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RED RIVER REBELLION, 1869-70   261

The latest news from Fort Garry was that Riel had made a final desperate attempt to organize his followers to oppose the Expeditionary Force, the strength of which he probably largely underestimated. The Metis, however, had no stomach for a meeting with disciplined troops. There seemed no probability, therefore, of opposition; but Wolseley was too good a soldier to take any chances. The fleet of boats crossed the foot of Lake Winnipeg, and made its way up the Red river, camping some miles below Fort Garry. In the morning (August 24), the boats continued their way up stream, a guard being sent ahead by land to prevent surprise.

At Point Douglas, two miles below Winnipeg, the troops disembarked and marched to Fort Garry. The final act of the drama cannot better be told than in the words of Captain Huyshe: "Passing round the flank of the village, the fort appeared in sight about 700 yards off, across the open prairie. A few stray inhabitants in the village declared that Riel and his party still held possession of the fort and meant to fight. The gates were shut, no flag was flying from the flagstaff, and guns were visible, mounted in the bastions and over the gateway that commanded the approach from the village and the prairie over which the troops were advancing. It certainly looked as if our labours were not to be altogether in vain. 'Riel is going to fight!' ran along the line, and the men quickened their pace and strode cheerily forward, regardless of the mud and rain. M. Riel rose in their estimation immensely. The gun over the gateway was expected every moment to open fire, but we got nearer and nearer and still no sign; at last we could see that there were no men standing to the guns, and, unless it were a trap to get us close up before they opened fire, it was evident that there would be no fight after all. `By God! he's bolted!' was the cry. Colonel Wolseley sent forward some of his staff to see if the south gate were also shut; they galloped all round the fort, and brought back word that the gate opening on to the bridge over the Assini-


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