Border War (1910–19)

Border War
Part of the Mexican Revolution and World War I
LocationMexican-American border states

Mexican Carrancista/American Victory

  • Permanent border wall established along the border of Nogales, Sonora, and Nogales, Arizona, after the Battle of Ambos Nogales[1]
  • Battles between Mexican and American forces ceased in 1919 after the American/Carrancista victory in the Battle of Ciudad Juárez[2]
  • Pancho Villa's troops no longer an effective fighting force[3]
  • Pancho Villa obtains pardon from the Mexican government.
Mexican Carrancistas
supported by:
German Empire
Mexico Villista Rebels
supported by:
German Empire
 United States
Commanders and leaders
Alvaro Obregon
Venustiano Carranza
Francisco Madero
Pancho Villa
Felipe Ángeles
Aniceto Pizana
Luis de la Rosca
Emiliano Zapata 
Francisco I. Madero 
Herbert J. Slocum
John J. Pershing
Frank Tompkins
Frederick J. Herman

The Border War,[4] or the Border Campaign,[5] refers to the military engagements which took place in the Mexico-United States border region of North America during the Mexican Revolution. The Bandit War[6] in Texas was part of the Border War. From the beginning of the Mexican Revolution in 1910, the United States Army was stationed in force along the border and on several occasions fought with Mexican rebels or federals. The height of the conflict came in 1916 when revolutionary Pancho Villa attacked the American border town of Columbus, New Mexico. In response, the United States Army, under the direction of General John J. Pershing, launched an expedition into northern Mexico, to find and capture Villa. Though the operation was successful in finding and engaging the Villista rebels, and in killing Villa's two top lieutenants, the revolutionary himself escaped and the American army returned to the United States in January 1917. Conflict was not only subject to Villistas and Americans; Maderistas, Carrancistas, Constitutionalistas and Germans also engaged in battle with American forces during this period.

Francisco Madero with his men in 1910
American Magonistas after the First Battle of Tijuana in 1911
General John J. Pershing, Pancho Villa and others at Fort Bliss, Texas, in 1913
Columbus, New Mexico, after Pancho Villa's attack on the border town
The expanded United States Army fort at Columbus, New Mexico, a staging area for the Pancho Villa Expedition
American troops of the 16th Infantry rest for the night on 27 May 1916
American infantry in a skirmish line near Deming, New Mexico, in 1916
The 1st Aero Squadron in 1916 which was deployed during the expedition
United States Army troops returning to the U.S. in January 1917
Yaqui prisoners and 10th Cavalry troops on 9 January 1918, after the skirmish in Bear Valley, Arizona
Ambos Nogales in 1899. Battles occurred here several times during the revolution











From there, the incident escalated from a small dispute into the Battle of Ambos Nogales. Reinforcements from both sides rushed to the border to fight; men of the 35th Infantry Regiment called for aid, and a squadron of 10th Cavalry under Herman responded. When they arrived, they attacked the Mexican positions on top of hills along the other side of the border. The assault was successful and the Mexican troops with their German advisers were defeated. In all, 30–129 Mexicans, two Germans, and seven Americans died in the fighting.[7] After the battle, German military activity in Sonora ceased. The Battle of Ambos Nogales was the last major engagement of the Border War.


See also



  1. Parra, "Valientes Nogalenses," 23–24.
  2. Beede, Benjamin R. (1994). The War of 1898, and U.S. Interventions, 1898–1934. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 9780824056247. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
  3. "History: World War I".
  4. Weber, pg. 84
  5. "Mexican Border Campaign Veterans' Card File Indexes".
  6. "Raiders attack Norias Division of King Ranch".
  7. John Henry Nankivell (1927). Buffalo Soldier Regiment: History of the Twenty-fifth United States Infantry, 1869-1926. U of Nebraska Press. p. 145. ISBN 0-8032-8379-2.
  8. Matthews, Matt M. (2007). The US Army on the Mexican Border: A Historical Perspective (PDF). Fort Leavenworth Kansas: Combat Studies Institute Press. pp. 73–7. ISBN 978-0-16-078903-8. Retrieved 5 August 2011.


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