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Red River country, camp at Matawan Bridge
Red River country, camp at Matawan Bridge
TitleRed River country, camp at Matawan Bridge
Date of Original1871
DescriptionTents on both sides of river with bridge between. Possibly the Madawaska River in western Ontario, Canada.
Ordering InformationConsult:
General SubjectMilitary
Subject (LCTGM)Rivers
Military camps
Military personnel
Soldiers - Canadian
Soldiers - British
Subject (Local)Red River Expedition, 1870
Personal NameWolseley, Garnet Wolseley, Viscount, 1833-1913
Item NumberFolio 102.MiG46.4
Format of OriginalLithographs
Dimensions of Original16 x 23 cm.
Publisher of OriginalHarper's Magazine Co.
Place of PublicationNew York (N.Y.)
Transcription"The Red River. The unsuccessful raid into the British province of Manitoba recently attempted by a Fenian party has again attracted public attention to the region of the Red River, whither a military expedition was sent last year from Canada to put down the revolt of the French-Indian half-castes, who objected to annexation to the Dominion or Canada. An interesting account of this expedition has lately appeared, from the pen of Captain G. L. Huyshe, a gentleman well qualified to be its historian. From this work we learn that the fighting force under command of Sir Garnet Wolseley numbered about 1200 soldiers, two-thirds being Canadian militia, and the remainder regular troops. This force was conveyed by steamers from Collingwood across Lake Huron and Lake Superior, landing at Thunder Bay, whence it has to traverse 600 miles of wilderness to Fort Garry, on the Red River, which flows into Lake Winnipeg. The starting-point for the longest and most difficult part of the route was Lake Shebandowan, which is situated near the confluence of the Matawan and Shebandowan rivers, about fifty miles inland from the western shore of Lake Superior. The troops began to move from this place on July 16, in the boats so far as they could find navigable water; elsewhere over rough ground (the rocks or the forest), dragging their boats and carrying their stores by hand; but they reached Fort Garry in five weeks, after prodigious labors, very skillfully directed and very cheerfully borne. There was no fighting to be done, the rebels having surrendered the fort and fled into the United States territory, which is distant but a few miles to the south. The descriptions that Captain Huyshe gives of the country through which the expedition passed Rainy Lake and Rainy River, Fort Frances, the Lake of the Woods, and Winnipeg River, which flows into Lake Winnipeg at Fort Alexander show a picturesque diversity of scenes and incidents. We present two illustrations, engraved from his own sketches, one representing the head-quarters camp at the Matawan Bridge before the start from Shebandowan; another the toilsome job of a ‘portage', where boats must be hauled, upon log rollers, over a road cut through the woods from one lake or river to another. There were forty-seven such portages between Lake Shebandowan and Fort Garry. The boats were stoutly built, twenty-five or thirty feet long, and six or seven feet wide. The guns weighed 200 pounds each, the barrels of port each two hundred-weight, the four barrels 120 pounds, the biscuit barrels 100 pounds, and these heavy burdens were carried on the backs of the men. Some of them used ‘portage-straps, ' consisting of a band of leather three and a quarter inches broad, which rests upon the forehead, while its two ends are fastened round the package behind, which is held in its place by the hands. Others preferred letting the burden rest on a pair of slings between two poles, which were supported by two men, each man walking between the poles as in a sedan-chair, and either holding them in his two hands, or suspending them by straps to his shoulders. The men endured their great fatigues and continual exposure to the wet in the most praiseworthy manner; none of them complained, and none suffered in health. It is worthy of remark that they had not a drop of alcoholic or fermented liquor all the way; tea and coffee, with sugar, was the only stimulant allowed. Their daily rations were of biscuits one pound, of salt pork one pound, and one-third of a pint of beans, or one-quarter of a pound of potatoes. Upon this fare, alike for officers and soldiers, and upon the teetotal principle with regard to drink, they worked fifteen hours a day as hard as any men ever could work. They were ‘constantly wet through, wet sometimes for days together.' Yet, we are told, ‘they looked as healthy and cheery as possible, and there was not a sick man among them.'" Article with images, Harper's Weekly, Dec. 2, 1871, p. 1140.
NotesTitle from caption with image.
Based upon image by G.L. Huyshe.
Illus. in: Harper's Weekly, Dec. 2, 1871, Suppl., p. 1140.
ContributorHuyshe, George Lightfoot, 1839-1874
Contributor RoleIllustrator
Biography/HistoryThe Wolseley Expedition (also known as the Red River Expedition) was a military force authorized by Sir John A. Macdonald to confront Louis Riel and the Métis in 1870, during the Red River Rebellion, at the Red River Settlement in what is now the Canadian province of Manitoba. The expedition was also intended to counter American expansionist sentiments in northern border states.
Bibliographic ReferenceHuyshe, George Lightfoot. The Red River Expedition. London, New York: Macmillan, 1871.
Repository InstitutionNorth Dakota State University Libraries, Institute for Regional Studies
Repository CollectionDakota Lithographs and Engravings Collection Folio 102
Collection Finding AidConsult:
Credit LineInstitute for Regional Studies, NDSU, Fargo (Folio 102.MiG46.4)
Rights ManagementImage in public domain.
Digital IDrsL00112
Original SourceHarper's Weekly, Dec. 2, 1871
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