Major Thomas Tipton Thornburgh, 4th Infantry... left Fort Fred Steele on September 21, 1879 with his regiment's Company E, plus Company E, 3rd Cavalry and Companies D and F, 5th Cavalry, in response to a complaint by U.S. Indian Agent N.C. Meeker that he and his family were being threatened by unfriendly Ute Indians. One week later, as the troops approached the White River Agency from the north through Bad Canyon, they were attacked by the warriors. Thornburgh and 12 of his men were killed and 42 soldiers and civilians were wounded.
"Agent Meeker writes me he expects serious trouble from the Utes and sends a dispatch to the Department that employees have been shot at and thinks his life would not have been spared had it not been for assistance of employees." - Telegram, sent September 14th, 1879, to General Williams, Omaha Barracks, Nebraska, from Major Thornburgh.