Following the raid by Francisco “Pancho” Villa's small army of Villistas on the American town of Columbus, New Mexico, on March 9, 1916, the U.S. responded with the Mexican Punitive Expedition. Fourteen thousand American regular army troops under the command of Gen. John J. "Blackjack" Pershing were sent into Mexico to hunt down Villa and disband the Villistas. Additionally, 140,000 regular army and National Guard troops were called on to patrol the U.S.-Mexico border.
This is a collection of abstracts from muster rolls of New York National Guardsmen who participated in the Mexican Punitive Campaign. While the National Guard Troops were not part of any major incursions into Mexico, they were engaged in protecting U.S. citizens and property from raids that still plagued border towns.
Details on the standard printed cards include name; age; date of enlistment; place of enlistment; duration of enlistment; date mustered into federal service; place mustered into federal service; grade; company and regiment; how, when, and at what grade the individual left the organization; and an explanation for the departure.
The card includes a remarks section, which can list promotions, assignments, disciplinary actions, injuries, illness, absences with and without leave, furloughs, and clothing issued. At the bottom of the card you’ll find the soldier’s age, physical description, place of birth, occupation, residence, marital status, and the name and address of the nearest relative (although this last field is often blank).
Some cards include the source of muster details with the date and the following abbreviations:
- M.I.R. — Mustering In Report
- M.R. — Muster Report
- M.O.R. — Mustering Out Report
In some cases you’ll find additional documentation with the card, including discharges, assignments, travel orders, name corrections, and other related documents.
For more information on the Mexican Punitive Expedition and related records held by the National Archives, see "The United States Armed Forces and the Mexican Punitive Expedition", by Mitchell Yockelson, Prologue Magazine, Fall 1997, Vol. 29, No. 3.