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As the flagship of the Nicaraguan Expeditionary Squadron, under Admiral William W. In August 1910, Juan Estrada became president of Nicaragua with the official recognition of the United States. They were followed by Smedley Butler's return from Panama with 350 Marines. On August 29, 1912, a landing force of 120 men from USS Denver, under the command of the ship's navigator, Lieutenant Allen B. Beginning on the morning of September 27 and continuing through October 1, Nicaraguan government forces bombarded Barranca and Coyotepe, two hills overlooking the all-important railway line at Masaya that Zeledón and about 550 of his men occupied, halfway between Managua and Granada.