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PC28.04.05  Roberts

INVENTORY OF PC-DOCS, JANUARY—JUNE 1928

28.01.04 BROWN
28.01.04 BROWN
28.01.04 HUNT
28.01.05 KILCOURSE
28.01.08 SATTERFIELD
28.01.08 WADBROOK
28.01.21 SHAW
28.01.22 PEARD
28.01.31 KENYON
28.02.03 PEARD
28.02.04 MCDONALD
28.02.06 YOUNG
28.02.12 WATERMAN
28.02.18 GEYER
28.02.19 CLARK
28.02.19 GRAY
28.02.21 ORR
28.02.22 SHIEBLER
28.02.23 WELLS
28.02.24 SHIEBLER
28.02.24 ROCKEY
28.02.25 BROWN
28.02.26 CLARK
28.02.26 HOLMES
28.02.26 RIDDERHOF
28.02.27 GEYER
28.02.28 HUNTER
28.02.29 CLAUDE
28.02.29 CRONMILLER
28.03.01 O'DAY
28.03.05 MCNULTY
28.03.05 ROCKEY
28.03.11 AIKEN
28.03.15 CHAPPELL
28.03.16 ARTHUR
28.03.18 RIDDERHOF
28.03.22 ROCKEY
28.03.28 HUNTER
28.03.28 GEYER
28.04.05 ATKINSON
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
28.04.15 HATFIELD
28.04.16 STOCKS
28.04.17 AIKEN
28.04.18 GALT
28.04.19 ESAU
28.04.19 MARSHALL
28.04.19 SNEAD
28.04.23 GALT
28.04.23 WILLIS
28.04.23 MCQUEEN
28.04.26 PEFLEY
28.04.28 MCQUEEN
28.04.30 ARNETT
28.05.06 HART
28.05.07 MERRITT
28.05.08 AIKEN
28.05.08 CLARK
28.05.09 KILCOURSE
28.05.11 AIKEN
28.05.11 ESAU
28.05.12 KILCOURSE
28.05.12 PEFLEY
28.05.14 HOLMES
28.05.16 CLAUDE
28.05.16 CRAMER
28.05.17 RIDDERHOF
28.05.17 ADAMS
28.05.18 SCHIEBLER
28.05.20 O'DAY
28.05.21 JENKINS
28.05.21 KENYON
28.05.22 CRAMER
28.05.24 CLAUDE
28.05.24 CRAMER
28.05.25 PIPER
28.05.25 PIPER
28.05.25 UNKNOWN
28.05.30 HATFIELD
28.06.01 SCOTT
28.06.04 HOLMES
28.06.04 O'NEIL
28.06.04 SNEDEKER
28.06.06 YOUNG
28.06.15 BROWN
28.06.16 ANDERSON
28.06.19 BERRY
28.06.20 HUMPHREY
28.06.20 ROCKEY
28.06.24 CRAMER

28.04.05.   Roberts, Patrol Report Including Report of Engagement with the Enemy Near Colorado

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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HEADQUARTERS,2ND BATTALION,11TH REGIMENT, ESTELI, NICARAGUA.

5 APRIL 1928.

From: 1st Lieut. H. C. Roberts, USMC, Patrol Commander.
To: Commanding Officer, Second Battalion.
Subject: Patrol report including report of engagement with the enemy near Colorado.

     1.   This patrol cleared Esteli at 1620 on 30 March, 1928, with twenty-two enlisted Marine Corps, one Navy, and one officer commanding patrol. Patrol arrived at Pino at dusk. At Pino information was received that the bandits had passed through there at 10:30 a.m. same day. There a very poor native reported that bandits had robbed himself, his wife and child of all their clothing and bedding and begged to go with the patrol. Permission was at first refused but later near San Luis native was found to be at head of column. Permission was then granted for him to accompany the patrol. Enroute to Pino three privates were sent back to Esteli, because of poor mounts and their inability to handle animals. Private Cornelison's mount foundered near Pino and Private Cornelison proceeded with the patrol on foot rather than return to Esteli. The patrol proceeded throughout the night via San Luis and La America. At San Luis no one could be found, but at La America there was one man who stated that the bandits had passed through. He was ordered to conduct us to Consuela where we believed the bandits would camp for the night. This man did guide the patrol, but guided the patrol round Consuela purposely because he too believed that the bandits would camp there and at day-break the next morning deserted the head of the column in the woods near Las Pavas. It was found that the patrol had proceeded from La America to Pirie and then to Las Pavas going completely around Consuela. At Las Pavas information was received that the bandits probably camped at Colorado.

     2.   The patrol proceeded from Las Pavas to Labrainte [Labarinto] and thence back toward Colorado in order to enter Colorado from the far side and head off bandits. At 9:45 a.m. the patrol was coming round the mountain on the edge of a large plain of rolling pasture land, covered with many rocks. We had been told at Las Pavas that over the route we had traveled, it was fourteen leagues from Esteli to Colorado. The men were all extremely tired at this time.

     3.   The patrol was about 200 yards to the left of the road when the bandits were seen emerging in an excellent formation. They had a point, an advance party and a main body. The majority of the bandits were dressed in khaki. A large number [ p. 2 ] of them wore rubber hats and all wore red and black hat bands. It is estimated that over half of them carried rifles. About 1/3 of them were mounted and there were in the column between 65 and 75 total bandits. At the head of the main body was the Jefe who was the first killed during the action and who is believed to have been General Alejandrdo F. Ferrera. The bandits were unable to see the Marine column, because it was over a slight rise in the ground to the right of the bandits. The bandits proceeded in the open until they were approximately abreast of the Marine column. The entire Marine column then turned to the right flank and charged on their mounts, in what looked to be a perfect line of skirmishes down on the bandit's column.

     4.   The bandits' surprise was so great that they did not dismount and run until the Marines were about 50 or 60 yards from then. When the bandits broke and ran, our line dismounted and took up rapid fire from the crest of the ridge which was on the right of the bandit column. When the marines too up the fire the bandits broke column and ran in two directions; one group to our right front and another group to our left front up to a slight rise to our front, range about 120 yards, taking cover behind the numerous rocks which covered the field, and took up the fire against the Marines. Firing from both sides continued for about eight to ten minutes when I gave the order to stand by our mounts, mount and again charged the bandits line. Before our line could close with the bandits they again broke and ran. Bandits ran in every direction excepting towards us. However, the majority of the bandits divided into two groups. One group ran toward the house in a ravine to our right front which was lead by a bandit who seemed to be a Jefe as he shouted what seemed to be commands. The second and only other large group ran to our left front for about 500 yards and crawled over a stone wall into some brush and took up a defensive position there. At this time a bandit horse came towards our line with a large bundle strapped to the saddle. We heard a shout, "Me Ropa," and the native whose clothing had been stolen at Pino and who had followed the patrol all night, ran out and unstrapped the bundle of clothing and headed back over the hill with the roll of clothing on his back not to be seen again.

     5.   Corporal Stagg led an attack on that position while Sergeant Dirkes and I with four men followed the largest group which had retreated to the house to our right [ p. 3 ] front and had taken up a defensive position there.

     6.   During the second charge on the bandit's position mentioned above, conspicuous gallantry, bravery, disregard for their own lives and aggressiveness was displayed by the following men: Sergeant John F. Dirkes, who at that time shot shot the Jefe, later decided to be Ferrera; Corporal Hannon W. Stagg; Private Richard E. Cornelison; Lorenzo Torres, Rene D. Cote, and Roland E. Cote. Many instances of bravery, aggressiveness, and disregard for their own lives were shown by practically everybody of this patrol, in-as-much as we were outnumbered by about four to one at all times.

     7.   During the two succeeding and almost simultaneous attacks Corporal Stagg led the attack against the bandits behind the stone wall to our left front. This attack was not witnessed by myself but there was known to be one dead after the attack and the bandits were driven from behind the stone wall into a brush filled raving [ravine] and thence up a steep hill amidst brush, trees, and brambles, where three or four trails of blood were seen later. But, an actual description of this attack can not be given by myself. The other defensive position that was taken up by the bandits about 800 yards to our right front at a house in a ravine and surrounded by a stone wall was attacked by Sergeant Dirkes, Private Lorenzo Torres, R. E. Cornelison; R. D. Cote; R. E. Cote, and myself. At this time there were at least three other groups of Marines who followed smaller groups of bandits in directions other than those which Corporal Stagg with his detachment and my detachment took. An actual description of what they did was not witnessed by myself but trails of blood and bloody rags and clothing were found in the surrounding hills in various directions after the termination of the entire engagement. The enlisted men named above and I followed the largest group of bandits down a ravine toward the house where they took up their defense. While chasing the bandits down this ravine one bandit named Jose Maria Ualdonado [José María Maldonado] was wounded in the left thigh and captured with rifle by myself and sent to the rear. We then covered two sides of the stone wall surrounding the house where we received considerable, quite accurate fire from behind the stone wall. We worked through the brush down the hill toward the house continually firing at every target that presented itself behind the stone wall and arrived in a ravine which covered two sides of the house. There we decided to work up to the house on two sides, and when near enough, throw grenades over the stone wall and against the house and after the explosion of those grenades, climbed the wall and take the [ p. 4 ] position. We worked up from cover to cover receiving fire during the entire advance and when within thirty feet of the stone wall and under cover of some large rocks, the grenades were thrown into the yard (three hand grenades were thrown by myself and I'm certain they were in the conditions issued and I pulled the pins myself) after three grenades had exploded we stood up and fired a volley at the occupants of the position and ran up, climbed the wall simultaneously from two directions. As we climbed the wall bandits were soon climbing the hill on the opposite side of the house, and entering the brush, at least two of whom were wounded. At the house the following prisoners were captured: Genarimo Duartez and Filipe Duartez [Jerónimo Duarte and Felipe Duarte], brothers. Filipe Duartez was with the advance party of the bandits when we attacked their column as he was dressed in white and was amongst the first to retreat toward the house. The retreating bandits were followed up the hill by the above mentioned enlisted men and myself in line of skirmishes. Many shots were fired at them during the retreat, but their advance through the brush was so rapid that we were unable to catch them. These people can penetrate brush and brambles with perfect ease and facility which is impenetrable for Marines. Two trails of blood were seen on the hill.

     8.   During the advance on this house and the attack at the house constant fire was being received from the house at short range and the bravery and tactical ability and the encouragement given to the men by Sergeant Dirkes can not be recommended too highly.

     9.   During the engagement an airplane passed high overhead. Although we were moving about in the open and a great deal of firing was being done at the time, it apparently failed to locate us. Had it done so it would have been invaluable in enabling us to keep contact with the larger fleeing groups of bandits as well as being of some assistance in the engagement with its machine guns and bombs.

     10.   After the dispersal of the bandits who held the house, the men who were there and I returned back up over the hill to the scene of the original engagement where at the time a few scattered shots were being fired by various Marines some distance away at retreating bandits. There the bandits horses were collected, the prisoners were assembled, and a skirmish line was organized to cover the surrounding brush covered hills. About 1/3 of the actual scene of action was cover finding three dead bandits, one more rifle, 240 [ p. 5 ] odd rounds of bandit ammunition and numerous articles of clothing and eighteen or twenty trails of blood when the search was stopped by myself as my men were so exhausted that three men and myself had vomited and my men could do no more. The actual engagement with the bandits lasted from 0945 until 1030 but numerous skirmishes with retreating groups continued until 1200.

     11.   We returned, assembled our men and assembled the captured property. It was found that we had captured three prisoners, nine bandit horses and saddles, two mules branded U.S. and one bandit mule, two rifles, 240 some rounds of ammunition, eight dynamite bombs, day-book of General Ferrera containing an eight page manifesto to the Nicaraguan Public, signed by Ferrera and a list of names of three officers and thirty-one soldiers. One Marine blanket with the name of J. P. Downey clearly stenciled thereon (Pvt. Downey participated in the engagement at Bramaderos under command of Lieut O'Day, where he, in all probability, lost that blanket) two Marine ponchos and one McClellan saddle with initials OD clearly cut into the leather on the pommel and one pair of webb suspenders were found. The McClellan saddle and a red and white Indian saddle pad was on the black horse which was ridden by the Jefe who was killed by Sergeant Dirkes. Ferrera's day-book and the eight bombs which were captured, were also found on that same horse. The horses, saddle blanket, and saddle were recognized by the prisoner "Jose M. Ualadona" as belonging to Ferrera. The rider of that horse was unquestionably killed. The Jefe killed, believed to be Ferrera, was young, not older than 25 and about 5 feet 5 inches tall, dressed in clean khaki, wearing leather puttees. He was clean shaven and had fine teeth, he carried the bombs in his saddle roll which contained other good clothing and a post office cancellation stamp from La Trinidad, February 13, AM,1928. He carried a dagger with a bone handle which was recognized as Ferrera's by the above mentioned prisoners. It is believed that this Jefe (Ferrera) is the young Nicaraguan named Miguel Angel Ortez who has been using the name of Ferrera. On his person was found a notebook belonging to A. E. Myers, Marine Corps. There were many closely written pages in English which had been torn from the book but the page stubbs proved that it had contained English hand-writing.

     12.   During the engagement I noticed many bandits fall after having been hit but immediately get up and run again and it was proved that even though wounded these people can successfully elude Marines in the underbrush. The number of [ p. 6 ] wounded estimated at the time was eighteen which was not an over-estimate. But Lieutenant Putnam, of Pueblo Nuevo, patroled the area Colorado, Consuelo, La America, on April 1, 1928, and from his report of bloody trails found blood clothing found at La America, it is estimated that the total number of enemy wounded should be increased by at least half.

     13.   After assembling my men, prisoners and captured property, we proceeded along the trail which seemed to have been taken by the majority of the fleeing bandits not knowing in what direction this trail led. Some news of bandits enroute was heard, but their trail was soon lost and we came out on the main cart road between Limay and Pueblo Nuevo near Casa Blanca. The patrol proceeded to Pueblo Nuevo where a telegraphic report was made arriving at 1630 on 31 march 1928.

     14.   The patrol remained at Pueblo Nuevo the night of 31 March-1 April. During the morning of 1 April, reports were received that small groups of bandits were passing through the mountains in the vicinity of Potaste [Pataste] traveling north. Information of same was telegraphed to Commanding Officer, Second Battalion, at Esteli, requesting instructions, and orders were received to proceed to Potaste if I thought contact would be made. I did think contact could be made so my patrol cleared Pueblo Nuevo for Potaste at 1245 on 1 April.

     15.   My patrol arrived at Potaste and shortly thereafter we received information that the bandits were concentrating at Motolin from a native employee of Mr. Mosher and vouched for him as reliable, who had been forced by the bandits to conduct them to Motolin. He stated that there were eighteen or twenty in the band and that it was the remainder of the Ferrera group which was then commanded by Ephriam Cordon [Efriám Cordón]. They stated that Ferrera had been killed or wounded the day before near Colorado. My patrol laid an ambush near Potaste for we expected an opportunity to ambush bandits passing through. No one passed through.

     16.   The next day at about noon, Major Rowell flew over Potaste and dropped the following message, quote how far north are bandits lay out numeral for number of miles Rowell unquote. The numeral nine was laid out and the planes proceeded north and bombed Motolin which was exactly what I had requested them not to do in my telegram sent in from Potaste the day before. My patrol cleared Potaste at 1400 April 2, for Motolin. My proposed attack on Motolin did not materialize as Motolin [ p. 7 ] was deserted, probably because of the attack from the air about noon. The patrol proceeded to Pueblo Nuevo and upon our arrival there reported the information which had been collected at Potaste as follows: that Jose Leon Diaz with 100 rifles and 100 men who had just returned from Honduras where he had purchased rifles and ammunition was organizing a concentration at Trementinal west of Somoto on the border of Honduras. The following Jefes are said to be joining him: Gregario Diaz [Gregorio Diaz] with 25 men and rifles, the Ferrera group commanded by Ephriam Cordon of about twenty men and rifles plus smaller groups under Damion Diaz, Carmen Lopez, Modisto Escalon [Modesto Escalante], and Lucas Gonzalez, the estimated total of the bandits concentrating there was at least 200. It is rumored that they [went] to attack Somoto but I believed that this rumor was started only to attract the bandits with the possibility of rich loot. Orders were received at Pueblo Nuevo for Condega on 3 April at 1000.

     17.   We arrived at Condega at 1330. Five captured bandit saddles, and three captured bandit horses and one captured bandit mule were left for government use at Condega. My patrol cleared Condega at 0730 4 April for Esteli, arriving at Esteli at 1810, delivering to Commanding Officer, Esteli, six bandit horses and one bandit mule and three bandit saddles and five prisoners; three of whom were taken by myself whose names are as follows: Jose Maria Ualdano; Geranimo Duartz; and Felipe Duartz. The names of the prisoners captured at Colorado by Lieutenant Putnam are as follows: Santos Arostregi [Santos Arauz?] and Escolastico Rugama.

     18.   Jose Maria Ualdonado bandit prisoner stated that Ferrera had 100 men with him but it is not believed that more than 70 participated in the combat with my patrol. He stated that the 31 names of soldiers and three officers which were in the captured book were the names of only those who left Honduras with him. Since that time the rest have been recruited. He stated that their column left the border about 15 March, 1928, and proceeded south passing near Ocotal, near Daraili, around Yali, to Miraflores, to Concordia, and thence north through mountains to Pino, to America, and thence to Colorado, where they slept and we attacked them about one mile from there. He stated that he has been with Ferrera for fifteen days and that Ferrera had one wounded bandit with him who was riding a womans' side saddle. He stated that all of Ferrera's soldiers were required to wear red hat bands, and that the khaki uniforms that some of them wore were purchased in Honduras. He stated that they were all very frightened when we attacked them and that they had no information that they were being followed and that [ p. 8 ] is why they were unable to organize more and fight better. He also stated that they were all individual cowards and had no confidence in Ferrera. The rifles carried by the bandits were U.S. Krag Rifles, manufactured at the Springfield Arsenal. He stated that they were going north via a Valle named Limon near Palacaguina and that is all he knows of their destination but thought they were going to Ocotal.

     19.   A roster of my patrol, all of whom deserve a commendation for this action is hereto attached. Citations for the following men are also hereto attached: Sergeant John F. Dirkes; Corporal Hannon W. Stagg; Privates Richard E. Cornelison, Lorenzo Torres, Rene D. Cote, and Roland E. Cote.

/s/ Harold C. Roberts
First Lieutenant, U.S. Marine Corps.
Bn-2.

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HEADQUARTERS, 2ND BATTALION, 11TH REGIMENT.
ESTELI, NICARAGUA. 5 APRIL 1928.

     The following is a roster of the Patrol which participated in the engagement with the enemy at Colorado, Nicaragua, on 31 March 1928, commanded by 1st Lieutenant H. C. Roberts, U.S.M.C.

1st Lieutenant ROBERTS, Harold C. Bn-2,Hq.2nd Bn.11th Regt.
Sergeant DIRKES, John F. Hd&HdCo.11th Regt.
Corporal NORTH, Dick O. 16th Co. 5th Regt.
STAGG, Hannon W. Hd&HdCo.11th Regt.
TEKULVE, Joseph R. Hd&HdCo.11th Regt.
Pvt-1cl FLUCHT, Paul O. 16th Co. 5th Regt.
HOPPER, Edney H. 16th Co. 5th Regt.
Privates BROWN, Noel H. Hd&HdCo. 11th Regt.
BURCH, George Hd&HdCo. 11th Regt.
CORNELISON, Richard E.Hd&HdCo. 11th Regt.
COTE, Rene D. 16th Co. 5th Regt.
COTE, Roland E. 16th Co. 5th Regt.
EHTERTON, Donald M. Hd&HdCo. 11th Regt.
GODBOUT, Leo G. 16th Co. 5th Regt.
HOWE, Thomas R. 16th Co. 5th Regt.
KEATON, John H. 16th Co. 5th Regt.
LAWLOR, John W. Hd&HdCo. 11th Regt.
ORSER, Walter LeR. Hd&HdCo. 11th Regt.
SHOEMAKER, Herbert H. Hd&HdCo. 11th Regt.
TORRES, Lorenzo Hd&HdCo. 11th Regt.
PhM2c U.S.N. JOHNSON, Ernest 16th Co. 5th Regt.

127/204/3

Summary & Notes:

   An extraordinarily detailed and involved report, with many major & minor episodes.
   Red and black hat bands mark this group unmistakably as EDSN.
   24 Marines (from Estelí) vs. 65-75 EDSN outside village of Colorado, northwest of Estelí.  No Marine casualties, numerous EDSN casualties (including at least three dead).  Five EDSN prisoners taken (José María Maldonado, Jerónimo Duarte, Felipe Duarte, Santos Arauz?, Escolastico Rugama).  A clear Marine victory.
   Unknown who the killed EDSN Jefe was; he doesn't seem to have been Miguel Angel Ort
éz (aka Alejandro Ferrera).

   Captured "day-book" (listing 3 officers & 31 enlisted) and other documents referenced here (Ferrera 8 page manifesto; A.E. Myers USMC notebook) have not been found.
   Fascinating vignette of "very poor native" whose family's clothes & bedclothes were stolen by EDSN; insisted on accompanying patrol despite being refused permission; found his clothes at end of the firefight; shouted "mi ropa!" grabbed them & disappeared over the hill; a fascinating, amusing & vivid tidbit that speaks to civil conflicts stemming from methods of EDSN resource acquisition, among other things.
   Deception of natives:  by my count, information received on trail:  4 accurate reports, 2 false, 1 can't tell.
   Very poor EDSN intelligence, surprised by Marine column — why?  They were in excellent formation, all dressed in khaki, seemingly well led and prepared for battle.  Probably lost battle because they were both surprised, and outgunned.
   Marine loot from El Bramadero battle still being used & circulated among rebels.

   Report accompanied by numerous Marine statements, citations, etc., not included here.

   None of this mentioned in any extant EDSN correspondence; a forgotten episode.

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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