Stories From Old Tampico
Times of Danger in Tampico
The Mexican Revolution Comes to Tampico

Photographs and Text by John Todd, Jr.

The Revolutionaries Take Tampico
The days that Tampico was under siege by the "Revolucionarios" were difficult.

General Zaragoza was in charge of the federal troops, and General Aguilar was in charge of the defense of the Northern Sector. His command post was located at the crossroads of Calle Tampico and Paseo Bellavista.

The rebels arrived at the Escuela de Monte which is near what is now the Church of San José in the Colonia Lauro Aguirre.

Each time the revolutionaries approached the city, three warships helping with the defense of Tampico would fire cannonades causing generalized panic throughout the city because all the houses in Tampico were shaken to their very foundations because back then most of the houses were made of wood.

When the enemy would fall back, the ships would stop their fire and people could relax again.

Battleships Kept the Revolutionaries at Bay

Tampico Isolated and Hunger Sets in
These battles lasted for 5 months, and little by little hunger could be felt. Beans, corn, and fresh vegetable no longer came in little boats down the Tamesí River since the rebels had blocked their way. Stocks in the stores were slowly being emptied and there were no replacements. Many people mixed cooking bananas with the corn dough to make tortillas to make it last longer. Others used wheat bran, or oatmeal to mix in with the "masa".

At the hospital the wounded and the ill suffered the same hunger. I still have several coupons they sent to my father´s store asking for soda crackers and other basic foods.

Federal Troops Forced to Withdraw from Tampico
Eventually the federal forces saw that because of the lack of arms and food, the situation was no longer sustainable and it was decided to evacuate the Plaza, and they did it in perfect formation. No one was running scared, nor was there any panic. The locomotives at the station blew their whistles many times, perhaps to speed up the departure of the soldiers.

La Barranca de los Veracruzanos
The Evacuation
General Aguilar, his general staff, and his men marched down the steps at the "bajada del veracruzano" downtown, along Calle Aguila to la Calle Rivera.

Step by step, his horse was on a tight rein.

His face was the color of lead, perhaps because of anger, or the shame of his retreat.

One Soldier Stayed Behind
When the troops passed in front of the store called "La Fuente", one of the soldiers passed out from fatigue and hunger. The owner of the store picked up the soldier to keep him from being trampled by the troops marching by horseback. He was taken into the store and hidden in the storeroom. The employees of the store made a bundle of the soldier´s uniform, ammunition belt, and rifle. The store was only a half block from the river, and the owner sent one of the employees to throw the bundle into the river.

The man was given clothes and dressed like any other "paisano". He would no longer be afraid of being killed. Then the revolutionaries charged like a river overflowing its banks through the small number of streets in the little town of Tampico in 1914.

Later there were no abuses and the stores weren´t sacked and the women weren´t raped. All the revolutionaries wore hats with pictures of the Virgen of Guadalupe.

And that was the fall of Tampico into the hands of the Revolutionaries.

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