Military Campaigns of the Indian Wars: Ute – 1879-1880
The Indian agent, N. C. Meeker, at White River Agency in Colorado, became involved in a dispute with Northern Ute in September, 1879 and requested assistance from the Army. In response, Major T. T. Thornburgh’s column of some 200 men moved out from Fort Fred Steele, Wyoming. On September 29th, this force was attacked and besieged in Red Canyon by 300 to 400 warriors. Thornburgh’s command was finally relieved by elements of the 9th Cavalry that arrived on October 2nd and of the 5th Cavalry under Colonel Wesley Merritt who arrived on October 5th, but in the meantime Meeker and most of his staff had been massacred. Before the Ute were pacified in November, 1880, several thousand troops had taken the field. In 1906 the Ute of this area left their reservation and roamed through Wyoming, terrorizing the countryside, until they were forced back on their reservation by elements of the 6th and 10th Cavalry.