Middleton appointed Captain Bedson of Winnipeg as Chief Transport Officer, telegraphed to Ottawa for additional troops, and started the same day by rail for Qu'Appelle, taking with him the 90th Rifles of Winnipeg, 314 strong, and a battery of artillery with two 9-pounders. At Qu'Appelle he was joined by Captain John French with a small but very efficient body of Mounted Scouts, armed with repeating Winchesters. Here also he had an opportunity of conferring with Lieutenant-Governor Dewdney of the North-West Territories.
Making Qu'Appelle his base, he determined to march on Batoche, 243 miles to the north, where Riel had established his headquarters. The Queen's Own and the Royal Grenadiers, each about 250 strong; "C" Company of the Infantry School Corps, 90 men; and "A" and "B" Batteries of the Royal Canadian Artillery, 4 guns and 226 of all ranks, were already on their way to the West, and other corps were rapidly being mobilized. Lord Melgund (afterwards Earl of Minto), then Military Secretary to the Governor-General, Lord Lansdowne, had been appointed Chief of Staff, and joined the force on April 1st.
The problem of transporting an expeditionary force from the East had fortunately been simplified by the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway; yet, while the conditions were very different from those of 1870, they were by no means free from hardship. The railway was completed between Toronto and Qu'Appelle excepting for three main gaps—one of forty-two miles and two of fifteen each—and several minor ones along the north shore of Lake Superior; and men and supplies, horses and guns, must be moved over the gaps, a difficult task in the winter of that region. Here is what Lieut.-Col. Montizambert, who commanded the Artillery, has to say of it:
"About 400 miles between the west end of the track and Red Rock or Nepigon—sixty-six miles from Port Arthur—had to be passed by a constantly varying process of embarking and disembarking guns and stores from flat cars to country team sleighs, and vice versa. There