The tragic end to Marcile's short life is documented in the diary of Walter F. Stewart, one of General Middleton's soldiers at Batoche.
The entry for May 12, 1885 reads:
There were many incidents of note during this final charge of the 12th day of May 1885. One was where little Marcile Gratton, a French Half-breed girl aged ten, ran across our line of fire and was shot dead on the doorstep of one of the stores. She wanted to be with mother. Our boys gathered round the little dead thing as she lay in her frantic mother's arms, who kneeling on the step rocked her as she had when a baby, trying to get her to speak. She couldn't believe that her child was dead. Suddenly a figure was seen to break away from among the group of prisoners, then under guard, farther up the street. Bareheaded and in shirt sleeves he bound like a panther through the crowd, pushing our men right and left until he came to the mother and the little dead girl. He stood for a moment looking down at them, his long black hair half covering his face. Then dropping to his knees he stroked his little daughter's hair gently, reverently. "Our poor little Marcile - est mort." He passed his other arm about his wife's shoulder and the tears welling in his eyes dropped on the little girl's dead hand. The group of soldiers looking on were deeply touched by the scene that was being enacted at their feet. "I'd sooner let them keep Batoche than to have hurt one hair of that poor little girl", one soldier was heard to say. The father rose slowly to his feet, assisting his Indian wife to hers. He took his little Marcile in his arms and they slowly made their way towards the setting sun and the ravine, where a few hours ago we were fighting our way toward the finish of the campaign. "Such is life. Such is death".
This diary account was first published in the Weyburn Review in April 1966, with permission of Bob Hamilton, great-grandson of Stewart.
Courtesy of Metis Legacy II