EL PASO, Texas, Feb. 4, 1911 (UP) -- Desperate efforts are being made by the federal soldiers at Juarez to throw up breastworks and otherwise fortify the town, in the hope that they may be able to stand off the rebel army under Gen Orozco until reinforcements arrive.
Officers in command of the federal troops today notified their men that Gen. Rabago, with a large force of federals, is hastening to Juarez from Casas Grandes. The number of soldiers under Rabago was not told the men, but it is known here that he has 415 in his entire band.
Rabago must pass through a country that is alive with rebellion, and it is believed impossible that he can ever reach Juarez. The rebel sympathizers say that Rabago's force will be cut to pieces before nightfall. Even if he should reach Juarez, it is believed he could not reinforce the federals sufficiently for them to withstand the rebel attack, which is expected at any time.
The unrest is growing more marked in Juarez. The town is almost completely deserted. Even the members of the police force and the citizen soldiery are fleeing across the border.
Valentine Onate, assistant chief of police, who succeeded in command of the force when Chief Ponce de Leon resigned and came to El Paso yesterday, also fled to this city last night. The members of the mayor's special guard have disappeared. One report has it they have deserted the government forces, and will fight in the rebel army as soon as they can reach Orozco's lines.
Members of the federal garrison at Juarez are working frantically, throwing up fortifications made out of sacks of sand. The mission of Our Lady at Guadaloupe, the most historic landmark in the southwest, is being made the headquarters of government troops. An effort will be made by Americans to prevent the shelling of the old building.
It is believed the federals have chosen this site for their headquarters for the reason that they believe that the rebels will not wish to raze it.
The garrison of Juarez now numbers 600, according to the jefe politico, but it is not believed that two-thirds of these soldiers will remain loyal to Diaz after the firing begins.
Parties of Americans made the trip to Orozco's camp, 10 miles from Juarez, yesterday afternoon. Orozco received them cordially, but refused to give any indication as to his plans for the assault on the city. It is thought that he has by this time established his base of operations at Rancho Flores, where there is plenty of water for his horses and men, and where the men can be cared for.
Orozco's notice of bombardment of an inhabited town, which the ethics of modern warfare makes necessary to permit non-combatants to escape, was delivered to the foreign consuls in Juarez at 10:30 Friday night.
Orozco can now proceed to attack the city and at 10:30 tonight, his cannon may begin its destruction unless the federal soldiers guarding it surrender in the meantime.
The insurgents are well armed with modern repeating rifles, and have plenty of ammunition. They are reported to have four rapid-fire guns of the old-fashioned pattern, and four old howitzers.
So far the United States soldiers stationed here ostensibly to maintain absolute neutrality on the part of this country, have not been ordered into Juarez. That pressure has been brought to bear on President Taft to take that step, is admitted and there are rumors that a troop of cavalry may cross the international bridge today. Such a step might be disastrous to the plans of the revolutionists.
Orozco evidently realizes how helpless is the prey he is preparing to seize and is delaying the final attack until his plans shall have been perfected.
Orozco is at the head of the troops marching upon the city from the south, and has 600 men under him. Gen. Blanco is commanding the troops advancing from the west and has 500 soldiers.
Juarez is quiet today, all of the business houses, excepting the saloons, being closed. Flags of half a dozen nations fly over business establishments as a signal that property is owned by foreigners who will hold the insurgents responsible for all damage.
Gen. Orozco's uncle and brother, who have been under arrest charged with treason in Juarez, were given their freedom by the city officials. They are now in this city in conference with Gen. Abram Gonzales, insurrecto governor of Chihuahua province. They are being closely watched by federal secret service agents.
The United States guard along the border has been doubled because of a report that a large quantity of dynamite, designed for use by the insurgents, was to be smuggled across the border. Some 1,500 United States soldiers are now patrolling the Mexican border, or will be as soon as additional troops ordered out yesterday arrive. Yesterday's order from Washington adds 700 soldiers to those already in service along the Rio Grande river.
Juarez resumed telegraph communication with Mexico City late Friday by means of wires through El Paso, San Antonio, and Laredo, Texas.
The insurrecto army in the west, which a few days ago captured the city of Mexicala, is preparing for a battle with the federals now marching upon them. The engagement was expected to take place today 30 miles east of Tia Juana, Lower California.
A small detail of United States soldiers left San Diego for the United States line to maintain United States neutrality as along the eastern border.
Dispatches from Mexico City say Enrique Creel, ministry of foreign affairs, still refuses to take the revolution seriously. He maintains that the rebels, instead of moving north towards Juarez for offensive action, have been forced there by successive defeats at the hands of the federals farther south.
The destruction of bridges by the rebels is delaying the movement of federal soldiers, Creel said, but reinforcements should before many days reach the scene of action on the northern border. Creel claims the total number of rebels does not exceed 1,200, and that there are 7,000 federal soldiers. He claims Chihuahua is the only state in which the revolution has not been crushed.