Red River Expedition

This will be a short note to share some of what details I have learned about the first third of Wolesely’s journey to Ft. Garry. It is as all the sources say: a huge feat of military manoeuvre and logistical planning. Of course, what I am interested in is measuring the lengths the political masters were willing to endure to plunge a fighting force into the wilderness. Fascinating the display of military power and determination.

The main source I’m in, “Correspondence relative…”, does a fantastic job at revealing the behind the scenes discussions about the planning and motivations of the RRE. In particular are the little quibbles about whether the Dominion or Imperial government will pay for a slight increase to the 60th Rifle Battalion Lindsay requests soon after the initial cost sharing agreements are made between the colonial and metropolitan decision-makers. The issue, in part, surrounds the view that any expedition of the magnitude RRE that will blaze a network of portages will in fact be laying the foundation for a crucial piece of infrastructure into a pioneer settlement along the Red River. Who should be shouldering the initial costs? Britain? Ottawa? In the end, the prior 1/4 agreement with Canada paying the majority of the costs endured.


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