Pullman in the First World WarMain MenuPullman in the First World WarThe story of the people of the Pullman neighborhood and the Pullman Company during the First World WarIntroductionPullman, the town and the companyThat Rascal, Pancho VillaThe service of the people of Pullman during the Punitive Expedition to Mexico, 1916-1917Preparedness and NeutralityHow much should America prepare for a European war?Universal Military Training and PlattsburgTurning young middle and upper class men into soldiersForeign ServiceA number of Pullman residents and employees joined the armies of other nationsApril 6, 1917The United States declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917The 35thRebuilding the French railways systemRallies and Bond DrivesPaying for the warVictory Gardens and Food SecurityFood production and securityLossThe price Pullman paidWomen in ServiceWomen take their part in the war effortsThe Fourth HorsemanThe Influenza Epidemic of 1918-1919 and Pullman1918 and 1919The End of the War to End All WarsAndrew Bullene5d9366487bd54fdac2245f21f3b76927ff9be2d
U.S. convoy in Mexico, 1916
12018-07-24T16:40:29+00:00Andrew Bullene5d9366487bd54fdac2245f21f3b76927ff9be2d12A motorized convoy makes its way down a rutted road.A motorizedplain2022-07-15T16:55:42+00:00US Army / US Army Military History Institute / Photo Courtesy of U.S. Army.1916Andrew Bullene5d9366487bd54fdac2245f21f3b76927ff9be2d
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12018-07-24T16:06:31+00:00That Rascal, Pancho Villa49The service of the people of Pullman during the Punitive Expedition to Mexico, 1916-1917image_header2022-07-15T16:26:28+00:00The brutal Mexican Revolution lasted from 1910 to 1920. Caused by the 1910 succession crisis of President Diaz, several rival factions battled for the presidency. Former rebel leader Jose Garza became head of state of Mexico in 1915, eventually elected President in 1917. U.S. President Woodrow Wilson reluctantly agreed to support Garza, believing that supporting him was the best way to establish a stable government in Mexico and withdrew support from rival and competing factions.
Garza’s ascendancy and withdrawal of U.S. support was bitterly opposed by a rival rebel leader, Pancho Villa. In retaliation, Villa attacked a train on the Mexico North Western Railway, killing a number of employees of the American Smelting and Refining Company in January, 1916. On March 9, 1916, Villa conducted a raid against Columbus, New Mexico. Several buildings were burned and 18 civilians were killed.
In response, Wilson sent 5,000 soldiers under the overall command of General Frederick Funston and the direct command of General John Pershing with the mission of capturing Villa and destroying his base of operations. The Punitive Expedition, as it became known, pursued Villa and his troops through northern Mexico. The Expedition, unable to locate Villa, eventually withdrew on February 7, 1917. (More information)
The people of Pullman responded enthusiastically to the call to arms...
Conditions in the rural Southwest and the Chihuahuan Desert were absolutely miserable in the summer weather, and the outmoded U.S. Army equipment was woefully inadequate. Pullman employee Christoph L. Stellwag (clerk, Railway Supply Department) wrote of his experiences in Company M., 1st Regiment of the Illinois National Guard serving in the campaign:
"When the President called us to the colors on June 19th last, the First Regiment I. N. G. responded 1200 strong under the command of Col. Sanborn. After five days consumed in being mustered into the United States regular service, we were transferred to Fort Sam Houston, Texas, which is the largest fort in the United States, and is situated ninety miles from the Mexican border. From this point we marched at different times to the following camps, viz: Leon Springs, twenty-five miles; New Braunfelds, thirty-five miles; and Laredo, ninety miles. Our rations consisted mostly of canned goods, beans, army biscuit and smoked salt pork. On our first hike, to Leon Springs, the temperature was 135 degrees and we carried a pack of sixty-five pounds each, walking at the rate of two and one-half to three miles per hour. Out of three regiments making the march, 600 fell out, due to the heat and fatigue, and the hospital corps was kept busy taking care of them."