EL PASO, TEXAS — Reported hemmed in among the canyons of the Guerrero mountains, Francisco Villa is believed to be surrounded today by several Carranzista columns and the American expedition closing down on him from the north.
Indications today point to a long pursuit of Villa far into Mexico, and the problem of supplying the expedition with food and munitions was uppermost in the minds of army men.
A few considered that withdrawal of the expedition without capturing Villa is likely as an alternative to forcibly taking Mexican railroads, defying [Mexican revolutionary leader Venustiano] Carranza and possibly precipitating intervention, with a year's bloody warfare against all factions.
In view of President [Woodrow] Wilson's past favors to Carranza, aiding him to defeat Villa at Agua Prieta by transporting de facto government troops thru U.S. territory from Eagle Pass to Douglas, the desired permission to ship American military supplies by rail and perhaps to send reinforcements to Gen. Pershing over Mexican railroads, was expected.
Gen. Garcia believes Carranza will grant the request. He repeats his assurances today that Carranza wanted to cooperate with the Americans in every way possible.
There were renewed reports that Villa is heading into the mountains of Durango, where he was born.
Villastas under the command of Generals Callxton and Reyes, with the remnants of the forces under Gen. Tomas Urbinas and Benjamin Argumedo, are lurking there.
Villa is reported in the Chihuahua mountains, riding toward Durango. To an expedition as large as Pershing's, the trails which Villa uses present an almost impassable obstacle.
Col. [George] Dodd's cavalrymen are said to be 60 miles behind Villa, but 60 miles means two days' marching in those mountains.
Between Villa and his supposed goal at Durango, however, are the Tarahumar mountains, also one of his favorite haunts.
He is approaching them today, and is not yet out of the Carranza trap. Carranzista soldiers are attempting to drive Villa toward the Guerrero district. Troops from Chihuahua City, Guzman and Numiquipa are closing in on him.
The American vanguard is crowding him from the north, while his retreat across the Sierra Madres toward Sonora is believed cut off by Constitutional forces gathering passes.
Facing a certain fight if Villa is overtaken, Gen. [John] Pershing and Col. Dodd led their columns over 100 miles of foreign territory without a single soldier being killed.
A few horses and mules perished from effects of their terrible trials on the desert. Following this remarkable march, Col. Dodd is believed to be 135 miles south of the border, near the fertile plains of the American Mormon colonists.
The 24th and 25th infantry regiments of negroes left Columbus yesterday, following Pershing's trail across the Chihuahua wilderness. Other troops still are pouring into Columbus.
Strict censorship still prevails there.