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From "The Red River Expedition"

by Capt. G. L. Huyshe,
London 1871

Manitoba Pageant, April 1960, Volume 5, Number 3

This article was published originally in Manitoba Pageant by the Manitoba Historical Society on the above date. We make it available here as a free, public service.

Please direct inquiries to webmaster@mhs.mb.ca.

A Letter from Colonel Garnet Wolseley to The Regular Troops of the Red River Expeditionary Forces, August 28, 1870.

"I cannot permit Colonel Feilden and you to start upon your return journey to Canada without thanking you for having enabled me to carry out the Lieutenant-General's orders so successfully.

"You have endured excessive fatigue in the performance of a service that for its arduous nature can bear comparison with any previous military expedition. In coming here from Prince Arthur's Landing you have traversed a distance of upwards of 600 miles.

"Your labours began with those common at the outset of all campaigns, — namely, with road-making and the construction of defensive works; then followed the arduous duty of taking the boats up a height of 800 feet, along fifty miles of river full of rapids, and where portages were numerous. From the time you left Shebandowan Lake until Fort Garry was reached, your labour at the oar has been incessant from daybreak to dark every day. Forty-seven portages were got over, entailing the unparalleled exertion of carrying the boats, guns, ammunition, stores, and provisions, over a total distance of upwards of seven miles. It may be said that the whole journey has been made through a wilderness, where, as there were no supplies of any sort whatever to be had, everything had to be taken with you in the boats.

"I have throughout viewed with pleasure the manner in which officers have vied with their men in carrying heavy loads. I feel proud of being in command of officers who so well know how to set a good example, and of men who evince such eagerness in following it.

"It has rained upon forty-five days out of the ninety-four that have passed by since we landed at Thunder Bay, and upon many occasions every man has been wet through for days together.

"There has not been the slightest murmur of discontent heard from any one.

"It may be confidently asserted that no force has ever had to endure more continuous labour, and it may be as truthfully said that no men on service have ever been better behaved, or more cheerful under the trials arising from exposure to inclement weather, excessive fatigue. and to the annoyance caused by flies.

"There has been a total absence of crime amongst you during your advance to Fort Garry, and I feel confident that your conduct during the return journey will be as creditable to you in every respect.

"The leaders of the banditti who recently oppressed Her Majesty's loyal subjects in the Red River Settlement having fled as you advanced on the fort, leaving their guns and 'a large quantity of their arms and ammunition behind them, the primary object of the expedition has been peaceably accomplished. Although you have not therefore had an opportunity of gaining glory, you can carry back with you into the daily routine of garrison life the conviction that you have done good service to the State, and have proved that no extent of intervening wilderness, no matter how great may be its difficulties, whether by land or water, can enable men to commit murder or to rebel against Her Majesty's authority with impunity.

"G. J. Wolseley, Colonel,
Commanding Red River Expedition.

Fort Garry, 28th August, 1870."

Page revised: 30 June 2009

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