Skirmish in Doubtful Canyon

The Skirmish in Doubtful Canyon took place on May 3, 1864 between a company of infantry from the California Column and a band of about 100 Apaches. The fighting occurred near Steins Peak in Doubtful Canyon, Arizona Territory. Doubtful Canyon, along with Apache Pass in Arizona and Cookes Canyon, in New Mexico was a favored location for an ambush by the Apache along the Butterfield Overland Mail route.

Skirmish in Doubtful Canyon
Part of the Apache Wars, American Civil War
DateMay 3, 1864
Result United States victory
 United States Apache
Commanders and leaders
Henry H. Stevens unknown
54 ~100
Casualties and losses
5 or 6 wounded, 1 missing 10 killed, 20 wounded

The Californians were on the march from Fort Cummings to Fort Bowie in the military District of Arizona, when they were attacked in the canyon.[1] The band of Apaches were defeated by fifty-four men of Company I, 5th California Volunteer Infantry Regiment under Lieutenant Henry H. Stevens.[1] The skirmish lasted about an hour, until the Apache fled. The Apache lost 10 killed, 20 wounded. The Californians lost one missing, five wounded according to official records.[2] Michno claims the battle lasted almost 2 hours and that the Californians suffered 6 wounded, (1 mortally), 1 missing presumed killed.[1]


  • Michno, F. Gregory (2009). Encyclopedia of Indian wars: Western battles and skirmishes 1850–1890. Missoula, Montana: Mountain Press Publishing Company. ISBN 978-0-87842-468-9.

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