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264   MILITARY HISTORY OF CANADA

men were for the most part employes of the North-West Company, and had gained the experience in navigating difficult waterways that made them so valuable on the network of western streams that were the highways of the fur trade. Their officers were members of the same famous company, McGillivray, Shaw, McLeod, McKenzie, Rocheblave, Hughes, McKay, McDonnell, and perhaps a dozen more—names familiar to everyone who has studied the history of the western fur trade.

Nearly three-quarters of a century later a similar corps of Canadian Voyageurs was organized for a similar service, but the great river which was to be the scene of their labours was not now the St. Lawrence. Lord Wolseley was leading a military expedition to the Soudan for the relief of General Gordon, and needed expert boatmen to navigate the dangerous waters of the Nile. He had not forgotten the men who had been with him in 1870. He admired their skill and resourcefulness, their intimate knowledge of the ways of rivers, their stamina and unconquerable cheerfulness. They were just the men he needed on the Nile. On August 26th, 1884, he telegraphed the Governor-General of Canada asking for a picked force of Canadian Voyageurs. He asked that one of the Canadian officers who had accompanied him to Fort Garry should be given the command, preferably Lieut.-Col. F. C. Denison.

The Voyageurs were quickly organized, Colonel Denison accepted the command, and within a comparatively short time 378 Canadian boatmen were on their way to Egypt. They served throughout the campaign, to the entire satisfaction of the Commander-in-Chief, and re-turned to Canada within a year from the date of their departure. In April, 1885, Lord Wolseley wrote to the Marquess of Lansdowne from Cairo expressing his high sense of the services performed by the Canadian Voyageurs. "They have undergone," he said, "the hardships of this arduous campaign without the slightest grumbling or discontent; and they have, on many occasions, shown


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