Historic Border Patrol Badge Artifact

USBP History, Part 2

Villa was a man of his word and within weeks he and his men were active again — this time assaulting trains carrying Americans. On January 10, 1916, Villa and his men attacked a Mexican train carrying 15 Americans who were on their way to work at a mining town. The Americans were dragged from the train and forced to kneel in the dirt. Each received a bullet in the back of the head while Villa’s men screamed “Viva Villa!

Each of the bodies was then stripped of valuables — including wedding rings — and some bodies were then horribly mutilated. All were left to rot in the desert.

In the spring of 1916, U.S. Army troops encamped along our southwest frontier were alerted to rumors of raiders coming out of the arid wastes of northern Mexico. There were few roads in that part of Mexico and columns of bandits on horseback were easy to spot.

Columbus, New Mexico Pancho Villa

In the early hours of March 9th, 1916, Mexican bandits under the command of this Great Mexican Hero — Senior Doroteo Aranga — better known as Francisco “Pancho” Villa — came across the border near Columbus, NM, pillaged the town and wantonly killed American men, women and unborn children. They then burned the town to the ground.

With only 350 inhabitants, the Columbus, NM, of 1916, lay like a ripe fruit … ready for the taking. Villa had sent Cipriano Vargas and another bandit to scout the town. Villa had planned to wipe the town off the map.

The U.S. Army’s 13th Cavalry maintained a small detachment just to the west of town but it was totally unprepared for what was to come. The thunder of horsemen could be heard for miles as the raiders charged the town. Mexican bullets whistled wildly. The town’s train depot clock was stopped by a Mexican bullet at 4:11 am.

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