Mexican forces led by General Pancho Villa crossed the border attacking the town of Columbus, New Mexico on the evening of March 9, 1916. Although Villa’s Division of the North was driven off, tens townspeople and eight members of the 13th Cavalry, garrisoned at Columbus were killed. Even as Columbus was being looted and put to the torch, the cavalry and townspeople rallied, driving off the attackers who lost one hundred men, killed or captured.
Villa’s actions led President Woodrow Wilson to authorize a punitive expedition into Mexico to capture of kill Villa. General John J. Pershing’s Pancho Villa Expeditionary Force scoured the northern portion of Mexico for over a year but failed to apprehend Villa, despite the use of motorized forces and biplanes acting as spotters. The Kaiser had earlier supported the usurper General Huerta, hoping to distracting Americans from the European War by giving them a worry f their own to the South. Ironically it was the anti-Huerta, anti-Carranza (Huerta’s successor) Villa who gave the Kaiser his “southern discomfort.”