Battle of Tombstone
Part of The Second Mexican War
Date 1881
Location New Mexico Territory
Result Confederate States victory
34StarsUnited States CSAConfederate States

Apache Indians

Commanders and leaders
USArmySeal???Whiteflag CSA battle flagJeb Stuart


The Battle of Tombstone was the last full scale military engagement along the New Mexico Territory frontier. The plan arose from Apache chief Geronimo's desire for revenge against the white settlers who lived there, while Confederate General Jeb Stuart was more interested in mopping up what little remained of US Forces in the Territory. The Tombstone Rangers who defended the town refused to surrender and resulted in a large scale battle that destroyed the town. When the battle was over, Stuart and his Apache allies returned to Sonora.


The town of Tombstone was the final target of Stuart's war against the USA when he crossed the border into New Mexico. After defeating a combined US Force of cavalry and volunteers, in an ambush near Tuscon, this left the Tombstone Rangers, led by Virgil Earp, as the only serious opposition left in the territory.

Stuart decided to eliminate all US forces in the New Mexico Territory. He then moved his combined Apache and Confederate Army against the town. While Geronimo was in it for revenge against the white settlers, Stuart's goal were simply mop-up the remaining US Forces, but the residents did not wish to surrender, resulting in a battle for the town.

The Battle of TombstoneEdit

The attackers approached from the north, while the Tombstone Rangers fought back from the town's graveyard with their Winchester rifles, and even an old cannon which had been positioned in the cemetery, keeping the combined Confederate and Apache army at bay. General Stuart's artillery was able to kill off the crew, but another dedicated crew quickly brought it back to life. With the help of Apache scouts, they were able to silence the weapon for good.

With the loss of the cannon, the defenders abandoned the graveyard and fell back into the town, allowing the attackers to seize the high ground giving the artillery the opportunity to shell the town. With the town under attack, Stuart ordered a dismounted cavalry charge down the slopes from three sides along with the Apache warriors. Although the Tombstone rangers were able to put up a good fight, Confederate artillery had now set the town, made mostly of wood on fire, forcing them to withdraw from the buildings they fought from. Instead of wishing to burn the Yankees out of their town, Stuart chose to attack. His thinking being if they didn't completely destroy the town, his troops could forage to their hearts content.  He ordered his forces to enter the town and a vicious street by street battle erupted.

Although Tombstone was easy to defend, it would be impossible to escape from, meaning that the Volunteers would have to fight in the city and win, or surrender. Within the confines in the town, their Winchester rifles proved to be a powerful weapon in close-quarter combat, driving off Confederate and Apache attacks with an impressive volume of fire.  Unfortunately, the fires that engulfed the town were now raging out of control, forcing the militia men to retreat.

As the volunteers fell back, they tried to turn the battle by placing snipers in a church steeple. This stopped the advanced, but it was quickly resumed when Stuart ordered his artillery into the graveyard to pound the church, and they were able to silence them. The defenders were then pushed back to the south of the town and made their last stand at the O.K. Corral. The defense was an artillery man's dream and the defenders were shelled into surrender.


With the battle over, Stuart had defeated all US Forces in the New Mexico Territory, but he was now running dangerously low on both supplies and ammunition. As he ordered all his forces to head back to Sonora, Geronimo once again asked permission to slaughter all the Yankees, and just like at Tucson, Stuart refused. He tried to give solace to Geronimo with the victories they had won, and the fact that they could do as they pleased with the land, but the Apache leader was not impressed. His people had been the prime cause for all their victories, and he was furious that the white settlers would be spared after causing his people so much grief. Geronimo considered his reward rather hollow.

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