TROOPS TRY TO CUT VILLA LINE OF RETREAT
RUMORS OF SKIRMISH UNCONFIRMED
San Antonio, March 17. No cas
ualties sustained nor any fighting
done by Gen. Pershing's column of
American army in Mexico, according
to official statement issued at Fort
Sam Houston today.
El Paso. Mexicans burned bridge
on Mexico Northwestern railway,
near San Pedro today, further delay
ing rescue of several hundred Amer
ican Mormon colonists in Chihuahua.
Washington. Pres. Wilson has re
ceived assurances from Gen. Carran
za that defacto government acqui
esces in American expedition after
Pancho Villa has skirted Mormon
colony town of Casas Grandes, 80
miles below Columbus, and headed
southward, according to state de
partment advices today.
San Antonio, March 17. Rumor
factory working overtime. Villa re
ported in dozen different spots in the
Sierra Madra foothills, most reports
locating him at Dos Cabezos.
Report that Carranza garrison had
revolted and declared for Villa de
nied. Carranza officials are exercis
ing strict censorship over dissemina
tion of news into interior and little
if any news of American troop- move
ments has been allowed circulation
in Torreon and other points known
to be strongly pro-Villa in. sentiment.
No attempt made at Gen. Funston's
headquarters to disguise fact that
there is some apprehension over ul
timate attitude of armed and gringo
hating Mexican peons when they
learn U. S. troops have crossed the
El Paso, March 17. Driving along
eastern slope of Sierra Madres, the
Seventh and Tenth regiments of cav
alry under CoL Dodd were expected
to arrive at Colonia Dublan today,
and, finding Mormons there safe,
were to continue oa forced marches
toward Casas Granges Ja attempt to
cut off Villa's retreat across moun
tains into Sonora.
Col. Slocum's column of cavalry,
infantry and artillery moving slowly
south of Palomas, possibly to be
joined by seven aviators from Co
lumbus, N. M. Bomb-dropping avi
ators to be restricted for present ow
ing to large numbers of Carranza
troops in Casas Grandes country,
also on Villa's trail.
That CoL Dodd's flying squadron
of cavalry may be too late to cut off
Villa's retreat to his secret hiding
places in Sierra Madres indicated in
report from Agua'Prieta that Villa
has already crossed over into Sonora.
Rumor considered premature here.
Reports from Presidio, Tex., in the
"Big Bend" country east of here, told
of renewed bandit raids by Villa sym
pathizers on American soil. Re
ported that thousands of Mexicans
in stretch of open country south of
Presidio were ready to join Villa
I standard against invaders.
No specific act of opposition by
Carranzista troops against American
expedition has yet been confirmed.
Rumored revolt of Ojinaga garrison
and assassination of its commander
Snipers, presumably Villa sympa
thizers, fired on Texas & Pacific
railroad train near Alfalfa stretch
east of El Paso. No one injured.
While Carranza soldiers were act
ing as scouts and otherwise co-operating
with expedition, Gen. Gavira,
commandant in Juarez, stated that
American troops would not be per
mitted to garrison any Mexican cities
or towns during pursuit of Villa.
Mexico City, March 17. Villa
forces were last reported in vicinity
of Pacheco, Chihuahua, about 75
miles southwest of Guzman, toward
which American forces are said to be
moving Villa was moving 'is'elv
toward mountains, apparently hav
ing no intention, of giving battle.
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