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General Wolfe

also known asCivilization:British: Canada

James Wolfe

Era: Foundation
1727–1759Field of Renown:military: General

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.


Story LinksBook Links
End of French Rule in America  in  This Country of Ours  by  Marshall
Quebec  in  Stories From English History: III  by  Church
Second Struggle  in  Hanoverians  by  Gaskoin
Winning the British Empire  in  Story of England  by  Harding
Loss of New France  in  Canada: Peeps at History  by  Home
Pathy of Glory  in  Our Empire Story  by  Marshall
George II—The Story of How Canada Was Won  in  Our Island Story  by  Marshall
Fall of Quebec  in  Struggle for Sea Power  by  Synge
Quebec  in  Boy's Book of Battles  by  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 in Soldiers and Sailors General James Wolfe Landing at Louisburg in Soldiers and Sailors 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 Vol. I William Pitt advises young James Wolfe before he sails  in Builders of our Country Vol. I
Monument to Wolfe on the Plains of Abraham  in Reign of Queen Victoria The Death of General Wolfe at Quebec.  in Boy's Book of Battles

Contemporary Short Biography
Louis-Joseph Montcalm Military leader of New France during the Seven Year War; died at Battle of Quebec.
William Pitt the Elder 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.