THE SASKATCHEWAN REBELLION. 1885 275
carried out as planned, but, through some misunderstanding, Van Straubenzie failed to order the general advance, much to the chagrin of Middleton.
During the morning Riel sent messengers to Middleton telling him that if the women and children were killed by shell-fire he would shoot the prisoners. He was told that if the women and children were placed together in one clearly-defined spot, no shot would be fired in that direction. After the battle they were found in a gully near the river, safe but panic-stricken.
Early in the afternoon, the Grenadiers and the Midland Battalion were ordered out to skirmish as on the previous days. A feeling of irritation had been growing among officers and men as, day after day, they were marched out, kept under a galling fire, and then marched back to camp, without achieving anything. This feeling was intensified by rumours that were afloat, possibly without foundation, that the General lacked confidence in their steadiness and had asked for regulars. However this may have been, the Midlanders and Grenadiers no sooner got into touch with the enemy than the skirmish was suddenly transformed into a general attack. With wild cheers they charged the rifle pits, driving the enemy before them.
As soon as the General discovered the state of affairs, he ordered up the Winnipeg Rifles in support. The guns then thundered by at full gallop with the little Gatling in their midst, and opened fire on the village to clear the way for the infantry. The three mounted corps followed, dismounted, and fell in on the right of the 90th. The line now stretched fully a mile from the river bank, on which the left flank rested. With ringing cheers the men advanced on the run, cleared the bush, charged across the open space beyond, and into the village. Fierce fighting followed from house to house, but finally the enemy were driven out and fled in disorder to the river. Batoche, the rebel headquarters, was taken, and the backbone of the rebellion was broken.
A number of white prisoners were found in a cellar and