Pancho Villa Attacks the US

The United States was attacked by Pancho Villa and soldiers from Mexico on March 9, 1916.   That was the last time a foreign military attacked a state in the United States.   In case you are wondering, Hawaii was not yet a state December 7, 1941 when Pearl Harbor was attacked.   Also, September 11, 2001 the attack on New York and the Pentagon in Washington DC, was done by hijackers using US commercial airplanes.   But back to Pancho Villa and his attack on Columbus, New Mexico.   In Columbus, we visited the Pancho Villa State Park.

Pancho Villa State Park in Columbus, New Mexico

This park was previously a US military camp, Camp Furlong.  Now it is home to a museum, with memorabilia from the very brief attack, a picnic area and a camp ground.   Here is Cootes Hill, a look out point from the military days.

Cootes Hill

You can see the cacti and flags of the United States and the State of New Mexico.  First let’s visit the museum.

In front of museum

We like the Mexican architecture and the old wagon here.   During the early morning attack, a young family escaped to Deming, about 25 miles north, in a 1915 Dodge Touring Car.

An antique car that survived bullets

All three members of the family survived, but the man did carry a bullet in him for the rest of his life.

1915 Dodge Touring Car with bullet holes

The car and bullet holes.   A close up photo of the driver’s door.

Bullet holes in the door

We are certainly happy all survived.   But let’s talk about the speed of this attack.   On March 9, 1916, at 2:00 a.m., Pancho Villa crosses the US Mexican border, 3 miles south of Columbus.   At 4:11 a.m. there are simultaneous attacks in the center of town and at Camp Furlong.   By 7:30 the last of the Villistas retreat into Mexico.   This attack lasted a little more than 3 hours, but there were casualties.   Ten townspeople from Columbus, New Mexico died.   Eight American soldiers died.   Eight other Americans were wounded.   Estimates are that 90 Villistas were killed and a small number were taken prisoner.   After a trial,  some prisoners were hanged, some jailed and returned to Mexico in 1921.   We ducks think that was a lot of deaths in a three hour attack.   But, let’s see what else is in the museum.   Soon after the attack, General Pershing was sent to Columbus and a tent city was soon built south of the railroad station and south of town.

A tent city was quickly built south of Columbus

We thought this covered wagon, without the cover, was interesting.

Covered wagon, without cover

Large trucks were brought to Columbus.

truck

And airplanes came also.

1916 JN-3 airplane, replica

This is a replica of a 1916 JN-3 Airplane, provided by Roger Freeman of Vintage Aviation.   These were all interesting, but the question is still why did Pancho Villa attach the United States?

Maybe we will never know why Pancho Villa attacked Columbus, New Mexico

And it is quite possible we will never really know the answer.   The US military spent time and money trying to get Pancho Villa, but he was never captured.   So what happened in Mexico?

Mexican Revolution over

Across the street from Pancho Villa State Park is the first US Military Airbase in the US.

First US airbase in the US

Also in the state park, we visited the headquarters building of Camp Furlong.

Former headquarters of Camp Furlong

Now many people enjoy the New Mexico desert and this picnic area.   There are sites for campers here.

Picnic area

New Mexico is a popular destination for many Americans and Canadians escaping the colder winters in the north.   If you visit Columbus, we hope you take time to explore Pancho Villa State Park and the museum   We think it is quite interesting.

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