José Inés Salazar

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José Inés Salazar (1884-1917) was a leading Orozquista General in the Mexican Revolution.[1]

Salazar was a native of Casas Grandes, Chihuahua.

Prior to the Mexican Revolution he was a member of the Partido Liberal Mexicano.[2]

Salazar was a good friend of Pascual Orozco and in 1909, they were reported to be involved in arms running.[3]

When Francisco Madero called for an armed revolt against the government of Porfirio Díaz, Salazar and Orozco joined the cause. They and Pancho Villa were responsible for the early victories against federal forces in the winter of 1910-1911. Their biggest victory was the taking of Cuidad Juarez in May 1911, which led to the collapse of the Díaz government.

With the collapse of the Díaz government in May 1911, an interim government was formed to hold new elections in October. In July, Francisco Madero formed a new political party to run for the presidency. However, his moderate liberal views alienated many of his more radical supporters. Two of these, Francisco and Emilio Vazquez-Gomez attempted to gather support for an opposition. When it became apparent that Madero would win the October election, the Vazquez-Gomez brothers began organized a new uprising claiming that Madero had betrayed the spring revolution. This revolt attracted several dissatisfaction northern warriors of the spring revolution, including José Inés Salazar. Hostilities reached a peak in October 1911.[4] This was part of his 1912 rebellion in collaboration with Emilio Campa as a result of Francisco I. Madero's failure to give Salazar an appointment as the police commissioner in Casas Grande.[5]

Pascual Orozco continued to support Madero, and in January 1912, he was able to contain the Vazquez-Gomez movement, both militarily and because of his popularity. However, in the March 1912, Orozco also became disenchanted with Madero, and he defected and joined with his old friend Salazar. That month, Salazar defeated the Federal garrison at Santa Rosalia.[6] In April he forced Pancho Villa and Maclovio Herrera out of Hidalgo del Parral.[7][8] After this battle, he lost control of his troops, and they looted the city. This looting had strong repercussions. Public sentiment turned against Orozco and Salazar. They also received strong condemnation from the American press when Salazar allowed captured American soldier-of-fortune Thomas Fountain to be executed for fighting for Villa.[9]

In 1912 as part of their campaign of "Mexico for Mexicans" Orozco and Salazar ordered the Mormons to leave their colonies in Chihuahua and Sonora.[10][11]

In September 1912, a battalion of Salazar’s was routed in the Battle of San Joaquin, Sonora, by a battalion commanded by Lt. Colonel Alvaro Obregón.[12]

In February 1913, a right-wing coup overthrew the Madero government, and Victoriano Huerta became president. Huerta offered amnesty to the Orozco rebels who were still active at this time. Orozco and his lieutenants including Salazar agreed to cease fighting against the central government in exchange for paid positions as Mexican irregular forces.[13]

In November 1913, Salazar commanded a brigade under General Francisco Castro defending Ciudad Juarez. On the 15th, they were attacked and driven out of Ciudad Juárez by Pancho Villa. Salazar was able to retreat south to Ciudad Chihuahua.[14]

On the 23rd of November, General Salvador Mercado ordered Salazar to lead a force against Francisco Villa and retake Ciudad Juárez. In this battle Salazar had superior artillery. However, on the morning of November 24 Salazar's army was overwhelmed by a coordinated attack between Villa's cavalry and Rodolfo Fierro's exploding of materials in the army's rear. This important battle was called the Battle of Tierra Blanca.[15]

In January 1914, Mercado and Salazar were again attacked by Pancho Villa, this time at the border town Ojinaga, Chihuahua. They were defeated and forced across the river to Presidio, Texas. There they were arrested by the American army and interned at Ft. Bliss Texas. Salazar was charged with smuggling munitions into Mexico. A Federal jury in Santa Fe acquitted him of the smuggling charge in May 1914, but he was then taken to a detention camp at Fort Wingate, New Mexico to face charges of violating American neutrality laws. Salazar retained the legal services of famous gunfighter/attorney Elfego Baca. He was scheduled to go on trial in Albuquerque late November 1914, but on the 20th, just a few days before his trial, he was able to arrange a daring escape. In April 1915, his attorney Baca was charged with masterminding the escape.[16]

Salazar was next seen in El Paso in early December 1914, crossing over into Mexico. For the next 6 months, he was active in Chihuahua attempting to organize a counterrevolution against the Carranza government. This movement was headed up by Victoriano Huerta and Pascual Orozco but the arrest of Huerta and Orozco in late June 1915 extinguished that plan.[17]

Salazar returned to New Mexico in July 1915, surrendered to law enforcement authorities. He spent nearly five months incommunicado at the penitentiary in Santa Fe. A federal jury acquitted him of perjury charges on December 9, 1915. He immediately returned to Mexico.[18]

In May 1916, Carranza’s federal soldiers captured and imprisoned Salazar in Ciudad Chihuahua. In September 1916, Pancho Villa raided the town and released all the prisoners. Salazar then joined rebel Villa’s forces. In November, Villa learned that federal soldiers are advancing north to confront him. Villa ordered Salazar south to delay the attacking federals. With 3,000 men, Salazar engaged 8,000 federal troops. He was defeated, but was able to retreat in good order.[19]

In December 1916, Villa and Salazar attacked and took the city of Torreón. They captured large amounts of supplies and succeeded in extracting substantial amounts of money from the local merchants and foreign companies in the city.[20]

By April 1917, Salazar was one of Villa’s most trusted Lieutenants, and was in command of over one thousand men. However, he was killed in battle on August 9, 1917 outside of Nogales Hacienda, Chihuahua.[21]


  1. ^ OROZCO, PASCUAL, JR. - The Handbook of Texas Online - Texas State Historical Association (TSHA)
  2. ^ Knight, Alan. The Mexican Revolution p. 293
  3. ^ Meyer, Michael. Mexican Rebel p. 17
  4. ^ Héctor Aguilar Camín, Lorenzo Meyer. In the Shadow of the Mexican Revolution: Contemporary Mexican History, 1910-1989 p. 23
  5. ^ Knight. The Mexican Revolution p. 293
  6. ^ Meyer, Michael. Mexican Rebel p. 69
  7. ^ Meyer, Michael. Mexican Rebel p. 77
  8. ^ McLynn, Frank. Villa and Zapata p. 135
  9. ^ Katz, Friedrich The Life and Times of Pancho Villa", p. 161
  10. ^ El Paso Times - Mormons contributed to city history
  11. ^ Orson Pratt Brown - Life, Times, Family Archived 2007-12-09 at the Wayback Machine.
  12. ^ Hall, Linda. Alvaro Obregón p. 31
  13. ^ Meyer, Michael. Mexican Rebel p. 97-98
  14. ^ Eisenhower, John S. D. Intervention: The United States and The Mexican Revolution, 1913-1917", p. 57-58
  15. ^ Eisenhower, John S. D. Intervention: The United States and The Mexican Revolution, 1913-1917", p. 57-58
  16. ^ Bryan, Howard Incredible Elfego Baca: Good Man, Bad Man of the Old West", p. 68-76
  17. ^ Holtby, David Fort Wingate and the Mexican Revolution",[permanent dead link]
  18. ^ Holtby, David Fort Wingate and the Mexican Revolution",[permanent dead link]
  19. ^ Katz, Friedrich The Life and Times of Pancho Villa", p. 627
  20. ^ Katz, Friedrich The Life and Times of Pancho Villa", p. 627
  21. ^ Holtby, David Fort Wingate and the Mexican Revolution",[permanent dead link]

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