270 MILITARY HISTORY OF CANADA
known; Riel was doing his utmost to arouse the tribes, and if he succeeded the difficulties of the campaign would be immeasurably increased. Middleton had to distribute his forces to meet all emergencies in an immense field of operations. He decided, therefore, to divide his men into three columns. The principal column, under his own immediate command, would march on Batoche. The second, under Lieut.-Col. Otter, was to proceed by rail to Swift Current, about 150 miles west of Qu'Appelle, and thence march down the west side of the South Saskatchewan to Clark's Crossing, where it would form a junction with the main column. The third, under Major-General Strange, organized at Calgary, was to move north to Edmonton. The first and second columns were to at-tack Riel at Batoche, and then proceed separately to Prince Albert and Battleford. Having cleared the enemy out of this portion of the country, they would march west, form junction with the third column, and dispose of the Indians. Alarming reports from Battleford, however, necessitated a change in the programme, and Colonel Otter was consequently directed to march from Swift Current direct to Battleford.
It will be convenient to follow the fortunes of the three columns in the order mentioned. Middleton moved up from Qu'Appelle Station to Fort Qu'Appelle on April 2nd, and four days later the actual march began. Captain Bedson had organized an efficient transport service. Lord Melgund,l in his account of the expedition says that "towards the end of the campaign we had in General Middleton's line of communications 745 teams, working in perfect order, in connection with a system of depots." The march to Clark's Crossing was made with-out incident. Here the force was joined by Boulton's Mounted Infantry, a corps of some seventy men, well mounted and armed, recruited from the Manitoba settlers by the same Major Boulton who had been out in 1870,
See ante p. 268.
2 Nineteenth Century (August, 1885).