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YESTERDAY'S BIG BEND NEWS: BORDER CROSSED AFTER BANDITS 
U.S. CAVALRY AND AIRMEN HUNT BANDITS

San Antonio Evening News-Tuesday-August 19, 1919. "American cavalrymen and airplanes crossed the border at Candelaria, Texas this morning at daybreak in pursuit of the Mexican bandits who kidnapped Lieutenants H. G. Peterson and Paul H. Davis, United States aviators, and to whom $15,000 ransom was paid last night before Peterson and Davis were released. Davis and Peterson are guiding the troops."

"Maj. Gen. Joseph T. Dickman, commander of the Southern Department, left San Antonio at 1 o'clock today for Eagle Pass, and announced that he would be ready to go to Marfa, the headquarters of the Big Bend district in which Candelaria is located, if his services there are required. So far the movement into Mexico has been solely under the direction of Col. G.T. Langhorne, the commander at Marfa. No announcement had been received by Gen. Dickman that the troops had actually crossed the border when he left for the West."

"At General Dickman's office it was announced that nothing would be given out to the newspapers for publication on the movement across the border. From other sources it was learned that the order to go across the line immediately after Peterson and Davis were safe on this side were telegraphed to Col. Langhorne yesterday. Col. Langhorne assembled 200 cavalrymen from close by stations and had several big army trucks ready to make the dash as soon as it was known that Davis and Peterson were in the hands of the American officers."

"At General Dickman's office it was said the pursuit of the bandits was being conductd under the plan recently adoped to chase lawbreakers who were successful in getting back across the Mexican border."

TROOPS WILL WITHDRAW WHEN BANDITS ARE CAPTURED

"While no announcement was made, it was indicated that as soon as the bandits are captured, the cavalry force and airplanes will be withdrawn."

"A telegram was recievd at the headquarters of the Southern Department early this morning telling of the release of Peterson and Davis. Peterson was released shortly after midnight and it was about 2 o'clock this morning when Davis arrived at the point where he met the American officer."

"As agreed upon by agents of the bandits, Capt. Leonard Matlock, of the 8th Cavalry left Candelaria shortly before midnight and went to a place three or four miles across the border on horseback. He deposited half of the $15,000 ransom, as per the contract and went away. He returned to the spot where he had deposited the money a few minutes later, and Lieut. Peterson was there waiting for him. He and Peterson then rode horseback to where the other American officers and soldiers were waiting."

"Capt. Matlock then returned to the same place and shortly after 2 o'clock he galloped back to where the American officers and soldiers were waiting with Lieut. Davis riding behind him on the horse."

"One telegram received a the headquarters of the Southern Department stated that Capt. Matlock did not deposit the last $7,500, as he had agreed to do, but that when he found Davis there, he simply pretended to deposit the money and fled from the scene with the rescued man."

"Gen. Dickman did not understand this part of the telegram, and telegraphed instructions to Col. Langhorne to wire particulars. At Gen. Dickman's office it was stated if Capt. Matlock had not paid over the last money to the bandits as he had agreed to do, the money would be paid, as the army would not be put in the light of having broken faith even with bandits. This statement was issued while United States soldiers were actually chaising the bandits."

DAVIS AND PETERSON BOTH TREATED WELL BY THE BANDITS

"The money paid as ransom was supplied by contributions from cowboys and businessmen around Candelaria. The War Department has instructed Col. Langhorne to notify all those who contributed that they would be reimbursed as soon as the gold car arrive there. The bandits stated in their first communication offering to surrender the men that the money must be in gold coin. They were afraid the acceptance of currency would lead to their identification and arrests."

"Peterson and Davis both say that they were well treated, according to a telegram received by Gen. Dickman today. They say they had plenty to eat and were subjected to no indignities."

"They both believed they had fallen on the American side of the line, and are yet badly mixed as to their directions. It has been clearly established, according to the American army officers, however, that the plane fell Sunday afternoon near Las Vegas and Cuehlile, Mexico. This is about 35 miles below the border. Then the men wandered down the Conchos River, which was close to the point where they fell until they reached Falomir. They were captured near this place Wednesday after they had been without food or shelter three days and nights."

"Peterson and Davis both thought they were captured near Valentine, Texas. They spoke of being taken into the mountains near them. They also spoke of passing near the railroad bridge. There is no bridge near Valentine. The only brindge in theat part of the country is over the Concho River near Falomir and it was decided that they were captured there and taken into the hills west of that place."

"The two fliers were kept in the hills until Monday and then started on the way to the place near Candelaria where the bandits had agreed to deliver them upon the payment to the $15,000. They reached that place Monday night shortly after dark."

"The airmen told the officers rescuing them that the leader of the bandit gang was a one-legged and one-armed Mexican who said he was educated in the United States and that he had been a railroad man in Kansas. He lost his arm and leg in a wreck in Kansas, he said."

"There were about twenty men in the kidnapping party, according to Peterson, but he said the leader of the gang told him he had a bandit force of about sixty men."

"The airplane was torn to pieces by the fall Sunday, according to information received here, and the telegram said the machine gun mounted on the pane was put out of commission. The messages received today did not state what happened to the plane to make it fall, but it is believed it was crippled during the violent storm which started soon after the men went out on the trip. If the belief of the army officials here is sustained by later telegrams Peterson and Davis went south while they believed they were going northwest."

"This is explained by fliers who say that that frequently a plane may be heading a wind and seeming traveling 75 miles an hour in one direction when it is actually being blown at that speed in another direction."

"Lieut. Davis, who was stationed at Kelly Field for some time, was sent from here to the border recently to do radio work. While at Kelly Field, he was engaged in installing radio on the planes. Before being assigned to that work, he was one of the assistant adjutants in the personnel department. He is also well known in San Antonio."

For a detailed account of the kidnapping, ransom and the last American punitive expedition into Mexico see Little Known History Of The Texas Big Bend available at www.rimrockpress.com. Gj











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