THE SASKATCHEWAN REBELLION, 1885 271
and had formerly been an officer of the old 100th Regiment.
Middleton's force was now about 820 strong. He decided to send half of it across the South Saskatchewan under Lieut.-Col. Montizambert and advance along both banks to Batoche. About twenty-four miles up stream the trail followed by the main body under the Commander-in-Chief crossed a deep ravine, through which ran a small stream kn own as Fish Creek. Here Gabriel Dumont had prepared an ambush, adding to the natural strength of the position by means of skilfully situated rifle pits. The rebel leader evidently hoped to catch the troops in close formation, but as they were protected by mounted scouts and an advance guard, he retreated to the shelter of his rifle pits in the coulee, from which he brought a very effective fire on the advancing force. The loss of several men quickly taught the militia to take advantage of any cover the ground afforded. The rebel fire was murderous, but in spite of it the troops crept steadily up to the edge of the ravine. Dumont, having set fire to the prairie, attempted an encircling movement under cover of a cloud of smoke, but was compelled to abandon the attempt and go back to his rifle pits. With great gallantry "A" Battery brought its guns up to an angle of the ravine, and, in spite of severe losses, managed to clear a portion of the enemy's position. A detachment of infantry then crossed the coulee and caught the rebels between two fires; finally one of the guns was taken over to shell the enemy's stronghold. Unfortunately there was abundance of thick cover in the bottom of the ravine, and the half-breeds were able to keep out of sight, while they picked off any of their opponents who exposed themselves.
Dumont, some time before, had retreated up the ravine with a number of his men, under a hot fire, and galloped off to Batoche for reinforcements. Another party of half-breeds had been driven down the ravine, and were practically out of the fight. There remained the centre group, whose escape was cut off, but who were so well