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Norias Ranch Raid

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Norias Ranch Raid

Norias Ranch Raid
Part of the Bandit War, Mexican Revolution
Date August 8, 1915
Location near Kingsville, Texas
Result United States victory, rebels retreat.
Belligerents
 United States Seditionistas
Commanders and leaders
Henry Ransom Antonio Roche
Luis de la Rosca
Strength
16 ~60
Casualties and losses
3 killed
2 wounded
~4 killed
~12 wounded

The Norias Ranch Raid[1] was an incident in August 1915 in which a large band of Mexican Seditionistas attacked an American ranch in southern Texas. It became one of the many small battles fought on American soil during the Mexican Revolution and resulted in an increased effort by the United States Army to defend the international border. At least seven people were killed in the raid and several more from among those wounded by gunfire may have died immediately afterwards.[1]

Background

In January 1915 a group of Mexican rebels drafted the cavalrymen, under Corporal Watson Adams, to go to the Norias Ranch by train and investigate the situation. Upon arriving, a ranch foreman named Tom Tate led Hutchings, the Texas Rangers, and a few local peace officers to the Sauz Ranch. While they were gone a second train arrived at about 5:30 pm, dropping off the Customs Inspectors D. P. Gay, Joe Taylor, and Marcus Hinds, as well as a deputy sheriff of Cameron County, Gordon Hill. All four were heavily armed with rifles and pistols.[1][2]

Raid

Now there were a total of seventeen men, four women and one baby girl at the ranch, including Sheriff Hill, the eight soldiers, the three customs inspectors, four male ranchers and one railroad foreman. Later that night, as the sun was going down, the people at Norias had just finished eating dinner when they retired to the porch of the ranch house. Shortly thereafter, Inspector Hinds noticed a group of men on horseback approaching the ranch from the south, displaying a red flag. Initially he thought the men were Texas Rangers, returning from their patrol, but when they closed to about 250 yards away they opened fire on the house. At the same time, a second group of rebels attacked from the east and opened fire within ninety yards of the Americans as they took cover behind the railroad embankment near the section house to return the fire. One of the ranchers, a black man named Albert Edmonds, telephoned Caesar Kleberg, asking for his help. Kleberg told Edmonds that there was a train in Kingsville loaded with "armed men, supplies, and medical people" but it could not leave because there was no one yet available to drive it to Norias. When the train did finally arrive the fighting was already over. The four women dispersed when the shooting began. One hid inside a [1][2]

Once outside the Americans took cover behind a roll of wire fencing and a steel trough. When they returned fire the rebels took cover in the section house, a second building nearby, and from behind a pile of railroad ties. It was at this time that Manuela Flores was found hiding and subsequently killed by the raiders. When the defenders began to run low on ammunition Dad Martin ran from behind the wires back inside the house. He first checked on the women and the wounded, telling them to stay down under the mattresses and then he retrieved the ammunition and went back outside to distribute it. All of this was done under a "steady stream of bullets" but Dad would survive the two-hour engagement unhurt. Towards the end of the fight, the Mexicans launched one final charge on foot to dislodge the defenders before the sun set, but they were beaten back again, having made it to within forty yards of the Americans' position. During the charge, Inspector Joe Taylor shot and killed the rebel leader, however, it remains uncertain as to who the leader actually was. After being repulsed again the Mexicans retreated to their horses and strapped the wounded to them. According to the ranchers Pedro Longorio, Luis Solis, and Macario Longorio, at 2:00 am, on August 9, a group of fifty-two rebels, under the command of Antonio Roche and Dario Morada forced them to feed and water their horses at the Cerritos division of the King Ranch. Another report says that Luis de la Rosca led some of the raiders and that his band of fifteen men joined up with about twenty-five others for the attack on Norias. Either way, there were between forty-five and seventy Mexican rebels who participated in the fight, at least four of whom were killed and as many as twelve others were wounded.[1][3][2]

Aftermath

The Americans reported that they had killed five of the Mexicans but only four appear in pictures taken of the dead on the following morning of August 9 when Hutchings and the Texas Rangers returned. However, Dad Martin claimed that he was tasked with burying the bodies of ten rebels at the ranch on the day after the raid and that the five wounded Mexicans who were strapped to horses later died and were buried by their comrades somewhere on the ranch. One of the men at Norias tried to have Hutchings and the rangers pursue the raiders but by the time they were finished having their photographs taken with the dead rebels, the remaining raiders had fled across the Rio Grande into Mexico. While crossing at a place called Los Cavazos, the rebels encountered United States Army troops and some other Texas Rangers. During another brief fight, as many as a dozen more rebels were killed, with very few actually making it back to Mexico. A wounded rebel later said that he and the others thought there were only a few men at the ranch and that they planned to rob the store, destroy the night train, and burn Kleberg's ranch house. Dad Martin later discovered that the rebels had placed a price on his head when he captured a Mexican bounty hunter. Dad searched the Mexican and in his pocket he found a piece of paper with his name on it, as well as the names of the others who defended Norias and that of Caesar Kleberg and his father Bob. Next to the names was written down the amount of reward money offered for each victim.[1][3][2]

See also

Citations

  1. ^ a b c d e f Raid On Norias
  2. ^ a b c d Cavazos, pg. 8-14
  3. ^ a b Weber, pg. 89-90

References

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