Duty Mexican Border

Duty Along Mexican Border

Many Regiments from Fort Douglas were sent to the Mexican border to protect the interests of the United States government.
Mexico, our neighbor to the south, had been ruled by President Porfirio Diaz for more than a quarter century when a revolution broke out and he was forced to resign. Because of the extreme measures the dictator had used, revolution after revolution broke out which threatened business and American oil interests in Mexico. The revolution which ousted President Diaz was the main reason for mobilizing troops along the Mexican border. Several regiments, including the Fifteenth from Utah would participate in a "Maneuver Camp" to safeguard American interests.

 

In February 1913, General Victoriana Huerta, a counter-revolutionist, overthrew President Francisco Madero of Mexico, ordered his assassination, and assumed the Presidency. President Woodrow Wilson was shocked by such illegal methods and refused to accept the Huerta government. Instead he ordered the occupation of Vera Cruz, Mexico on 29 April 1914, in order to prevent the delivery of arms to the Huerta government. This intervention cost the lives of seventeen American Marines and Navy men and 200 Mexicans. It did not stop the activities of the Mexican Revolutionaries, but it did end the rule of President Huerta.


Venustiano Carranza became President after Huerta was ousted. One of his supporters was Pancho Villa, an acknowledged thief and bandit, who was very popular among the peasants of Mexico. Villa broke his ties with Carranza and started a reign of terror along the northern border of Mexico. He apparently had hopes of political success against President Carranza, believing his terrorist actions would force American intervention and permit him to assume control of the government. This action of renewal of civil war in Mexico convince President Woodrow Wilson to send additional forces along the Mexican border in case an emergency should arise.

 

The Twentieth Infantry from Fort Douglas moved out on 29 November 1914 marching down South Temple Street to Union Station in full uniform and with full field equipment. Four trains were required to handle the men, mules, machine guns, wagons and stores. A total of 38 officers and 752 enlisted men commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Frederick Perkins left Salt Lake City for El Paso, Texas to begin patrolling the border of Mexico.


Fort Douglas became a lonely post with almost all of its men gone to protect the border. With the outbreak of World War I in Europe in 1914, Fort Douglas started to gear up for anticipated entry into that war with a Civilian Camp of Instruction, mostly civilian businessmen and local citizens who trained at the Fort in basic drill, the duties of infantrymen as well as the horrors of modern trench warfare.

 

President Francisco Madero. The overthrow and assassination of this Mexican President caused President Woodrow Wilson to order the invasion of Vera Cruz, Mexico in 1914.

Victoriana Huerta, a counter-revolutionist succeeded in overthrowing President Francisco Madero and having him assassinated. It was this reckless action that caused President Woodrow Wilson to order the invasion of Vera Cruz, Mexico to prevent Huerta from getting any more supplies.

Venustiano Carranza became President of Mexico after Huerta. One of Carranza's main supporters was Pancho Villa.

Pancho Villa was at first a principal supporter of the Carranza government. Commonly known as a thief and murderer, Villa started attacking American settlements along the border. He believed his terrorist actions would force American intervention, oust President Carranza, and leave him in control of the Mexican government.