The military career of General Juan Escamilla has been a huge, controversial issue in Nicaragua, Mexico, and in the United States. To some people, General Escamilla was a liberator while to others viewed him as an oppressor. The fact is that General Escamilla has been accused of some barbarous actions during his military campaign in Nicaragua.
The General wrote journals of his military activities in Mexico and in Nicaragua which will shed light on his military profession and the actions he took. He fought in the Mexican Revolution, went into exile, was called to serve in Nicaragua, and took part in collaborating with the United States Marines when the United States intervened in Nicaragua.
Juan Escamilla was born on October 20, 1897, in Cienega de Flores, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. His parents were Pedro Escamilla Lozano and Teofila Garza Garcia and he was the youngest of the six children. On June 30, 1913, during the Mexican Revolution, Juan Escamilla enlisted in the Constitutionalist Army in the municipality of Agualeguas, which is in the state of Nuevo Leon. Immediately Juan Escamilla was given the rank of second lieutenant and was under the orders of Capitan Jose Elizondo, who in turn was under the orders of General Lucio Blanco.
Juan Escamilla was temporally incorporated in the Blanco Brigade. Under Blanco, he fought against the Huertistas in Reynosa, Tamaulipas, took part in the conquest of Matamoros, and participated in battles that took place in the State of Nuevo Leon[i]. Second lieutenant Escamilla was later transferred to the 3rd Division of the Northeast under the command of General Teodoro Elizondo. The Northeast Division combated the Huertistas in one of the bloodiest battle, the Siege of Monterrey. Even though the Northeast Division came out victorious, Escamilla was wounded in the leg in that battle and was taken to San Luis Potosi to get medical treatment. On May 30, 1914, Escamilla was promoted to First Captain.
From July to August 1914 Captain Escamilla was transferred to the command of General Vicente Davila, who was part of the Northeast Division of the South. Under General Davila Escamilla fought against Gen. Romulo Cuellar in San Luis Potosi, Leon, Silao, Cuidad de Guanajuato, and Celaya.[ii] On August 10, 1914, Captain Escamilla was promoted to Major.
To be continued…
[i] General Brigadier del Ejercito Nacional Marciano González, “Certifica Juan Escamilla 1940,” memorándum, Monterrey, N.L, June 10, 1940.
[ii] Juan Barrera-Gómez, “El General Juan Escamilla, es un Veterano de Muchos Batallas,” El Darío de Nuevo Laredo, April 14, 1977, final edition.