September 17, 1878; Pinos Altos, New Mexico: Lt. Henry P. Perrine, Sixth Cavalry, with detachments of his Companies B and M and Company D of the Indian Scouts, was patrolling in rough country east of Fort Thomas, Arizona Territory. On 13 September, along the Gila River at what was called the Clifton Crossing, the scouts found a small party of three or four renegade Apaches who had left the reservation.
The Apaches bolted, and Perrine began a five-day chase. Their trail led east along the Gila and into New Mexico Territory. North of the Big Burro Mountains, the Apaches left the Gila and went along Bear Creek into the Pinos Altos Mountains. Perrine finally cornered them on 17 September, in Bear Creek Canyon, northwest of Pinos Altos. In a short fight, Perrine killed two Indians and captured four horses and a mule; one enlisted man was killed in the action.