Classic Gunfights

Patton's First Two Notches

George S. Patton & Co. vs. Julio Cardenas & Co. 

George S. Patton & Co. vs. Julio Cardenas & Co. 

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May 14, 1916

Second Lt. George S. Patton and his force, riding in Dodge touring autos, approach the San Miguelito Ranch from the south, appropriately at high noon.

Patton positions two carloads—eight soldiers and a guide—at the southern wall around the hacienda and its two gates. He and the remaining two soldiers and a guide park their car northwest of the compound. They make their way east along the low north wall, heading toward the big arch of the main gate.

Patton carries a rifle in his left hand, with his right on the pistol butt at his hip. He is almost at the gate when three horsemen dash out of the hacienda into the courtyard and head southeast. They run right into the Americans stationed there.

The Mexicans immediately wheel around and charge toward Patton. Bullets whiz around the lieutenant as he pulls his Colt single action from its holster and returns fire.

One bullet breaks the left arm of the lead rider, who is later identified as Capt. Julio Cardenas, a close aide to Pancho Villa. Another shot takes down his horse. The wounded man scrambles for cover as Patton retreats to a wall to reload. The other two Mexican riders split up, trying to escape.

Patton sees one of them go by and shoots the horse in the hip, knocking down the mount and the soldier. In an act of chivalry, the American waits for the Mexican to extricate himself, stand up and pull his weapon—only then does Patton (and a couple of his men) shoot and kill him.

The third Villista has almost made good his escape, riding hard...

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