Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Columbus Raid 100 Years -- March 9, 2016

El Paso Herald, 09-March-1916

On 09-March-1916, troops from Pancho Villa's Division of the North attacked the border town of Columbus, New Mexico. Soldiers from the US 13th Cavalry were stationed near the town at Camp Furlong fought back and chased the raiders away, but not before they killed ten civilians and eight soldiers and burned the town.  The US sent the Punitive Expedition into Mexico to chase Villa.  

Mexican Dead Lie Thick Following Columbus Battle
I Can Whip Villa Again Col. Slocum Declares

Many Bodies of Slain Mexicans Are Quickly Gathered Up and Buried; Villistas, Attacking in Early Morning, Charge Through Cavalry Camp, Then Enter Town, Killing, Looting and Burning Property.

COLUMBUS, N. M., March 9. -- Maj. Elmer Lindsley, stationed at Gibson ranch, today sent three troops of cavalry into Mexico to reinforce Maj. Frank Tompkins who went in pursuit of Gen. Villa's band of 800 to 1000 Mexican bandits who early today attacked Columbus, N. M, killing, looting and burning. Col. Slocum, commanding the 13th cavalry, stated one squadron of cavalry was coming from Fort Bliss, and that he had sufficient troops to whip Villa again.

Twenty-four bodies of Mexicans, slain in the Columbus attack, had been gathered up and buried before noon and officials reported scores more were in the brush.

The Americans killed here and at Palomas now number 20, the number having been increased by the death of Thomas Butler, private of troop F, who died of his wounds received in the fighting.

Mrs. Wright Alive

A Mrs Wright, who stated that she and her husband and baby were captured by Villa several days ago was liberated just before the fighting started. She said at the time Villa declared. "I am going to shoot up Columbus and make a torch of every man, woman and child."

Mrs. Wright who said she was released before the fight started, stated that she had been compelled to remain in the saddle almost continuously for nine days.

Mrs. Wright is the wife of an American who, with another American named Franklin and the latter's wife, were Wednesday reported killed by Villistas in the Galeana district of Chihuahua.

Mrs. Wright's husband and their baby also were released.

Lopez Killed; Mexican Arrested.

Pablo Lopez, held responsible for the massacre of 18 Americans and other foreigners at Santa Ysabel, Chihuahua, was among the Mexicans killed. His body was identified. Lebardo Marquez was arrested by the American troops.  He was charged with having guided Villa to the border and with having pointed out houses where prominent civilians, army officers and soldiers lived.

Americans Hanged and Burned.

The Americans killed at the Palomas ranch were Arthur McKinney, William Corbett and James O'Neill. They were hanged Tuesday and their bodies burned. On a nearby ranch J. J Moore-vachant was killed.

Pursuit In Mexico Continues.

American troopers continued their pursuit of Villa raiders throughout the forenoon.  Early this afternoon no word had been received as to how far American soldiers had penetrated into Mexico. Among the pursuing troops was said to be G troop, which, when Villa fled toward the line, attacked him on the flank. killing 18.

Villa Enrages His Men.  

Accounts received here said that Villa addressed his men Wednesday just before ordering an advance on Columbus. Villa declared the watch word would be "Death. to Americans" and added that the "killing of Americans was just because citizens of the United States were responsible for the wretched conditions in Mexico."

"The United States intends to swallow Mexico," Villa shouted, said the reports here. "Let us do what we can to make it stick in their throats.''

The Dead at Columbus.  

A L. Ritchie, hotel proprietor.
Walton Walker, United States customs rider.
Milton James, pumper, El Paso & Southwestern railroad.
Mrs. Milton James.
J. S. Dean.
C C. Miller, druggist.
Unidentified chauffeur.
J. L. Moore, merchant.
W. R, Walker, guest Central hotel
Marg A Dobbs, sergeant machine gun troop.
Frank T. Kendvall, horse shoer, troop K.
Paul Simon, corporal.
John Nievergelt, band sergeant. 
Harry Wiswall, corporal, troop C.
Fred A. Griffen, private, troop K.
Thomas Butler, private, troop F. He was wounded in the fighting, but died later in the day.

The Wonnded.

Lieut C. C. Benson, troop G.
Jesse P. Taylor, troop F.
Theodore Kalzorke, troop L.
Michael Bannazel, machine gun troop.
John Yarbrough, troop K. .
James Venner, troop M.
John Keogh, troop G.

Cavalry Camp Attacked.

The attack began early in the morning, after Villa had entered the town from the west, unknown to any one.  He first attacked the camp of the 13th cavalry, but it suffered little. Several buildings were fired and snipers posted at several places in tbe town.

Wire to El Paso Cut.

Inhabitants were aroused by the sound of firing in the streets and rushing outside were met by fusillades from the Mexican invaders. Shrieking battle yells rang out as the Mexicans scurried through the streets, firing at every one in sight Villa is said to have been seen by several Americans urging his men on. The telephone wire east to El Paso was cut to prevent appeals for reinforcements. Lieut Jas. P. Castleman, officer of the day at the Columbus garrison, summoned the United States soldiers, and then the fighting became general Houses throughout the town were riddled with bullets.

Raiders Speak English.

The Villistas, as they slipped into the town, used the English language to decoy Americans to their death. Dean was caught In this way. A Mexican who spoke excellent English called to him. He emerged from a doorway and his reply, in English brought him his death.

Shout Viva Villa.  

At the same time another American shouted "Hey! Hey' Who are you?"  "Viva Villa," came the reply. "I don't know who he is," the American answered "hut I have some of him left here scattered in the street." He pointed to the street intersection where half a dozen dead bandit raiders lay in the pale light of dawn, and the quick flash of a few pistol shots were visible, as directed at the dying forms in the street, but Villa was not among them.  He apparently left when Col. Slocum's troopers began pressing these snipers toward the south, and daylight began to break.

Villa's Buglers Sound Retreat.

Villa's buglers began sounding the retreat shortly before 6 o'clock. The town was cleared of them by 6:30 and thr remaining people of Columbus began to take account of casualties and property losses.

Body Burned In Ruins.

 Walton Walker, who was shot at the Central hotel with the proprietor. A L. Ritchie, was a delegate to the New Mexico state convention of Sunday schools.  His body was burned in the ruins of the hotel. Mrs. Rachael Walker was also a. delegate from Playas, N. M., to the convention. She was saved by Jolly Garner and his partner, Ben Aguirre, United States customs border riders, who tied sheets to her
arms and lowered her from an upper window.

Bandits Tear Walker Away.

Walker was taken from the arms of his wife by one of the bandits who invaded the halls of the hotel. Despite her cries and appeals for mercy the bandit told her he wanted her husband to go down stairs and shake hands with his captain.

Building Burned.  

A moment later Mrs. Walker heard the shots that killed her husband and the hotel proprietor. Shortly afterward oil was thrown on the building and a match applied. As the flames spread Garner and Aguirre reached Mrs. Walker's room, rescued her and escaped safely. Their horses, however,
were taken from the corral.

Hoover Hotel Raided.

A bandit also Invaded the Hoover hotel and shots sped through the halls and punctured doors. Throughout the raid the guests were cowering on the floor, the proprietor, W. C Hoover, his wife, and two children who were on the ground floor .escaped the bandits' notice.

Troop G Kills Eighteen.

As the bandits raced back toward the border, troop G, 18th cavalry caught them on the flank and killed 18.

Corp. Wisall of the same troop was killed, shot through the right eye.

Lieut Clarence C Benson, of troop G, was wounded in the left arm. A number of the Mexican wounded were taken to the post hospital.

Colonel's Revolver Shot Away.

Col. Slociim's revolver was shot out of his hand as he emerged from his quarters. The bullet dented the barrel of the colonel's weapon, making it useless.

J. J. Moore was shot through the body. He is believed to be fatally wounded.

Villa's Papers Found.

Personal papers of Francisco Villa were contained in a portmanteau found by a United States trooper just west of the American camp.

Murderer Lopez With Villa.

Villa was in personal command of the attack on Columbus and his chief lieutenant was Pablo Lopez, the man who, supposedly under Villa's express orders, slaughtered the 18 foreigners who were taken from a train near Santa, Ysabel, Chihuahua, January 10, according to 'a Mexican rancher who was taken prisoner by the bandits last Sunday at Ojitos ranch, and who escaped during the fighting here this morning. This man told of the hanging of McKinney. Corbett and O'Neill.  He declared a fourth American also had been hanged at the same time.

Slocum Far Outnumbered.

Villa, the Mexican declared, carried out the attack with a force of from 800 to 1000 men. Col. Slocum's force in Columbus was 200 men, including a machine gun platoon.

Describes Villa's Movements.

"Villa." the Mexican told Col. Slocum, "left Bosques Grandes ranch where McKinney and the others were taken prisoner and hanged, Tuesday afternoon about 4 o'clock. He and his men traveled until midnight, camping in the hills. They returned to the Boca Grande river Wednesday and left again for the border last night.

'Traveling due north, they crossed the boundary west of Columbus and came into town by way of the ditch running past the cavalry camp.

Villa Vows Vengeance. 

"Villa was in personal command. He declared that he was going to kill every American because the American government did not treat him right and that Carranza could not make peace in Mexico.

"The other officers with Villa besides Pablo Lopez were Martin Lopez, Col. Candelario Cervantes,  Col. Cruz Chavez, Gen. Jose Fernandez and Gen. Beltran."

Said Villa Had Threatened Raid. 

The Mexican, who asked that his name be not used also confirmed a report previously given out by Carranza authorities that Villa, before striking northward for the border from the Santa Ana district west of Chihuahua City, had freely stated that he intended to force intervention by the United States, by making a raid on American territory and killing everybody in sight.

Ely Brings Guardsmen.

The bank next door to the Hoover hotel. although fired into, was not otherwise disturbed. Lieut. Clyde Ely, company A New Mexico guard, reached here with 20 men from Deming this morning and joined the regular troops on the border.

Dragged From Bed and Killed.

A L. Ritchie, proprietor of the Central hotel, was dragged from a sick bed and killed. Mrs. Ritchie was roughly handled. The bandits tore several rings from her fingers.

A number of stores wore looted and burned. A number of Mexican wounded wore stolen shoes.

Intend To Capture Villa.

Senator Fall of New Mexico today received a telegram from El Paso which said that Col. Slocum, commanding the 13th cavalry, had followed the bandits and into Mexico and had wired that he was going to stay with the pursuit until he "captured the whole bunch." 

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