United States Intervention in Mexico
(aka The Punitive Expedition)
Brief History/Books/Manuscripts/

The Mexican revolution begins after the Presidential elections there in 1910. President Wilson feared Mexico's weak status would lend itself to forces hostile to the United States. After some Naval incidents, Wilson sent in forces to occupy Veracruz.   As a result of US Intervention, Mexican revolutionaries, such as Pancho Villa, attacked the  United States cities of  Columbus; New Mexico on March 9, 1916, Nogales; Arizona, and Glenn Springs, Texas on May 9, 1916,  just across the border.  Fears in Arizona arise when the border town of Nogales is attacked.  Sightings of Villa are everywhere and panic sets in on Southwest border towns. Wilson sends Federal troops, which also  includes the Arizona National Guard, to assist in re-establishing order.

"Black Jack" Pershing was sent in March 15, 1916 as a result of Villa's first border crossing.  Pershing crossed into Mexico leading a motorcade of US soldiers into Mexico in search for Villa. His expedition was bogged down after five weeks due to political reasons and unfriendly terrain.  A chronology of those events is listed on the bottom of this page.  There is only one recorded skirmish with Villa in Mexico, but other factors would lead to the withdrawal of troops. January 1917 U.S. General Pershing withdraws from Mexico without coming close to capturing Villa. Almost in unison the large buildup of US troops along the border starts to breakup. On April 6th the US declared war on the Central powers in Europe and the Mexican Revoluton no longer commands the attention of the United States.

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Prologue: Quarterly of the National Archives and Records Administration Fall 1997, vol. 29, no. 3 The United States Armed Forces and the Mexican Punitive Expedition Part 1 By Mitchell Yockelson

Buffalo Soldiers at Huachuca: Organizing the Punitive Expedition (The World War I Document Archive)

California Military Museum: California and the Punitive Expedition, 1916 On the Mexican Border, 1914 and 1916 By Warrant Officer 1 Brett A. Landis California Center for Military History

Information on Pancho Villa

University of San Diego-- Outline of the Mexican Revolution

University of San Diego-- United States Intervention in Mexico

On-Line Student Resource Center--Mexican Revolution

Pancho Villa Raid on Columbus, New Mexico

Pancho Villa State Park

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Books/Manuscripts found in the ASU Library Catalog

Intervention! : the United States and the Mexican Revolution, 1913-1917 / John S.D. Eisenhower.
F1234 .E32 1993

Border fury : a picture postcard record of Mexico's Revolution and U.S. war preparedness, 1910-1917 / Paul J. Vanderwood, Frank N. Samponaro
 F1234 .V2 1988

Campaigning in Mexico, 1916; adventures of a young officer in General Pershing's Punitive Expedition, by Jerome W. Howe. Together with an account of the fight at Carrizal by a survivor. Pen and ink drawings by Charles C. Colley.
F1234 .H8x

The great pursuit [by] Herbert Molloy Mason, Jr.
F1234 .M4

Blood on the border; the United States Army and the Mexican irregulars [by] Clarence C. Clendenen.
F1234 .C63

The Mexican borderlands  / Félix D. Almaráz, Jr. [editor]
F 786 .M58x 1985

A diplomat's wife in Mexico by Edith O'Shaughnessy (Mrs. Nelson O'Shaughnessy). Letters from the American Embassy at Mexico, covering the dramatic period between October 8th, 1913, and the breaking off of diplomatic relations on April 23rd, 1914, together with an account of the occupation of Vera Cruz.
F1234 .O83

Investigations of Mexican affairs : preliminary report and hearings of the Committee on foreign relations, United States Senate, pursuant to S. res. 106, directing the Committee on foreign relations to investigate the matter of outrages on citizens of the United States in Mexico
 F1392.A5 U53x

The Mexican revolution  / Adolfo Gilly ; translated by Patrick Camiller
F1234 .G4613x

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Manuscripts found in the Arizona and Southwest Index

Black Jack's Mexican Goose Chase, 1962

Arizona Guard Ordered to Mexican Border, N.D.
FM MSM-100

The Sabre Retires: Pershing's Cavalry Campaign in Mexico, 1916, 1964

Arizona's 158th Infantry Regiment The 102-Year Saga of the Bushmasters, 1968

Arizona National Guard

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John Salm Photograph Collection

Punitive Expedition Photographs

Dane Collidge Photograph Collection
DC COO 981-1000-1038

Troop Trains; Nogales, Arizona, 1914
DC COO-1038 - 1039
DC COO-1019 - 1020 - 1021

Pancho-Villa at U. S. Camp 12th Infantry; Nogales, Arizona, 1912
DC COO-981 - 990

Carranza Leaving Nogales for Mexico City; Nogales, Mexico, 1914
DC COO-1037
DC COO-1018, 1022 - 1032

FP HM 1-162

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Arizona and the West Spring 1974
Mexican Refugees in Arizona 1910-1911

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Chronology of US Intervention into Mexico

Eisenhower, John S. D. Intervention! : the United States and the Mexican Revolution, 1913-1917.
New York : W.W. Norton, c1993.

1914 - April 14. United States President Wilson announces his intention to send troops and make a naval demonstration against Huerta.

1914 - April 21. United States President Wilson sends to Mexico the United States military to occupy the port of Veracruz for six months. This action was taken following reports of a German ship called "Ypiranga" reported to be carrying arms and heading for Veracruz harbor. Pancho Villa and Zapata support the Convention of Aguas Calientes against Carranza. The U.S. Navy sailors that engaged the Mexican army were referred to as "bluejackets".

1914 - April 27. The US flag was formally raised in the Mexican port city of Veracruz
The United States Navy and Army set up military control of Veracruz and soon established school systems, attempted to control prostitution, and drove the vultures from the city streets.

1914 - April 28. Two detachments of five aircraft comprising of AB-3 Curtiss flying boats arrived in Veracruz and was the first US Military naval air support to fly missions against a foreign country

1914- July 8. Mexican President Huerta formally submits his statement of resignation, claiming that Mexican internal problems were caused by the intervention and interference of the United States

1914 - November 23. United States troops, sailors and marines, on presidential orders leave the Mexican port city of Veracruz

1915 - October 19. United States government recognizes the Carranza government at a de facto government Obregon's forces were given permission to enter the United States in it's pursuit of Villista forces. This ability to cross over into the United States played a great part in the battle of Agua Prieta against Villa. This recognition also followed the failed "Plan of San Diego" Texas uprising. During the time period of the PLAN OF SAN DIEGO, some 25 Americans and 150 Mexican and Mexican Americans died. Some say that soldiers acting under the orders of Carranza actively took part in some of the raids seeking independence from the United States. Following the recognition of Carranza the state of Texas became less volatile.

1916 - March 9. At three in the morning Columbus New Mexico, is raided by Villa in response to the US recognition of Carranza. Several Americans were killed by the 485 troops dispatched by Villa against the residents of Columbus. New Mexico's Senator Albert Bacon Fall calls for a half million US Army occupation of Mexico. Mexican President Carrranza calls for a constitutional convention.

Villa split his assault group into two columns. One attacking the center of the sleepy town and the other a tent encampment of US Army regulars called Fort Furlong. Historians have not been kind to the preparedness of the commander at Fort Furlong. The raiders were brutal. In attacking the Commercial Hotel and the nine guests staying at the time five were killed, including a Sunday School superintendent who was in town on a conference. The group attacking the Fort were only opposed by the cooks who were up at the hour preparing breakfast. The cooks fought valiantly with everything they had, including boiling water and carving knives. After the battle the dead and wounded were counted as seventeen
Americans killed, nine civilians, and sixty- seven raiders and as many as one hundred more were pursued and killed by US troops during their retreat into Mexico. Of interest according to Gilly's book, p. 223, Villa may have attacked the US in retaliation for several Mexican citizens being forced to take a "petrol bath", and then set on fire.

1916 - March 15. On orders from United States president Wilson, General John "Black Jack" Pershing crosses into Mexico and leads a motorcade of US soldiers carrying Springfield rifles into Mexico in search for Villa. Horses instead of motorcars would have been more effective and after five weeks the expedition is bogged down due to political reasons and unfriendly terrain. The United States military and Pershing used the expedition and border build up to test and modernize US army training and tactics.

From his base in Casas Grandes, Chihuahua, approximately 35 miles south of Columbus New Mexico, Pershing established a field headquarters near a large evacuated Mormon colony. Boredom quickly took over the camp and Pershing allowed an official whorehouse called the REMOUNT STATION to operate. Pershing commanded three columns of cavalry. One was headed by ex- Indian fighter Colonel George A. Dodd, a second was under the command of Colonel Frank Tompkins who won a Distinguished Service Cross for his pursuit of Villa. Lt. George S. Patton, led an attack on Villa forces and killed a Mexican Captain. Unable to identify the body Patton had the body tied to the fender of his automobile and drove around looking for people who could identify the man.

1916 - March 29. Reported encounter between Pershing forces and Villa, Villa wounded in the leg.

1916 - April 29. Talks between General Obregon, minister of war in the Carranza government and US General Scott begin in El Paso Texas to discuss the withdrawal of US troops from Mexican soil. The talks broke up on May 11th, mainly because the US refused to give up it's right to pursue Villa should he return to the United States or other "border incidents". In the face of the broken talks, Carranza initiated a strong troop build-up in the region eventually reaching over 10,000 Mexican soldiers with orders to prevent a southward advance of Pershing.

1916 - May 5. Some eighty Mexicans, some say including some Texans, celebrated Cinco de Mayo by crossing into Glenn Springs Texas and killing three United States soldiers who were guarding a wax factory. At the city of Boquillas the group looted stores and kidnapped two people. A group of some one hundred US troops under the command of Major Langhorne crossed into Mexico for sixteen days looking for the Mexican robbers. Several of the robbers were killed and some of the looted property was found. A policy of "hot pursuit" had been initiated. One of the Mexican leaders of the raid against Boquillas, Lt. Colonel Navidad Alvarez, was captured by the very American prisoners he took when their truck got stuck in the mud fleeing the town.

1916 - Early June. Pershing sends some of his troops south of his headquarters to investigate a reported troop buildup near the city of Carrizal. Two troops of black cavalry under the command of Captain's Charles T. Boyd and Lewis S. Morley were sent. Boyd and several soldiers were killed and captured by some 400 Carrancista soldiers. Some forty - five Mexicans and fourteen Americans were killed. The captured twenty-three soldiers taken at Carrizal were released by Carranza and sent by train to the city of El Paso where they were received as heroes.

1916 - June 8. After the events at Carrizal, US President Wilson federalizes the nation's state militia and orders all troops to the Mexican border.

1916 - June 21. Carranza announces that any US troop movements must be north towards the United States border and not south.

1916 - September 4. Meetings renew between the United States and Mexico regarding US troops on Mexican soil. No party would budge from previous positions.

1916 - October. Villa issues a manifesto calling the nation to resist and expel the invading US troops under Pershing. He also calls for expropriation of foreign mining and railroads. No foreigner with less than twenty five years residence should be allowed to own property in Mexico. The manifesto ended with "Mexico for the Mexicans!".

1917 - January. U.S. General Pershing withdraws from Mexico without coming close to capturing Villa. President Wilson ordered Pershing to have his troops out of Mexico by 31 January, the last troops were out by the first week of February. Almost in unison the large buildup of US troops along the border started to breakup and by April 6th as the US declared war on the Central powers in Europe, most of the guard had gone home.

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