Monday, June 20, 2016

Today -100: June 20, 1916: I.M. Laughter, we hardly knew ye

The US government has been leaking for days that it is about to respond to Carranza’s demand for US troops to leave Mexico by telling him to stuff it. Now, Carranza issues an order to the military not to let any more US soldiers cross the border. He denies that the US incursion is aimed purely at bandits.

The governors of two Mexican states, Sinaloa and Yucatan, order Americans to leave in what the NYT is describing as declarations of war, though without quotes it’s hard to tell how seriously to take that.

One person who doesn’t know how seriously to take it is the commander of the gunboat USS Annapolis, who decides to send some bluejackets ashore in Mazatlán to ask what “declaration of war” means. Mexican soldiers shoot at their boat and arrest two crew members but release them after “an explanation” (the explanation may have been their commander threatening to bombard the city). Only one American is reported injured, Boatswain’s Mate I.M. Laughter. Well, that’s what it says, I.M. Laughter.

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