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Discussion Groups: Brandon History

Topic: Prairie Naval Battle. May 9th 1885.
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Robert Booth

5/9/2011 7:57:25 AM
Member since:
Feb 2007
Total posts:3225
Prairie Naval Battle. May 9th 1885.

On the ninth day of May 1885, the Steam Ship ‘Northcote’ was pressed into service by General Middleton in order to engage the enemy at Batoche.  
The Captain of the Northcote was instructed to sandbag and barricade his vessel for protection, and to prepare for the boarding of two officers and 31 men before sailing down the River to attack.  
The Stern Wheeler proceeded slowly down the South Saskatchewan River to Batoche, but soon came under fire from the Métis sharpshooters who were lined on the Riverbanks.  
Their barrage of fire soon rendered the Pilothouse uninhabitable. General Middleton was kept advised of the Steam Ships progress by a series of Whistles, but they were soon silenced.  
As the Steam Ship chugged and drifted its way down the River the Métis Renegades lowered the Ferry cables of the Batoche Ferry, which sheared off both smoke stacks of the S. S. Northcote, and the whistle along with them, and nearly wrecked the wheelhouse.  
This procedure crippled the makeshift War Ship, and it continued to drift with the current past the Batoche settlement.  
At the Hudson’s Bay ferry landing the Steam Ship Marquis arrived from Prince Albert. The Northcote also landed there and it was decided to repair the damage, and return up river to Batoche.  
The smoke stacks were rebuilt, and the two Steam Ships arrived at Batoche on the evening of May 12th.  
The Métis stronghold had just fallen to the victorious troops of General Middleton.  
The Steam Ship Northcote did not see any more armed service, but instead was turned into an Ambulance Ship performing humanitarian services by transporting the dead, and wounded back to the little settlement of Saskatoon.  
The following year the Steam Ship Northcote was beached at Cumberland House where it caught fire. All that was left was the twin-engine boilers, and wheel shaft left lying on the riverbank.  
Source: Book By George Shepherd, Brave Heritage.  


5/9/2011 8:04:03 AM
Member since:
Oct 2009
Total posts:1421

Reminds me of the Arrogant Worms song "The Last Saskatchewan Pirate"  

Ain't that nice

5/9/2011 8:13:31 AM
Member since:
Dec 2010
Total posts:340

Thanks robert for a great story!

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