The Mexican Punitive Expedition lasted just less than one year, beginning on March 16, 1916, and concluding on February 14, 1917. Despite its short time frame, the expedition was important for several reasons. First, it was a key moment in U.S.-Mexico relations. Although the U.S. military was pursuing Pancho Villa, an enemy of the Mexican government led by Venustiano Carranza, the Carranza government and the Mexican people resented the U.S. presence in Mexico. Mexican military forces actually fought against U.S.
forces, despite the fact that both were tracking the same enemy. Second, the logistical challenges presented by the expedition, as well as the experience gaine d by the expedition_s commander, Brigadier General John _Black Jack_ Pershing, in many ways helped to prepare the United States for the fighting in Europe during World War I. The collection includes correspondence sent to Pershing as well as letters written by Pershing.
The focus of this collection is on the logistical and administrative details concerning the expedition and personnel matters, as well as skirmishes between Villistas and U.S. forces. This expedition represented the first time that the U.S. Army used trucks to move men, equipment, and supplies. The correspondence indicates the challenges involved in moving field artillery and other supplies by truck through the rugged terrain between the U.S.-Mexico border and Dublan.
Regarding personnel matters, topics covered include desertions, promotions, furloughs, transfers, leaves of absence, and discipline, including courts-martial.