Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Hunting Pancho Villa -- March 15, 2016

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:

On 15-March-1916 the United States launched a Punitive Expedition into Mexico to capture or kill Villa.  The commander was General John J Pershing.  The expedition marked the first use of airplanes and automobiles by the US Army in the field.  General Frederick Funston had been Commandant of the Presidio of San Francisco at the time of the 1906 Earthquake and Fire. Venustiano Carranza was the leader of the Constitutionlists during the Mexican Revolution and President under the new constitution in 1917. General Gabriel Gavira Castro fought on the side fo the Constitutionlists. General Álvaro Obregón was later President of Mexico. Plutarco Elías Calles who President of Mexico after Obregón. General Henry Pinckney McCain was Adjutant General of the United States Army. 

This article is from the 16-March-1916 Bisbee, Arizona Daily Review.  

Carranza Men Join Those of Uncle Sam Near Palomas For Chase of Noted Bandit
How Far the Column of Soldiers Had Reached by Evening Was Not Known at Headquarters.
Pershing Enters Country with Orders to "Kill or Capture" Villa and his Operations Will Not Be Restricted.  

SAN ANTONIO. March 15. -- General Pershing and practically his entire command crossed the border at Columbus at noon today, Funston announced late this afternoon. A few minor detachments remained behind but will follow quickly. The Carranza troops joined forces with the American troops and accompanied them.

How far into Mexico the column reached tonight is unknown here. Not until after Friday are developments expected. Colonel Dodd, heading a smaller column, entered Mexico west of Columbus also moving in a southerly direction. The two forces will be in touch before the end of the week. By that time it is expected the infantry support will hold the line of communication along which the motor trucks are transporting ammunition and supplies.

Pershing's report of the entrance into Mexico dispelled to a great extent, the fears entertained in some quarters that resistance would be offered the troops by the de facto government. Colonel Bertani, commanding the Carranza garrison at Palomas, joined Pershing with 400 men, and is reported as showing great eagerness to join the chase. A number of Mexicans are employed as scouts by Pershing.

Pershing has gone to Mexico with orders to wipe out the Villa organization. Unless orders to the contrary are received from those higher in authority than General Funston, the campaign will continue until Villa is killed or captured. No limits have been placed on the field operations of more than 20,000 troops. Bands affiliated with Villa in other parts of Mexico have not indicated their intentions, but brisk activity on their part would be no surprise to American officers who expect they will have to be engaged from time to time.


CHICAGO, March 15. -- Reports from various army recruiting stations, throughout the United States, indicated a big increase in the number of applicants for enlistment since the President ordered troops Into Mexico. Banners inscribed "Help Catch Villa." will be used in recruiting work here.

Dispatches from the Central and Western states showed that recruiting had increased and that in response to orders from army headquarters many branch recruiting stations are being opened.

Advices from New York stated the border trouble resulted in an immediate increase of recruiting.

Atlanta, Georgia, reports a sixty per cent increase. The applications at Philadelphia doubled.


WASHINGTON. March 15. -- At the request of the State department an order was sent to collector of customs at Seaports of the United States and along the Mexican border to hold up the shipment of arms, ammunition, and explosives to Mexico, except when it was clearly established it was for the use of the de facto government.

The order is said to be the outcome of information reaching the department of a large consignment of explosives intended for the Villa forces to be sent south. Officials tonight refursed to discuss the subject, but there is reason to believe there is some credence to be placed in the recent reports that friends of certain European nations had been willing to put munitions of war at the disposal of Villa.


PHOENIX, March 15. -- The United States Reclamation service asked Governor Hunt to supply a detail of militamen to guard the Roosevelt Dam. Hunt promised aid. He suggested the arming of 30 government employes to be stationed at the dam. It is reported the Mexicans employed near the dam
are former Villa soldiers.

Gavira Receives Orders from Obregon to Work in Full Harmony with Commanders of the Army of U. S.

JUAREZ, March 15. General Gavira, the Carranza commander here, said he received instructions from General Obregon, Minister of War, to order all troops in his district to cooperate in every way with the American expeditionary force. Juarez is quiet on the surface. Americans met with insults in some parts of the town. There is evidence of a strong undercurrent of hostility towards the United States.

About 1,000 troops are confined to the barracks and are forbidden to frequent saloons. Nothing stronger than beer is sold. The statement late today of General Gavira said: "My soldiers are absolutely loyal. There is no danger of any outbreak in this section."

In spite of General Gavira's assurrances, it was plainly visible that the American residents were uneasy and most of them are spending the nights on the American side. Expressions of hostility thus far have been confined to the civilian population. The street cars are running between Juarez and El Paso.


SAN DIEGO. March 15. -- The destroyer Stewart will leave here at midnight for Ensenada under orders from Admiral Winslow, commander of the Pacific fleet, following instructions he received from the Navy Deprtmentment. This action follows reports brought here that the fishermen threatened to revolt on the garrison there.

The masters of a fishing vessel declare that Ensenada is a Villa hotbed, and say trouble is feared there with the news of American troops crossing the Mexican line. The Stewart hurriedly took supplies. A high naval officer admitted the destroyer was being sent to the Lower California towns to investigate but refused to say that reports of trouble were received. The garrison at Ensenada, so far as is known, never pledged its loyalty to either faction in Mexico. The troops under the command of Estaban Cantu, military governor of Lower California, are recently reported to have espoused the cause of Carranza.


BROWNSVILLE. March 15. -- About thirty Mexican bandits fired at sixteen American soIdler8 guarding a bridge and railroad fourteen miles north of Brownsville. A hundred shots were exchanged. No Americans were injured. It is not known if the bandits suffered. Railway guards have been increased.


WASHINGTON. March 15. -- The Senate concurred in the House a resolution providing regular army increase to approximately 120,000 fighting troops. There was little debate and the 69 senators in session voted unanimously for the resolution. Adjutant General McCain had acted without waiting finai passage of the resolution under orders wired last night and recruiting officers all over the United States which had been closed for months were reopened. Before the Senate voted several hundred men were already enrolled.

Alkali Dust Marks Start of U. S. Troops From Spot of the Recent Villa Attack
Column of Cavalry and Infantry Leaves Columbus Just as East Bound Golden State Comes Into Station.
Thirteenth Cavalry, Sixth and Seventh Infantry, with a Corps of Engineers Make-up First Known Move

EL PASO, March 15. -- (Special) -- A long trail of yellow alkali dust, hanging over the skyline, marked the trail of the United States troops into Mexico at Columbus and Palomas at noon today, according to American passengers who arrived here on the Golden State Limited tbis afternoon.

The column was moving across the flat, sloping plains just as the train from the west passed through Columbus and, because of the congestion of the troop trains there, the delay gave the passengers an excellent opportunity to watch the movement of the American troops across the border.

A corps of engineers, with all of their engineering equipment, were the first to leave Columbus. Behind them rode the 13th Cavalry, the organization picked by General Pershing for the place of honor because of its baptism of fire at the battle of Columbus, between Villa and the troopers of Col. Slocum's command. The bullet torn regimental colors of the l1th was the head of the column as the troopers swung across the plains and the head of it dipped into ravine just before the Palomas custom house and the line.

Behind the l3th Cavalry marched the 6th and 16th Infantry. Which will keep the line cf communications in between Columbus and the railroad and the border and beyond. As the troops marched toward the line, the little Mexican flag on the Palomas Custom House could be seen waving in the breeze from the rear of the column.

As the first expeditionary force moved into position the wagon trains, pack trains and motor lorries swung in behind and headed due south toward the Mexican border. As these swung in, another line formed from behind the knoll which Villa occupied when he charged down onto the little border town. Troops over the mesquite-covered plains were forming in platoons and forming into an auxiliary division for movement behind the initial crossing.

The train passengers state that there was no cheering, no confusion or excitement. The cavalry troopers cantered out of the little town where they fought the bandits, swung out across the level country which slopes sharply toward Palomas and proceeded in a canter until they were clear of the town and camp when they settled down to a steady swinging cavalry march with the infantry stepping along behind.

Columbus was filled with civilians watching for the crossing and they gave the only cheers that were given for the American soldiers a they marched after Villa. The engineer on the passenger train blew his whistle constantly as a farewell to the troopers and the train pulled out as the colors of the cavalry could be seen waving as a dark patch against the white adobe of the nearest border house.


NOGALES. March 15 -- News that troops have crossed the border was received quietly here and Mexican Nogales. Knots of people gathered on the streets with no excitement. As soon as the crossing was officially conftrmed, assembly was sounded at military headquarter across the border and 400 men of the garrison were summoned to quarters.

It was explained the Mexican authorities desire to avoid possible friction. Later a pamphlet was distributed to the Mexican by General Calles, military governor of Sonora. containing the declaration of Carranza regarding his negotiations with the United States and Mexico and urging all Mexicans to remain calm. It was learned from sources usually authentic that Carranza troops are being concentrated on the border of Chihuahua and eastern Sonora. 


DOUGLA5. March 15. -- Numerous reports were received by military authorities here that open rebellion had broken out among the Carranza troops at Cabullona, 18 miles south of here. The Americans were disturbed and extra precautions were taken to guard the town.

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