|Britain's toy soldiers face each other again.|
Now, I've never heard of a Fort MacDuff on the prairies but the Cypress Hills lie along the US Border in southern Saskatchewan and Alberta and is where the NWMP established Fort McLeod. The area was an ancestral battleground between Cree, Blackfoot and Piegan and the excellent hunting drew Metis as well as the various tribes. It also drew American hunters and whiskey traders and is where Sitting Bull led the Sioux when they crossed the border seeking protection from the US army. Shortly before the Riel Rebellion there were a series of meetings between Cree and Blackfoot to put aside their ancient hostility and form a coalition so as to deal with the Canadian government from a place of strength.
The history books tell us that the warlike Blackfoot chose to stay home while the Cree fought, that the Sioux went meekly back to the US and that none of the border tensions between Canada and the US ever resulted in a serious incident. But now I wonder........is it possible that there was a campaign in the Cyprus Hills that the governments wanted hushed up so badly that all evidence of the march west of the Montreal militia was destroyed? Did red coats and blue coats clash in a border incident? Was there a Fort MacDuff and was it besieged? Was it relieved or did it fall? Did the Hochelaga Fusiliers really wear their bearskins into action?
I will do my best over the next few years to discover what I can and share it with you.