Last week we described how, in 1879, Northern Utes pinned down a sizable military unit commanded by Major Thornburgh just north of Mill Creek; about 30 miles north of Meeker, Col. Thornburgh had been killed in the initial ambush. When Company D of the 9th Cavalry Regiment rode to the rescue, they were soon pinned down. Company D, consisting of black soldiers known by the Indians as Buffalo Soldiers, soon found themselves in the same life-threatening situation as the remains of Thornburgh’s command.
A scout from Thornburgh’s force named Joe Rankin rode non-stop to Rawlins, Wyoming, covering the 150 miles in 27 hours. A large force under General Wesley Merritt from Rawlkins finally relieved the soldiers pinned down near Milk Creek, who had been confined to their trenches for six days, had lost at least 148 horses, and at least 25 men dead.