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1917 Rice Map of a Section of the Border Between the United States and Mexico

Map Showing Lines of March and Border Patrols, In My Mexican Border Service. 1916 - 1917. - Main View

1917 Rice Map of a Section of the Border Between the United States and Mexico


An extremely rare map created for soldiers who had served along the U.S. Mexican border during the Mexican Expedition.



Map Showing Lines of March and Border Patrols, In My Mexican Border Service. 1916 - 1917.
  1917 (undated)     16 x 38.5 in (40.64 x 97.79 cm)     1 : 190000


This is a 1917 Charles A. Rice map of the United States-Mexico border dating from the 1916 - 1917 Mexican Expedition. The map depicts the region along the meandering Rio Grande River from Rio Grande City southeast past McAllen to Brownsville and the Gulf of Mexico. Sergeant Rice created this map with the intention that individual soldiers would the map to trace their movements in the area. A table situated in the lower left corner, which is unfortunately blank on this example, provides these soldiers with a place to write down specifics concerning their service along the border, including their name, enlistment date, a summary of events, and discharge date. The convoluted nature of the river border suggests something apropos to day - the futility of building a wall.
Detailing the Map
Thick black lines printed on the map trace military roads and good roads used for marches by the troops patrolling the border, along with numerous trails, although it is not apparent if these were trails used by the soldiers or not. The road running parallel to the border was built by Zachary Taylor during the Mexican American War before he was elected President of the United States. Military camps are marked as well, identified by symbols resembling tents. Forts, rifle ranges, and outposts, all locations important to an active-duty soldier, are also illustrated. Apart from military matters, numerous towns, including Mission, Pharr, Edinburg, Donna, Mercedes, and Harlingen are identified. Individual ranches and homesteads are labeled as well. Canals, of which there are quite a few, are illustrated in black and white dashed lines. The Saint Louis, Brownsville, and Mexico Railroad roughly parallels the border. Very little detail is provided on the Mexican side of the border. A few ranches and towns are labeled, as is the Mexican National Railway, which also parallels the Rio Grande.
Service Along the U.S.-Mexico Border During the Mexican Expedition 1916 - 1917
Two factors drove the decision to place American troops on the U.S. side of the border beginning in March 1916. On March 9 of that year, Francisco 'Pancho' Villa raided the small town of Columbus, New Mexico and killed ten civilians and eight soldiers. In response, President Wilson order General John J. Pershing to lead a 'punitive' expedition into Mexico to apprehend Villa. Wilson also ordered thousands of American soldiers, both Regular Army and National Guard, to the border to protect American citizens against another raid. The second, even more incendiary event, was the release of the Zimmerman Telegram that same month. The Zimmerman Telegram was a secret communication between Germany and Mexico expressing interest in an alliance if the United States were to enter World War I, making guarding the southern border a necessity. Thousands of soldiers were sent to patrol the border, including the 74th Infantry Regiment of the New York National Guard, of which Sergeant Charles A. Rice was a member.
Publication History and Census
This map was created and published by Charles A. Rice in 1917. Two examples are catalogued in the OCLC as being part of the institutional collections at the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.


Charles A. Rice (November 6, 1885 - August 12, 1931) was an American civil engineer. Born in Buffalo, New York, Rice was a member of the New York National Guard with the rank of sergeant during its deployment to the Mexican border in 1916-17. While there he created a map that others could use to trace their own movements around the area. Per a short article that appeared in The Buffalo Times on August 12, 1917, we learned that Rice served in the 74th Infantry Regiment for a year, before which he was an engineer in the State Highway Department. He obtained an honorable discharge after his year in the New York National Guard and found work in an irrigation engineering company. He was arrested in McAllen, Texas, where the regiment had been stationed, on suspicion of violating the Espionage Act, although we have found no trace of what happened with this charges. Rice stayed in McAllen, eventually becoming the City Engineer, a post he held for only six months before his death. He died on August 12, 1931 from a pulmonary embolism while living in McAllen, Texas. At the time of his death he was married to Virginia Rice, who appears to have been his second wife. His first wife, whom he married in 1907, was named Mary Octavia Rice. Learn More...


Very good. Closed margin tears professionally repaired on verso. Blank on verso.


OCLC 42678909.