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Forum All about all / Thread: ARMIES OF THE MEXICAN REVOLUTION 1910-1920 -- Page 1  Jump To: 

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Sent: 17-01-2012 04:31

THE PORFIRISTA ARMY, 1910-11 1: Colonel, 3rd Artillery Regt, 1910. 2: Private, 20th Infantry Bn, 1911. 3: Guardia Rural, 1910

MADERISTA REVOLUTIONARIES, 1910-11. 1: 'Campesino' infantryman, 1911. 2: 'Colorado' standard-bearer, 1912. 3: US volunteer, "American Legion". 4: Officer, 1910

HUERTA'S FEDERAL ARMY, 1913-14. 1: Infantry private; Zacatecas, June 1914. 2; Infantry lieutenant; Torreon, 1914. 3: NCO bugler, 24th Inf Bn; Chihuahua, 1913. 4: Private, 61st Inf Bn; Oaxaca, 1913

VILLISTAS, 1913-20. DL. 1: Artillery officer, Division del Norte, 1914. 2: "Dorado"; Celaya, 1915. 3: Soldadera, Division del Norte, 1914. 4: Infantryman, Juarez Brigade, 1915

US & MEXICAN FORCES; VERACRUZ, 1914. 1: Seaman, USS Florida landing party. 2: Corporal, US Marine Corps. 3: Cadet, Mexican Naval Academy

US PUNITIVE EXPEDITION, 1916. 1: 1st Lieutenant, 7th Cavalry Regt. 2: Despatch rider, 1st Provisional Motorcycle Co. 3: Sergeant, 24th Infantry Regt

CONSTITUTIONALIST ARMY, 1913-20. 1: Captain, 1st Cavalry Regt; Celaya, 1915. 2: Infantry corporal, 1915. 3: Private, 3rd "Red" Bn, Obregon's Army of Operations; Celaya, 1915

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Sent: 17-01-2012 18:15

1917 .



, , , , &

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Sent: 17-01-2012 18:20

Yaqui, 'motas' - . "", , . , , , , Soldaderas . corrido ( ), "-" (Marijuana: La Soldadera ), , , , , , , , , , .

Vente mi Juana, vente conmigo,
que la campana ya va a empezar,
serán tus ojos mi solo abrigo
y al enemigo sabré matar.

Mi Juana ¿no oyes a los clarines
como vibrantes tocan reunión?
De los caballos flotan las crines
y está en maitines mi corazón.

Voy con orgullo tras mi bandera
y te aseguro que he de triunfar,
si está repleta mi cartuchera,
mi soldadera me ha de animar.

Si me atraviesan en el combate
y muerto queda tu zapador,
recoge mi alma, busca el empate,
aunque te mate vil invasor.

Mas cuando el triunfo ya se decida
y haya ganado mi batallón,
busca mi cuerpo, bien de mi vida,
pon en mi herida tu corazón.

Mas si la balas, aunque certeras,
mi alma respetan, y mi valor,
te haré unas naguas o lo que quieras
con las banderas del invasor.

(Zeferino Diego Ferreira), "Dorado", , : " (Petra Herrera). , , .. . - . , , . . !"

, , . (Porfirio Ornelas), , Canutillo 1920- , , , 'motas ", , . , - , .... , , , , , ... (Alvaro Canales) , , Sabinas, 'cigarro de hoja'. "El Verdadero Pancho Villa" Silvestre Terrazas , - "Con Villa: Memorias de Campaña" Jose Maria Jaurrieta.

", , " (Greed, Rage, and Love Gone Wrong) (Bruce Rubenstein) :

Yaqui, Las Cucarachas () , . -: , ( ), " " . , , , , , , .

" " (Pancho Villa and Black Jack Pershing) (James W. Hurst) : " Yaqui . sotol , Dorados - ." . :" Yaqui , , , , ."

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Sent: 17-01-2012 18:27

, , , , .... - -, 1914-

28 ( ) , 13 1911-

"" 35-, "" , 1912- .... , 45- Brixia-35.


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Messages: 1506

Sent: 17-01-2012 18:34


, . 7- .

19- " " - ...

/ ...

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Sent: 17-01-2012 19:14
"Without the soldaderas, there is no Mexican Revolution - they kept it alive and fertile, like the earth. These women are valiant, furious, loyal, maternal and hard working; they wear a mask that is part immaculate virgin, part mother and wife, and part savage warrior."

"Las Soldaderos: Women of the Mexican Revolution"
by Elena Poniatowska


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Sent: 11-04-2012 04:25

, 1917 . , , .

1911-, 1912-, , 1916-, 12 1917- . " "("Tierra y Libertad", 1985) " "(Mirada y Memoria").

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Sent: 11-05-2012 15:10

A series of meetings were held between an Associated Press correspondent, Mr. George L. Seese, and a Villista agent. The agent wanted to convey to the Americans via their press that Villa had nothing to do with the massacre of Americans at Santa Ysabel and wanted to punish his subordinate, Pablo Lopez, who committed the atrocity. This alleged agent of Villa agreed to take a letter to Villa suggesting the wisdom of going to Washington and seeing President Wilson. About a week later Seese received a verbal reply, ostensibly from Villa, that he considered the plan feasible and that he would be glad to accompany the Associated Press correspondent to Washington, provided he could be assured of a safe conduct. On March 2, 1916, one week previous to the Columbus Raid, the Associated Press forbade their agent to continue with the scheme, and Villa was so notified. Many believe that Villa possibly fostered this scheme as a blind to his real intentions, as his private papers, found on the Columbus battlefield, proved that he had planned as early as January 6 to make an attack upon Columbus.
On March 8, 1916 the El Paso Times reported:


Information received in El Paso last night from the 13th Cavalry, stationed at Columbus, New Mexico, was to the effect that Villa had been sighted 15 miles west of Palomas Monday night and was camped there all day Tuesday. What his plans are at this time are not known.

Villa is reported to have between 300 to 400 men with him. They are all well mounted and since arriving near Palomas have been slaughtering large numbers of cattle.

There is but a small Carranza garrison at Palomas and it is believed that Villa intends making an attack on the town.


A modern-day view of the town of Columbus, New Mexico, as seen from Villa Hill (formerly Cootes Hill) and the vantage point from which the Villistas attacked. In the foreground and to the right of the photo is the site of Camp Furlong. In the center are the customs house and the railroad depot. Beyond is the small town of Columbus. (Authors photo)

Palomas rested just across the border from Columbus, New Mexico. This small frontier town had a population of about 300 and consisted of a cluster of adobe houses and wooden buildings. The basic layout of the sunbaked dirt streets of Columbus consisted of Broadway, the main street, which ran east and west; it boasted a hardware store operated by J. L. Walker; J. T. Deans grocery; C. Dewitt Millers drug store; the Hoover Hotel; and a score of smaller businesses.
The most pretentious of the businesses there was that of the Ravel Brothers Mercantile, located on Boulevard Street. Louis and Sam Ravel handled hardware goods, cooking utensils, boots, overalls, and all of the sundry articles for the residents living in the area. The brothers lived in the rear of the store with their younger sibling, 12-year-old Arthur. They enjoyed the patronage of Mexicans from across the border and encouraged trade with the Mexicans that included guns and ammunition. It is believed that the brothers sold huge quantities of munitions to the Villistas. Local lore states that the brothers shortchanged Villa by not delivering the $2,500-worth of goods that the Mexican General had paid for, thereby giving reason for the raid.
On Taft Street, near the railroad station, was the two-story frame Commercial Hotel, operated by Mr. and Mrs. W. T. Ritchie. Across from that was a movie theater. Opposite the railroad tracks, south of town, was the army encampment where soldiers of the 13th United States Cavalry Regiment (four troops of the regiment and a machine-gun platoon), under the command of Colonel Herbert J. Slocum, were quartered. The soldiers arrived there and established it as the regimental headquarters since September 1912. The encampment was known as Camp Furlong.[21]
The headquarters building, the shack for the officer of the day, a shack occupied by the surgeon, and the quartermasters storehouse were on the west edge of the camp on the Guzman-Deming Road; the guard house and stables were located on the east edge of camp, and the barracks and mess shacks lay in between. In addition to the Guzman-Deming Road another road meandered through the eastern part of camp. These roads were open to traffic night and day.
The barracks were flimsy wooden structures, the stables were open sheds, but the mess shacks and hospital were bulletproof, made of adobe (mud) bricks. Across the Guzman-Deming Road and the El Paso and Southwestern railroad track opposite the Columbus Railroad Depot was the customs station where US customs agents would stop anyone approaching south of the tracks. Directly in front of the customs station was a huge arroyo a natural ditch that ran parallel to the road the full 3 miles to the border. Behind the customs house is a small hill of dark lava stone and scant brush known as Cootes Hill or sometimes referred to as Villa Hill since the raid. Between this hill and the ditch was an adobe house occupied by two officers. The other officers of the regiment were quartered throughout the village but not more than three or four hundred yards distant from camp. Three miles south of Columbus is the US/Mexican boundary line. Exactly 32 miles north from Columbus, straddling Highway 80, is the prosperous town of Deming.
A high wire fence marks the border, running east and west for several miles. A Mexican customs station was located in Palomas, a treeless, sunbaked quaint village of squat adobe buildings, surrounded by the limitless brush. A small garrison of Carranzistas soldiers provided scant protection for the border town.
On the afternoon of March 8, 1916, Juan Favela, an employee of the extensive Palomas Land & Cattle Company, was riding through the high mesquite 5 miles south of the border with some vaqueros rounding up stray cattle. The Palomas Land & Cattle Company was an American-owned enterprise that owned a lot of land on the Mexican side of the border.
Favela left his men and headed toward the ranch located several miles to the west; as he topped a hill he spied a large Villista force heading for the border. He immediately turned his steed about and raced toward Columbus, warning the Carranzista soldiers as he raced through the Mexican customs station and headed for the American military encampment 3 miles north. There, he demanded an audience with Colonel Slocum. Favela
reported that hed seen a force of approximately 500 Villistas and that they were heading for the border; they were just south of Palomas; they
would raid Columbus before dawn!(2) Colonel Slocum calmly told Favela to go get a drink and dismissed the warning as hysteria. Slocums attitude
could be explained by the fact that the reports coming in were so ambiguous and contradictory that it was nearly impossible for Slocum to construct
an accurate depiction of the circumstances.

(2) Harris, Pancho Villa and the Columbus Raid, p.87 [22]

Colonel Slocum, commander of the small garrison encamped in Columbus at the time of the Villista Raid. (Pancho Villa State Park)

In the months prior to the raid on Columbus, prospects of Villa initiating a border attack had long been considered by American government and military officials. In fact, raids on US soil from across the border had occurred with alarming frequency. From July 1915 to June 1916 there were 38 raids on the US by Mexican bandits, which resulted in the death of 37 US citizens, 26 of them soldiers. Evidence that Villa and his men were making their way toward the New Mexico border was made known to US officials in as early as February of 1916, but they were unable to successfully track his movements due to a lack of financial resources that prevented them from hiring secret service agents. As a result, the only means they had to acquire information in regard to Villas location was based solely on information the Carranzistas offered, but the majority of such accounts were questionable.
The information that appeared both genuine and credible was telegraphed on March 3 to the State Department by Zach Cobb, the US collector of customs at El Paso, Texas. Cobb delivered this information after he allegedly witnessed Villa and approximately 300 men near Madero, Chihuahua, heading north toward Columbus, New Mexico. In the telegraph Cobb stated that there was reason to believe Villa intended to cross to the United States and to proceed to Washington. Villa was previously reported to be near the Casas Grandes River, 45 miles southwest of Columbus, and at the Rancho Nogales, approximately 65 miles southwest of Columbus. Although this newly acquired information was believed to be reliable, its credibility was short-lived.
Three days later, on March 6, journalists were notified by the Carranzista General Gavira in Juarez that, contrary to popular belief, Villa had no intention of reporting to Washington. Instead, Gavira stated to George L. Seese, a US correspondent to Villa, that Villa intended to cause some incident that would force the United States to intervene in Mexico.(3) This information was conveyed to General John J. Pershing of the United States Army, who questioned its credibility due to the contradictory nature of all the reports regarding Villas whereabouts. Pershing understood it was unrealistic to establish the truth by any means other than concrete reconnaissance, which was unthinkable. Furthermore, Pershing had acquired disconcerting [23] information at his post at Fort Bliss from his own intelligent sources dating back to September of 1915 regarding a possible attack on the United States by Villa. His sources stated that Villa would attack El Paso, Texas, with a force of 15,000 men if the United States recognized Carranza as de facto President. This inevitably led the general to view El Paso as Villas most likely target. All of these reports were additionally sent to Colonel Herbert J. Slocum.

(3) Tompkins, p.42

To his dismay, Colonel Slocum was unable to verify any information on Villas whereabouts or intentions. He arranged further patrols and strengthened his positions, but this was the extent of his capacity to safeguard his territory. The colonel was accountable for 65 miles of uninhabited border that stretched from Hermanas in the west to Noria in the east. Furthermore, the number of troops under his authority was exceptionally small to encompass such a vast region. His regiment consisted of 21 officers and 530 soldiers, 79 of which were non-combatants. Altogether, Slocum possessed approximately one officer for every 600 feet of border. Slocum had dispatched two officers and 65 men at Palomas at an outpost to the east, and Major Lindsey controlled seven officers and 151 men 11 miles at another to the west thereby leaving roughly 120 soldiers in Columbus.
As the day ended many of the regimental senior officers retired to their rental homes located outside of the camp and within the town of Columbus. Slocum and several other officers boarded the train to attend a dance in Deming that night, not to return until morning. Lieutenant Castleman took charge of Camp Furlong as Officer of the Day and inspected the border patrol after the coming down of the flag at retreat.
For a number of days prior to March 9 locals of the tiny town began noticing scenes that werent everyday occurrences. Dr. Roy Edward Stivison, a local school principal, recounted: We had noticed and commented on the large number of strange Mexicans appearing in and about the town. We found out later these were spies from the Villista forces ranging just south [24] of the border.(4) The day prior to the attack, Pancho Villa ordered a final reconnaissance of the town of Columbus and was advised by Colonel Cipriano Vargas that there were only about 30 American soldiers at the encampment. This was later to prove a miscalculation as the garrison was four times greater than the Villistas had observed. The revolutionary leader Francisco Pancho Villa, (Colonel) Francisco Beltrán, (Colonel) Candelario Cervantes, (General) Nicolás Fernández, and (General) Pablo Lopez held a council of war to decide upon a plan of action. Villas plan of attack was to split his force into two columns and adhered to a specific strategy by approaching the garrison and town from opposite positions from both the east and west. One column was to strike the commercial district where the raiders would loot the stores for clothing and blankets as well as other supplies. The second column was to execute a surprise attack upon Camp Furlong by targeting the horse stables, weapons room, and the food supplies.

Cootes Hill (Villa Hill) covered the Villista approach toward Columbus and was where Villa ordered the attack. After the raid the hill was incorporated as a part of the growing Camp Furlong and used as an observation post by the army. (Photo by the author)

The U.S. Customs House, built in 1902, regulated trade coming across the border from Palomas, Mexico, several miles to the south. In 1901, it was a sub-port of the customs house in El Paso, Texas. The building, an example of Prairie School architecture, stood along the arroyo from where the Villistas hid and from where they made their attack upon Columbus. The building is now part of the Pancho Villa State Park. (Photo by the Author)

At 4p.m. the column moved north and sometime after midnight crossed the border through a hole cut in the fence a mile west of Palomas. As they moved eastward toward the big ditch, A signal passed down the line of riders for a halt. As they waited, three men merged out of the darkness. They held a brief consultation with Villa... These three Villistas, experts with knives, crawled up to an American army outpost and killed the two soldiers on duty there. Captain Bull Studgys outpost, a quarter mile farther east, was by-passed.(5) Deploying his men around the sleeping desert town, their presence was virtually undetectable as they followed the hidden trench (arroyo) that progressed directly through the center of the garrison and town, helped by a lack of adequate lighting; Columbus only source of light emitted from [25] kerosene lamps placed sporadically throughout the town. Every man was armed with a rifle, pistol and bandoleer. Tied to many of the saddles were five gallon cans of kerosene.(6) Around four in the morning of March 9, 1916 Villa raised his arm and the battle cry of Vayanse adelante, muchachos! was sounded. The attack began with cries of Viva Villa, Viva Mexico, and Muerto a los Gringos! This was confirmed by a clock outside the railroad station that was struck by a stray bullet, causing it to stop at 4:11a.m. shortly after the first shots rang out.

(4) Stivison, p.37
(5) Larry A. Harris, p.87
(6) Boucher, p.12

The railroad depot was in the middle of the crossfire between Villista and American troops as evidenced by the clock that was stopped by a bullet in the early morning of the attack. (Pancho Villa State Park)

Immediately three groups of Villistas began swarming Columbus and Camp Furlong from various directions. One of these had entered the camp by way of a dry arroyo; another had entered the town and was ready to begin looting the stores as soon as it was safe to do so. As the Villistas advanced into the town, they drenched each business building as they came to it and put it to the torch. Soon the entire area was illuminated by dancing flames. The remaining unit passed into the corrals and was scattering horses before any firing took place.
Upon hearing the first shots at about 4:15a.m., the Officer of the Day, Lieut. James P. Castleman, ran to the guard tent, shooting a Villista on the way, and turned out the guard. He then joined up with his F Troop, 13th Cavalry, which had been formed by Sergeant Michael Fody. The camp and town were under [26] a general attack from two directions. Minutes later Lieut. John P. Lucas, who had just returned on the midnight train from El Paso, where he had been participating in regimental polo matches, saw a horseman ride by his window. He was wearing a high-peaked sombrero characteristic of the Villistas. Hurrying outside, he joined the attackers, who were running toward the barracks, the darkness concealing his identity. Reaching the barracks of his machine gun troop, he led his men to the guard tent where their weapons were under lock and key. Despite several incidents of the French-made Benet-Mercier machine guns jamming, the four gun crews managed to loose 20,000 rounds at the enemy. The Benet-Mercier did not use belts of ammunition but instead depended upon timely insertion of long stripper clips. Operating the gun in the early morning darkness required an expert crew to prevent jamming something not present in Columbus, New Mexico, in 1916.

American National Guardsmen training with a Hotchkiss M1909 Benet-Mercie machine gun in .30-06 caliber. US forces used the Benet-Mercie in the Pancho Villa Expedition in Mexico of 191617 and initially in France. Firing pins and extractors broke frequently on the American guns; United States troops called the M1909 the daylight gun because of the difficulty replacing broken parts at night, and the unfortunate jams created when the loading strips were accidentally inserted upside down in darkness. (AdeQ Historical Archives)

After fighting in camp for 30 or 40 minutes, the soldiers began to gain the upper hand and then were able to send aid to the beleaguered citizens. Lieutenant Castleman ordered the troop on toward the town, where the heaviest firing was concentrated. They threw a cordon of troops across the main street and thus kept the bandits from entering the north part of town. Sergeant Fody recounted the following: [27]
... at the command Forward March, every man jumped to his feet without a scratch and advanced. After crossing the railroad track we had our first man hit, Private Jesse P. Taylor, who was shot in the leg. I told him to lie down and be quiet and that we would pick him up on our return. Advancing about ten yards farther Private Ravielle tripped over barbed wire, discharging his piece in front of his nose, the concussion of which made his nose bleed. We made about four stands in about five hundred yards. Private Thomas Butler was hit during the second stand but would not give up and went on with us until he was hit five distinct times, the last one proving fatal.
We advanced and took position on the Main Street near the town bank, having a clear field of fire. For over an hour we lay in this position but were unable to do effective work on account of the darkness. As soon as it began to light up our ammunition was getting low. I sent Private Dobrowalski to the guard house after some ammunition, he had to get three Mexicans who disputed his way before he could comply with his orders.
When the Mexicans set fire to the Commercial Hotel, the blaze illuminated the section. We were then in the dark and had the advantage. The group of which I was a member, numbering twenty-five men under Lieutenant Castleman, was the largest group under one command during the fight. Our forces were scattered in little bunches throughout the camp and vicinity but did very telling work. As soon as the light was bright enough we made every shot count and soon thoroughly discouraged the invaders. About 6:30 the Mexican bugler sounded Recall, it was a welcome sound. The Mexicans began immediately to retreat. Major Frank Tompkins obtained permission from Colonel Slocum to give pursuit.(7)

There had been various accounts of the strike from the residents and soldiers. Once the attack commenced, the Mexicans first act was to stampede the cavalry horses. The remaining unit of the two columns formed from Villas forces were to pass into the corrals and scatter the horses before any firing took place. However, as the Mexicans were in the process of stampeding the horses their moment of surprise was taken away when they were happened upon by an American trooper. An army sergeant who had claimed credit for firing the first shot and for killing the first Villista described the following to Dr. R. E. Stivison: I happened to be awake about four oclock and while coming around one side of one of the barracks found myself face to face with a Mexican who was pointing his gun at me. I pulled my army pistol and shot him in his tracks.(8) Apparently, according to the sergeant this was the signal for general firing to commence.
(7) Tompkins, p.80
(8) Stivison, p.42

One account has it that the Villistas were searching for a merchant who cheated Pancho Villa. It was claimed that the Villistas were shouting Sam Ravels name not knowing that he had left for a dental appointment in El Paso. Sams brother and partner, Louis, wasnt so lucky. He was in the store the brothers owned when the Villistas struck. He burrowed his way under a huge pile of cowhides and prayed. His prayers must have been been answered, because the bandits overturned the place looking for Sam, at the [30] same time looting the store of everything of value, and destroying the rest.
The pile of cowhides didnt escape their notice either. They tore the heap apart, but stopped before reaching the bottom, and it is well that they did, for underneath the last lay the shivering Louis.
Arthur, the 12-year-old brother of the Ravels, ran out of the building and raced up the street in his underwear. He tried his best to escape but was captured after a short chase by two Villistas. They were caught in a crossfire where the Villistas were killed by American gunfire and the young Ravel ran as fast as he could toward the outskirts of Columbus.
Dr. Stivison stated that About five oclock flames began to appear from the big frame Ritchie Hotel and from the Lemmon Store just across the street from it. In the lurid light we could distinguish men dashing hither and thither and riderless horses running about in all directions. The continuous firing, the shouting of the Mexicans, and confusion in general continued until about seven oclock. Then with the coming of daylight, the firing diminished and finally ceased altogether.(9)
As the first streaks of sunlight began appearing, Villa realized that without darkness he and his men could not hope to survive, and so ordered his bugler to sound the retreat. The retreat was orderly and well planned but Villa did not plan on losing so many of his men. At full gallop and with a fine assortment of booty including over 100 horses and mules and 300 rifles, the Mexicans galloped for the canyon-slashed sierras to the south. Well over 60 Villistas were scattered about in the streets of Columbus.
As daylight came and the sounds of gunfire ceased, a few of the townspeople began venturing out to the streets. Dr. Stivison recounted:
We ventured out of our house and started toward Reverend Boddingtons block. We met the good man and his wife coming out, as bewildered as we were, Together we set out for the main part of town. Coming to the Walker Hardware Store we found our old friend and neighbor, James Dean, a grocery merchant, lying in the middle of the street, his body riddled with bullets. We learned that he had thought the Lemmon Store had been set afire accidentally and that he might be of assistance in putting it out. The raiders got him before he reached the scene of the blaze.

Continuing to the Ritchie Hotel, we found the body of Mr. Ritchie with his legs partly burned off, lying beside the building. His wife told us later that he had offered the Villistas all the money in his pocket ($50.00) if they would spare his life. They took the money but shot him and threw his body into the burning hotel. Rings were taken forcibly from Mrs. Ritchies hands. Their little daughter, Edna, a pupil of mine, showed me holes in the back of her coat, put there by the bandits as she was escaping down the back stairs.

Five men, guests of the hotel, were taken with Mr. Ritchie and all met the same tragic fate. One of these was a Mr. Walker, who with his wife had come the day before to attend the Sunday School convention. He was yanked from his wifes arms and shot. Young Señor Perera, a representative of the Mexican consulate at El Paso, was another [31] of the guests who met an untimely end. He had volunteered to take the place of the regular representative, Mr. Gray, who was ill at the time. Perera was indeed a prize for the Villistas. His body was found the next morning just across the line.(10)

(9) Stivison, p.41
(10) Stivison, p.41

The Villistas broke into the Columbus State Bank on Broadway Street and tried to smash their way into the vault without success. The vaults steel door and frame are preserved in the Columbus Historical Museum (former railroad depot) where traces of numerous dents from Villista bullets can be seen. Remains of the concrete vault marks the site where the bank, which was turned into a temporary morgue, once stood. (Authors photo)

Dr. Stivison continued on to the camp hospital and found a pump foreman for the El Paso and Southwestern Rail Road severely wounded. His house was situated on the south side of the tracks in the very center of the fighting. His wife, Bessie James, was lying dead at the Hoover Hotel. She and her husband had been shot at the hotels entrance as they sought refuge from the fighting in the streets. As Stivison continued surveying the carnage in and around Columbus, he remembered the following:
We found the body of our good friend, C.C. Miller, the druggist, lying in the door of his store. He had left the Hoover Hotel and started for the drug store but was mortally wounded just as he reached its sheltering walls. Mr. Miller had been a particularly fine character. He had come to the Mimbres Valley as a tubercular, obtained a herd of goats and lived in the open until he had regained his health, then resumed his vocation of druggist.

In the Hoover Hotel, seriously wounded, we found Mrs. J. J. Moore, wife of one of the merchants. The Moores had a beautiful little home between Columbus and the border. The bandits, in their retreat, had stopped there long enough to bring death and destruction to it. Mr. Moore had been shot and instantly killed before his wifes eyes. Mrs. Moore had run from the house and was climbing through a wire fence [32] when she was shot through the right thigh. ... Dead Villistas were lying in the streets all over town. Many were mere boys, fourteen to sixteen years old. Many of the dead and dying had taken crucifixes from their pockets and were clutching them against their breasts. (11)

(11) Stivison, p.42

American casualties amounted to 18 killed; eight were soldiers and ten were civilians, one of whom was a woman. However, the Villistas casualties far exceeded those of the Americans. In addition, unbeknownst to Juan Favela, who reported to Colonel Slocum prior to the raid, Villistas had captured three Americans from the Palomas Land & Cattle Company. Two of the captives were hanged and the third man was shot when efforts to horsetrample him failed.
Colonel Slocum authorized Major Frank Tompkins of the 13th US Cavalry to mount up a troop and pursue the fleeing Villistas. Tompkins quickly rounded up Captain Rudolph Smysers Troop H and with 32 men left camp. The troop proceeded southwest and in the dim light of the morning saw the Mexican column retreating toward the border. The troopers [33] paralleled their march with the objective of cutting off as many as possible as soon as they could get clear of the wire fences at the border.

MARCH 9, 1916
The raid on Columbus was a multi-pronged attack upon the military camp of the 13th US Cavalry and the town itself by Pancho Villas men from their hidden positions behind Cootes Hill and in the arroyo (ditch) that ran parallel to the road leading toward the Mexican border.

1. Villa (40 men)
2. Lopez (100 men)
3. Cervantes (120 men)
4. Pedrosa (40 men)
5. Fernandez (60 men)
6. Beltran (125 men)

1. Villa (40 men)
2. Lopez (100 men)
3. Cervantes (120 men)
4. Pedrosa (40 men)
5. Fernandez (60 men)
6. Beltran (125 men)

As daylight came to Columbus the evidence of the carnage became clearer. Destroyed in the fire were a block of buildings consisting of the Commercial Hotel, Lemmon & Romney Mercantile, and two small houses. It was here that the greatest number of American deaths occurred. (AdeQ Historical Archives)

An isolated hill stood about 300 yards south of the fence between the Mexican column and Tompkins forces. The hill was occupied by Villistas who were a covering detachment for their left flank. The troopers cut the fence to the east of the hill deployed as foragers and advanced, increasing the pace until the command of Charge! was cried out. As the troopers charged the slopes of the hill the Villistas broke and ran. Tompkins recounted? We galloped to the hill top, returned pistols, dismounted, and opened rifle fire on the fleeing Mexicans killing thirty-two men and many horses.(12)
Realizing that they were now in Mexican territory against a standing War Department order, Tompkins sent a note to Colonel Slocum stating that the Mexicans had taken up positions on a ridge 1500 yards to the south of the international boundary between the United States and Mexico, and requested permission to take Troop G with his men of Troop H to continue the pursuit.
Approximately 45 minutes later Slocum responded that Tompkins could use his own judgment. While Troop G was diverted by firing heard at the border gate, Tompkins was joined by men of Troop F and continued the pursuit. Within 45 minutes he struck Villas rear guard.
(12) Tompkins, p.57

An inglorious death: after the raid the bodies of the Villistas were gathered outside the town, piled like firewood, doused with gasoline, and burned. The stench of decaying human and horse flesh out in the desert continued on in the following months. (AdeQ Historical Archives)

Major Tompkins described the following: We deployed at wide intervals and advanced toward the enemy at a fast trot, the enemy firing all the time but their shots going wild. When we were within four hundred yards of them, finding good shelter for the horses, we dismounted, and opened fire, driving the rear guard back on the main body and killing and wounding quite a few. It may be well to state here that the men dismounted while extended, each man linking his horse to his stirrup buckle thus keeping the animal immobile [36] and allowing every rifle to get on the firing line and get there fast. For this kind of fighting where the horses were in a fold of the ground but a few yards behind their riders, this method of linking enabled the men to dismount and mount with speed. (13)
Tompkins again took up the pursuit and overtook the rear guard within 30 minutes. They tried to turn the Villistas on their left flank but exposed the troopers to fire at close range. Tompkins was slightly injured in the knee and a Captain Williams was wounded in the hand. The troopers dismounted under cover and advanced to within view of the enemy while Troop F was firing at the main body at 800 yards and Troop H firing at the Mexican rear guard with battle sights. They eventually drove back the Villistas and took up the pursuit once again. The troopers counted an additional twelve dead Mexicans. Thinking that the Villistas were going to take up a position on an elevation, Tompkins detached Troop F to flank this position while he proceeded on the Mexican trail with Troop H. Tompkins wrote: I again overtook the enemy, but this time on a plain devoid of cover. They soon saw our weakness (but twenty-nine men) and started an attack with at least three hundred men while the remainder of the Mexican forces continued their retreat. We returned their fire until one horse was wounded and one killed when we fell back about four hundred yards where our horses had excellent cover. But the Mexicans refused to advance against us in this new position.(14) [37]
(13) Tompkins, p.56
(14) Tompkins, p.56

Archibald Douglass Frost, his wife Mary Alice, and their 6-month-old son fled Columbus in this 1915 Dodge Touring Car during the Pancho Villa raid. Mr. Frost was shot twice and the vehicle sprayed with gunfire as they sped through Columbus toward Deming. Mary Alice, an inexperienced driver, had to take the wheel on several occasions. The three arrived in Deming, and upon examining the Dodge found numerous bullet holes, including two through the drivers seat. Frost carried one of the bullets in his body for the rest of his life; it is currently preserved in the museum of the Pancho Villa State Park. (Authors photo)

With ammunition running low and the men as well as their horses exhausted from fighting without food or water, Major Tompkins returned to Columbus. The American counter-attack took the troopers within 15 miles of Mexican territory. As a result of the pursuit, many of Tompkins officers and men counted between seventy-five and one hundred dead Villistas on Mexican soil as well as many wounded or killed horses and mules, the abandonment of two machine guns by the Mexicans, many rifles and pistols, much ammunition, food stuff and loot which had been taken at Columbus. (15) In addition to the Americans quick response during the Villista surprise attack upon Columbus and Camp Furlong, after seven and one half hours of hard riding, covering approximately 30 miles of rough country, fighting four separate rear-guard actions without the loss of a single American soldier, and inflicting heavy losses on the retreating Villistas, Tompkins and his fellow officers managed to turn Pancho Villas raid into a fiasco, the repercussions of which were to follow Villa and his men in the months to come.
(15) Tompkins, p.56

The days following the raid soldiers from Fort Bliss were pouring into Columbus making it the safest town on the border. Several townspeople, fearing further attacks, were permitted to stay in the clubroom of Troop F in Camp Furlong, with the soldiers providing pillows and bedding. Within the next few days after the attack the bodies of the soldiers were sent east for burial. President Carranzas personal representative, General Garcia, was present with his staff at a little ceremony at the station in which soldiers and regimental bands took part. Dr. Stivison recounted: During the morning of the same day, we saw military wagons gathering up the bodies of the bandits. These were taken to the edge of town, placed in a pile, [38] saturated with kerosene, and burned. It was a grisly sight but we were glad to know that these particular men would no longer be a menace to the peace of the border.(16)
Mexican losses during and immediately after the raid were believed to be considerable. While returning to Columbus following the pursuit of the Villistas, a distance of approximately 15 miles, nearly 100 dead Villistas were counted by the Americans. Supplementary to the bodies counted on the journey home, 67 Villista corpses were discovered in Columbus the morning after the raid. These were placed in a large heap just beyond the edge of town (approximately 1 mile east), soaked with gasoline, and cremated. For more than a day the fires seethed before ultimately going out while even longer the acrid odor of smoldering flesh saturated the air. One source claimed that it was estimated that between 175 and 200 bodies were in that grisly pile, not including the dead horses.(17) These numbers reveal the consequences the Villistas suffered for their actions in Columbus.

Most of the civilians killed in the raid were buried in the Valley Heights Cemetery, including: Henry Arthur McKinney, Bessie James, James T. Dean, and Perrow G. Moseley. Those soldiers killed in the raid were taken back to Fort Bliss by rail and were interned at the National Cemetery there. (Authors photo)


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Messages: 1506

Sent: 12-05-2012 07:13

In the days following the raid, Americans across United States read sensational headlines.

Villa invades the US
Bandits burn and kill in Columbus
American torn from wifes arms, shot like a dog and roasted
Mexican thug who has defied United States and American victims
Death to Americans! Panchos cry; wants to choke hated gringo
Snipers fire at victims fleeing to find shelter from fusilade
Four American ranchers said to be hanged south of the border
Carranza to get a real firm note on outrage

The American public demanded revenge for the Columbus Raid, and public opinion at the time clamored for action to be taken by the United States. (AdeQ Historical Archives)

In no time Americans and the press demanded revenge for the outrage committed by General Villa and his men in Columbus. The Wilson administration also began implementing a plan on how to punish Villa.
To lead the expedition, US Army Chief of Staff Major General Hugh Scott selected Brigadier General John J. Pershing. A veteran of the Indian Wars and Philippine Insurrection, Pershing was also known for his diplomatic skills and tact. Attached to Pershings staff was a young lieutenant who would later become famous, George S. Patton. While Pershing worked to marshal his forces, Secretary of State Robert Lansing lobbied Carranza into allowing American troops to cross the border.
While motions were being made for an army to be prepared for an expedition, Secretary of State Robert Lansing negotiated with Venustiano Carranza to allow the United States to enter Mexico without interference. Carranza balked at granting approval for the expedition. As a compromise, he insisted that his own [40] troops would track down Villa. The United States refused his offer, and after a week of fervent bartering Carranza reluctantly agreed to allow the Americans across the border as long as they strayed no further than the state of Chihuahua. The army was under the impression that Carranza would allow the expedition to ship supplies over the Mexican Northwestern Railway, but initially he refused. Several weeks into the expedition, Carranza made some concessions and allowed the Americans to use the railroad, but by then supplies were already moving by horse and primitive Dodge trucks. The armys telegraph lines also needed constant attention since the Mexicans made a sport of cutting the wires. The Punitive Expedition learned the hard way that Carranza had little interest in cooperating with the efforts to capture Villa.

Venustiano Carranza de la Garza was one of the leaders of the Mexican Revolution. He ultimately became President of Mexico following the overthrow of the dictatorial Huerta regime in the summer of 1914 and during his administration the current constitution of Mexico was drafted. (AdeQ Historical Archives)

Major General Hugh Lenox Scott wrote in his memoirs:
Secretary of War Newton D. Baker, new on the job, called Chief of Staff of the Army, Major General Hugh L. Scott, into a huddle and told him, I want to start an expedition into Mexico to catch Villa.
This seemed strange ... and I asked: Mr. Secretary, do you want the United States to make war on one man? Suppose he should get onto a train and go to Guatemala, Yucatan, or South America; are you going to go after him?
He said, Well, no, I am not.
That is not what you want then. You want his band captured or destroyed,
I suggested.
Yes, he said, that is what I really want.
And after his approval the ... telegram was sent to General Funston ... in which it will be seen that no mention is made of the capture of Villa himself.

unston received that telegram on March 10. It gave him the go-ahead to organize the Punitive Expedition and named Brigadier General John J. Pershing as commander. The objective was to subdue the Mexican revolutionary forces and to capture Francisco (Pancho) Villa. This turned out to be an exceedingly difficult military task, especially in view of the fact that General Pershings orders not only called for him to proceed against Villa and his followers but also directed him to pay scrupulous regard at all times to Mexican sovereignty. In the meantime, newspapers across the United [41] States, such as The Santa Fe New Mexican, announced President Orders US Army to go Get Pancho Villa Dead or Alive.


The cavalry corporal from the 10th US Cavalry regiment is wearing a well-worn wool campaign shirt with red and white polkadot bandanna to protect him from breathing in dust from the desert trails and wind storms. His olive-brown Montana peak campaign hat bears a yellow hat cord designating him to be a cavalryman. His equipment consists of Model 1910 cartridge belt with suspenders of khaki webbing with first-aid pouch suspended from the wearers right side and bayonet from his left, as well as a M1910 aluminum canteen suspended either from his cartridge belt or to his saddle. His russet brown shoes are strapped with M1911 spurs. He is armed with a Model 1903 Springfield rifle and a M1911 government pistol in a brown leather holster on his right hip, and a Model 1913 Cavalry Saber fitted to his saddle.

The Villista Irregular wore what suited him best in the rough desert terrain of northern Mexico. Popular dress worn by the Villistas consisted of western cowboy vaquero-style clothing, western cowboy-style boots with large Mexican-style spurs, and a sombrero of straw or felt with tricolor ribbon band affixed around the cone of his hat. The ribbon band were in the colors of the Mexican flag and were sometimes marked with DIVISION DEL NORTE. His kit consisted of a canteen, a haversack made of canvas material bulging with personal rations, a bandolier with 7mm cartridge shells and cartridge belt and holster for his Colt Single Action army revolver with a silver ornate knife tucked into his belt. He is armed with a Colt Single Action army revolver or a Mexican copy thereof as well as a Model 1910 Mauser Rifle.

On March 14, 1916, Brigadier General John J. Pershing was given command of two cavalry brigades and a brigade of infantry 10,000 men with orders to find, pursue, and destroy Villas forces. The Punitive Expedition advanced into Mexico on March 15, initially with the consent of President Carranza; however, as the expedition wore on through the next 11 months, Carranza became increasingly hostile to it.

On March 15, Pershings forces crossed the border in two columns with one departing from Columbus and the other from Hachita. Consisting of infantry, cavalry, artillery, engineers, and logistical units, Pershings command pushed south seeking Villa and established a headquarters at Colonia Dublan near the Casas Grandes River. Though promised use of the Mexican Northwestern Railway, this was not forthcoming and Pershing soon faced a logistical crisis. This was solved by the use of truck trains, which used Dodge trucks to ferry supplies the 100 miles from Columbus.

The residence of General John J. Pershing in Fort Bliss, Texas, at the time of the Villista Raid on Columbus, New Mexico, on March 9, 1916. (Photo by the author)

Logistically, the Punitive Expedition started as a nightmare. Nothing of this magnitude had ever been attempted by the US Army. Word of the dilemma was forwarded to Secretary of War Newton Baker, who was somehow able to spend $450,000 of unappropriated funds to purchase new trucks. The funds were well spent as more than 10,000 tons of supplies were eventually delivered by truck to Pershing. Moving supplies by truck was no easy feat during the expedition, however, because roads depicted on available [43] maps turned out to be nothing but trails that were impassable during wet weather. As a result, engineers had to rebuild many of the roads. The expedition also had to rely on mules and wagons to a large extent to keep supplies moving.
Even though the European armies were already employing thousands of trucks in World War I, the US Army only had about 100 vehicles, located at widely scattered posts and depots throughout the country. On March 14, 1916 the Quartermaster General purchased 54 one-and-a-half-ton trucks from companies in Cleveland, Ohio, and Kenosha, Wisconsin. They left the Great Lakes region on a special southbound freight train on the 16th, and arrived at El Paso on March 18, having covered 1,500 miles in 48 hours, loading and crossing the border into Mexico that same night. From March to July 1916, QM Truck Companies delivered over 4,000 tons of supplies and hundreds of troops to Pershings mobile force, validating the trucks worth and in the process revolutionizing the US Armys transport.

American troops on the march against Villa in Mexico, 1916. (AdeQ Historical Archives)

In addition to the first use of mechanization of transport by the United States Army, aircraft also made their first appearance for the fledgling Army Air Service during the Punitive Expedition. While Villa took the first distinction of utilizing aircraft in combat during the Mexican Revolution, the Americans began experimenting with uses of aircraft as early as 1909 when the army acquired their first Wright Model B. The 1st Aero Squadron, consisting of 11 officers, 84 enlisted men, and a civilian mechanic, moved to Columbus by rail after the Villista Raid. Its first reconnaissance sortie was on March 16. By March 19, 1916 the squadron was assigned to the Punitive Expedition, where it flew into Mexico and operated until February 1917. A forward base was established at Colonia Dublán, the expeditions field headquarters near Nueva Casas Grandes in northern Chihuahua. Detachments continued to serve in Mexico after the squadron returned to Columbus on April 22, 1916, including San [44] Geronimo, San Antonio, Satevo, Namiquipa, and El Valle, and by the end of May the squadron numbered 16 pilots and 122 enlisted men.

American soldiers guarding the border. Border excursions by armed groups of Mexicans lessened as the Punitive Expedition dispersed the Villistas as a military threat and thousands of soldiers of National Guard units from various states were stationed along the border. (AdeQ Historical Archives)

The squadrons Curtiss JN3 airplanes were unable to climb over the 10,000 to 12,000-foot mountains of the region or overcome the high winds of the passes through them. Dust storms frequently grounded the aircraft and wooden propellers delaminated in the heat. The squadron carried mail and dispatches, flew limited reconnaissance, and acted as liaison between Pershing and forward units. By April 20, only two airplanes remained in service (neither flyable, and both were destroyed), four having crashed and two others scavenged to provide replacement parts. Four new Curtiss N8 airplanes were delivered on 22 April, but they were little better than the JN3s [45] that they closely resembled and were soon transferred to North Island as trainers. Another Curtiss airplane, the R2, was sent to the 1st Aero Squadron with 12 delivered by late May. The R2 was the latest type available but it too proved unsatisfactory for use on the border. In addition to its Curtiss aircraft, the 1st Aero Squadron also field-tested H-2, H-3, Curtiss Twin JN, R-Land, Sturtevant Advanced Trainer, V-1, D-5, and Curtiss JN-4 during the period 19161917. Between March 15 and August 16, 1916, the 1st Aero Squadron flew 540 missions in Mexico.
Dashing south from the Columbus fiasco, Villa struck the mountain village of Namiquipa on March 18, and there defeated the Carranzista garrison of 200 men. Turning to attack Guerrero ten days later, the chubby centaur was felled from behind during the fight by a bullet from a .44 Remington rolling block fired by one of his impressed volunteers. The bullet shattered his shinbone and he was hurriedly evacuated from Guerrero just hours before it was attacked by 370 troopers of the US 7th Cavalry. Led by 63-year-old Colonel George F. Dodd, the 7th charged Guerrero on horses that were completely jaded after a 55-mile march from Bachiniva over the difficult terrain of the Sierra Madre. Villistas poured wildly out of the town in the face of American pistol and rifle fire. Fifty-six guerrillas were killed, and 35 wounded. The 7th reported none killed, five wounded.

Columbus had the distinction of having the first tactical military airfield in the United States. A squadron of JN3 Curtis Jennie biplanes provided aerial observation for the expedition, although most of the aircraft were lost to crashes in the rugged Mexican mountains. (Authors photo)

On March 29, a patrol of the 7th Cavalry, a detachment of 370 men, attacked Guerrero, believed to be a Villista stronghold. Taken by surprise, the [46] Mexicans were routed from the village; at least 35 Villistas were killed, including Nicolas Hernández, reputedly Villas right-hand man. While the 7th Cavalry had moved on Guerrero, elements of the 10th Cavalry searched in vain to the east. At Aguas Calientas, on April 1, about 150 Villistas fired on the 10th but were quickly driven off. The American troopers scoured the countryside for fugitives but aborted this operation when they were ordered, on April 10, to advance on Parral, 400 miles south of the border.
Backing up the 7th and 10th Cavalry columns were several smaller flying columns assigned to block possible escape routes. When the 13th Cavalry reached Parral just after noon on April 12, 1916, they found the reception far from friendly. Major Tompkins was ushered into the office of General Ismael Lozano, a Constitutionalist officer, who told him that he should never have entered the town and demanded that he leave at once. As Tompkins led his men out of town, they were pursued by a large crowd shouting, Viva Villa and Viva Mexico. Tompkins drew a laugh by shouting Viva Villa back at them.

A 1915 Jeffery-Quad Armored Car No. 1 on display at the Pancho Villa State Park, Columbus, New Mexico. At least one Jeffery, along with a White Armored Car and the armored cars from the New York National Guard, was used in the Punitive Expedition against Pancho Villa in 1916. (Authors photo)

Outside Parral, Carranzista soldiers began firing on the retreating Americans. A sergeant standing next to Tompkins was hit and killed. The major dismounted a rear guard and had them take up position on a small hill. From here they let loose accurate rifle fire, killing an estimated 25 of their pursuers. Then the troopers set off again, until they had to make their next stand, killing another 45 Mexicans. The running battle, during which two [47] Americans were killed and six wounded (including Tompkins), continued late into the afternoon, until the Americans finally marched into the fortified village of Santa Cruz de Villegas, 8 miles from Parral. Although they had found temporary shelter, the situation still looked grim about 100 American troopers were surrounded by 500 to 600 Carranzistas.
Tompkins sent out scouts to find reinforcements and one of his troopers located a squadron of the 10th Cavalry a few miles away. They had scattered about 150 Villistas in the village of Agua Caliente (not far from Guerrero) on April 1 and had been moving south at a somewhat slower pace. Now Major Charles Young, one of the few black officers in the army, spurred his Buffalo Soldiers toward Santa Cruz. They arrived just before 8p.m. on 12 April.
Though no one knew it at the time, the battle of Parral was a turning point: It marked the Punitive Expeditions furthest penetration into Mexico, 516 miles, and the first time Americans had clashed with Carranzistas. Though there would be more battles to fight, the expedition would now begin a gradual pull-out from Mexico. The squadron withdrew to Santa Cruz de Villegas, and on April 13 was reinforced by elements of the 10th and 11th cavalries. The situation at Parral developed into a standoff between US and Mexican forces that threatened to propel the nations to the verge of war. To avert this, Pershing ordered his troops to withdraw from Parral. Seeking to avoid further provocation, Pershing decided to use his five cavalry regiments to patrol prescribed areas only.
On April 22, while pulling back to its assigned district, the 7th Cavalry encountered Villistas and defeated them at Tomochic. Another of Villas generals, Candelario Cervantes, who was said to have personally led the attack on Columbus, New Mexico, was killed when he and some of his men stumbled into a gunfight with a small US Army party on a mapping expedition.
On May 5, Major Robert L. Howze led a squadron of the 11th Cavalry against a Villista band at Ojos Azules. In a spectacular fight at a ranch, Howze led his cavalry, supplemented by a machine-gun troop and a contingent of Apache scouts, in a pistol charge. Six troops of that regiment attacked the Villistas. The bugler sounded the charge as the troopers swept through the area and engaged the enemy. The small mules carrying the machine guns and ammunition could not keep up, falling too far behind the charge to allow the guns to be brought into effective range. Despite barbedwire entanglements that prevented maneuvering of his troops, Howze charged directly at the ranch buildings. Sixty-one bandits were slain, with not one US casualty. This was the last cavalry charge distinction given to the 11th US Cavalry in the Mexican Punitive Expedition.
National Guard units from Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico had been called into service on May 8, 1916. With congressional approval of the National Defense Act on June 3, 1916, National Guard units from the remainder of the states and the District of Columbia were also called for duty on the border. In mid-June President Wilson called out 110,000 National Guardsmen for border service. None of the National Guard troops would cross the border into Mexico but were used instead as a show of force. [48]
Nonetheless, activities on the border were far from dull. The troops had to be on constant alert as border raids were still an occasional nuisance.
During Pershings expedition into Mexico, activities on the border were far from dull. The troops had to be on constant alert as border raids were still an occasional nuisance. Three of the raids were particularly bloody. On May 5, 1916 Mexican bandits attacked an outpost at Glenn Springs, Texas, killing one civilian and wounding three American soldiers. On June 15 bandits killed four American soldiers at San Ygnacio, Texas, and on July 31 one American soldier and a US customs inspector were killed. In all three cases Mexican raiders were killed and wounded, but the exact numbers are unknown. These excursions dwindled as Villas forces were diminished through attrition with Pershings relentless pursuit.
Almost left behind at Fort Bliss, 2nd Lieutenant George S. Patton Jr. had wangled an appointment as General Pershings temporary aide-de-camp. During the Punitive Expedition, Lieutenant Patton was sent out with three headquarters Dodge touring cars, ten soldiers from the Sixth Infantry, two civilian chauffeurs, and two civilian guides to buy corn for the headquarters detachments horses.
Entering the town a few minutes before noon, one of Pattons guides, an ex-Villista named E.L. Holmdahl, spotted a number of men loitering around the plaza. Although they were unarmed, he recognized some of them as Villistas he had soldiered with in campaigns against Huerta. They are Villas men, he whispered, and they are a bad lot. As the men sighted Holmdahl, they drifted away down the crooked side streets of the town. Holmdahls warning, however, set off alarm bells in the young lieutenants mind. Colonel Julio Cárdenas, former leader of Villas elite troop of Dorados, was rumored to be in the area.
Hearing in a local Mexican town that a Villista leader might be nearby, the enterprising young officer decided to make a detour to check out the story. His small caravan steered toward the San Miguelito Ranch owned by Villas most trusted colonel. 2nd Lieutenant George S. Patton and his force, riding in Dodge touring autos, approached the San Miguelito Ranch from the south, appropriately at high noon on May 14, 1916. Patton positioned two carloads eight soldiers and a guide at the southern wall around the hacienda and its two gates. He and the remaining two soldiers (a corporal and a private) and a guide parked their car northwest of the compound and made their way east along the low north wall, heading toward the big arch of the main gate.
Patton carried a rifle in his left hand, with his right on the pistol butt at his hip. He was almost at the gate when three horsemen dashed out of the hacienda into the courtyard and headed southeast, running right into the Americans stationed there. The Mexicans immediately wheeled around and charged toward Patton. Bullets whizzed around the lieutenant as he pulled his Colt single-action from its holster and returned fire. One bullet broke the left arm of the lead rider, who was later identified as Coronel Julio Cárdenas, a close aide to Pancho Villa. Another shot took down his horse. The wounded man scrambled for cover as Patton retreated to a wall to reload. The other two Mexican riders split up, trying to escape. [49]
Patton saw one of them go by and shot the horse in the hip, knocking down the mount and the soldier. In an act of chivalry, the American waited for the Mexican to extricate himself, stand up and pull his weapon only then did Patton (and a couple of his men) shoot and kill him.
The third Villista almost made good his escape, riding hard some 100 yards east of the hacienda. Patton holstered his pistol and aimed his rifle. He and several of his command opened up. The Mexican fell dead in the dust. Meanwhile, in the confusion, Cárdenas had exited on foot through the southwest gate and was running for some fields. Holmdahl caught up with the wounded man, who fell to the ground and put up his good, right arm in a sign of surrender. Holmdahl approached with a drawn revolver to take the Mexican into custody. Cárdenas dropped his hand and pulled his pistol. His shot missed. Holmdahl put a bullet in the colonels head.
The dead Villistas were later identified as Colonel Cárdenas, Private Juan Garza, and Captain Isadór Lopez. The body of the bandit colonel bore five wounds, and his bandoliers held 35 empty cartridge loops. The two notches on the left ivory grip of the Patton Peacemaker are believed to have been placed there by him to represent the killings of Cárdenas and Garza.
Pattons men tied the bodies to the hoods of the cars, while Patton put Cárdenas silver-studded saddle and sword into his vehicle. The spectacle of the three cars with the bodies tied on the hoods caused a great commotion along the road, but Patton and his party sped through the countryside to their headquarters at Dublan without incident.


The Cárdenas raid. During the Punitive Expedition, Lieutenant George S. Patton raided a small community and killed Julio Cárdenas, an important leader in the Villista military organization, and two other men. Patton is reported to have carved notches into his revolvers.

At the time of the raid the US Army only had about 100 vehicles, located at widely scattered posts and depots throughout the country. On March 14, 1916 the Quartermaster General purchased 54 one-and-a-half ton trucks from companies in the Great Lakes region. They left the region on a special southbound freight train on the 16th, and arrived at El Paso on March 18, having covered 1,500 miles in 48 hours. They loaded and crossed the border into Mexico that same night. (AdeQ Historical Archives)

Despite the mechanized nature of the expedition the bulk of the army were still powered by horses and mules as evidenced by these wagons. Of interest is the cover of one wagon stenciled with SANITARY TRAIN 6 ART / U.S. on the side. (AdeQ Historical Archives)

At around 4p.m., Patton arrived at Dublan with the three bloody corpses strapped across the blistering-hot hoods of the automobiles. War correspondents crowded around to get a first-hand account of his adventure. The stories they filed made Patton a national hero for several weeks. His [52] photograph appeared in newspapers around the United States. Pershing was pleased that someone had enlivened the hunt for Villa and actually taken out a key member of his band. He even permitted Patton to keep Cárdenas sword and silver saddle as trophies of his first fight. His reward came with a promotion to 1st Lieutenant and Pershings affectionate description of him as my bandit.
The battles of April 22 and May 5 were the last major engagements of the Punitive Expedition although in minor fights during May two of Villas principal commanders, Julio Cárdenas and Candelario Cervantes, were killed. In the meantime, however, relations between the United States and the Carranza government deteriorated further as Mexican bands continued to raid US border towns along the lower Rio Grande. A number of the raids had been led by Carranzistas, rather than Villistas. It was at this point, with the National Guard mobilized, that US troop strength along the border reached six figures. On the Mexican side of the border a severe fight broke out in Carrizal at the end of June when a 10th Cavalry patrol entered the town without Carranzista permission.
By May 19, 1916, the 10th Cavalry was in camp at Colonia Dublan alongside the 11th Cavalry. Here they would spend the remainder of their time in Mexico, with periodic scouting expeditions. The planes of the 1st Aero Squadron were out of commission, either wrecked or broken down, and could not be used for reconnaissance. So the job of scouting fell to the cavalry. One such scouting expedition was sent out on June 16 to check on the Mexican troop build-up around Ahumada. Captain Charles T. Boyd, in command of C Troop, with Hank Adair as his lieutenant, was given orders to recon in the vicinity of the Santa Domingo Ranch and to avoid any clash [53] with Mexican forces. Similar orders were issued to Captain Lewis S. Morey, Troop K. Captain George B. Rodney watched as Boyd's troop left camp and he counted the men as they rode past. ... Sixty-four men in column, joking and laughing as they filed out of camp; then his point of four men shot to the front and he and Adair waved their hands to me in laughing adieu.(18)

(18) Rodney, p.276


JUNE 21, 1916

A veteran recounted the action at Carrizal:
We started forward deployed in line of foragers, moved forward until we were within 500 yards of the enemy, then we dismounted and our horses moved to the rear and we moved forward, the Mexican cavalry started riding around both flanks and when we were about 200 yards from the enemy, we received a heavy volume of fire from rifle and machine guns and we knew that the ball was opened then.
We then received the order to lie down and commence firing, using the battle sight (which is the way we aim our rifles when we are fighting at close range). All of our men were taking careful aim, and Mexicans and horses were falling in all directions but the Mexican forces were too strong for us as they had between 400 and 500 and we only had 50 men on the firing line, so even though we were inflicting terrible execution, they outnumbered us too greatly for us to stop their advance around our right flank.

At this stage of the game, the Mexicans were so close that it was almost impossible to miss them, they were even so close that it was possible to hit them with stones had we desired. After about 1½ hours hard fighting they were about 30 yards from our right flank. I tried to swing the left half of our platoon (of which I was in command) around so as to help out our platoon on the right, but it was impossible, about that time our Captain yelled out to Sergeant Page, Quote, Sergeant Page! Good God man, there they are right upon you! and Sergeant Page responded, "I see them Captain but we can't stop them and we can't stay here because it is getting too hot. By that time bullets were falling like rain and the Captain ordered all of us to look out for ourselves and our men moved off the field by our left flank. No one can truthfully say that our men ran off the field because they did not, in fact they walked off the field stopping and firing at intervals.


Red - US Cavalry

1. C Troop, 10th Cavalry
2. K Troop, 10th Cavalry

Blue - Mexican Cavalry

Yellow - EVENTS

1. Conference between US and Mexican forces

2. Captain Charles T. Boyd falls

The two columns converged on the ranch, about 60 miles east of Colonia Dublan, on the evening of June 20. There they gathered intelligence on Mexican troops at Ahumada from the American foreman, but Boyd felt that his orders required him to take a look for himself. So the two troops left at dawn on the 21st for Ahumada via Carrizal. Just outside of the town of Carrizal, Boyd found a Mexican government force, estimated at several hundred in battle position, awaiting his detachment. They were deployed behind a row of cottonwoods along a stream bed, and in the town, which was fronted by a barbed-wire fence. Between Boyd and the Mexican defenses was an irrigation ditch filled with water. The Mexican commander and his entourage met him and informed Boyd that his orders were to prevent the Americans from advancing any further to the east. Boyd replied that his orders required him to pass through the town.
A long discussion ensued, with the Mexicans opposing the entry of the troops and the American commander insisting on his orders. It is reported that finally the Mexican commander offered to allow the two troops to pass through the town in column of fours, but fearing a trap this was [56] declined. At any rate the discussion was closed by the Mexican returning to the town and the prompt disposition for attack by the two troops, whose combined strength was less than 80 men. The led horses were sent to the rear and troops were formed in line of skirmishers, Troop K being well to the right, with orders to protect the right flank. With this disposition the line moved forward.
As the line drew closer to the edge of the mesa where a barbed-wire fence edged the creek, fire was opened on them from two machine guns that the Mexicans had cleverly disposed under cover. The fire was returned, but the machine-gun fire had already played havoc with the horses, stampeding several of them. C Troop, charging forward, lost Captain Boyd, who was shot first in the hand, then in the shoulder, and then as he sprang out of the irrigation ditch to lead his men he was shot in the head and died instantly. Lieutenant Adair took the troop and carried it forward, storming the town. The two machine guns had previously been put out of action by the hot fire from Troop C. At this stage of the fight Troop K, on the right flank, came under a heavy flanking fire from some Mexican soldiers in a cottonwood grove, and a party of Mexican cavalry appearing at the moment on the right flank of Troop K, that troop fell back, leaving the right flank of Troop C exposed to the hostile fire. Lieutenant Adair, having advanced to the line of houses in the town, found that his men were short of ammunition and went back to get the belts from the wounded, of whom there were quite a few. As he came back he was shot while crossing the irrigation ditch. The bullet struck him just above the heart and he died a few minutes later. With no officers left in the troop, the men became confused. Realizing that they were opposed by tremendous odds and that they had no support, for K troop had retired they retreated, but not until they had inflicted a loss of about 80 on the enemy, including their commanding general.

10th Cavalry troopers along with their scout Lem Spillsbury captured by Carranzista troops after the battle of Carrizal, Mexico. Return of the prisoners occurred on June 21, 1916 on the International Bridge at El Paso, Texas. (AdeQ Historical Archives)

The horses of both troops, stampeded by the bullets that went into the herds, did not stop till they came to the San Domingo ranch where the men found them later. The two troops, losing all cohesion, dropped back to the ranch and got the horses. Both Troop C officers and six enlisted men were killed, four others wounded, and eight were taken prisoner. K Troop lost four enlisted men, Captain Morey and six men wounded, and 15 enlisted men taken prisoner. Lieutenant Adair, along with Captain Charles T. Boyd, was killed by Carranzista troops at Carrizal, Chihuahua, on June 21, 1916. Streets at either end of Fort Huachuca parade ground are named for these two officers. General Pershing officially mourned the loss of Captain Boyd and Lieutenant Adair. The memory of the splendid bravery of these two officers, who lost their lives, and of the men who personally followed them is cherished by this entire command. All the prisoners captured by the Carranzista troops were returned to US custody ten days later at El Paso, Texas.
The Mexicans lost their commander, General Felix U. Gomez, and 11 other officers. Thirty-three of their enlisted were killed and 53 others wounded. They were disorganized enough to lose their advantage and many of the American troopers avoided capture by escaping on foot into the countryside to be picked up later by rescuing troops. [57]

A Carranzista Cavalry unit during the Mexican Revolution. This image was taken at the time of the funeral for President Carranza. (AdeQ Historical Archives)

Tensions between the United States and Mexico were at a breaking point. Not since the MexicanAmerican War of 184648 had the two countries come so close to all-out war. Neither country was prepared, and neither wanted war. The War Department recognized that a force of at least 200,000 was needed to invade Mexico and that Carranza did not have the troops to ward off an American invasion. To avoid further incidents like Carrizal, Funston ordered Pershing to cease sending out long-range patrols. It was becoming increasingly obvious that Carranzas de facto government openly disliked the American presence in Mexico. Major General Hugh Scott and Funston met with Carranzas military chief, Álvaro Obregón, at El Paso and agreed to gradually withdraw Pershing's forces if Carranza would control Villa.
The expedition learned that some of Carranzas soldiers were joining forces with the Villistas. To counter this threat, Pershings men spent the remainder of their time operating in a limited area close to their base of operations at Dublan. By order of General Funston, the supply route was moved further north to prevent Carranzas men from cutting off the expeditionary force from Columbus. It was not really necessary for Pershing to send troops any further into Mexico. Villas forces at this point were badly depleted by casualties and desertion, and those who remained were widely scattered. Although the Villistas were still on the loose, they were not much of a menace.
In September the indefatigable Pancho, his wound healed, surfaced and attacked Satevó and Santa Isabél, killing hundreds of Carranzistas. Gathering followers, he looted Chihuahua on September 16 and persuaded 1000 Carranzistas to enlist in his army. Rapid successes at Parral, Correón, and Camargo followed. On Thanksgiving Day, Villa reoccupied Chihuahua and picked up 2000 more Constitutionalist converts.
Pershing, furious at Wilsons orders that he avoid conflict with Carranzista forces and push no further into Mexico, pleaded to be allowed to take Chihuahua and put Villa out of commission once and for all. Anxious to avoid a war with Carranzas government that would entangle his army in Mexico and leave the US prey to smoldering plots of Germany, Wilson held back the indignant Pershing. In January 1917 the problem resolved itself when Villa received his final trouncing by Federalists near Torreón.
The focus of the Punitive Expedition now changed from actively seeking out Pancho Villa to a more defensive position of protecting the troops from [58] Carranzas forces. A new enemy, boredom, now tormented the troops. During the warmer months, they faced an almost daily dose of dust storms and swarms of flies. Organized recreation was virtually nonexistent for the men on duty in Mexico. In the absence of a USO or YMCA, soldiers organized baseball games, boxing matches, and hunting expeditions. Gambling was also another diversion for the troops, since they had nowhere to spend their army pay. As long as no disorder resulted from the gambling, Pershing and his staff made little effort to discourage it.

Members of the 6th Field Artillery Regiment preparing their guns as infantrymen march past in the distance. (AdeQ Historical Archives)

Another feature of the camp at Colonia Dublan was the numerous Mexican prostitutes who followed the troops. To prevent the men from leaving camp, Pershing had the prostitutes rounded up and placed under guard in a specially created barbed-wire stockade. Soldiers wishing to visit the stockade were required to show the guard on duty that they had the necessary fee, which was regulated by the provost marshal. Before completing business with one of the visiting ladies, a soldier was required to take a prophylactic provided by the army. The result of this strict sanitary measure was one of the lowest venereal disease rates an army has ever known.
The events in Carrizal shocked both sides to the negotiating table. Pershing reduced the scope of his operations, concentrating around his main base at Colonia Dublan. Talks with Carranza petered out but the crisis between the two governments eased. Although Villa remained at large and even organized a new army in southern Mexico, it was the events in Europe in January 1917 that were drawing the United States into World War I, and President Wilson was forced to order the withdrawal of the Punitive Expedition from Mexico.
On January 18, 1917 General Funston informed Pershing that it was the intention of the Government to withdraw from Mexico at an early date. Pershing recommended that the date of the beginning of the movement from Dublan, Mexico, be not later than January 28, 1917, the withdrawal [60] to be entirely by marching, and the command to assemble at Palomas, Chihuahua, and march across the border together. The troops marched out of Colonia Dublan on January 30 and recrossed the border at Columbus, New Mexico, on 5 February, 1917. Shortly after the withdrawal, various units of the National Guard were returned to their homes. Small forces were maintained in Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico to prevent further trouble from scattered bands of outlaws.
The following US Army units were involved in the punitive expedition between 1916 and 1917: 5th, 7th, 10th, 11th, 12th, and 13th Regiments of Cavalry; 6th, 16th, 17th, and 24th Regiments of Infantry; Batteries B and C, 6th Field Artillery; 1st Battalion 4th Field Artillery; Companies E and H, 2nd Battalion of Engineers; Ambulance Company Number 7, Field Hospital Number 7, Signal Corps detachments, 1st Aero Squadron; and Wagon Companies Number 1 and 2. By the end of the Punitive Expedition over 148,000 men served in the expedition and/or along the US and Mexican border.
So the bands were dispersed, and a number of Villas principal lieutenants were killed: General Hernandez at Guerrero; Pablo Lopez, wounded at Columbus, captured by Carranzistas, and executed in April; Captain Silva killed by Howze at La Joya April 10; Lieutenant Beltran, killed by Howze at Santa Cruz de Herrera April 11; Cervantes, Villa's chief lieutenant in the Columbus fight, killed May 25 by an infantry scouting party; Colonel Cárdenas killed May 14 by Lieutenant Patton. In General Pershings report of 10 October, 1916 he stated that:
The number of Villistas who participated in the Columbus Raid based on information received from native sources, is four hundred and eighty-five. The casualty list of Columbus raiders in actions from March 9, to June 30, includes their losses at Columbus. ... Of the total number of 485 Villistas who attacked Columbus, N.M., two hundred seventy three have been reported killed; one hundred eight wounded, who are not captured; nineteen are held in confinement by US troops; and one hundred fifty six are still at large, of whom sixty have been amnestied by the de-facto government, leaving thirty seven unaccounted for.

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