Headquarters, 2nd Battalion, 11th
Condega, Nicaragua. 1 March 1928.
First Lieutenant Edward F.
The Battalion Commander, 2nd
Battalion, 11th Regiment.
Report of engagement with bandit
1. The following report of a
skirmish with bandit forces is herewith
On 27 February 1928, the ration train under my command
that left ESTELI on 23 February, 1928,
and proceeded to SAN RAFAEL and YALI
with commissary stores, cleared YALI at
8:15 a.m. on 27 February, 1928, all
stores having been delivered. The column
consisted of one officer, thirty five
Marines, one pharmacists mate third
class, U.S.Navy, twenty muleros and two
"Jefe" muleros with ninety nine mules
and was proceeding along the trail
between YALI and CONDEGA. At
approximately one-half the distance
between the two towns, the column was
ambushed by the bandit forces. The exact
location of the skirmish is about one
thousand yards west of a town named
BROMADEROS [El Bramadero].
2. The column had just been closed up and
was proceeding west, and as it entered
the flat space of ground between the two
ranges of hills, the Bandit Forces
opened fire on the right flank of the
column throughout its entire length,
also from the front and rear of the
3. The firing commenced at approximately
1:30 p.m., and lasted until 8:30 p.m.
the same date, when it subsided to
irregular harrasing fire throughout the
night. It is estimated beyond doubt that
the bandit forces had a minimum of four
machine guns, at least six hundred
rifles and a large quantity of dynamite
bombs. It is estimated that at least two
hundred dynamite bombs were discharged.
4. The bandit forces withheld fire until
the entire column was in front of them,
varying in distance from 75 to 200 yards
along the trail. The first shot of the
skirmish was directed at the undersigned
and was immediately followed by
simultaneous firing along their entire
line, the opening up with everything
that they may have had. The mule train
was stampeded upon the initial burst of
fire along the line. The Marines eased
off to the brush on their left and
commenced firing. Being out-numbered to
such an extent and the bandit forces
having fire [ p. 2 ] superiority, the
Marines eased to the left gradually,
taking position on a ridge. The Bandit
Forces continued incessant fire until
about 2:30 p.m. when they advanced
towards the Marines in line of skirmish.
The machine guns keeping up fire on the
Marine's positions, in addition to
bandit rifles. Advancing to the foot of
the hill the Bandit Forces fell back at
about 3:00 p.m., leaving in the vicinity
several groups of their men. As they
fell back to their positions, they
ravaged what could be found on the
train. At or about 6:30 p.m. they again
moved forward in skirmish formation and
proceeded to the base of the hill. This
advance was also broken up and stopped
by Marine fire. The Bandit Forces kept
firing during the entire time until
about 8:30 p.m. They were evidently well
supplied with ammunition as one or more
machine guns were firing practically all
of the time in addition to rifle fire
and bombs. During the night there was a
great deal of movement of bandit troops
and what sounded like bull carts and a
mule train. The Marines maintained
position occupied until day-break when
reinforcements from the 57th Company,
under Command of Captain William K.
MacNulty, U.S.Marine Corps, arrived on
the scene at day-break. The attack on
Bandit Forces was then taken up.
5. The following named Marines were killed
in action on 27 February 1928:
Private PUMP, John C.
Private ROBBINS, George E.
Private SCHLAUCH, Albert.
Two more as follows, died the following
day, 28 February 1928, from wounds
received in action on 27 February 1928:
Corporal AUSTIN, Cicero D.
Private MOTT, Curtis J.
There were eight men wounded as follows:
Sergeant CHRISTIAN, Wilbourn O.
Sergeant ISHAM, Charles H.
Private BALLARD, Lewis E.
Private CRUM, Peter C.
Private DAVIS, Lem, C.
Private MAYNARD, Linton C.
Private CARTER, Raymond B.
Private PHELPS, Clarence E.
Four of the twenty muleros with the
column were wounded by rifle fire, two
of them leaving the vicinity for ESTELI
at dusk, one going to CONDEGA, the other
being wounded in the groin,remained with
6. On the morning of 28
February, 1928, after the attack upon
the enemy emplacements, the three dead
Marines were collec- [ p. 3 ] ted and
interred near the village of BROMADEROS
under the supervision of Captain
MacNulty. Such equipment and effects as
were found were returned to CONDEGA. The
bandits killed and wounded in the
skirmish were taken to their rear and it
is practically impossible to ascertain
the number or to form an estimate,
although there were many evidences of
bandits having been wounded and
7. The two Marines that died on 28
February,1928,of wounds received in
action on 27 February, 1928, were
interred at DARIJLI. Existing
instructions pertaining to deceased
Marines were complied with to the best
8. Two or more of the bandit forces could
speak irregular English, and made a
specialty of harrassing the Marines with
slurs and insults during any lull in
firing. All the bandit troops that came
in sight of the undersigned were
outfitted with shoes.
9. At about 7:30 p.m., their fire was
lulled and the man with a tenor voice
complimented the bandits for their work.
This was repeated in loud tones all
along the line, the message as heard
seemed to be, "Complimentado todos
soldato por travio bueno." Upon the
message being repeated, three tremendous
cheers were given, interspersed each
time with the detonation of from six to
ten bombs. The cheer was "Vive la
Sandino, vive las Nicaraguans."
10. Immediately following this cheer, three
more were given for some general, the
name I could not ascertain, but it
sounded as though it had three
11. Shortly after 8:30 p.m., some of the
bandit troops started to leave. This was
the signal for more cheers. Some that
were understood were "Bueno Concordia,
Adios Condega, Adios Jinotega,
apparently detachments from those
12. Approximately one-third of horses and
mules in the column were killed,
wounded, or captured by the bandit
13. The Marine dead were whacked over the
head with bolos, the bandit skirmishers,
splitting their skulls wide open.
14. It is recommended that the following
named men be cited for exceptional
bravery in the face of hostile bandit
fire. Statements of witnesses to the
acts described are not available at
present, but can be obtained at an early
date. [ p. 4 ]
Gunnery Sergeant Herbert F. Larrick,
U.S.M.C., who, in the face of the
tremendous volume of initial firing by
the bandits, by his steadiness and
coolness in action, displayed keen
judgement in assembling the Marines near
the center of the train and conducted
them to a point of advantage, from where
he opened up fire on the bandit
emplacements. Cooling down the men, most
of whom were receiving their baptismal
fire, he ably assisted in repelling the
enemy advance. [handwritten in margin:
Sergeant Wilbourn O. Christian, U.S.M.C., who was at
the head of the column, his horse shot
from underneath him and he being pitched
to the ground, maintained a cool and
steady nerve, although wounded, took
charge of the Marines in the forward
section of the train, directed their
fire upon the bandit emplacements, and
got them to a point of vantage from
where he opened fire on vulnerable spots
in the bandit defense, later assisting
to break up the bandit advance.
[handwritten in margin: "citation"]
Sergeant Charles H. Isham, U.S.M.C., who was bringing
up the rear of the column, having been
shot through the thigh on the first
volume of fire, organized a squad of men
and delivered volley fire at vulnerable
spots in the bandit emplacements, his
very active and conduct [sic] under a
disastrous and withering enemy fire, was
an example for the men near him, most of
whom were receiving their baptismal
fire. By his well directed fire, the
remainder of the detachment along the
rear of the train, was enabled to get
into position and pick up the fire.
Badly wounded, he exercised command over
the right of the line during the entire
engagement, disregarding his own comfort
and safety to perform an arduous task
far beyond the call of duty.
[handwritten in margin: "Navy Cross"]
Pharmacists Mate Third Class Linn H. McEwan U.S. Navy,
with the bandit forces to the front and
left front made a timing movement around
the head of the column, far above and
beyond the call of duty, volunteered to
cross an open field in order to get the
message to Sergeant Christian, under
extremely heavy and close hand fire, the
bandit forces concentrating their fire
on him. He successfully performed the
mission, and then proceeded with
treatment of the wounded, helping them
out of open spaces to cover under
devastating machine gun fire. No known
wounded man went without treatment, once
McEwan was informed of the location of
the wounded, absolutely sacrificing his
own safety to render assistance to any
man in need. [handwritten in margin:
Corporal Homer T. Provost, U.S.M.C., attached to train
from the Intelligence Section,
Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion,
upon the train being ambushed, knowing
that the Marines were greatly
outnumbered, and being surrounded, made
a getaway right through their midst, and
once clear, make a straight course for
CONDEGA, 15 miles distant, there
informing the Battalion Commander of the
plight of the train. Enroute to CONDEGA,
he also advised Captain MacNulty, who
had a combat patrol [ p. 5 ] on the
trail, of the circumstances, who
proceeded hastily to the scene of the
encounter, reaching there at day-break,
probably saving many mens' lives.
[handwritten in margin: "citation"]
Private First Class Edward L. Garrison, U.S.M.C., who,
when Gunnery Sergeant Larrick asked for
a volunteer to get through the bandit
lines and into YALI, about 12 miles
distant, with the information that the
train was ambushed and surrounded, and
that help was needed, gladly and
willingly, volunteered for the mission.
Leaving at dark, he successfully worked
his way through the bandits, and ran
practically all the way to YALI, where a
mounted patrol under Lieutenant Cloud
was organized, and, under the guidance
of Garrison, proceeded to the scene of
the attack. [handwritten in margin:
Several other exceptional and distinguished acts of
bravery by members of the train convoy
will be forwarded when all the details
15. It is further recommended that all the
men in the train convoy be commended for
their loyal and brave conduct under
severe fire and adverse conditions, it
being the first time practically all of
them had been subjected to heavy fire,
conducted themselves as well trained
soldiers performing their task in a very
16. The following is a roster of the men
who participated in the action against
the Bandit Forces, 27 February, 1928,
near the vicinity of BROMADEROS:
57th Co., 2nd Bn., 11th Regt.
Gy. Sgt. LARRICK, Herbert F.
Sgt. CHRISTIAN, Wilbourn O.
Sgt. ISHAM, Charles H.
Cpl. AUSTIN, Cicero D.
Cpl. GRIFFITH, Forrest E.
Cpl. PEARLSTEIN, Joseph.
Cpl. ZERNICKE, Edgar L.
Pfc. GARRISON, Edward L.
Pfc. McDANIEL, Eugene I.
Pfc. PETTERSON, Walter B.
Pfc. NINER, Charles E.
Pfc. SIMPSON, Oran G.
Pvt. ADAMS, Romain F.
Pvt. BALLARD, Lewis E.
Pvt. BIGELOW, Tracy "L".
Pvt. BREVIK, Lewis C.
Pvt. BUNN, Bennie M.
Pvt. CARTER, Raymond B.
Pvt. CLARK, Lloyd. [ p. 6 ]
Pvt. CORDON, Walter E.
Pvt. CRUM, Peter C.
Pvt. DAVIS, John.
Pvt. DOUGHTERTY, Glenn M.
Pvt. DOWNEY, John P.
Pvt. LOUDEN, Arthur G.
Pvt. McCARVILLE, John W.
Pvt. MAYNARD, Linton C.
Pvt. PHELPS, Clarence E.
Pvt. PIERSON, Edward J.
Pvt. PUMP, John C.
Pvt. ROBBINS, George E.
Pvt. SCHLAUCH, Albert.
Pvt. MOTT, Curtis J.
Pvt. DAVIS, Lem. C.
Cpl. PROVOST, Homer T.
PhM3c. McEWAN, Linn H.
/ s / EDWARD F. O'DAY.
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1st Endorsement 2 March 1928.
Headquarters, 2nd Battalion, 11th
Regiment, Condega, Nicaragua.
From: Commanding Officer
Commander, Northern Area, Ocotal,
2. It is recommended that those men
recommended in paragraph 14, for
exceptional bravery by the detachment
commander be cited in orders and that
they be recommended for award of the
Navy Cross. Necessary statements will be
forwarded as soon as obtainable. Further
recommendations are contemplated as soon
as necessary statements can be obtained.
3. It is further recommended that the
entire detachment be commended by letter
for the soldierly conduct under fire.
Verbal commendation has already been
made by the Battalion Commander.
/s/ H. C. PIERCE