Getting to the bottom of Col. Pendleton’s gun
Marines at Camp Pendleton recently reworked a cannon most likely captured in Nicaragua during the Banana Wars in 1912 by then-Colonel Joseph Henry Pendleton.
A graduate of the Naval Academy in the class of ’84 (that’s 1884), Pendleton had already fought in Cuba and the Philippines, sailed around the world a couple times, and was commander of scratch unit of 29 officers and 750 enlisted– the First Provisional Regiment, U.S. Marines, drawn across the old Corps –that came to assist ole Col. Smedley Butler’s expeditionary battalion fighting Nicaraguan rebels near Coyotepe Hill in October 1912.
For his deeds in helping crush the rebel force led by Gen. Benjamín Zeledón (whom the Marines buried after the battle), Pendleton was presented with one of the four black powder cannon captured from the old fortress (built in 1893) which he kept in the man cave the rest of his life.
After his death, Maj. Gen. Pendleton’s widow donated the artillery piece to Camp Pendleton in 1943, where it has sat under increasing layers of paint for generations.
Now, after some 40-50 hours of work, Marines at Camp Pendleton have cleaned and refurbished the cannon– even finding out it is actually an old U.S. Army field piece from the 19th Century.
As for the Coyotepe, after the Marines pulled out the locals built a more legit fortress there which turned into a real shit hole apparently:
During the dictatorial regime of the Somoza family a dungeon was constructed below the fortress. The dungeon served as a prison for political enemies, and housed at times more than 800 people who lived there under terrible conditions. The prisons had barely any light (some of the prisons actually had no light whatsoever), and were packed with people. Torture rooms were also found.
Pendleton likely would not have been down with that.