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Doc. 82. fight with Apache warriors.

Fort Bowie, Arizona territory, May 5, 1864.
Captain: I have the honor to report for the information of the Colonel commanding, that pursuant to Special Orders, No.--, Inspector-General's Department, New Mexico, Tucson, Arizona Territory, April twenty-six, 1864, I took up my line of march from Fort Cummings, New Mexico, on the thirtieth ultimo. My command consisted of Company I, Fifth Infantry, California volunteers, forty-seven enlisted men, a detachment of one corporal and ten men of company C, First cavalry, California volunteers, and Juan Arrozas, the Mexican guide at the Rio Mimbres. Arriving at the entrance to Doubtful Canon at Steen's Peak at six o'clock A. M., fourth instant, I was fired into by a party of not less than one hundred Apache warriors, ambushed for that purpose. One of my men was dangerously wounded, and three others slightly wounded, and my horse killed the first fire. I had a rear guard of two non-commissioned officers and nine men; the balance of the men, except Corporal Vanolstine and private Doshier of company I, Fifth infantry, California volunteers, who had disobeyed my orders by going in advance, were with me about twenty yards in advance of the wagons. The Indians after firing set up their usual pow-wow, to intimidate the soldiers, and poured arrows into our ranks by the hundred, and we were hemmed in by them upon three sides. Notwithstanding their superior force and decided advantage, the men, without retreating a foot, commenced a deadly fire into their advancing columns, and kept it up for about forty-five minutes, when the Indians ceased firing and fled promiscuously into the mountains. There was a very narrow canon, through which fifty or more of them passed before they could scatter over the mountains, and while passing through this there was a continued and well-directed fire kept up by my men, which prevented many from reaching the summit. In a place like this it is impossible to tell the exact number killed or wounded, but I will report only such as I know to have been left dead on the ground. The number found dead at and near the point upon which we were attacked was ten, and judging from this and from the number of shots fired, it is but reasonable to suppose that twenty more were wounded. The men [519] continued to fire at them until they were out of the range of the guns, and then the man who was too badly wounded to walk was placed comfortably in a wagon; flankers thrown out on both sides of the canon, deployed as skirmishers, one line of skirmishers in the road in advance, and the rear guard at its post. I moved slowly down the canon; the Indians continued to fire upon us from the mountain tops until we reached the open ground this side of the canon, without doing more damage than that of wounding one horse. We arrived at the mouth of the canon at eight o'clock A. M., having been just two hours from the time of attack to the time the last shot was fired. The mountain summits were now covered with the cowardly assassins, who had collected there to take a farewell look upon their much-coveted prize. Upon my arrival at San Simon station at eleven o'clock A. M., I found that Corporal Vanolstine of my company, and the four privates of company C, had arrived in advance of us, but private Henry I. Doshier, of company I, Fifth infantry, California volunteers, had not been seen after entering the canon. It is the most painful part of my report to record a man missing in action, but it is only thus that I can report him. My loss was one man missing in action, one mortally wounded, one with arm broken, and three others slightly wounded; one horse killed, and one slightly wounded. I killed ten Indians and wounded at least twenty more. The non-commissioned officers and privates of company I, as well as corporal Roberts and private Ellis of company C, cannot be too highly praised for the prompt and gallant manner in which they executed all orders, and routed a force of thrice their number, and then marched through one of the worst canons in the country for a distance of about two miles, where the whoops of the savages were ringing from the rocks above upon either side, and an occasional bullet whistling over their heads or dropping near their feet. Juan Arrozas also deserves credit for his brave and cool conduct throughout the engagement. I arrived at Fort Bowie at eleven o'clock A. M. to-day, fifth instant. The wounded men are doing well.

I am, Captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Henry H. Stevens, Lieutenant Fifth Infantry, C. V., Commanding Company I. Captain C. A. Smith, Fifth Infantry, C. V., Acting Assistant Adjutant General, Franklin, Texas.

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Vanolstine (2)
Henry I. Doshier (2)
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Henry H. Stevens (1)
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