Ute Military Campaign

Ute Indians

Ute Indians

The Ute Military Campaign occurred between September 1879 and November 1880 after 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, which arrived on October 2nd, and the 5th Cavalry under Colonel Wesley Merritt, which arrived on October 5th. 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.


Compiled and edited by Kathy Alexander/Legends of America, updated January 2023.

Source: U.S. Army Center of Military History

Also See:

Battles and Massacres of the Indian Wars

Indian War List and Timeline

Native American Photo Galleries

Ute Tribe – Roaming the Rockies