Ward's Book of Days.

Pages of interesting anniversaries.

What happened on this day in history.


On this day in history in 1727 was born James Wolfe.

Wolfe was one of the first British professional soldiers. He obtained his first commission at the age of 24 and was on active service continually for the next seven years. He fought successfully against the French at Dettingham and at Culloden. Wolfe captured the fort of Louisberg on Cape Breton Island from the French in 1758. Sad to say, Wolfe’s health gave way due to his exertions and he was obliged to return to Britain to recuperate.  

Wolfe’s military career would have ceased at that time had it not been for the foresight of the Prime Minister, Pitt the Younger who gave him the rank of Major General and sent him on an eccentric and outrageous mission to capture the city of Quebec in the French province of Canada.  

In 1759, Wolfe led a convoy of ships up the St Lawrence River to the island of Orleans opposite Quebec. Unable to tempt the French general Montcalm out to fight, Wolfe led a daring assault on a wooded cliff outside the city, thought by the French to be impregnable. Wolfe and his men reached the Heights of Abraham only a mile from Quebec where they routed the French in less than an hour.  

Regrettably Wolfe was wounded three times during the attack and died the same day. But the capture of Quebec led to further British successes resulting in the French surrendering Canada to Britain in 1760.  

With the French removed from North America, a major threat was removed from the American Colonies and the British felt no need to maintain an armed presence to protect them. In 1776 these colonies rebelled and achieved independence as the American Republic, later know as The United States. If Wolfe had not captured Quebec, Canada would not have become a British colony and the United States would not have come into existence. Today, Canada would be French and America still part of the Commonwealth.

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