General Wolfe

(James Wolfe)

1727–1759
Civilization: British — Canada
   Field of Renown:  military — General
Era:  Foundation

James wolfe
WOLFE AND THE BATTLE OF QUEBEC
General James Wolfe was one of the leading generals during the Seven Years War and is most famous for leading the successful attack on Quebec that resulted in the fall of France's empire in the new world. Although killed at a young age—he was only thirty when he died on the field of the Plains of Abraham—he is nevertheless, one of the most romantic heroes of British military history. His stellar rise from his first enlistment at age 15, to a major general at thirty symbolized the hope that merit may eventually prevail over mere seniority.

James Wolfe was born into a military family, and first entered service at age fifteen during the War of the Austrian Succession, and distinguished himself at the Battle of Dettington. He was noticed by the Duke of Cumberland, and called to serve in the Jacobean Rising of 1745, but acquitted himself in such a way that he won the respect both of Englishmen and the Highlanders he was opposing. He received several promotions at a very young age and was made lieutenant colonel by age 22. The battlefield heroics and promotions then stopped for a few years, while England and France were officially at peace.

When war broke out again in 1756, he again was called into action. After participating in the failed Rochefort expedition (in which his recommendations were not followed), Pitt assigned him to the North American theatre under Amherst where he took primary responsibility for the successful siege of Louisburg, the greatest British success in the war thus far. William Pitt, promptly promoted him to major-general and gave him the assignment of taking Quebec. In spite of ill-health and other difficulties, he planned a daring night-time infiltration of French defenses, and in the morning was arrayed for battle. Wolfe perished in the subsequent battle, but not before "purchasing immortal honor for his country," by his victory at Quebec.


Key events during the life of General James Wolfe:


Year
Event
1727
James Wolfe born into a military family.
1742
Saw first action during the War of Austrian Succession.
1745
Brigade-major in Jacobean rebellion of 1745. Served at Culloden.
1750
Promoted to lieutenant colonel at age 22.
1757
Served on the Rochefort expedition in the Seven Years War.
1758
Led the charge at the siege of Louisburg.
1759
Promoted by Pitt to Major-General. Put in charge of expedition to Quebec.
1759
Led Britain to victory at the battle of Quebec, but died in battle.

Other Resources


Story Links
Book Links
Quebec  in  Stories from English History, Part Third  by  Alfred J. Church
Second Struggle  in  The Hanoverians  by  C. J. B. Gaskoin
Winning the British Empire  in  The Story of England  by  Samuel B. Harding
Loss of New France  in  Canada: Peeps at History  by  Beatrice Home
End of French Rule in America  in  This Country of Ours  by  H. E. Marshall
Pathy of Glory  in  Our Empire Story  by  H. E. Marshall
George II—The Story of How Canada Was Won  in  Our Island Story  by  H. E. Marshall
Fall of Quebec  in  The Struggle for Sea Power  by  M. B. Synge
Quebec  in  The Boy's Book of Battles  by  Eric Wood


Image Links


Wolfe's monument in Westminster Abbey
 in Story of the Thirteen Colonies

General James Wolfe
 in Canada: Peeps at History

Wolfe landing at the foot of the Heights of Abraham
 in Canada: Peeps at History
General James Wolfe
General James Wolfe
 in Back Matter
General James Wolfe Landing at Louisburg
General James Wolfe Landing at Louisburg
 in Back Matter

The Death of Wolfe
 in This Country of Ours

Slipping and stumbling, the men went on.
 in Our Empire Story

James Wolfe
 in Builders of Our Country: Book I

William Pitt advises young James Wolfe before he sails
 in Builders of Our Country: Book I

Monument to Wolfe on the Plains of Abraham
 in The Reign of Queen Victoria

The Death of General Wolfe at Quebec.
 in The Boy's Book of Battles


Contemporary
Short Biography
General Montcalm Military leader of New France during the Seven Year War; died at Battle of Quebec.
William Pitt Statesman who masterminded the rise of the British Empire during the critical 18th century.
Lord Amherst British ambassador to China, and then governor of India. Fought first Burmese War.
Duke of Cumberland Brother of George III. Led Britain against the Jacobian rebellion of 1745.
Young Pretender Grandson of James II, led Jacobites in bid to restore Stuarts to the throne of England.