THE SASKATCHEWAN REBELLION, 1885 273
the rebels were under cover; and the latter were unquestionably the better marksmen. As to the commanders, it would perhaps be invidious to compare a half-savage leader with a distinguished British general. Nevertheless, at Fish Creek, and later at Batoche, Dumont showed both skill and daring in the disposition and hand-ling of his men.
Several days were spent at Fish Creek, resting the men, sending the wounded back to Saskatoon for treatment, and making a reconnaissance toward Batoche. During the interval the steamer Northcote came up the river, with two companies of the Midland Battalion, under Lieut.-Col. Williams, and a Gatling gun under charge of Captain Howard, late U.S. Army. Lieut.-Col. Van Straubenzie also arrived by the same boat, and was appointed brigadier of the infantry.
On May 7th the column started for Batoche. The Northcote had been made bullet proof as far as possible, and was to ascend the river and co-operate with the troops in the attack on Batoche. She carried about thirty men of the I.S.C., under Major Smith, but through a series of misadventures they were unable to take any effective part in the battle. The column marched to Gabriel Dumont's Crossing, about six miles from Batoche, and camped there for the night. On the following day the force was moved to a more advantageous position on the main trail leading directly from Humboldt to Batoche. At daybreak on the 9th the camp was astir and at six o'clock the troops were moving towards the rebel head-quarters. As they approached the village the guns and Howard's Gatling were brought forward, while Boulton's Scouts advanced in skirmishing order, followed by the Grenadiers. They were met by a hot fire from concealed rifle-pits, and it became evident that the enemy's position was a very strong one. The rebels had taken full ad-vantage of the bush surrounding the village, and had protected their position by an ingenious system of rifle-pits and intrenchments.