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.
(After W. D. Blatchly. )
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This lithograph depicts the first real engagement of the Middleton Expeditionary force against against the Métis. There had previously been a skirmish at Duck Lake. On 24 April 1885, 130 Métis, under the guerrilla tactician Dumont succeeded in checking the advance of the inept Middleton.
From a strongly defensible position in the coulée or ravine of Fish Creek (a tributary of the South Saskatchewan river). Gabriel Dumont was co-insurrectionist with Riel and had established a successful form of self-government at St.Laurent, renamed Grandin, in 1873 which led to the North-West Rebellion of 1885 as a stand against the expansion of white settlement into the region. From their defensive rifle pits Métis marksmen picked off the troops silhouetted on the hill top. Middleton's heavy artillery fire however encouraged Métis desertions. Casualty figures of the rebels were 4 dead 2 wounded and Middleton's N.W. Field Force:10 dead 40 wounded. Middleton's command had forgotten to send a medical service to the field. As surgeons rushed to catch up with the column, makeshift ambulance services had to be created in the field.
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