|United States occupation of Veracruz|
|Part of the Banana Wars, Mexican Revolution|
Sergeant Major John H. Quick of the US Marines raises the American flag over Veracruz.
Mexican Constitutionalist Revolutionaries
|Commanders and leaders|
|Frank F. Fletcher||
1 auxiliary cruiser
unknown number of militia
|Casualties and losses|
1 drowned+ 21 dead|
152–172 soldiers killed|
150+ militia killed
Unknown number of civilians killed
The United States occupation of Veracruz began with the Battle of Veracruz and lasted for seven months, as a response to the Tampico Affair of April 9, 1914. The incident came in the midst of poor diplomatic relations between Mexico and the United States, and was related to the ongoing Mexican Revolution.
The Tampico Affair was set off when nine American sailors were arrested by the Mexican government for entering off-limit areas in Tampico, Tamaulipas. The unarmed sailors were arrested when they entered a fuel loading station. The sailors were released, but the U.S. naval commander demanded an apology and a 21-gun salute. The apology was provided, but not the salute. In the end, the response from U.S. President Woodrow Wilson ordered the U.S. Navy to prepare for the occupation of the port of Veracruz. While awaiting authorization from the U.S. Congress to carry out such action, Wilson was alerted to a delivery of weapons for Victoriano Huerta, who had taken control of Mexico the previous year after a bloody coup d'état (and was eventually deposed on July 15, 1914), due to arrive in the port on April 21 aboard the German-registered cargo steamer SS Ypiranga. As a result, Wilson issued an immediate order to seize the port's customs office and confiscate the weaponry. The weapons had actually been sourced by John Wesley De Kay, an American financier and businessman with large investments in Mexico, and a Russian arms dealer from Puebla, Leon Rasst, not the German government, as newspapers reported at the time. Huerta had usurped the presidency of Mexico with the assistance of the American ambassador Henry Lane Wilson during a coup d'état in February 1913 known as la decena trágica. The Wilson administration's answer to this was to declare Huerta a usurper of the legitimate government, to embargo arms shipments to Huerta, and to support the Constitutional Army of Venustiano Carranza.
Part of the arms shipment to Mexico originated from the Remington Arms company in the United States. The arms and ammunition were to be shipped to Mexico via Odessa and Hamburg to skirt the American arms embargo. In Hamburg, De Kay added to the shipment. The landing of the arms was blocked at Veracruz, but they were discharged a few weeks later in Puerto Mexico, a port controlled by Huerta at the time.
By 11:30, with whaleboats swung over the side, 502 Marines from the 2nd Advanced Base Regiment, 285 armed Navy sailors, known as "Bluejackets," from the battleship USS Florida and a provisional battalion composed of the marine detachments from Florida and her sister ship USS Utah also began landing operations.
As the landing party moved toward pier 4, Veracruz's main wharf, a large crowd of Mexican and American citizens gathered to watch the spectacle. The invaders encountered no resistance as they exited the whaleboats, formed ranks into a Marine and a seaman regiment, and began marching toward their objectives. This initial show of force was enough to prompt the retreat of the Mexican forces led by General Gustavo Maass. In the face of this, Commodore Manuel Azueta encouraged cadets of the Veracruz Naval Academy to take up the defense of the port for themselves. Also, about 200 line soldiers of the Mexican Army remained behind to fight the invaders along with the citizens of Veracruz.
Three Navy rifle companies were instructed to capture the customs house, post, and telegraph offices, while the Marines went for the railroad terminal, roundhouse, and yard, the cable office and the power plant.
Arms were distributed to the population, who were largely untrained in the use of Mausers and had trouble finding the correct ammunition. In short, the defense of the city by its populace was hindered by the lack of central organization and a lack of adequate supplies. The defense of the city also included the release of the prisoners held at the "La Galera" military prison, not those at San Juan de Ulúa (some of whom were political prisoners), who were later attended to by the U.S. Navy.
Although the landing had been nearly unopposed as U.S. forces marched into the city, Veracruz quickly became a battleground. Just after noon, fighting began with the 2nd Advanced Base Regiment under Colonel Wendell C. Neville becoming heavily involved in a firefight in the rail yards. While the forces ashore slowly fought their way forward, Admiral Fletcher landed Utah's 384-man bluejacket battalion, the only other unit at his disposal. By midafternoon, the Americans had occupied all of their objectives and Admiral Fletcher called a general halt to the advance, initially hoping that a cease fire could be arranged. That hope rapidly faded as he could find no one to bargain with and all troops in the city were instructed to remain on the defensive pending the arrival of reinforcements.
On the night of April 21, Fletcher decided that he had no choice but to expand the initial operation to include the entire city, not just the waterfront. Five additional U.S. battleships and two cruisers had reached Veracruz during the hours of darkness and they carried with them Major Smedley Butler and his Marine Battalion which had been rushed from Panama. The battleship's seaman battalions were quickly organized into a regiment 1,200 men strong, supported by the ship's Marine detachments providing an additional 300-man battalion. These newly arrived forces went ashore around midnight to await the morning's advance.
At 07:45 April 22, the advance began. The leathernecks adapted to street fighting, which was a novelty to them. The sailors were less adroit at this style of fighting. A regiment led by Navy Captain E. A. Anderson advanced on the Naval Academy in parade-ground formation, making his men easy targets for the partisans barricaded inside (the cadets had left Veracruz the night before, after suffering a few casualties ). This attack was initially repulsed; soon, the attack was renewed, with artillery support from three warships in the harbor, Prairie, San Francisco, and Chester, that pounded the academy with their long guns for a few minutes, silencing all resistance.
That afternoon, the First Advanced Base Regiment, originally bound for Tampico, came ashore under the command of Colonel John A. Lejeune, and by 17:00, U.S. troops had secured the town square and were in complete control of Veracruz. Some pockets of resistance continued to occur around the port, mostly in the form of hit-and-run guerrilla tactics, but by April 24 all fighting had ceased.
A third provisional regiment of Marines, assembled at Philadelphia, arrived on May 1 under the command of Colonel Littleton W. T. Waller, who assumed overall command of the brigade, by that time numbering some 3,141 officers and men. By then, the sailors and Marines of the Fleet had returned to their ships and an Army brigade had landed. Marines and soldiers continued to garrison the city until the U.S. withdrawal on November 23, which occurred after Argentina, Brazil, and Chile (the three ABC powers, the most powerful and wealthy countries in South America) were able to settle the issues between the two nations at the Niagara Falls peace conference.
U.S. Army Brigadier General Frederick Funston was placed in control of the administration of the port. Assigned to his staff as an intelligence officer was a young Captain Douglas MacArthur. While Huerta and Carranza officially objected to the occupation, neither was able to oppose it effectively, being more preoccupied by events of the Mexican Revolution. Huerta was eventually overthrown and Carranza's faction took power. The occupation, however, brought the two countries to the brink of war and worsened U.S.-Mexican relations for many years. The ABC Powers held the Niagara Falls peace conference in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, on May 20 to avoid an all-out war over this incident. A plan was formed in June for the US troops to withdraw from Veracruz after General Huerta surrendered the reins of his government to a new regime and Mexico assured the United States that it would receive no indemnity for its losses in the recent chaotic events. Huerta soon afterwards left office and gave his government to Carranza. Carranza, who was still quite unhappy with US troops occupying Veracruz, rejected the rest of the agreement. In November 1914, after the Convention of Aguascalientes ended and Carranza failed to resolve his differences with revolutionary generals Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata, Carranza left office for a short period and handed control to Eulalio Gutiérrez Ortiz.
During this brief absence from power, however, Carranza still controlled Veracruz and Tamaulipas. After leaving Mexico City, Carranza fled to the state of Veracruz, made the city of Cordoba the capital of his regime and agreed to accept the rest of the terms of Niagara Falls peace plan. The US troops officially departed on November 23. Despite their previous spat, diplomatic ties between the US and the Carranza regime greatly extended, following the departure of US troops from Veracruz,.
After the fighting ended, Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels ordered that fifty-six Medals of Honor be awarded to participants in this action, the most for any single action before or since. This amount was half as many as had been awarded for the Spanish–American War, and close to half the number that would be awarded during World War I and the Korean War. A critic claimed that the excess medals were awarded by lot. Major Smedley Butler, a recipient of one of the nine Medals of Honor awarded to Marines, later tried to return it, being incensed at this "unutterable foul perversion of Our Country's greatest gift" and claiming he had done nothing heroic. The Department of the Navy told him to not only keep it, but wear it.
Lt. Azueta and a Naval Military School cadet, Cadet Midshipman Virgilio Uribe, who also died during the fighting, are now part of the roll call of honor read by all branches of the Mexican Armed Forces in all military occasions, alongside the six Niños Héroes of the Military College (nowadays the Heroic Military Academy) who died in defense of the nation during the Battle of Chapultepec on September 13, 1847. As a result of the brave defense put up by the Naval School cadets and faculty, it has now become the Heroic Naval Military School of Mexico in their honor by virtue of a congressional resolution in 1949.
As an immediate reaction to the military invasion of Veracruz several anti-American revolts broke out in Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, and Uruguay. US citizens were expelled from Mexican territory and they had to be accommodated in refugee campuses at New Orleans, Texas City, and San Diego. Even the British government was privately irritated, because they had previously agreed with Woodrow Wilson that the United States would not invade Mexico without prior warning. The military invasion of Veracruz was also a decisive factor in favor of keeping Mexico neutral in World War I. Mexico refused to participate with the United States in its military excursion in Europe and granted full-guarantees to the German companies for keeping their operations open, especially in Mexico City.
U.S. President Woodrow Wilson considered another military invasion of Veracruz and Tampico in 1917–1918, so as to take control of Tehuantepec Isthmus and Tampico oil fields, but this time the new Mexican President Venustiano Carranza gave the order to destroy the oil fields in case the Marines tried to land there. As a scholar once wrote: "Carranza may not have fulfilled the social goals of the revolution, but he kept the gringos out of Mexico City".
Charles Conway Hartigan (September 13, 1882 – February 25, 1944) was born in Norwich, New York and died in Edgewater, Maryland. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1906.He received the Medal of Honor for actions at the United States occupation of Veracruz. He is a veteran of World War I and commanded the ill-fated USS Oklahoma (BB-37) from 1937 to 1939.Chester-class cruiser
The three Chester-class cruisers were the first United States Navy vessels to be designed and designated as fast "scout cruisers" for fleet reconnaissance. They had high speed but little armor or armament. They were authorized in January 1904, ordered in fiscal year 1905, and completed in 1908. In 1920 all scout cruisers were redesignated as "light cruisers" (CL).Birmingham was the first ship in the world to launch an airplane, in 1910 with pilot Eugene Ely, who also performed the first landing on a ship the following year, on USS Pennsylvania. The class patrolled the Caribbean prior to World War I, sometimes supporting military interventions, with Chester playing a key role at the start of the United States occupation of Veracruz in 1914. The ships escorted convoys in World War I. The class was decommissioned 1921-1923 and sold for scrap to comply with the limits of the London Naval Treaty in 1930.Fred Jurgen Schnepel
Fred Jurgen Schnepel (February 24, 1892 – February 2, 1948) was a Seaman in the United States Navy and a Medal of Honor recipient for his role in the United States occupation of Veracruz.
He died February 2, 1948 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia. His grave can be found in section 11, lot 825, map grid O/P 15.George Croghan Reid
George Croghan Reid (December 9, 1876 – February 19, 1961) was a Brigadier General in the United States Marine Corps and a Medal of Honor recipient for his role in the United States occupation of Veracruz.George M. Lowry
George Maus Lowry (October 27, 1889 – September 25, 1981) served as a rear admiral in the United States Navy. He received the Medal of Honor for actions during the United States occupation of Veracruz, 1914. When he died in 1981 he was the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient of the occupation.George McCall Courts
George McCall Courts (February 16, 1888 – August 1, 1932) was born in the District of Columbia. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1907. He received the Medal of Honor for actions at the United States occupation of Veracruz, 1914.Harry C. Beasley
Harry C. Beasley (November 1, 1888 – July 2, 1931) was a United States Navy seaman who received the Medal of Honor for actions during the United States occupation of Veracruz, 1914. He also served as a police officer in Newark, Ohio, where he was killed in the line of duty by unknown gunmen in 1931.Henry Nehemiah Nickerson
Henry Nehemiah Nickerson (December 2, 1888 – May 2, 1979) was a Boatswain's Mate Second Class in the United States Navy and a Medal of Honor recipient for his role in the United States occupation of Veracruz.
He died May 2, 1979 and is buried in Greenwood Cemetery, Wheeling, West Virginia. His grave can be found in section G, lot 179.Heroica Escuela Naval Militar
The Heroica Escuela Naval Militar is the officer training academy of the Mexican Navy.
It began operations on 1 June 1897 with a group of cadets from the Army's Colegio Militar who had expressed an interest in training as naval officers.
It was originally located on the premises of the military garrison in Veracruz. Its original staff comprised one commandant (Captain Juan Antonio Bernal of the Navy), two officers, six teachers, and 26 cadets.
It was given the appellation Heroica ("Heroic") for its efforts in defending the port during the 1914 United States occupation of Veracruz.
On 11 November 1952 the Academy relocated to new premises in Antón Lizardo, Veracruz
Before graduating, last year cadets take an instructional journey on the ARM Cuauhtémoc. Since 2008, the school accepts lady cadets of the services branches.
Currently, all graduates earn a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Engineering. There are six available concentrations: Naval Systems (General Corps), Hydraulic Engineering (Marine Infantry), Naval Mechanical Engineering, Engineering in Electronics and Naval Communications, Aeronaval Engineering, and Logistics Engineering.Joseph Gabriel Harner
Joseph Gabriel Harner (February 19, 1889 – March 5, 1958) was a Boatswain's Mate G (shipboard) Chief Petty Officer in the United States Navy and a Medal of Honor recipient for his role in the United States occupation of Veracruz. An excellent marksman, in the heat of the battle he shot Mexican Navy ex cadet and one of the most revered Mexican national heroes, Lt.José Azueta, from about 300 yards away.Harner retired from the Navy as chief petty officer and died March 5, 1958. He buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia. His grave can be found in section 17, lot 21199-B-2.José Azueta
José Azueta Abad (May 2, 1895 – May 10, 1914), usually known as José Azueta, was a Mexican Navy lieutenant who became famous for his role in the United States occupation of Veracruz, where he was fatally wounded. He is one of the most revered national heroes in Veracruz.Lawrence C. Sinnett
Lawrence Clinton Sinnett (April 4, 1888 – June 11, 1962) was a Seaman in the United States Navy and a Medal of Honor recipient for his role in the United States occupation of Veracruz.
Sinnett rose to the rank of chief machinists mate and died on June 11, 1962. He is buried in Odd Fellows cemetery, Harrisville, West Virginia.List of Medal of Honor recipients (Veracruz)
The United States occupation of the Mexican port of Veracruz lasted for seven months in 1914 and occurred in the midst of poor diplomatic relations between Mexico and the United States, related to the ongoing Mexican Revolution.
In response to the Tampico Affair, President Woodrow Wilson ordered the U.S. Navy to prepare for the occupation of the port of Veracruz. While waiting for authorization of Congress to carry out such action, Wilson was alerted to a German delivery of weapons for Victoriano Huerta due to arrive to the port on April 21. As a result, Wilson issued an immediate order to seize the port's customs office and confiscate the weaponry.
The Medal of Honor was created during the American Civil War and is the highest military decoration presented by the United States government to a member of its armed forces. The recipient must have distinguished themselves at the risk of their own life above and beyond the call of duty in action against an enemy of the United States. Due to the nature of this medal, it is commonly presented posthumously.Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels ordered that 56 Medals of Honor be awarded to participants in the occupation of Veracruz, the most for any single action before or since. In total 63 Medals of Honor were received for actions during the occupation; 1 Army, 9 to members of the United States Marine Corps and 53 to Navy personnel.List of Medal of Honor recipients educated at the United States Naval Academy
The United States Naval Academy is an undergraduate college in Annapolis, Maryland with the mission of educating and commissioning officers for the United States Navy and Marine Corps. The Academy is often referred to as Annapolis, while sports media refer to the Academy as "Navy" and the students as "Midshipmen"; this usage is officially endorsed. During the latter half of the 19th century and the first decades of the 20th, the United States Naval Academy was the primary source of U.S. Navy and Marine Corps officers, with the Class of 1881 being the first to provide officers to the Marine Corps. Graduates of the Academy are also given the option of entering the United States Army or United States Air Force. Most Midshipmen are admitted through the congressional appointment system. The curriculum emphasizes various fields of engineering.This list is drawn from alumni of the Naval Academy who are recipients of the Medal of Honor (MOH), the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. The Academy was founded in 1845 and graduated its first class in 1846. The first alumnus to graduate and go on to receive the Medal of Honor was Harry L. Hawthorne (class of 1882). The most recent alumnus to receive the Medal of Honor was James Stockdale (class of 1947). Two alumni, Orion P. Howe (class of 1870) and Henry Lakin Simpson (class of 1882), received the Medal of Honor before being appointed to the Academy.
At the Naval Academy, in Bancroft Hall, twenty-one rooms are dedicated to each Academy graduate Medal of Honor recipient since the start of World War II.
In addition to the 73 Medal of Honor recipients who are alumni of the Academy, over 990 noted scholars from a variety of academic fields are Academy graduates, including 45 Rhodes Scholars and 16 Marshall Scholars. Additional notable graduates include 1 President of the United States and 2 Nobel Prize recipients.MacGillivray Milne
MacGillivray Milne (August 19, 1882 – January 26, 1959) was a United States Navy Captain, and the 27th Governor of American Samoa from January 20, 1936, to June 3, 1938. After graduating from the United States Naval Academy, Milne served many posts in the Navy, including heading the Department of Modern Languages at the Naval Academy. He was a veteran of a large numbers of conflicts, including the Philippine–American War, the United States occupation of Veracruz, and both World War I and World War II. Milne commanded a number of ships, but his last one was the battleship USS Arizona (BB-39). After the ship struck a private fishing vessel and killed two civilians, Milne was court-martialed and stripped of three grades which determined his eligibility for promotion. As Governor, Milne pushed for the modernization of American Samoa, and sought increased federal aid for the islands; his efforts to obtain additional funding for the island largely ended in failure. He died in 1959 at the Naval Hospital Oakland, and was buried in Sparkill, Rockland County, New York.Paul Frederick Foster
Paul Frederick Foster (March 25, 1889 – January 30, 1972) was an American naval officer. He was born in Wichita, Kansas, and graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1911. He received the Medal of Honor for actions at the United States occupation of Veracruz, 1914. Foster left the Navy from 1929–1941, when he was recalled by President Franklin D. Roosevelt for World War II service. He retired from the Navy in 1946 as a Vice Admiral.USS Michigan (BB-27)
USS Michigan (BB-27), a South Carolina-class battleship, was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named in honor of the 26th state. She was the second member of her class, the first dreadnought battleships built for the US Navy. She was laid down in December 1906, launched in May 1908; sponsored by Mrs. F. W. Brooks, daughter of Secretary of the Navy Truman Newberry; and commissioned into the fleet 4 January 1910. Michigan and South Carolina were armed with a main battery of eight 12-inch (305 mm) guns in superfiring twin gun turrets; they were the first dreadnoughts to feature this arrangement.
Michigan spent her career in the Atlantic Fleet. She frequently cruised the east coast of the United States and the Caribbean Sea, and in April 1914 took part in the United States occupation of Veracruz during the Mexican Civil War. After the United States entered World War I in April 1917, Michigan was employed as a convoy escort and training ship for the rapidly expanding wartime navy. In January 1918, her forward cage mast collapsed in heavy seas, killing six men. In 1919, she ferried soldiers back from Europe. The ship conducted training cruises in 1920 and 1921, but her career was cut short by the Washington Naval Treaty signed in February 1922, which mandated the disposal of Michigan and South Carolina. Michigan was decommissioned in February 1923 and broken up for scrap the following year.William Kelly Harrison
William Kelly Harrison (July 30, 1870 – August 15, 1928) was born in Waco, Texas and died in San Diego, California. Harrison graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1889. He received the Medal of Honor for actions at the United States occupation of Veracruz, 1914. He is a relative of President William Henry Harrison (genealogical research indicates that while they might have a shared ancestry, both families being from Virginia, there is no evidence of a direct relation). His son, William Kelly Harrison Jr. graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1917 and retired from the United States Army as a Lieutenant General.William Zuiderveld
William Zuiderveld (January 8, 1888 – February 5, 1978) was a United States Navy Hospital Apprentice First Class. He received the Medal of Honor for actions during the United States occupation of Veracruz.