Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Wolfe was born in Westerham, Kent, England, himself the son of a general, Edward Wolfe , and from his earliest years was destined for a military career. He became a junior officer in 1742 and fought at the Battle of Dettingen in the following year. He participated in the campaign to defeat the Jacobite army of Bonnie Prince Charlie, taking part in the Battle of Culloden in 1746, and by 1758 he was a colonel. His success in Cape Breton and the capture of Fortress Louisbourg on 12 June 1758 let to his being given the command of the Quebec expedition. His army scaled the cliffs in order to surprise the French forces under Montcalm on the Plains of Abraham. Both Montcalm and Wolfe himself died in the subsequent battle, the outcome of which was victory for the British.
Wolfe lived in McCartney House in Croom's Hill, Greenwich, London. His body was buried in St Alfege's Church nearby, a statue of the general that overlooks Greenwich Park from a site by the Royal Greenwich Observatory, around there is a memorial to him in Westminster Abbey (by Joseph Wilton).
When George II was once expressing his admiration of Wolfe, someone observed that the general was mad. "Oh! he is mad, is he?" said the king with great quickness. "Then I wish he would bite some other of my generals.". He is mentioned in Canada's former, unofficial, national anthem, "The Maple Leaf Forever":
- In days of yore, from Britain's shore,
- Wolfe, the dauntless hero came,
- And planted firm Britannia's flag,
- On Canada's fair domain.
- Here may it wave, our boast, our pride,
- And joined in love together,
- The thistle, shamrock, rose entwined,
- The Maple Leaf forever!
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