Search The Archive

Search form

Collection Search
Date: May 8th 1885

May 8 - The whole camp astir early, the opening scene being putting down tents, packing up and storing away on the wagons. Then all on the march for Batoche, 8 miles north. But wondered why we were being led off in an easterly direction. What did this mean? Following no trail we were marching east across country and led by one horseman, our Capt. Reid. Going east a distance we turned north again. We later found out the reason for us taking this circuitous route and that was: the trail would lead through a thickly wooded country where a concealed enemy could have crept up on us and created some havoc among our ranks. The one we were taking was all over open prairie land. Besides, we avoided the enemy rifle pits and hidden trenches they had along the valley of the Saskatchewan.

Made very slow progress as the General kept up a continual reconoisance [sic] during which times halts were called lasting from 10 to 20 minutes. Stopped an hour for dinner. Moved on again at 1 p.m. Once more we were on the march. The usual halts were made and became weird. During these halts everything became quiet; stillness and peace seemed to reign on all sides. Each individual seemed to be completely wrapt [sic] up in his own thoughts and when the order came "to advance", we felt as if we were suddenly awakened out of a sleepy dream. Everything bore a very strange aspect to me: the sun, the different shadows it threw; the water in the ponds, the trees with their newly budded foliage; in the distance, seemed altogether different. Nothing seemed to be quite our usual environment. Then the questions were very often asked among ourselves as to what we were going to do tonight. We must be close to the enemy.

At about 5 o'clock we halted at or on a beautiful plain. Orders came that here we would bivouac for the night in our blankets with sweet heaven for a roof. The wagons were formed into a karaal [sic] or circle, tongues turned inwards. Each unit was given its limited space inside the wagon fort. A night piquet [sic] was paraded and deployed outside the wagons forming a circle guard. Then we all went for a wash in the slough (pronounced slew). The tension was broken as jokes were cracked, ribs punched. But the fun came when an English officer said the horse didn't exist that he couldn't ride. One of our scouts brought him one, a bucking young stallion that no one could ride but its owner. The officer spread-eagled over the prairie in ten seconds. To blankets. Next stop Batoche, five miles away.