Surrounded by entrenched lines of defensive Indian held rifle pits, the village of Batoche, Saskatchewan, Louis Riel's Métis capital of the ad hoc Provisional Government, is depicted after the painting by W.D. Blatchly, as Middleton's Forces converge to take the town.
NOTE: This is one of three iconic prints of the Riel Rebellion – (1) Battle of Fish Creek, (2) Battle of Cut Knife Creek and (3) Capture of Batoche.
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The inept Middleton dithered for 3 days, 9-12 May 1885. In the face of fierce resistance, despite the shelling of the village by nine pounder Field guns and Gatling guns, he attempted to deploy his 800 man strong force in an encircling manoeuvre. Its 330 odd defenders however were well hidden within their rifle pits, as depicted in this illustration. Middleton’s troops were forced to retire to a hastily constructed Zareba approximately a mile away. It fell to the Midland Regiment under Col. A.T.H. Williams, of Port Hope, who took it upon himself to lead the final flanking charge and storm the village. Casualties were 8 Canadians dead and 46 wounded to a loss of 16 Métis killed, 20-30 wounded. Riel surrendered on May 15, and was later hanged, Dumont fled to the United States, Poundmaker also surrendered, to die of ill health a year later. Following a few later skirmishes, Big Bear was arrested, tried and served two years of his three year sentence, also dying of ill health within a year. Thus ended the Riel Rebellion.
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