The men of Company G, a small unit of the U.S. 2nd Cavalry, left Fort Mason on July 5, 1857, under the command of Lt. John Bell Hood (1831-1879), in pursuit of Comanche Indians in the vicinity. Traveling northwest, they discovered a fresh Indian trail leading southward toward Mexico. Crossing bluffs near the Devils River on July 20, the men encountered an Indian camp on a ridge about two miles from the stream, marked by a while flat. Suspecting an ambush, Hood proceeded cautiously toward the ridge.
A small band of Indians advanced to meet Hood's party. Then, throwing down the flag to signal their concealed allies, a group of close to 100 Comanches and Lipan Apaches attached. Outnumbered, and hampered by brush fires set by Indian women, the soldiers were forced into fierce hand-to-hand combat. Outflanked by a force at least three times his number and hemmed in by a wall of fire and smoke to his front, all that Hood could hope for was that superior marksmanship and discipline would prove to be the decisive elements in the fight. The company fell back to reload its weapons, only to hear the loud cries of Comanche women through the smoke and dust, indicating an Indian retreat.
Two cavalrymen, William Barry and Thomas Ryan, were killed, and five others, including Hood, were wounded. A relief unit from Camp Hudson (20 mi. S) arrived the following day, rendering medical aid and helping to bury the dead. Pvt. Ryan was buried at the site, and Pvt. Barry's body was never found. Later reports revealed that nineteen Indians were killed, and many more wounded. Hood and his men were later cited for valor in army reports. During the Civil War, Hood became a general in the Confederate States Army.