Today in Labor history: Pancho Villa escapes capture


On January 28, 1917 the United States government gave up the search for Mexican revolutionary leader Pancho Villa. What is officially known in the United States as the "Mexican Expedition" started March 14, 1916 and involved 5,000 U.S military personnel lead by Major General John J. Pershing.

The tension with Pancho Villa started in 1915 when the U.S. sided with the Venustiano Carranza's government. As a result of this betrayal Pancho Villa and his troops started to attack U.S. targets in northern Mexico.

After a Villa-led attack on Columbus, New Mexico and defeating the U.S 13th Cavalry President Woodrow Wilson chose Major General John J. Pershing to lead a fruitless expedition into Mexico.

While the expedition didn't officially end until February 1917 the majority of U.S. troops were pulled out in January. Major General Pershing would later write the whole episode would "not be a very inspiring chapter for school children, or even grownups to contemplate. Having dashed into Mexico with the intention of eating the Mexicans raw, we turned back at the first repulse and are now sneaking home under cover, like a whipped curr with its tail between its legs."


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  • The US was supporting Carranza for a good reason, he believed in a constitutional government and Villa was an unpredictable and oft times vicious bandit who scared the bejesus out of most rational Mexicans.

    Posted by Paul Guerin, 01/30/2014 8:44pm (2 years ago)

  • That's the problem with backing the wrong horse.

    Posted by Martha E Lujan, 01/29/2014 10:24pm (2 years ago)

  • With Airplanes, Trucks & Tanks the Punitive Expedition could not find Pancho Villa on horseback nor did they intend to, it was a Training Mission for US Troops before they went to Europe. In addition to dealing with Frigid Weather & Rough Terrain, Villa likewise had to deal with those same elements as he was 700 miles away that day with US Representatives, so it appears unlikely that he would have 200 Men attack 400 entrenched US Troops at Camp Furlong in Columbus, New Mexico,,,,,,

    Samuel H. Bush & Son Prescott Bush forefathers of 2 Future US Presidents were Wall Street & Military Officers involved in the Punitive Expedition,,,,,,

    Pancho Villa claimed he did not Raid Columbus, New Mexico and so did Eusevio Renteria, my ancestor who was found shot 60 miles away and brought back to be hanged in Deming, New Mexico. He claimed to have not been there as well, yet was hanged. Who can ride 60 miles after being shot? He may have been shot and then brought to the USA,,,,,,

    Posted by Paul Renteria, 01/29/2014 9:22pm (2 years ago)

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