Battle of San Francisco de Macoris

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United States occupation of the Dominican Republic
Part of the Banana Wars
Date 29 November 1916
Location San Francisco de Macoris, Dominican Republic
Result American victory
 United States Dominican Republic Dominican Republic
Commanders and leaders
United States Ernest C. Williams Dominican Republic Juan Perez
13 marines of the 4th Marine Regiment 300+ soldiers of the Dominican Army
1 fort
Casualties and losses
8 wounded[1] 100 prisoners
200+ escaped
1 fort captured

The Battle of San Francisco de Macoris took place on 29 November 1916 during the early stages of the United States occupation of the Dominican Republic. Dominican forces in San Francisco de Macoris had refused to lay down their arms and had taken control of the local fortaleza. This was in direct violation of the terms imposed by the military government installed by the United States. A small squad of Marines that were close by were able to make their way inside the fortaleza and surprise the defenders, securing it before any organized resistance could take place.[2]:269–270


On May 13, 1916,[3] Rear Admiral William B. Caperton forced the Dominican Republic's Secretary of War Desiderio Arias, who had seized power from Juan Isidro Jimenes Pereyra, to leave Santo Domingo by threatening the city with naval bombardment.[3] Three days after Arias left the country,[3] United States Marines landed and took control of the country within two months,[3] and in November the United States imposed a military government under Rear Admiral Harry Shepard Knapp.[3] In San Francisco de Macoris, however, the situation was somewhat different. Juan Perez, the provisional governor, and a band of followers had occupied a local fort and refused to lay down their arms. This was a direct violation of the directives that were promulgated by the military government installed by the United States.

In the town, some 30 miles southeast of Santiago, was one company of the 4th Marine Regiment: the 31st. They had allowed a few hundred supporters of Arias to barricade themselves in the fortaleza. During this time the Marines were being sniped at from inside the fortaleza and relations with civilians in the town was deteriorating because of the indecisiveness of the Marine commander. Eventually the 31st Company would be reinforced by the 47th Company and First Lieutenant Ernest C. Williams, would take over command. He decided to forcibly oust the Dominicans from their stronghold after they refused to evacuate their positions inside the fortaleza. Williams and 12 enlisted men on the night of 29 November crept as close to the entrance of the fort as possible without arousing suspicion. On a signal from Lieutenant Williams, the men made a dash for the open gate. The Dominicans, taken by surprise, were unable to slam the gate closed. The rebels were nonetheless able to let loose with a fusillade from the fort which cut down eight of the Marines in their rush for the gate. Williams and the remaining four men pushed their way through the entrance, firing their weapons as they burst into the fort. After a fierce, 10-minute firefight the fort was secured and the fight was over; Some 200 of Perez's followers escaped and another 100 surrendered inside the fortalezas. First Lieutenant Williams received the Medal of Honor for his actions during the battle.[1]

This engagement was the last organized resistance that the 4th Marine Regiment faced in the Dominican Republic, although minor patrol actions continued to occur for some time.[1]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "A Brief History of the 4th Marines" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-05-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Musicant, I, The Banana Wars, 1990, New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., ISBN 0025882104
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 "Armed Conflict Year Index". Retrieved 2015-05-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>