Facts and Events
Major General James Peter Wolfe (2 January 1727 – 13 September 1759) was a British Army officer, known for his training reforms but remembered chiefly for his victory over the French at the Battle of Quebec in Canada in 1759. The son of a distinguished general, Lieutenant-General Edward Wolfe, he had received his first commission at a young age and saw extensive service in Europe where he fought during the War of the Austrian Succession. His service in Flanders and in Scotland, where he took part in the suppression of the Jacobite Rebellion, brought him to the attention of his superiors. The advancement of his career was halted by the Peace Treaty of 1748 and he spent much of the next eight years on garrison duty in the Scottish Highlands. Already a brigade major at the age of eighteen, he was a lieutenant-colonel by the age of twenty-three.
The outbreak of the Seven Years' War in 1756 offered Wolfe fresh opportunities for advancement. His part in the aborted raid on Rochefort in 1757 led William Pitt to appoint him second-in-command of an expedition to capture the Fortress of Louisbourg. Following the success of the Siege of Louisbourg he was made commander of a force which sailed up the Saint Lawrence River to capture Quebec City. After a lengthy siege Wolfe defeated a French force under Louis-Joseph de Montcalm allowing British forces to capture the city. Wolfe was killed at the height of the Battle of the Plains of Abraham due to injuries from three musket balls.
Wolfe's part in the taking of Quebec in 1759 earned him posthumous fame and he became an icon of Britain's victory in the Seven Years War and subsequent territorial expansion. He was depicted in the painting The Death of General Wolfe, which became famous around the world. Wolfe was posthumously dubbed "The Hero of Quebec", "The Conqueror of Quebec", and also "The Conqueror of Canada", since the capture of Quebec led directly to the capture of Montreal, ending French control of the country.