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NEW! Just Released -- "Unearthing the Battle of Milk Creek" by Brad L. Edwards.
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"The U.S Army does not leave their dead on the battlefield...never"
Kenneth R. Bowra
Major General, USA
Senior U.S. Military Representative to the Netherlands
Now….more than ever,our nations veterans and active duty soldiers deserve our undying respect and our most sincere gratitudes.The fallen troopers at Milk Creek are no exception.We owe them a Christian burial with full military honors.We must not forget or forsake those who sacrifice their lives in the service of our country

Brad L. Edwards

September 29 1879,in a rugged, remote valley, in northwestern Colorado.Three companies of U.S cavalry, and 25 civilian teamsters are locked in mortal combat, with an equal number of White river Ute Indians.The cavalry troopers managed to circle their wagons in a classic corral defensive position. The White river Utes took up firing positions in the hills overlooking three sides of the wagon corral.

Thus began THE BATTLE OF MILK CREEK.The battle raged for six days, until cavalry reinforcements arrived and the Utes withdrew from the fight.

It is believed that 13 to 27 White river Utes lost their lives in the battle. United States Army records reveal a total of 10 soldiers and 3 civilians killed in the fight. Only one dead soldier (Major Tipton T Thornburgh), was removed from the battlefield. The other twelve fallen troopers were buried near the battlefield, and forgotten by the march of time.

October 22 2000,my 44th day of research on the Milk creek battlesite,dawned cool and clear. I resumed work on the wagon corral site. At approximatly 2:00 pm while excavating a trench dug by the troopers, I inadvertently discovered the skeletal remains of the two men pictured above. My research and discovery have evolved into what I call THE MILK CREEK MISSION.The mission continues to unfold. I will update with new information as it progresses. Thank you for your interest in the web site.

Brad L Edwards

UPDATE 11-28-02

Two years have now passed since the discovery of the Milk Creek troopers’ mass grave. Sadly, the forgotten soldiers still wait for a proper Christian burial with full military honors. Despite the current status of the troopers, several positive and encouraging developments have occurred.

The May 12, 2002 Denver Post story by Ron Franscell as well as his latest on December 5th 2002, has shed much needed light here in Colorado on the plight of the Milk Creek troopers. In addition, the Denver Post also took an editorial stance with These Honored Dead. Two other papers, the Fayetteville Observer and the Leavenworth Times have also published articles advocating for the recovery efforts. My personal writing efforts have produced two published articles. (Kind editors took pity on my hopeless tripe.) “New Facts on the Battle of Milk Creek, September 29-October 5, 1879”, published in The Roundup of the Denver posse of the International Westerners is my best effort to date.

As a result of the wider awareness of the Milk Creek troopers, many concerned individuals have come forward to assist and support the recovery efforts. There are too many to mention in this update. However, I must personally express my gratitude to General Ted Mataxis (retired) for his tireless, behind-the-scenes efforts on behalf of the troopers. Thank you General Mataxis for your many years of dedicated service to our great nation. And, to my friend Major General Kenneth R. Bowra (former MACV/SOG Recon Team Leader), whose unwavering support continues to motivate my very best efforts for the killed in action at Milk Creek.

The unending search for historical documents pertaining to the battle has yielded several interesting finds. In addition to the 1935 M. Wilson Rankin account of the soldiers being buried on the battlefield, I now have the October 1879 returns for the 3rd U.S. Cavalry Regiment. This U.S. Army documents states that: “Private Dominick Cuff was killed in action with the Ute Indians and buried on the battlefield.” I am currently attempting to locate the 5th U.S. Cavalry Returns. Hopefully this will provide further historical documentation as to the burial of the eight 5th Cavalry men killed in action during the battle at Milk Creek.

The most important development, in my view, is the contact with two direct descendants of Milk Creek battle participants. Through the Denver Post story and this website, it has been my honor to become acquainted with the grandsons of Private Jacob Amberg and Medal of Honor winner, Sgt. John A. Poppe. These gentlemen are very interested in my work on Milk Creek and have graciously supplied reams of personal information, documents, photos, articles, letters, etc. about their grandfathers’ lives, including new information concerning the battle. I am currently reviewing this material and intend to incorporate it into my future Milk Creek book.

Lastly, I would like to offer my thoughts on the status of the recovery efforts. I will preface these thoughts by stating that the discovery of the soldiers’ mass grave was not a fluke. I believe beyond a shadow of doubt that the discovery of the troopers was God’s will. When I unearthed the U.S. Army soldiers, my first thought was that all interested parties would embrace these lost men. I believed everyone would agree that a proper burial would be the right thing to do. Subsequent actions and inactions have left me somewhat bewildered, yet unfazed, in my advocacy for the Milk Creek battle dead. I seek no personal gain from my work on the Milk Creek battle and I am always willing to share my knowledge with anyone. As published in the Denver Post article, my offer still stands to donate the over-800-piece Milk Creek artifact collection to several museums in the landowners’ names, provided they allow for the recovery of the troopers. I remain determined with positive thoughts.


Brad L. Edwards

Please Visit the site often. I will be updating the site as new information becomes available.

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