This Week in History
A Second Last Stance
For the week of Monday April 23, 2007
On April 24, 1885, Gabriel Dumont and a group of Métis battled Major-General F. D. Middleton’s army at Fish Creek, locally known as Tourond’s Coulée, in present-day Saskatchewan. Despite being greatly outnumbered by the troops, Dumont and the Métis were able to force Middleton into retreat after an intense day of fighting.
In response, Ottawa sent Major-General F. D. Middleton and a large number of soldiers and militiamen. They arrived by rail at Qu’Appelle on April 10, and began their march northward to Batoche, the Métis stronghold. This led to a series of battles between Middleton’s troops and the Métis and First Nations peoples.
Dumont, determined to prevent the army from attacking Batoche, decided to ambush the army at Tourond’s Coulée, situated approximately 27 kilometres from the town. The element of surprise was ruined, and Middleton’s men were prepared for the attack. Fighting began early in the morning and, despite being greatly outnumbered by Middleton’s men, the Métis were able to hold strong until nightfall. The Métis were able to use the natural geography and buffalo hunting techniques to their advantage. But by this time, ammunition began to run out and Middleton’s men were attempting to break the line.
Fish Creek was a small victory. Weeks later, Middleton and his troops would defeat Dumont and the Métis at Batoche, forcing Dumont to flee to the United States, and eventually leading to the execution of Louis Riel.
The Battle of Fish Creek and Batoche were designated National Historic Sites in 1923. Gabriel Dumont was designated a National Historic Person in 1981.
For more information on Batoche, please visit This Week In History’s archives.
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