"Captain Dodge's Colored Troops"

Frederic Remington

In 1879, tensions between whites and Ute Native Americans reached the point that White River Agency Indian Agent, Nathan Meeker, requested the help of the U.S. Army.  Two hundred troops from the Cavalry and Infantry set out from Fort Steele with thirty-three supply wagons and 200 pack mules.  After seven days of marching, they reached the main body of Ute territory.  The Utes deployed their forces and gunfire erupted on both flanks of the troops. 

The following night, the besieged troops fought off an attempt to overwhelm their defenses and the situation remained desperate.  All the horses and mules were killed by the Ute’s gunfire, which also prevented the soldiers from reaching the river.  Two days later, Captain Francis Dodge rode with his troops, D Company of the 9th Cavalry, toward the besieged command and sent out messages reporting the situation.

Although the D Company arrived undetected by the Utes, the Buffalo Soldiers rode the last 600 yards under the gauntlet of heavy fire.  D Company settled in and defended against the Utes awaiting further reinforcements.

This photograph shows “Captain Dodge’s Colored Troops to the Rescue” by Frederic Remington, c. 1879.

2014.7.1, Courtesy of The University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries Special Collections