icon MCG Battle History: 1866-1914

Articles about Marines from 1866 to 1914, including about: the Panama Crisis of 1885, the Philippine–American War, the Banana Wars, and the Boxer Rebellion.

1885 – Panama Crisis of 1885

THE FIRST EXPEDITION TO PANAMACapt Frank E. Evans, USMC (Ret)MCG June 1916“The insurrection of 1885 followed upon the leaven of discontent germinated by the result of the presidential election held in Panama in the summer of the preceding year.”
Marines at MatachinCapt J. M. Ellicott, USN (Ret)MCG September 1950“When insurrection flared out into the open in Panama in 1885, trans-isthmian railroad traffic soon came to a standstill.”

1898-1911 – Philippine–American War

THE MELTING POT OF THE ISLANDSCapt Frank E. Evans, USMC (Ret)MCG September 1917“‘…If there’s any hombre in this mess small enough to start anything in the next ninety days, he can finish it with me.'”
Attack on Sohoton CliffsAnonymousMCG November 1970“The battalion commander considered the rebels’ position as impregnable. A pair of fighting captains proved him wrong.”

1898-1934 – Banana Wars

1898 – Spanish–American War

THE GUANTANAMO CAMPAIGN OF 1898Col Charles L. McCawley, USMCMCG September 1916“The Dolphin, mistaking the valley indicated, shelled the one at the head of which Lieutenant Magill was stationed.”
THE SERGEANT’S PRIVATE MADHOUSEStephen CraneMCG September 1916This story of Guantanamo is reprinted from “Wounds in the Rain,” by the late Stephen Crane.
WAR MEMORIES OF GUANTANAMOAnonymousMCG December 1916“Suddenly a marine wiggled out of the firing line and came frantically to me. ‘Say, young feller, I’ll give you five dollars for a drink of whiskey.’ … ‘If I don’t get a drink I’ll die…'”
THE LONE CHARGE OF WILLIAM B. PERKINSStephen CraneMCG March 1917This story of Guantanamo is reprinted from “Wounds in the Rain,” by the late Stephen Crane.
THE CAPTURE OF NEW ORLEANSMaj Edwin N. McClellanMCG December 1920“‘At 10 a.m. the Marine Guards of the Hartford, Richmond, Pensacola, and Brooklyn, with two field pieces, were landed in the city under the command of the Captain of Marines of the flagship. Thousands of the people came down to the levee to see the Yankees, as they called us…'”
MARINES AT Manila BayCapt J. M. Ellicott, USN (Ret)MCG May 1953“Marines were the first to fire at the Battle of Manila Bay. They were also first to fly the U. S. flag on Spanish soil”
GUANTANAMOStephen CraneMCG November 1965Extracted from Stephen Crane’s story of the first fight at Guantanamo Bay, published in the New York Herald, 23 June 1898.
Under Fire at GuantanamoStephen CraneMCG November 1969“No one watching Sgt Quick wig-wagging there against the sky would have given a tin tobacco tag for his life.”
Guantanamo and the 1st Marine Battalion, 25 June 1898Col Robert R. Hull, USMC (Ret)MCG July 1998A description of Marine operations at Guantanamo following the battle at Cuzco Well.

1910-1919 – Mexican Border War

The Vera Cruz StoryLtCol Howard W. Houck, USMC (Ret.)MCG November 1969One of the Old Corps recalls from the cherished past the deeds of a detachment of Marines and his own encounter with Poncho Villa.

1912-1933 – Occupation of Nicaragua

AMERICAN MARINES IN NICARAGUAMaj Edwin N. McClellanMCG March 1921“Commodore Paulding informed Walker he intended capturing all the filibusters and returning them to the United States.”
AMERICAN MARINES IN NICARAGUAMaj Edwin N. McClellanMCG June 1921“Upon receipt of orders to clear the railroad of all troops occupying menacing positions, Regimental Headquarters and First Battalion left Camp Weitzel, Managua, at 2.25 P.M., Wednesday, October 2nd, plans having been made for the cooperation of Major Butler and the Third Battalion to arrive from the southeast in an attack, if necessary, on Coyotepe and the Barranca.”
PROTECTION OF AMERICAN INTERESTSPrepared by Division of Operations and Training, USMCMCG September 1927“Conditions in China becoming more critical, and the small force of Marines available there being deemed inadequate, the 4th Regiment (less 2nd Battalion), Colonel [C. S. Garrison], Hill, commanding, was quickly mobilized at San Diego, sixty-six officers and 1162 enlisted men.”
COMBAT REPORTS OF OPERATIONS IN NICARAGUADivision of Operations and Training, Headquarters, USMCMCG December 1928“Captain Buchanan, on hearing firing off to his left, swung in this direction in order to flank them. After advancing for about a block and a half the point was fired on and forced to take cover.”
COMBAT OPERATIONS IN NICARAGUACompiled by Division of Operations and TrainingMCG March 1929“The bandits laid heavy rifle, machine gun and Thompson gun fire on the rear of Marine and Guardia quarters, followed by dynamite bombs and hand grenades.”
COMBAT OPERATIONS IN NICARAGUACompiled by Division of Operations and TrainingMCG June 1929“Resuming our narrative then, we find that steps were immediately taken upon O'[Shea]’s return to JICARO, to send a larger force of marines to locate the missing aviators.”
COMBAT OPERATIONS IN NICARAGUACompiled by Division of Operations and TrainingMCG September 1929“The first shot of the skirmish was directed at the undersigned and was immediately followed by simultaneous firing along their entire line, opening up with everything that they may have had.”
Typical Combat Patrols In Nicaragua1stLt J. G. Walraven, USMCMCG December 1929“It is seldom that an enemy position will present a front long enough to equal that of the patrol when engaged, if proper distance is maintained between files.”
La Flor EngagementCapt Victor F. Beasdale, USMCMCG February 1932“This action was fought on May 13 and 14, 1928, near the finca and logging camp of LA FLOR, in Nueva Segovia.”
The Second Nicaraguan CampaignMaj John A. Gray, USMCMCG February 1933“The Second Nicaraguan Campaign, officially included between the dates of August 27, 1926, and March 31, 1930, is in many ways unique among the various expeditions in which the Marine Corps has been engaged in recent years.”
THE COCO PATROLCapt Merritt A. Edson, USMCMCG August 1936Operations of a Marine Patrol Along the Coco River in Nicaragua.
THE COCO PATROLCapt Merritt A. Edson, USMCMCG November 1936Operations of a Marine Patrol Along the Coco River in Nicaragua.
THE COCO PATROLMaj Merritt A. Edson, USMCMCG February 1937Operations of a Marine Patrol Along the Coco River in Nicaragua, 1928-1929.
Don’t Plan These BattlesJohn A. DanielsMCG September 1941“Remember what they told you about the rifle grenade? Not to fire it until you’d looked up and made sure that there was no overhead obstruction to bounce it back in your lap?”
The Mounted Expedition to MatagalpaJ. C. JenkinsMCG September 1941“On October 8, 1912, Rear Admiral W. H. H. Southerland, as Commander-in-Chief of the United States Pacific Fleet-Commanding U. S. Forces in Nicaragua, from the headquarters at [Leon], issued the orders to Colonel Pendleton stationed at Camp Weitzel, Managua, for the formation and conduct of the expedition.”
The Coco PatrolLtCol Houston StiffMCG December 1947“As the patrol got farther into bandit territory, the boats began to capsize with exasperating frequency.”
Coco PatrolLtCol Houston StiffMCG February 1957A reprint of “The Coco Patrol” published in the December 1947 Gazette.
GUERRILLA LESSONS FROM NICARAGUAGen V. E. Megee, (Ret)MCG June 1965A critical commentary based on the salient crises of one of America’s early foreign involvements.
Combat in NicaraguaLtCol Charles Neimeyer, USMC (Ret)MCG April 2008“In such operations numbers matter. So does understanding local politics.”

1915-1934 – Occupation of Haiti

A HAITIAN RECONNOISSANCECapt Walter N. Hill, USMCMCG March 1917“Across the river we tightened girths and readjusted packs before starting up the winding trail to the foothills of the Notte range. Thanks to the almost hidden work of the French engineers, although the climb was steady, none of the grades was excessive.”
The Taking of Fort RiviereMaj Thomas E. Thrasher, Jr., USMCMCG February 1931“In telling of the battle at Fort Riviere, I must warn you of two things: First, I am telling it solely from memory and doubtless have forgotten many of the details, and second, this account is not for the purpose of exposing either correct or erroneous methods of procedure in small wars.”
Boucan CarreMaj John A. Gray, USMCMCG November 1931“The engagement at Boucan Carre in February, 1919, was one of the first combats in the history of the Republique d’ Haiti, where Haitian troops, trained and led by American officers, fought against Haitians.”
Cul de SacMaj John A. Gray, USMCMCG February 1932“Stallworth and I had borrowed a couple of lopeared mules from the judge-de-Paix at Thomazeau, but we were soon forced to leave these tied up beside the trail. And now commenced as long and hard a climb as it was ever my lot to make in Haiti.”
Butler at Fort RiviereCapt H. W. SnyderMCG November 1980“Maj Butler’s strategy was simple: surround the fort, seal off all avenues of retreat, and storm the stronghold’s entrance.”


THE OCCUPATION OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICALtCol Jay M. Salladay, MCMCG September 1918“There are no native industries here, except the making of straw hats, mats, and fish baskets, and no mining whatsoever; no manufacturing is carried on except the by-products of sugar, such as molasses and rum; bay rum, the famous St. Thomas brand, is produced from the oil of the bay tree which grows on the island of St. Johns.”

1899-1901 – Boxer Rebellion

The Marines In ChinaLtCol C. H. Metcalf, USMCMCG September 1938“Conflict between the contending factions for the control of North China was resumed during the autumn of 1924 and conditions around Peking were again somewhat menacing to the foreign legations.”