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August 25 1812: Pleasant Evening But Not for the Dogs


On August 25, 1812, Miles Macdonnell, the governor of Assiniboia, now Manitoba, is travelling by boat and arrives at Fort Alexander on the south bank of the Winnipeg River. He had been appointed in 1811 by Lord Selkirk as governor of Assiniboia. He had many problems as governor but on this day he recalls a "pleasant evening" with the gentlemen of Fort Alexander. He writes that he "obtained a great deal of public and private news. Declaration of War by the United States, the surrender of Michilimackinac etc. etc. Corps raising in Canada." He also notes in passing that the Canadians killed two dogs for supper. The excerpt for August 25 1812, reads as follows:
Tuesday, August 25 - A light breeze from the N.E. We left our encampment at 5. The Otter sprung a leak which kept a man constantly bailing. Stopt the leak without going ashore. I had a wish of landing at the Black River but could not find the entrance of it. Stopt at 11 to boil our kettle. At 3 p.m. entered the mouth of Winipic River which here is very wide. A long eminence terminated by Stag Island which projects far into the Lake to S.W. forming the entrance of the river into a Frith. At 5 p.m. arrived at Ft. Alexandria, the N.W. Co. Establishment on the S. side the river. I was met on landing by Messrs. Thompson, Frobisher, Harrison, Traversant etc. etc. at whose invitation I immediately went to the Fort. Mr. Ogden came up afterwards,. Passed a pleasant evening with these gentlemen and obtained a great deal of public and private news. Declaration of War by the United States, the surrender of Michilimackinac etc. etc. Corps raising in Canada. A mortification to be absent from there at this important crisis. Staid with these gentlemen till 1 in the morning. We had our first guard consisting of a corporal and 3 privates placed on the Boats in the evening. This river is the Key of all the interior country from Canada but is a scarce place for provisions. The Canadians killed two dogs for their supper.

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