|The Hochelaga Fusiliers practicing Skirmishers and Supports drill under the watchful eye of the General.|
I'm not quite ready to name names yet but my investigation is progressing. It is hard to fathom how this whole thing could have been so hushed up if it was part of such a well covered campaign as the NorthWest Rebellion so I decided to cast my net further. The late 19th Century was a period of rapid development and I doubt that a war, even a small one, could have been hushed up. I decided to start looking at the 1870's. It didn't take long for clues to start adding up.
The late 1860's and 70's were tumultuous years. South of the border these were the days of the classic Wild West, of Indian Wars and of Rail Barons racing to win and lose fortunes. North of the border the threat from the Fenians helped push four British colonies into Confederation only to have new troubles arise when Canada's acquisition of Rupert's Land brought armed rebellion, lawlessness and renewed Fenian threats.
The 1873 Cyprus Hills Massacre is often cited as a reason for the formation of the NorthWest Mounted Police but in fact they were already proclaimed and forming when that incident took place. The initial proposal was actually for a military regiment of Mounted Rifles not a police force and it sometimes seems odd that a government so ready to starve and cheat the native population should suddenly be so much in a hurry to give them the protection of the law. The original proposal seems more likely given the 1870 Red River Rebellion, the 1871 Fenian Raid on Pemberton ( or debacle if you prefer) as well as the danger that the American Indian Wars would spill over the border.
So what happened between the 1871 Fenian fiasco and the 1873 Cyprus Hills Massacre that downscaled the need for a military force to the need for a Constabulary? Could it have something to with the mysterious lost Expedition? We know from his memoirs that Flashman was in the area at the time, it's a pity he is silent on the issue.
Our investigative reporters are on it and new information is sure to appear soon.