It had been anticipated that by the time the expedition reached Prince Arthur's Landing, a practicable road would be completed from there to Lake Shebandowan, where navigation would begin for the boats. A force of men under a Government engineer, S. J. Dawson, had been working hard on the road for weeks past, but they had been seriously hampered by bad weather and forest fires, and, after waiting impatiently for several weeks, Wolseley decided to try the Kaministikwia river. The task of transporting heavy supplies by such a route was stupendous; but nothing could daunt the courage of the men of the Expeditionary Force, and finally everything was brought up to Shebandowan. Wolseley in his farewell to the troops at Fort Garry referred to this journey as a "service that for its arduous nature can bear comparison with any previous military expedition." It involved the "unparalleled exertion of carrying the boats, guns, am-munition, stores, and provisions" over forty-seven portages.
The worst part of the route was now surmounted, and on July 16th the brigades of boats, laden with men and stores, started off on their long journey to Fort Garry, by way of an intricate chain of lakes and rivers to Rainy Lake, thence down Rainy river to the Lake of the Woods, down Winnipeg river to the lake of the same name, and up the Red river to their destination.
Meanwhile Captain W. F. Butler had been sent from Montreal to make his way in to Fort Garry by way of St. Paul, ascertain the situation there, and meet Wolseley somewhere on his route. Butler reached Fort Garry, had an interview with Riel, and started in a canoe, with a crew of half-breeds, to meet Wolseley. His way lay up the Winnipeg river, across the Lake of the Woods, and up Rainy river. He reached Fort Frances early in August, where he learned that Wolseley was expected at any moment. Butler and his men carried the canoe above the falls, paddled up stream a few miles, and landed on a rocky point at the outlet of Rainy Lake. His mind was