Villa’s bravos lost nearly 140 men in the fight while killing 17 Americans. It marked the last time the continental U.S. has ever been attacked by soldiers from a foreign nation.
A bright orange glow spread across the eastern New Mexico horizon on the morning of March 9th, 1916. The sleepy border town of Columbus was slowly coming to life. In the pre-dawn, the first group of Mexican soldiers cut through the barbed wire and crossed quietly into the United States. They began moving towards the little town of Columbus, three miles to the north.
About a mile from the slumbering town, General Francisco “Pancho” Villa divided his five hundred raiders into two columns. One set out for the U.S. Army post at Camp Furlong, while the other went forward to strike the town of Columbus.
Shouting “Mata los gringos!”—“Death to the whites!” the Villistas stormed the town, shooting civilians in cold blood as they ran out of their homes to see what all the commotion was about. Bullets were flying in all directions, breaking windows as the pistoleros rode up and down the streets. The wooden buildings of the business district were looted and then set on fire. Any home with its lights on was fired upon.