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PC27.08.18   bruce

INVENTORY OF PC-DOCS, THRU 1927

24.02.18 BOURKE
24,03,24 BIRNBAUMER
27.05.19 CHAPPELL
27.06.07 SWANSON
27.06.22 RICHAL
27.07.16 HATFIELD
27.07.20 HATFIELD
27.07.28 HATFIELD
27.08.12 FLOYD
27.08.18 BRUCE
27.09.04 O'SHEA
27.09.05 MCQUADE
27.09.08 CHAPPELL
27.09.20 KENYON
27.09.22 PEARD
27.10.12 O'SHEA
27.10.18 SATTERFIELD
27.11.02 CHAPPELL
27.11.02 GOULD
27.11.06 PEARD
27.11.07 BELLINGER
27.11.10 KEIMLING
27.11.11 BROWN
27.11.12 HARBAUGH
27.11.13 CRUM
27.11.14 DARNELL
27.11.19 WELLS
27.11.20 BELLINGER
27.11.26 KEIMLING
27.12.06 PEARD
27.12.07 BROWN
27.12.11 BROWN
27.12.11 KEIMLING
27.12.11 HARBAUGH
27.12.15 BROWN
27.12.17 CRONMILLER
27.12.18 MARTIN
27.12.19 WELLS
27.12.31 GOULD

27.08.18.   Bruce, Patrol to Murra and Return

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
thru 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933 +

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JICARO DETACHMENT GUARDIA NACIONAL,
EL JICARO, NUEVA SEGOVIA, NICARAGUA
18 August, 1927.

From: Lt. T. G. Bruce, Guardia Nacional.
To: Commanding Officer, Marine Detachment. Jicaro, Nicaragua.
Subject: Patrol, Murra and return, August 17th and 18th, 1927, report on.

      1.   In obedience to your verbal orders of recent date, I took charge of a mounted patrol of nine marines and seven Guardia and accompanied them, guided by Mr. Edward O. Alexander, and American, the Assistant Manager of the Pittsburg Exploitation Syndicate, I made the patrol ordered, from Jicaro to Murra and return.

      2.   Left Jicaro at 11:00 p.m., August 16th, night mark was made without incident except for mules tiring, rain, and the impressing to our service of two Nicaraguan men who live about 3 miles this side of Murra. This was imperative as we left one mule in their corral and were apprehensive that they might enter Murra by another trail and give notice of our coming. Entered Murra at daylight after a careful survey of the city from a ridge off the main road, that Mr. Alexander guided us up to. Town deserted. Not a person in sight. All inhabitants are said to be hiding in small farm near Murra. Sent one of the men we had impressed to let people in hills know we were there, giving him copies of General Feland's proclamation dated 9 August, 1927, and telling him to bring in a certain elderly woman well known to Mr. Alexander. This woman came in and informed us as follows: Murra abandoned by inhabitants day after Major Floyd's column entered Jicaro; no knowledge of Sandino's whereabouts or plans, or movements of any considerable number of his troops; it is not a general impression in this locality that Sandino has demobilized his troops in any manner.

      3.   Day spent in carefully searching the 39 houses in the town. No arms or dynamite found. Mr. Alexander's house the only one seriously looted. It was a litter of paper and filth. Wanton destruction of anything heavy or cumbersome to steal. Obscene writing in chalk on plane surfaces. All other houses merely abandoned in orderly manner. Pigs, chickens and cows plentiful.

      4.   A strong guard was mounted at night covering all approaches to Mr. Alexander's home which is easily defended and commands the town. His home was chosen as our sleeping quarters after a careful search had been made for bombs or mines. Just after dark one of the Guardia on post in a pasture north of the house heard and saw four men talking near him. He challenged and received a "Sandino" answer to his challenge, fired a shot in their group, who fled, abandoning a saddled and bridled mule that proved to be the property of Mr. Alexander. No further incident during the night.

      5.   Left Murra about 8:00 a.m., August 18, 1927. Proceeded by a different road than the one used in entering town, toward Jicaro. About 400 yards out of Murra our rear guard was fired upon by a volley from behind and above, from bushes on the left flank at a distance of not more than 30 yards. One mule fatally wounded was [ p. 2 ] the only casualty. One other mule wounded in the left shoulder. One Guardia shot thru hat. All hands took cover and returned the fire. The hill on the left of the road was about 20 feet high at lowest point and practically impossible to ascent. Having posted all men along the line to best advantage I went to the rear of the column and there found that the initial volley seven mules had broken loose and returned toward Murra. I took Corporal John L. Neel and Pvt. Charles E. Turner and returned over the road to Murra until we found the mules at the edge of the town. We then brought them up to the halted column to its head to make sure it was safe to again advance without likely being fired upon. I believe that about 40 shots were fired by the ambushers and probably 100 shots were fired by my patrol at indistinct targets in this first attack. No grenades were used as the slope was likely to cause a grenade to rollback into our midst. The wounded mule was down and bleeding badly when Neel, Turner and I returned from town with the other mules. I killed it and tumbled it over the cliff on the right of the road. All approaches to Murra are ideal for ambush and I believe that these men had been waiting for us on the "Ridge Trail" by which we entered the town. The number of our attackers is estimated at about 10 or 12. When our return fire put them to rout they cried "Viva Sandino" and disappeared to our left front.

      6.   Proceeded toward Jicaro. After about 1 mile of progress carefully spying out our advance, our advance guard sighted armed men at our left front. We halted and took cover, and seeing one on our left flank, a few shots were fired at us, and the ambushers, about 30 in number, retreated into the tall timber on our left about 200 yards away and across a ridge. Two rifle grenades were fired into the retreating ambushers. These men had red handkerchiefs and cried "Viva Sandino" when firing began. Two of the attackers were killed by rifle fire. Others appeared to be wounded, probably five. The rifle grenades were dropped on the attackers nearest our left flank front and drove them toward our left rear, with the idea of preventing them from continuing to travel along our left flank and continue to harass us. My patrol had no casualties. We remounted and proceeded toward Jicaro. Attackers did not get to fire more than 10 shots at us in this engagement. Patrol fired probably 150 shots at running targets. Both of our flanks were ideal for ambush and it was not deemed advisable to split our force by sending out pursuit parties.

      7.   The attackers did not use machine guns, bombs or dynamite against us.

      8.   We proceeded to Jicaro cautiously and without further incident.

      9.   Special credit is due to Mr. Alexander, whose knowledge of the country and the roads unquestionably played an important part in the outguessing of the attackers.

      10.  The conduct of the Marines and Guardia throughout was excellent. They all proved cool and competent under fire and during a night march through rain and mud, followed by strenuous guard duty, displayed a really high state of morale.

 
          /s/ Thomas G. Bruce
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RG127/212/1

Summary & Notes

•    Fascinating report on Marines' first foray into zone around EDSN stronghold of Murra, following up on Nueva Segovia Expedition's seizure of El Jícaro and the San Albino Mine.
   Name attributed to the Pittsburgh Exploration Syndicate pretty amusing.
    Bruce's description of Murra, and of Mr. Alexander's house, especially notable.
   Also depictions of boldness & persistence of EDSN in harassing the patrol; superior firepower of the Marines-GN in defending themselves.

   By the end of the year Lt. Bruce would be dead, killed and mutilated by the Sandinistas he was chasing here.

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
thru 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933 +

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