Kamloops, B.C. 2 Jul 1885 Marcus Smith letter to his wife, cf Riel
Lot 75 in our auction Saturday 3rd December 2022


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                                   Kamloops B.C

                                          July 2nd 1885

My dear Nannie

                          I have been up at Eagle Pass where I spent some days with Tom –

he is well has plenty of work to do and is sunburnt as brown as a berry – on my return

I found your note and a lot of newspaper clippings – It must be a great relief to have done with the Soldiers’ aid Association – which must have occupied most of your time. By latest accounts I see the boys are on the North of the Saskatchewan in a rather rough country. and they are complaining dreadfully of the fatigue, heat & mosquitos. but they have only had a month of it I had eight years

(seven months in each year – most of the time in a far rougher country than that they are in but they don’t understand bush craft and I fear won’t catch Big Bear. If they had about 4 of our survey parties say 15 or 20 men in each including axemen – to lead them they could have cornered Big Bear in less than ten days. But our best men are in British Columbia besides the maps we made from our explorations would have been invaluable as they showed all the principal lakes and muskegs and our trails showed the hard ground where horses and guns could be taken over but our “cheap” engineer (Schreiber) would not have our Maps or notes published on acct of the expense – probably $1000 to $2000 – The want of those maps must have cost the country a hundred times that amount – I see a great many of the prisoners are escaping from Big Bear I suppose he is being hard chased and probably getting short of provisions and is glad to get rid of useless people in his camp –

But as the country cannot be inhabited till Big Bear’s band are dispersed I suppose the troops will have to keep on pursuing him – better if they were stationed in brigades of about 200 men each at the different points surrounding him viz Fort Pitt – Chippewayon Crossing of the Beaver River North of the latter – Green Lake – Jack fish Lake opposite Battleford – with some scouts to each save themselves all the fatigue of marching as well as the extra cost in getting in supplies and remain passive to starve Big Bear band – Their cattle must be pretty well eaten up by this as well as their flour and they can get no more for their caches (depots) of flour & bacon have been captured and Tom tells me there are hardly any fish in the North Eastern lakes up to Green Lake which Big Bear is making for now – they are large swamps with water in the middle – However I hope it will be all over ere this reaches you – Love to all the children

                          Yours ever

                               M. Smith


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