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Villa Phone Call, Torreón

    Battles in the Mexican Revolution were often fierce. In 1913-14,  the Federal Army, supporting  President and General Victoriano Huerta, fought the Constitutionalist armies in an attempt  to keep Huerta in power; Huerta had usurped the presidency from Francisco I. Madero and had him and his vice president murdered.  One of these Constitutionalist armies the government was led by General Pancho Villa and General Felipe Angeles.

   The Battle of Torreón would be especially bloody. for it was a key railroad town. Villa would finally conquer it but not until he had taken it, evacuated it, shelled it with artillery, and then reoccupied it. Realizing that the fighting would cost many lives and maim many men,  an effort was made to get Velasco to surrender.  General Felipe Angeles found a called General José Refugio Velasco in Torreón. The conversation, as reported in  William Weber Johnson, Heroic Mexico, went like this:

"Good afternoon, Señor General Velasco," said Angeles.

"Good afternoon, Señor General Angeles," said Velasco. "Where are you speaking from?"

"From Bermejillo, Señor General," said Angeles. "Have you taken Bermejillo already?" "Yes, Señor General."

"I congratulate you."

"Thank you, Señor General."

"Were there many casualties?"

"Hardly any, Señor General. That is why I am calling you. You will save the lives of many Mexicans by bringing your useless resistance to an end and surrendering the places you occupy."

"Señor General, permit me to take issue with you," replied Velasco.

Colonel Solórzano of Velasco's army informed Angeles that it would be the revolutionists who surrendered.

A little later the telephone rang and Villa answered. The exchange was less courtly this time.

"Who is speaking?" The voice was that of another federal commander. "Francisco Villa, Señor."

"Francisco Villa?"

"Yes, Señor. Francisco Villa. Your servant."

"Fine, because we are coming for you in just a moment."

"Come on, Señores, you will be welcome."

"Good. Fix supper."

"We'll have something warm for you."

"We'll be there."

"Good, Señor, but if that's too much trouble, we'll come and get you. We have traveled a long way just for the pleasure of seeing you, and we are getting tired of looking for you everywhere."

"Are there many of you?"

"Not so many, Señor. Just a couple of regiments of artillery and ten thousand men."

Villa's forces took Bermejillo March 20-21, 1914 and Torreón on April 2, 1914 after a fierce battle that began on March 26th.