Mexican federal troops attacked the new rebel stronghold of Agua Prieta twice today and were repulsed both times. The first attack, involving 1,500 trained soldiers, began at 6:30am local time and last for a few hours before the Moderists pushed them back around noon. The Federals retreated in good order, though they suffered many loses during the battle. 1,500 to 2,000 rebels hold the town that is a few yards from the international border with the United States.
At 1:30pm the Federals reformed along along a line east and south of Agua Prieta, and with three machine gun squads, advanced within a few hundred yards of the rebel fortifications. Reports from on lookers in Douglas, Arizona Territory state that sharpshooters putting the Federals under punishing cross fire. A reckless group of rebels were able to take out one of the machine guns by advancing to within 100 yards of the gun and killing its operators. Diaz sent cavalry to drive off the band, but a hidden cannon and two machine guns trained on the federal line made their appearance to force Diaz's forces to retreat to a position six or eight miles south of Agua Prieta. The Washington Times reports that both sides formed their lines so as to avoid stray bullets from landing in Douglas.
The Federal troops are led by Col. Reynaldo Diaz, a nephew of Mexican President Porfirio Diaz.
The attack comes just three days after insurrectos led by Arturo "Red" Lopez attacked and captured Agua Prieta, leaving three Americans dead and several injured, including Robert Harrington who died on the American side of the border in Douglas from a stray bullet. During these latest battles, bullets again whistled through the streets of Douglas, despite the best efforts of the combatants to the south. One American, Oscar Goil of Tombstone, Arizona, was shot in the head, though there is some question of whether he was north or south of the international boundary. Early reports from the First Cavalry in town, led by Captain Julien Edmond Victor Gaujot, suggest that he was south of the border.
However, still the fact that bullets flew through Douglas, despite Gaujot's warning a few days ago, does put the U.S. in the position that it could intervene in future battles along the border to protect American lives and property and possibly to intervene further to bring peace to war-torn Mexico. According to the Washington Times, "Senator William Stone (D-Mo) introduced a resolution instructing the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to investigate conditions in Mexico, and to report without delay to the Senate." President Taft has also instructed our ambassador to Mexico, Henry Lane Wilson, to personally inform the Diaz government that repetitions of the Douglas incident will not be tolerated, carrying the implicit threat of American intervention.
Link: American Shot in Federals' Attack on Border Town [The Washington Times]
Link: Federals repulsed, renew attack upon Agua Prieta [The Washington Times]