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Banner: From Colony to Country: A Reader's Guide to Canadian Military History


Canadian Military History: An Overview
War of 1812
Rebellions of 1837 and 1838
Northwest Campaign
South African War
First World War
Second World War


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Northwest Campaign
Troops and Traditions

Regimental and Service Histories

The Canadian Militia which fought the Northwest Campaign was a combination of a fledgling permanent force, established volunteer units, some composite units from eastern Canada and some newly formed and ad hoc units which incorporated new settlers and frontiersman from the West for service. Many of the units were the precursors of Canada's best-known regiments today. All the permanent force were present -- two batteries of the Regiment of Canadian Artillery, the Infantry School Corps (today The Royal Canadian Regiment) and the Cavalry School Corps (today The Royal Canadian Dragoons). City battalions from Toronto, Montréal and Quebec City, arguably the most efficient parts of the non-permanent militia, along with composite battalions from central Ontario and Halifax were sent to the front. As might be expected, the 90th Battalion, Winnipeg Rifles (now The Royal Winnipeg Rifles) played a prominent part. Such ad hoc units as French's Scouts, Boulton's Scouts, Steele's Scouts and the Rocky Mountain Rangers employed frontier horsemen to maximum advantage. Although Middleton had little use for the North West Mounted Police, and they appeared indecisive under police command at Prince Albert and Fort Pitt, they provided invaluable service to Middleton's columns, especially in the pursuit of Big Bear's band.

Thus, established unit histories provide a useful source of information on the Campaign. Ernest J. Chambers, an early and prolific regimental historian, wrote before the First World War, when the Campaign loomed large in the history of the various regiments. His works, although dated, provide a wealth of detail.

Barnard, W.T. - The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, 1860-1960 : one hundred years of Canada. - Don Mills, Ont. : Ontario Pub. Co., 1960. - P. 52-66

Beauregard, George. - Le 9me bataillon au Nord-Ouest (journal d'un militaire). - Québec, Québec : J.G. Gingras, 1886. - 100 p. - Reproduced in microform format: CIHM microfiche series, no. 30008

Chambers, Ernest J. - Histoire du 65ème Régiment Carabiniers Mont-Royal. - Montréal : Cie. d'Imprimerie Guertin, 1906. - P. 89-121. - (Notes biographiques). - Reproduced in microform format: CIHM microfiche series, no. 71849

____. - The 90th Regiment : a regimental history of the 90th Regiment, Winnipeg Rifles. - [S.l. : s.n.], 1906. - P. 46-57. - Reproduced in microform format: Peel bibliography on microfiche, no. 1862

____. - The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada : a history of a splendid regiment's origin, development and services, including a story of patriotic duties well performed in three campaigns. - Toronto : E.L. Ruddy, 1901. - P. 88-110. - Reproduced in microform format: CIHM microfiche series, no. 71143

____. - The Royal Grenadiers : a regimental history of the 10th Infantry Regiment of the Active Militia of Canada. - Toronto : E.L. Ruddy, 1904. - P. 37-80. - Reproduced in microform format: CIHM microfiche series, no. 71748

* Daoust, Charles R. - One hundred and twenty days of active service : a complete historical narrative of the campaign of the 65th in the North West. - Wetaskiwin, Alta. : Privately printed, 1982. - 176 p. - Also published in French under the title: Cent-vingt jours de service actif : récit historique très complet de la campagne du 65ième au Nord-Ouest

Fetherstonhaugh, R.C. - The Royal Canadian Regiment, 1883-1933. - Montreal : Gazette Print. Co., 1936. - Reprinted : Fredericton, N.B. : Centennial Print & Litho, 1981. - P. 14-41

Goodspeed, D.J. - Battle royal : a history of the Royal Regiment of Canada, 1862-1962. - Brampton, Ont. : Royal Regiment of Canada Association, 1962. - P. 26-58

Greenhous, Brereton. - Dragoon : the centennial history of The Royal Canadian Dragoons, 1883-1983. - Ottawa : Guild of the Royal Canadian Dragoons, 1983. - P. 20-30

Laidlaw, Alexander. - From the St. Lawrence to the North Saskatchewan : being some incidents connected with the detachment of "A" Battery, Regt. Canadian Artillery, who comprised part of the North West Field Force in the Rebellion of 1885. - Halifax : [s.n.], 1885. - 43 p. - Reproduced in microform format: CIHM microfiche series, no 9268

Nicholson, G.W.L. - The gunners of Canada : the history of the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery. - Volume I : 1534-1919. - Toronto : McClelland and Stewart, 1967. - P. 115-124

Sherlock, Robert A. - Experiences of the Halifax Battalion in the North-West. - Halifax : Printed by J.W. Doley, 1885. - 23 p. - Reproduced in microform format: CIHM microfiche series, no. 30601

  • Reprinted, edited by Donald E. Graves. - Alexandria Bay, N.Y. : Museum Restoration Service, 1985. - 28 p.

[Tascona, Bruce; Wells, Eric.] - Little black devils : a history of the Royal Winnipeg Rifles. - Winnipeg : Frye Pub., 1983. - P. 25-56

Tolton, Gordon E. - The Rocky Mountain Rangers : Southern Alberta's cowboy cavalry in the North West Rebellion 1885. - L. Gregory Ellis, ed. - Lethbridge, Alta. : Lethbridge Historical Society, 1994. - 93 p. - (Occasional paper no. 28)

Turner, John Peter. - The North-West Mounted Police, 1873-1893. - Ottawa : King's Printer, 1950. - Vol. 2, P. 91-272

Wallace, Jim. - A trying time : the North-West Mounted Police in the 1885 Rebellion. - Winnipeg : Bunker to Bunker Books, 1998. - 274 p.

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