Previous Index Next

 

274 MILITARY HISTORY OF CANADA

 

Early in the engagement an attempt was made by the enemy to creep through the bush and seize the guns which were shelling their position, but they were driven off by the Gatling. The action now became general, but, al-though the troops held their own, it was apparent that they could not, for the present at least, dislodge the enemy from their intrenchments. Dumont evidently had a strong force, and was determined to maintain his position at all costs. Night was approaching, and the Commanderin-Chief decided not to risk an advance through the thick cover surrounding the village. He ordered up reinforcements, and moved his camp to an open space not far from the enemy's lines. He was resolved to hold his ground until the rebels had been driven out of Batoche.

The enemy made no attempt to attack the camp beyond keeping up a desultory fire. They did, however, take ad-vantage of the darkness to push forward their lines, and the following day was spent in skirmishing, without material damage to either side. During the afternoon Captain Dennis arrived with fifty Mounted Scouts, and on the third day, May 11th, Middleton ordered out Boulton's and French's men, with the Gatling, and made a reconnaissance on the plain north of Batoche, the troops gaining in this way valuable experience m the species of warfare practised by their adversaries. Dick Hardisty, son of the Hudson's Bay officer who had acted as secretary to Donald A. Smith in 1869, was mortally wounded in this day's engagement.

As a result of the reconnaissance, Middleton decided to make a general attack on Riel's forces on the following day. His plan was to draw the enemy from the strong position they occupied by a feint from the plain north of the village, all the mounted men, with one of the guns and the Gatling, being engaged in this flank movement, which Middleton himself would command. Van Straubenzie would remain in command of the infantry, and as soon as firing was heard from the north, he was to engage the enemy with all his troops. The flank attack was


Previous Index Next