Essay on Major-General James Wolfe

Essay on Major-General James Wolfe

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The history books should be re-written as to include Major-General James Wolfe as one of the founding fathers of our country. During the Seven years War he served as part of the British military and was the commander-in-chief of the British, American, and Highlander forces at the Battle of Quebec. His plan of attack up the Anse du Foulon to the Plains of Abraham was not only incredibly daring, but highly effective as it was this decisive move that allowed Wolfe’s army to capture the city of Quebec. He caught the French forces completely off guard and was therefore able to even out the numbers to almost completely even fighting forces. The question that lies ahead of me in this paper is to answer a two part question to the best of my ability with the research I have done. How was James Wolfe able to lead the English forces, which were outnumbered 4 to 1, to victory? Was this victory at the Battle of Quebec truly a victory of a madman?
     The siege of Quebec was a chess match between two men, Major-General James Wolfe of the British army, and Marquis de Montcalm of the French military. Major-General James Wolfe had been in service to the British army since the age of fifteen. However, his involvement in the army started at age thirteen and a half when he volunteered to go with his father on the Carthegena Expedition. Luckily for him he became ill and was sent home before setting sail. The Carthegena Expedition was a terrible excursion and took the lives of many stronger men to severe fever. It was inconceivable that a boy of Wolfe’s age at the time would have survived such an expedition. Officially enlisting at the age of fifteen, James Wolfe had all the makings of a military prodigy. In fact, it was documented that for his leave from the army after being named lieutenant-colonel that he wanted to study artillery and engineering at Metz but was refused. Wolfe was able to successfully gain rank at a young age through diligence on the battlefield, and great military understanding. Major-General Wolfe understood the military better than most everybody he acted as a subordinate. Wolfe felt that there were problems with the British military due to political appointments where military appointments were needed. On top of this, Wolfe deemed chivalry one of the most important qualities of a strong military. During the Jacobite revolution Wo...

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... military allowed him to take calculated risks that won him the Battle of Quebec. By distracting the larger portion of the French forces, Wolfe was able to get a fair fight upon numbers, but not at all in the sense of military ability. He was not mad, he was a student of war and he was able to excel when it counted the most. When it was told to King George II that Wolfe was mad the king replied with, “Mad is he? Then I hope he will bite some of my other generals!” (May, 25). Not only did Wolfe have the respect of his soldiers, but even that of the king of his country. Patton was considered a madman as well, but at the end of the day results are what count. He died heroically on the battle field, victorious, and will forever be one of the most infamous characters of modern American history.

Works Cited

Liddell Hart, Sir Basil Henry, Great Captains Unveiled, Freeport, NY: Books for Libraries Press, Inc., 1967

Donaldson, Gordon, Battle for a Continent; Quebec 1759, Toronto, Ontario: Doubleday Canada Limited, 1973

May, Robin, Wolfe’s Army, New York, NY: Osprey Publishing Limited, 1974

Parkman, Francis, Montcalm and Wolfe Vol. II, Boston, MA: Little, Brown, and Company, 1884

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