Lot 136 of 168:
Account of battle in Mexican Revolution  

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Letter written from Bisbee, Arizona, describing the Battle of Naco during the Mexican Revolution


Bisbee, AZ


April 14, 1913


Autograph letter signed "Dave," to his brother-in-law and sister in East Boston, Massachusetts. 7 pages on 6 leaves of writing paper with letterhead of the Correspondence Desk of Copper Queen Reading Room, Bisbee, Arizona. With envelope addressed to Mrs. W.J. Andrews in East Boston. 

Remarkable letter containing a first-hand account of the aftermath of the Battle of Naco, which took place April 8-13, 1913, when rebel forces under General Alvaro Obregon defeated the Mexican Army garrison commanded by General Pedro Ojeda and captured Naco, Sonora. After letting his siblings know he was headed to Fresno, California ("there is a big tunnel job going on up there in the Mts... and they gamble like hell up both crap & poker and in fact every game there is, and that just what I want, because you know there is a sucker born every minute...") Dave launches into a vivid description of observations in Naco, just across the border from Bisbee: "...yesterday my pal and I went to Naco to see the windup of the Battle and believe me there was some dead soldiers laying on the ground and in the houses, and out in the trenches that the rebels had there was easily 150 dead ones and some of them had been there for 3 or 4 days and the hot sun blistered them all up and they were rotten. Just before we got into Naco on the American side they set a lot of the buildings on fire and they were mostly Federal buildings and you could see them shooting and the Canons there was something doing all the time. Then we tried to cross the line and the Nigger Soldiers [i.e. 10th Cavalry 'Buffalo Soldiers'] wouldn't let us, so we waited for a chance and ran round the box cars and just then Rebels had captured the town, and they started to do some looting and my pal and I done likewise and I got some pretty good souvenirs..." A few of the relics the took are included, among them a receipt for tobacco products from 1901, a license for a cantina from 1902, and a few other documents. A fascinating contemporaneous account of a significant battle in the ongoing Mexican Revolution.

The Battle of Naco ( April 8–13, 1913 ), or the First Battle of Naco due to a later siege was a battle of the Mexican Revolution between Constitutionalist forces and Mexican government forces. Rebel forces under General Alvaro Obregon defeated the Mexican Army garrison and captured Naco, Sonora.
During the Mexican Revolution, Naco was a heavily contested battleground. The border town was prosperous and its assets were highly valued by all forces during the revolution. On March 12, 1913, the federal Mexican General Pedro Ojeda evacuated Agua Prieta due to an advancing and overwhelming rebel army. His force included about 500 men, over 300 of whom were regular army troops, the remaining were Yaqui native Americans, fighting for the Mexican government. The size of Obregon's army is unknown. Twice General Ojeda left Aqua Prieta to attack rebel forces advancing to attack his garrison, he defeated to columns on March 15 and 20. On March 17, over 100 Yaquis and their families deserted and surrendered to the United States Army stationed along the border, over 100 more deserted within the following days.
General Obregon attacked Naco from the southwest on April 8, 1913; only the 300 federal troops remained to defend the town. First skirmishing occurred at the outskirts of town for a few days. Gradually the stronger rebel force gained ground from the federals. When the rebels reached Ojeda's strong point, they attacked repeatedly without full force and were repulsed several times by federal forces. On April 10, General Ojeda defeated a large attack by Obregon's army, but this only led to Obregon's strengthening of his assaults. Finally on April 13, General Obregon launched a massive assault with most of his force on Ojeda's remaining men. The Naco garrison was unable to hold out so they retreated and escaped across the border into the Arizona desert to the north. Obregon took control of Naco and Ojeda, with his men, surrendered to the United States Cavalry garrison of Fort Huachuca. The United States cavalry which accepted Ojeda's surrender reported that 213 Yaquis surrender to them, thirty of whom were wounded in battles that took place before the Naco engagement. A total of 260 federal Mexican troops surrendered to the American cavalry, fifty-six federals were wounded at Naco and about 30 more troops died at the battle. Rebel casualties are unknown. On April 18, 1913, Ojeda, his men, and the Yaquis were released from United States custody and went back to Mexico.

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Very good condition.

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