Pancho Villa's Legacy

Pancho Villa's Legacy

They came in in two columns – one from the southeast, and one from the southwest. There were somewhere around 500-600 of them, it was estimated. They were allegedly led by one of the most romantic, yet ruthless figures in Mexican history – Doroteo Arango, a.k.a. Francisco "Pancho" Villa. In their sights was the sleepy little village of Columbus, New Mexico, and Camp Furlong, the small cavalry post there. 

Using Winchester and Mauser rifles and Colt revolvers, the "Villistas" hit Columbus and started cutting down anyone in their paths. The attack started about an hour and a half before dawn, continuing to sunup. Lt. John Lucas, stationed at Camp Furlong, had come in on the train from El Paso not long before the raid. Upon hearing the gunfire, Lucas grabbed his 1911 .45 automatic and headed into the fray with nothing on but his pants. Lt. Lucas headed to a magazine which contained four Benet-Mercier .30-06 machine guns. He and fellow soldiers took after the Villistas, but had problems operating the machine guns in the dark. Even with the difficulties, they expended around 20,000 rounds of ammunition at the marauders.

In all, eighteen United States citizens were killed during the Villa raid, and about 75 Villistas were dispatched. At sunrise, Villas forces retreated back to Mexico, but it didn't end there. Nine days later General John J. Pershing and his soldiers, which included a young Lt. George Patton, pursued Villa into Mexico. Patton had just purchased a Colt Single Action Army .45 in El Paso, and was anxious to put it into action. He would later get that chance.

The Punitive Expedition, as it was known, encountered every imaginable obstacle, including a number of firefights both with Villistas and Carranza regulars. Pershing never did get Villa, but the trip did accomplish something – most of his troops returned from the Punitive Expedition to find out they were about to embark on an even more harrowing adventure – World War I.


The sleepy little town of Columbus isn't much different now than it was when the raid occurred. Years ago, the town's small museum displayed a nickel-plated Colt Single Action Army said to have belonged to Villa. It's among the hundreds of Colts in West Texas and New Mexico carrying the same handle. Villa's legacy lives.


Recommended for You

Learn the keys to a successful one-handed draw. Training

Perfecting the One-Handed Draw

Richard Nance - July 02, 2019

Learn the keys to a successful one-handed draw.

One of the newest in the Micro 9 series, the Kimber Micro 9 Nightfall is a serious pistol designed for personal defense. Compact

Kimber Micro 9 Nightfall Review

Jeff Chudwin - January 29, 2019

One of the newest in the Micro 9 series, the Kimber Micro 9 Nightfall is a serious pistol...

The SIG SAUER P365 (model # 365-9-BXR3) may just be the subcompact 9mm against which all others will be judged. Compact

SIG P365 Review

James Tarr - October 31, 2018

The SIG SAUER P365 (model # 365-9-BXR3) may just be the subcompact 9mm against which all...

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Dealing with Subcompacts

Dealing with Subcompacts

Jim and Rich cover the benefits and the challenges presented by very small pistols.

Performance Center M&P Shield M2.0

Performance Center M&P Shield M2.0

From Smith & Wesson, the M&P Shield M2.0 is a great option for a carry gun with optics option.

Teaching New Shooters

Teaching New Shooters

Julie Golob of Team Smith & Wesson guest stars, joining Jim and Scott for a discussion of how best to introduce new shooters to the sport.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Do you remember the first time you fired a gun? If you're like most, you were somewhat Training

Pro Tips For Controlling Recoil

Richard Nance - April 11, 2017

Do you remember the first time you fired a gun? If you're like most, you were somewhat

According to a recent report from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), a lawsuit against 2nd Amendment

Judge Postpones Oral Arguments to Stop California Microstamping Law

Handguns Online Staff - May 07, 2014

According to a recent report from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), a lawsuit...

As you will learn in this detailed review, the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ 380 (manufacturer SKU # 180023) is an easy-racking, soft-shooting pistol. Compact

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ 380 Review

James Tarr - November 06, 2018

As you will learn in this detailed review, the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ 380 (manufacturer...

See More Stories

More Historical

Those who have wanted to own an extraordinary historical firearm may get the chance Historical

Rare Colt Revolvers up for Auction

Handguns Online Staff - November 05, 2014

Those who have wanted to own an extraordinary historical firearm may get the chance

Mec-Gar Srl, one of the largest OEM firearm magazine manufacturers in the world, is celebrating 50 Historical

Mec-Gar Srl Celebrates 50 Years of Business

Handguns Online Staff - April 24, 2015

Mec-Gar Srl, one of the largest OEM firearm magazine manufacturers in the world, is...

Sauer's revolutionary 38(H)     By Peter G. Kokalis    It may have been the single most Historical

Handgun of the Fallschirmjager: Sauer 38(H) Pocket Pistol

Peter G. Kokalis - September 24, 2010

Sauer's revolutionary 38(H) By Peter G. Kokalis It may have been the single most

See More Historical

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.