Battle of Infernal Caverns

The Battle of Infernal Caverns was a battle during the Snake War[3] fought between Native Americans and the U.S. Army. The Native American warriors had made a fortress out of lava rocks in the Infernal Caverns of northern California near the town of Likely.[2][4] From there they were able to pour a steady fire upon the soldiers commanded by Lt. Col. George Crook. Crook's men attacked on the second day. Despite heavy casualties they managed to scale the cliffs and take the fortifications. Colonel Crook reportedly shot down Chief Sieto himself.[5] Fighting continued into the night as the Native warriors withdrew deeper into the caverns. Crook commented, "I never wanted dynamite so bad as I did when we first took the fort and heard the diabolical and defiant yells from down in the rocks". On the third day the Natives had fled the caverns.

Battle of Infernal Caverns
Part of the Indian Wars,
Snake War
16-Infernal Caverns Battle (27).jpg
Site of the battle in 2016
Date26–28 September 1867
Result U.S. victory
 United States
Warm Springs
Pit River Indians
Commanders and leaders
George Crook Cheeoh
1st U.S. Cavalry
23rd U.S. Infantry
(110 soldiers)
Warm Springs and Shoshone Scouts
(15 Natives)[1]
75 Paiute
30 Pit River
few Modoc[2]
Casualties and losses
8 killed
11 wounded[2]
20 killed
12 wounded
2 captured[2]


  1. ^ "Place of Many Soldiers p.6". Archived from the original on 10 July 2011. Retrieved 4 November 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d Michno 2003, p.211
  3. ^ *The Snake War, 1864-1868 Archived 11 November 2010 at the Wayback Machine p.236
  4. ^ Fall River Mills Historical Society, 2010
  5. ^ "Place of Many Soldiers p. 8". Archived from the original on 3 March 2012. Retrieved 4 November 2010.


  • Michno, Gregory (2003). Encyclopedia of Indian Wars: Western Battles and Skirmishes, 1850–1890. Missoula: Mountain Press Publishing Company. ISBN 0-87842-468-7.
  • The Snake War, 1864-1868, Idaho State Historical Society Reference Series #236, 1966