Testimony of the last days of freedom of Louis Riel as reported by Madame Barthélémi Pilon

St. Antoine de Padoue, Batoche, Sask. 

To His Excellency, 
Monseigneur Prud'homme 
Prince Albert 

As promised to you I shall give to you these few words about the war where Louis Riel participated in 1885.  It is not Louis Riel but the coward government who has made war against the poor people of Saskatchewan.  The war ended on May twelfth, a Tuesday night.  There Louis Riel has taken the road to escape on foot and take to the woods with his family and many families of which I was part with an eighteen month old baby in my arms, to walk day and night, sitting in the woods, hiding, resting.  What made Riel surrender to the troops ?  Thursday night Moïse Wellet who had been taken prisoner by the soldiers was given a letter to deliver to Louis Riel on the promise that if he found Riel and the letter was delivered he would be set free.  That is what Moïse Wellet did.  I did not read this letter but Louis Riel did and said Middleton wants me to surrender, and that nothing will done to me but this is all to the contrary.  They will put me right in front of the cannon when I will arrive.  This was a Thursday night.  At morning we left early and Friday night we were at Batoche about twelve to fourteen miles without having had anything to feed our greatest hunger, when we arrived at the back at Batoche behind the small village there is a beautiful meadow, we rested, we had with us a good old Métis by the name of Carbath Fayant.  There were some animals there.  He told the young people to kill a young calf and immediately a fire was prepared and each one took a piece and ate.  Louis Riel ate a little and this poor man bade farewell to his little children, made them pray the Lord and left.  He came back to do the same thing during three days, then he left but we did not see him surrender but we heard the shouts of José when he surrendered to them.  All the houses were burnt down when we came back home.  No house, no bed, no covers.  All we had left was our canadian and métis courage to live a season too far advanced to plant seed.  Some have sown a few barrels of seed to produce seed for the following year. 

Forgive me Your Excellency for these words written by the hand of a sixty-two year old woman. 

Your humble child, 

Madame Barthélémi Pilon 

en français
Louis Pilon Henri Pilon Octavie Pilon Lepine Christine Dumas Pilon Georges Pilon Barthélémi Pilon Charles Pilon Adélaïde Pilon Ranger