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Macleod Letter 1874/02 - Transcript
Letter from Fort Benton
September 28, 1874
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Fort Benton
Sept. 28th 1874

My dearest Mary,

You will have been rather astonished to hear of my turning up in this part of the world and of the change of programme as regards our winter quarters which has taken place. As soon as it was decided I telegraphed Captain Clark as I knew you would hear about it from him. I am afraid it will be longer than ever till I hear from you. I suppose you have written to Edmonton where your letter will have to rest till some opportunity offers to bring them to me.

There is one advantage in being stationed near here as they have a mail three times a week and it will only take about twelve or fifteen days for a letter to come from Fort Garry, so you will have of course to write three times a week and of course I will write - well I suppose there is no use making any promises as you won't believe that they will be carried out. What a pleasant thing it is to have a bad name.

Well here we are after a very long journey of about a thousand miles - I have gone a good deal more since I left - all safe and well: the only things that have suffered are the horses and oxen and the want of feed and cold has played sad havoc amongst them. Just think, the first cold night there were ten horses died and in all we since lost about 40. Skylark is looking pretty well but every now and then he shows signs of giving in. I nearly used up Blackfoot by taking him too often into the Saskatchewan River looking for a ford. He very nearly lost the bottom several times and on one occasion he got out of his depth for a moment. I got considerably wet myself but nothing appears to do me any harm.

Col. French returned from here on Saturday and I leave here this afternoon after having made all arrangements for our winter supplies which has been no small matter I can assure you. I expect to meet the force at a point on the boundary road to which I have ordered them by special messenger to proceed to and there I will march upon Fort Whoop Up and expect to make winter quarters about 15 or so miles beyond. I find that the celebrated fort is not where we were given to understand but on the Belly River about 20 [?] miles north of the boundary.

I dare say we will have a busy winter as I hear that a great quantity of whiskey has been taken into the Country where it is hid in the expectation that we only intend to pass there - not winter there. This is a miserable hole, nothing but two stores and a collection of whiskey shops.

I have sent two beautiful antelope heads to my brother Norman, I wonder if he is at Fort Garry now. If not I wish you would lay hands upon them and keep them or if anyone wants them you can if you don't want them make a great favour of giving them. Captain French [?] has them. We have seen 1000 [?] of buffalo. I don't care much for the sport of killing them.

Give my kindest remembrances as usual and believe me to remain yours ever,

Jim.

P.S. Captain Brisebois has been interrupting me every second about supplies etc; - Oh did you ever see the little flower I sent down the Souris River to you?

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