The Consul at Guaymas (Yost) to the Acting Secretary of State

No. 106

Sir: I have the honor to report that, despite the much heralded campaigns against the rebellious Yaqui Indians in the State of Sonora, and the hope and belief of many residents that a certain degree of safety had been established, the Indians in various parts of the State are again resorting to robbery and murder.

On July 15, near the station of Willard, a few miles South of Hermosillo, a band of Yaquis attacked a group of Mexican travelers, killing two and seriously wounding another. Troops were sent in pursuit, but as usual, the Yaquis escaped to the mountains before the arrival of the troops.

About ten days ago two wood-choppers were tortured and killed by Yaquis near Aranjuez Ranch, 5 miles west of Guaymas.

On July 15 two peddlers were murdered by Yaquis in the same locality. Little attempt has been made to follow the Indians although a small garrison is established at Aranjuez. The city of Guaymas has no military protection. The stealing of cattle, mules, horses, crops, etc., in this community are common occurrences, and as a consequence, practically all the ranches have been abandoned.

According to accounts of passengers arriving at Guaymas from the South, on the morning of July 15th a band of about 200 Yaquis surrounded and attacked the town of Potam, about 60 miles South [Page 572] of Guaymas, on the Southern Pacific Railway of Mexico. Aided by armed civilians, the small garrison at that place succeeded at first in keeping the Indians at bay, but in a later attack they reached the town and, following their barbaric instinct, they plundered and looted everything they could carry away. Many of the residents then fled from the town. According to newspaper accounts the losses were as follows:

  • Dead: Pablo Valencia and Tomas Valenzuela, civilians; Sergeant Lucio Leyva and private Cirilo Choqui.
  • Wounded: Miguel Lobomea and two women, civilians.

According to some sources of information, the losses were a great deal heavier among both civilians and soldiers. One informant claims that at least 30 soldiers were killed. Casualties among the troops in the Yaqui campaigns are seldom truthfully reported.

General Juan Torres, Chief of Operations at La Misa, ordered a special train from Ortiz with the 17th Batallion of infantry, and from Esperanza came another train with 200 men in command of Colonel Guillermo J. Nilson. These troops arrived at the scene of the fight at 6 in the evening; but as is usually the case, the Yaquis had already escaped with their loot into the mountains to the East. It is not known if the Indians will be pursued.

The American colony in the Yaqui River Delta has not been attacked recently, and the wheat crop was safely harvested and shipped. However, the settlers are constantly on the alert, for raids may occur at any unexpected moment.

I have [etc.]

B. F. Yost