- August 1914
- Bullets, Bottles and Gardenias
- Gringo Rebel
- A Fine Fellow
- Timeline of Revolution
- Battle of Tierra Blanca
- Gray Automobile Affair
- Gringo Rebel
- Gun Running
- John Reed
- Lifelong Friends
- Massacre of Huitzilac
- Nordenskjold Lives!
- Pancho Villa
- Soldier Under 13 Flags
- The Devil's Dictionary
- Villa's Swedish Gunner
- Yaquis capture Acaponeta
- ¡Vamanos Con Pancho Villa!
- Centennial Edition
- Veracruz Expedition
Veracruz Invasion: Following in the Footsteps of Winfield Scott
To the men in the Wilson administration who ordered American troops to seize the Mexican port of Veracruz, the world appeared a very different place than we imagine :
"It was 1914, an Age was approaching an unsuspected and violent end. The comforting vision that had illuminated the Edwardian world was about to be lost in a darkness from which none other has emerged. One August dawn, [the lights would go out] across Europe, and afterwards it would be impossible for anything to be quite the same again. [..] At the time, there seemed no reason to fear that the most colossal accident in mankind’s experience was soon to occur." —The Landing at Veracruz: 1914
Cuba, Nicaragua, the Philippines and Haiti had been theaters of war in the years preceding the Veracruz expedition. Hawaii had been annexed and Puerto Rico and Guam seized. American interests had been upheld by force of arms in the Dominican Republic, Panama, Argentina, Chile, Korea and China by the generation of soldiers, sailors and marines who were called upon to intervene in the Mexican Revolution.
General Frederick Funston, the commander of occupying force at Veracruz was no swivel-chair officer, having successfully crushed the formidable Philippine nationalist movement a decade before:
“He was [..] troubled by sporadic violence from Filipino irregulars who cut the telegraph lines, sniped at soldiers, and attempted to interfere with Army control of municipal affairs…
"Funston had little time to deal with these pressing problems, for he was soon facing a strong military challenge from the revolutionaries. Perhaps encouraged by the Americans’ lack of manpower and disorganization, García ignored his own instructions to avoid large battles and sanctioned an attack on Peñaranda which involved most of his regular forces. [..] The revolutionaries’ security was lax and U.S. forces struck first. On 18 March 1900, an Army patrol located García and Padilla, with and estimated 400 to 700 guerrillas, at the small village of Mauiluilui. Garcia was still in the process of mobilizing his men when an American infantry company and 50 Macabebes routed them with substantial casualties. García’s forces scattered and Funston dispatched a number of expeditions into the hills, establishing a camp in a guerrilla stronghold in the northeast highlands and closing off the mountains by means of extensive patrols." —The U.S. Army and Counterinsurgency in the Philippine War, 1899-1902
Preempting guerilla strikes and establishing strong camps in their strongholds typified Funston's command of difficult terrain, logistics and intelligence. Had Funston been given orders to take Mexico City, he would have made a good show of it in any case. Although the Wilson administration intended only to hold Veracruz, the men deployed had no way of knowing that, nor did the Mexican revolutionaries, and few were aware of how close it all came to catastrophe.
There is a tendency to think of the 1914 Veracruz expedition (to the extent it is thought of at all) from the perspective of the World Wars, backward, although the American combatants were following the footsteps of Winfield Scott’s 1847 assault on Chapultepec. In this sense, the Veracruz expedition marked an end to the 19th conception of American manifest destiny.