1885 NorthWest Campaign

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Re: 1885 NorthWest Campaign

Postby opcmh » 15 Mar 2013 16:51

I mention that as there was one done for Fort Rodd Hill in 2003. Quite notable the intentions of Parks Canada at taht time.....j
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Re: 1885 NorthWest Campaign

Postby Wayne F. Brown » 15 Mar 2014 17:01

Just a reminder for metal detector relic-hunters - - it's ILLEGAL to detect inside Provincial and Federal historic sites. On private land the explorer MUST have permission to enter the property. In addition, in the case of Saskatchewan, all artifacts remain the property of the province and cannot be removed from it's territory although you are allowed to "possess" them. Since the Frenchman Butte Heritage Center and Museum has a contract with Parks Canada and is responsible for the upkeep of the National Historic Site of Frenchman Butte Battle we encounter relic-hunters relatively regularly and from their remarks it's clear most are well aware the use of this type of equipment is illegal. They are advised to leave promptly, but I'm not aware of prosecutions resulting. I heartily recommend readers visit our 1885 related sites, explore them, and our nearby museum, camp over with us in the new RV Park and you'll be amazed at the details you will gather together. Begin by searching our website, http://www.frenchmanbuttemuseum.ca
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Re: 1885 NorthWest Campaign

Postby Wayne F. Brown » 02 Nov 2015 22:08

Fall of 2015 after the leaves are off: I made the trek in to the 2nd narrows of Loon Lake, about where General Middleton halted his force and began the retreat back to Ft. Pitt and where Cpt. Peters took his photographs of their attempt to cross the narrows. To my surprise I found their 1885 trail well defined, but extremely difficult to navigate because of the overgrown underbrush. At the narrows itself there was no indications of a crossing ever being developed, despite an unknown sheep herder's activity using the island as a grazing pasture sometime in the 1930s. Using documentation from the 1960's, I was able to locate two mounds which may be graves but will have to wait for spring to be able to confirm them, probably belonging to Chief Seekeskootch of Onion Lake and his elderly relative, Ossowan. Both were killed during the scrap with Steele Scouts on June 2, 1885. The graves are over a mile from the skirmish site, situated on a sunny slope overlooking a small lake. This area is on First Nations land and requires permission to enter. Also near this trail is where "Sits-by-the-Door" committed suicide, finding a way to hang herself despite being a paraplegic. She sacrificed herself to ease the burden she placed on her brethren in their struggle to escape the feared Military Forces of Middleton.
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Re: 1885 NorthWest Campaign

Postby GrantRCanada » 03 Nov 2015 10:26

Very interesting, Wayne! I shall await reports of your further investigations ....

Did you take any photographs showing what the area looks like today?

In the hope that you did and might be able to post them here, these are the photographs Wayne refers to, taken in 1885 by Captain Peters -

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Re: 1885 NorthWest Campaign

Postby Wayne F. Brown » 06 Nov 2015 19:20

First time to include a photo with my message, hoping it works !

At Grant's request I've included a photo of the same Loon Lake Narrows crossing site of 1885. This is at the far north end of the lake shooting toward the south-east. The troops in Grant's photo are building a bridge and I doubt it was ever completed. They did cross by swimming the horses but only continued on along the island's shore about a mile before turning back. I was there in mid October of 2015 and intend on returning this spring before it green's up. There is virtually no change in the area since 1885 the trail is still visible in some locations, right at the narrows it's non-existent because of the underbrush growth.
[img][IMG]http://i1379.photobucket.com/albums/ah148/wfbrown/007_zpshwxpoct3.jpg[/img][/img}
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A note on Grant's b&W photo's that Cpt. Peters shot in 1885. They are the clearest, most detailed I've ever seen, including my own copies. One thing about searching photos: individual sources of a particular historical picture vary greatly in quality with the source. Try to get a print off the original since the closer the negative they offer is to the original, the clearer it will be. Pays to shop the sources and don't necessarily acquire the first one you come across! Then, once in awhile doing a photo-shop enhancement may improve even it a little so that's worth playing with as well, but don't over-do it. (Thanks for the help Grant)
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Re: 1885 NorthWest Campaign

Postby Will Mathieson » 07 Nov 2015 03:04

I noticed this post resurrected and my photos were missing so here again are pics of AQMG to Gen. Middleton, Capt. H de H Haig, RE.
His sword blade is etched with his family crest and initials. Early photo shows the sword with its brass Engineers hilt now rehilted to the 1897p. 34 years of service for this sword. Maj. Bolton book describes Capt Haig as cool under fire.
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Re: 1885 NorthWest Campaign

Postby sjwalker51 » 29 May 2017 22:28

Hoping that at least some of the original posters on this thread are still here? I've recently got interested in the 1885 Rebellion for a gaming project. Thanks to this site I'm already working my way through several books on the subject, but I'm hoping that, somewhere, there are readily available orbats for Middleton's, Otter's and Strange's columns (officers, unit strengths etc) for the major actions?

I've got Morton's 'Last War Drum', which has a pretty detailed summary, but are there any other sources?

What about uniforms? I've managed to find several references online, but is there a 'go to' reference?

Can anyone assist, or point me in the right direction?

Thanks in anticipation.

Simon
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Re: 1885 NorthWest Campaign

Postby Will Mathieson » 30 May 2017 02:53

A great period book by Major Boulton .

Here is my post with the book:

viewtopic.php?f=76&t=1279

back of the book lists all the participants, regts, etc. A great informative read
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Re: 1885 NorthWest Campaign

Postby GrantRCanada » 30 May 2017 02:59

The full Department of Militia & Defence "Report Upon the Suppression of the Rebellion in the North-West Territories: And Matters in Connection Therewith, in 1885" presented to the Canadian Parliament is available for viewing or download various places on the internet, including here: https://books.google.ca/books/about/Report_Upon_the_Suppression_of_the_Rebel.html?id=ymyEvgAACAAJ&redir_esc=y

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Details of the composition of the columns, the orders of battle at engagements, and so on are incorporated in the Report. For example, this is a short excerpt from the beginning of Otter's report to Middleton, included as an Appendix:

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Full colour scans of the various maps and battlefield views in the Report are posted here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/manitobamaps/sets/72157621961556073/

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Re: 1885 NorthWest Campaign

Postby GrantRCanada » 30 May 2017 06:58

Infantry of the Canadian Militia at that time wore a pattern of uniform adopted in 1876: red tunic with dark blue facings and white piping (including a simple "trefoil knot" surmounting the peaked blue cuffs); dark blue trousers with outer seams piped with red; most likely headdress for infantry in the field was either a dark blue kilmarnock cap or dark blue glengarry cap, plain (i.e. no dicing unless it was a Highland unit.) Some infantry are known to have had Home Service helmets. Buff leather accoutrements. Officers seem to have largely worn Patrol Jackets -

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Photo of Militia Infantry on the train en route to the North-West -

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Photo of Infantrymen of the Halifax Provisional Battalion stationed at Medicine Hat, Distilled. of Assiniboia - The man reclining on the left is almost certainly a Rocky Mountain Ranger (irregular mounted unit formed at Fort Macleod, District of Alberta, with two of its three Troops posted to Medicine Hat; the man reclining at center is likely a NWMP Constable -

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A colourized Illustrated War News engraving depicting the bayonet charge at Batoche - likely a bit fanciful, as it is doubtful that the men in the charge wore Home Service Helmets ... most engravings and illustrations show them in caps, as below -

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Home Service helmets were definitely present in the North-West, however, as evidenced by this photo of a Company on a bridge at Qu'Appelle -

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Most period photos show Infantry in glengarry caps or other such undress headgear, however -

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Rifles: Rifle Green uniform, embellished with red facings (collars, at least) and trimmed with black piping and braid. Trousers were also Rifle Green, with outer seams piped with red. Dark green or black field service caps or glengarry caps, black leather accoutrements. This image is: (left) artist's impression of a QOR Rifleman in the field; (right) studio portrait of Rifleman James Austin of the Hastings Rifles, which contributed 'H' Company of the Midland Battalion. Austin is purportedly sporting the actual uniform and kit he wore in the North-West, including a field made forage cap and bandolier, both from feed-sack material -

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Artillery: dark blue uniform with red facings and yellow/gold braid like the Royal Artillery. Wide red stripe on trouser seams. Pillbox hats or other forage-type headwear seem to have been worn by the field artillery, but the Montreal Garrison Artillery deployed to Regina (in an infantry role) wore white universal pattern helmets -

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Cavalry: The Governor General's Body Guard for Ontario (now the Governor General's Horse guards) was the only Militia Cavalry unit deployed to the North-West. They basically served to protect Middleton's rear, and secure his lines of supply and communication from their encampment at Humboldt, the closest telegraph station to Batoche. They appear to have worn undress uniforms (stable jackets and or patrol jackets) in the field - dark blue, with white/silver embellishments, and pillbox hats. Their normal Snider-Enfield cavalry carbines were replaced by NWMP-pattern Model 1876 Winchesters for the duration of the campaign. These photos show groups of Officers and Troopers at the Humboldt camp -

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Most mounted units engaged in the campaign were actually irregulars raised in the North-West. Notable among these units were the Rocky Mountain Rangers, Dominion Surveyors Intelligence Corps (Dennis's Scouts), French's Scouts, Steele's Scouts, Boulton's Scouts, and Moose Mountain Scouts. They were not uniformed, wearing instead their own "serviceable western attire" as rancher (and former Cavalry Officer) John Stewart worded it in his proposal to the Minister of Militia & Defence which resulted in the authorization and raising of the Rocky Mountain Rangers.

Rocky Mountain Ranger patrol near Medicine Hat -
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French's Scouts -
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Dominion Surveyors Intelligence Corps -
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Re: 1885 NorthWest Campaign

Postby sjwalker51 » 30 May 2017 20:39

Grant, Will, thank you so much for your detailed and incredibly useful advice - just what I needed!

I'd already ordered Boulton but 'Report upon' had passed me by. Having looked at an online version, I've taken the plunge (via Abebooks) of ordering a reprinted version from India, as it's currently not available on Amazon, so keeping my fingers crossed.

Now I just need to find suitable wargaming figures - there's enough 'close enough' models out there, I think, though the NWMP are likely to be more of a challenge, even given the fact that they 'dressed down' for the campaign.

Once again, many thanks for your help

Simon
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Re: 1885 NorthWest Campaign

Postby Spañiard » 31 May 2017 15:36

Mr. Grant Just adding this....

April 8th 1885
Major Smith with 1/2 company moved from Qu'Appelle to join Gen. Middleton at 10 am.

April 8th, 1885
Qu'Appelle Station C.P.R.
5:30 pm

Orders

Proceed to Swift Current station with 41 N.C. officer and men to protect station and stores there.

W. D. Otter Lt. Col Comdg.


Stores taken - 43 sheets
Beaumont having taken one
5 tents circular tents complete
125 blankets
1 tent given up on march from Swift Current to QM.
3000 rounds ammunition
10 days provisions


- 6 -

April 9, 1885

Arrived Swift Current at 610 am and proceeded to breakfast - then walked over to Mounted Police camp
to see Col. Herchmer - who informed me all was quiet and that he had sent on a strong force to the Ferry but
would himself remain till Sunday.

Total: 2 officers; 2 sergts; 4 corps.; 3 buglers; 32 (PTE.) = 43

1 cook
1 Ass. cook
1 servant

Sent telegram to Col. Otter - that we arrived at 6 am - everything quiet - later Mounted Police Scouts returned
from ferry and reported that ferryman has been robbed of his provisions by four (4) Indians, they also reported
water still low and that the Indian that had annoyed Swift Current were supposed to have gone to Cypress Hills -
send 2nd telegram to that effect to Col. Otter - served out 2 extra blankets per man and a few more biscuits.
Ordered bags to be piled against doors of freight shed - evening heard news of massacre of settlers at Frog Lake.

In morning April 10th paraded at 10 am and skirmished about 3 miles in direction of Cypress Hills - on my return
received telegram from Col. Otter, "Ascertain state of River, whether open, if navigable report as soon as
possible. Queen's Own and stores leave for Swift Current at 4 pm. Can you secure 5 in serge for us from
Herchmer."

Answer: "River all right - from here down - Capt. Deane can give serges at Regina, more here. "Col. Herchmer
and Capt. Neal dined here and we had a long talk afterwards.

About 4:30 pm a tremendous snow and rain storm came on and very cold but cleared up and we went to Police
Camp in evening came back in at 2 pm. Q. O. R. arrived in morning. April 11th moved out of freight shed and
went under canvas. Lovely day in afternoon skirmished round police camp and they came down to us
afterwards. I received telegram from Col. Otter. "Report any information in size of boats and where they are."
Answered.

Steamer Northwest towing flat boat and barge left Md. Hat. Wednesday, capacity of 250 tons, barge carries 250
men and equipment, in addition other steamer left yesterday afternoon, will tow 4 barges, 250 men each. Water
rose at ferry 3 feet since yesterday, ample water. Col. Herchmer expects first steamer tomorrow. He requires 65
ton. Herchmer leaves for river tomorrow and will report immediately. Second steamer should be down Tuesday
or Wednesday. Nothing occurred unusual. **
- - - -
** See Appendix II .


- 7 -

April 12th

Col. Otter and "B" Battery and 50 GGFG with Capt. Todd arrived at 1 pm. Seeing and reporting to the Col. in the
morning I found that the telegram had not been sent off in time tocatch him.



Sunday, April 13th



Had church parade with Q.O.R. and Guards and generally loafed around all day. Wrote home as orders are to
march at 6 tomorrow to ferry. Col. Herchmer appt. Chief of Staff. "C" Co. to do first advanced guard.



April 14th


"C" Co. ready with tents struck in plenty of time but column did not move off before 8 am., very tough
skirmishing first 4 miles. Continued till 11:45 and then halted for lunch, men tired carrying great coats on straps
so put them on wagon and then pushed on at 1:50 and decided with Major Short, "B" Battery to halt at 4 pm,
where we remained camped the whole night. Staff and remainder of column coming up about 4:30 - good water.



April 15th


Struck camp and moved off in column about 6:30. At about 10:30 column halted near good water pools for two
hours. I stripped and had a good bathe in one of them which was very refreshing. After a halt moved onto river.
Came down a very steep defile where 6 or 10 Indian could have picked off nearly all of us wonderful scenery.
Passed a recent Indian camp where a baby's body had been hung up in a bag on a tree a way of burial, saw some
magnificent shed antlers, camped on plain close to river about 3:30. Men all very tired and good many blisters.
In evening had a general song meeting in QOR lines. The Mounted Police that had moved forward on Sunday
already in camp close to us. Saw steamer waiting in river, but believe it is decided to cut across country.


- 8 -

April 16th

So far easy day. Mounted Police struck camp and moved across river. Probably artillery will go this afternoon.
Sent letters home by teamster going to Swift Current. At 11:30 very hot indeed but about two, tremendous rain
and wind storm came on from the west. This will delay crossing so that I do not think we shall move off before
morning of 18th and trust therefore that we shall receive a mail. In evening wind storm came on again and .......


http://library.usask.ca/northwest/db/docs/diary.txt



C.U.
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