project would require not only your sanction but also that of brigade, altho my last patrol (Cua-Guaseneros) came somewhere near the idea and we seemed to get by with that. ¶ There is a between the Easter Area and the N.A. - and again between the NA and the SA., - a horse-shoe shaped No Mans land. That is the Murra Valley - Cua - Guaseneros - Pena Blanca - Pavona - Pantasma - Ojoche. This is difficult terrain, and the probability is that it will never be occupied by permanent Marine Corps garrisons or outposts, control of that territory being left to irregular and extended patrols. The consensus of opinion, I believe, is that somewhere in this section are Sandino, Altamirano, and the big majority of the bandits. Combined patrols such as we have had the past two months have succeeded in breaking the enemy morale, interfered with his concentration but have produced practically no contact with the bandits. This is perhaps partly due to their reluctance to give away their position when so many patrols are in the neighbor-hood, while they might repeat might be tempted to engage with a single patrol. ¶ My idea is the organization of a patrol of about 40-50 men, with no fixed limits of patrolling, free to move in this territory as outlined, following such clues as it can pick-up - and reporting in at the nearest post in any one of the three areas for rations about once every fifteen days. Such a patrol would not supplant the combined manouvers now being carried on, but would be in addition to them - a continuous roving patrol. The idea would be an outfit as near like the bandits as possible - using the side trails they use - becoming bush . . . "

22 November 1928.
Letter from Capt. M. A. Edson, Poteca, to Major H. H. Utley, Puerto Cabezas, p. 2.  
". . . men like them - and living like them. This patrol would have no regular base to return to every ten to twenty days - but would probably reach its original supply base once a month or once every six weeks. Captain Holmes’ outfit is about the nearest to this now in existence, but he is kept busy in the N.A. - and another mobile patrol with large radius of action would not be amiss - and two such roving patrols would, I believe, be as successful as four combined manouvers without their aid. ¶ This would be damned strenuous work - it would require an outfit of 100 men, for this kind of patrolling would wear out half the command a month, and it might not bring any better results than we have had already. But I would certainly like to give it a try. Even tho by itself - gets no contact with the outlaws, I believe tat a roving band of this kind would be quite likely to chase them into the hands of some other patrol with equally as good results. As I said before, I would like to give it a try. ¶ And now that I have gotten this off my chest, even tho it gets no consideration, I shall drink up the coma and turn in - leaving the Thanks period for another night."

23 November 1928 (1230).
Radiogram from Major J. Bain, CO Jinotega, to Major H. H. Utley, Puerto Cabezas.  
"FROM: CO JINOTEGA ¶ TO: COMDR EASTERN AREA 23 NOVEMBER, 1928 ¶ 0522 FRANCES COLUMBI ARRESTED JINOTEGA ON SUSPICION PERIOD SAYS HE WORKED IN PUERTO CABEZAS PERIOD IS THERE ANY CHARGES AGAINST HIM THERE WHEN AND WHY DID HE LEAVE THERE QUESTION DO YOU HAVE ANY INFORMATION ON ALBERTO ALFARO QUESTION B A I N J 1230"

 

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