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...

Kahr's K9 9mm pistol is a quarter-century old, and to commemorate the milestone the company is producing a limited-edition 25th anniversary K9. Industry

Kahr 25th Anniversary K9

J. Scott Rupp - July 19, 2019

Kahr's K9 9mm pistol is a quarter-century old, and to commemorate the milestone the company is...

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

The New Speer Gold Dot G2 Duty Handgun Load

The New Speer Gold Dot G2 Duty Handgun Load

Speer's Jared Hinton shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead the new Speer Gold Dot G2 Duty Handgun load.

All About Handgun Ammo

All About Handgun Ammo

Rich and Jim get into the nitty gritty of the FBI ammo protocol, firing into various barriers to illustrate what can happen to a bullet.

Dealing with Subcompacts

Dealing with Subcompacts

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

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

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...

I don't have a distinct recollection of the first time I reloaded a cartridge – it's been a long Ammo

To Cast a Good Bullet

Bart Skelton - June 28, 2012

I don't have a distinct recollection of the first time I reloaded a cartridge – it's been a...

In 1858 Beals invented and patented a spur-trigger, single-action, percussion revolver. The unique Revolvers

Remington Timeline: 1858 - Beals Revolver

Handguns Online Staff - September 09, 2016

In 1858 Beals invented and patented a spur-trigger, single-action, percussion revolver. The...

See More Stories

More Historical

They came in in two columns; one from the southeast, and one from the southwest Historical

Pancho Villa's Legacy

Bart Skelton - March 16, 2012

They came in in two columns; one from the southeast, and one from the southwest

              By Garry James    Beginning with this issue, our Historical

Colt 1851 Navy

Garry James - September 24, 2010

By Garry James Beginning with this issue, our "Great Guns" series turns its

Colt's premier .357 hits the big five-oh. Historical

Colt Python: A Complete History

Rick Hacker - December 21, 2015

Colt's premier .357 hits the big five-oh.

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.